Thailand’s Similan Islands to close next month

Thailand’s Similan Islands were bustling with tourists during the Songkran holidays but will soon be much quieter when the archipelago closes for a period of environmental restoration on May 19.

The marine park will be closed off to tourists during the monsoon season and will reopen again on October 15, 2023, after nature has had a chance to recover from a hectic High Season.

Mu Ko Similan National Park reported the following tourism statistics during the Songkran Holidays from April 11-14, 2023, according to SiamRath

  • April 11: 1,005,050 baht in entry fees was collected from 2,653 tourists
  • April 12: 809,600 baht in entry fees was collected from 2,600 tourists
  • April 13: 542,450 baht in entry fees was collected from 2,533 tourists
  • April 14: 775,900 baht in entry fees was collected from 2,869 tourists

In 2023, the entry fee into the Similan Islands is 500 baht for foreign adults, 300 baht for foreign children, 100 baht for Thai adults and 50 baht for Thai children.

Mu Ko Similan National Park is a remote archipelago of 11 islands lying 70 kilometres off the coast of mainland Phang Nga province. The archipelago lies on the maritime border between Thailand and India and is considered one of the best diving sites in the world.

Established as a national park in 1982, the archipelago’s abundant coral reefs, clear turquoise waters, unique rock formations, and tropical forests have drawn in so many tourists over the years that the islands’ natural environment requires protection.

The Similan Islands’ reputation as an idyllic paradise drew in up to 7,000 tourists per day in the past, prompting the Thai government to limit tourism to a maximum of 3,325 people per day. The islands close every monsoon season for natural restoration.

Tourists will not find hotels or resorts on the Similan Islands but can camp on three of the archipelago’s 11 islands. Marine life lovers should book a trip to the Similan Islands soon if they don’t want to miss their chance before the islands close on May 18.

According to Thai National Parks, the islands are home to manta rays, whale sharks, whitetip reef sharks, blacktip reef sharks, leopard sharks, whale sharks, bluespotted ribbontail rays, spotted eagle rays, bowmouth guitarfish, shovelnose guitarfish, hawkbill sea turtles, olive ridley sea turtles, leatherback sea turtles, green sea turtles, giant morays, fimbriated morays, greyface moray eels, great barracudas, green humphead parrotfish, ribbon eels, giant trevallies and humphead wrasses.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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