Government Bans Overnight Stays On Similan Island For Preservation Purposes

Overnight stays on the Similan Island are no longer allowed as per government policy.

Protection of Marine Resources

According to ecologist and chairman of the committee responsible in creating a master plan in marine protection and management Then Thamrongnawasawat, the island will only be available exclusively for day trips as a may for the authorities to easily protect its natural resources.

The Downside of Tourism

With the rising popularity of the Moo Koh Similan National Park, a large influx of tourists was observed throughout the years, but the sheer number of tourists staying in the island overnight has made it difficult for the government to take care of its resources.

Thon Thamrongnawasawat, deputy dean of the Faculty of Fisheries at Kasetsart University, explains that tourists may still enjoy tourist activities such as swimming, trekking, and diving, but at the end of the day, they have to leave the island.

Before the Ban

The island used to be one of the nine islands that offer camping grounds and bungalows for visitors. These facilities were operated by the state, but since the announcement of the ban in May this year, they have already started dismantling the facilities, according to SongtamSuksawang, department director of the National Park, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation Department.

He says that repairing the overnight stay facilities was not cost-effective, but a much more growing concern is the wastewater from the houses, which may cause bigger environmental problems in the future. Therefore, they see the removal of the facilities as a solution to avoid a bigger problem.

Furthermore, he explains that the island lacks fresh water and has limited space, making it inadequate for tourists to stay. Additionally, the island is only about an hour away by boat, so staying overnight is not really a necessity.

Alternative

Similan diving liveaboard programmes allow tourists to get around this, as they wouldn’t have to stay in the island itself overnight. Thus, tourists can still enjoy the place and explore without worrying about overstaying or not making the most out of their trips. Similan diving liveaboard trips are available through many agencies, featuring not only Similan, but also other marvellous diving locations across the world in its itinerary.