Parking the problem: Thai national parks close to revive coral reefs

Koh Pling in Sirinat National Park in Phuket | Photo via Facebook/ GreenXpress

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation (DNP) implemented indefinite closures at marine attractions in 12 national parks in Thailand to allow coral reefs to recover from bleaching.

DNP Director Auttaphon Jaroenchansa told the media yesterday, May 9, that the director in each national park closely monitors the coral bleaching situation to determine the cause and identify recovery solutions.

Monitoring revealed that high seawater temperatures, oil spills, and sediment buildup on the coral are contributing factors. Moreover, low sea levels exposed the coral for extended periods, especially in Koh Pling in Phuket.

These factors stress the coral and force them to expel the single-celled algae called zooxanthellae. These algae provide the coral with energy and contribute to its vibrant colour.

Losing zooxanthellae weakens the coral and turns it white. Prolonged exposure to these conditions, at two to three weeks, can lead to coral death.

To prevent further damage and allow for recovery, the DNP has closed marine attractions in 12 national parks until further notice. Human activity can disturb and hinder the coral’s recovery process. The closures affect the following national parks:

  • Mu Koh Chang National Park (Trat)
  • Khao Laem Ya-Samet National Park (Rayong)
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park (Prachuap Khiri Khan)
  • Hat Wanakon National Park (Prachuap Khiri Khan)
  • Mu Koh Chumphon National Park (Chumphon)
  • Hat Khanom-Mu Koh Thalay Tai National Park (Nakhon Si Thammarat and Surat Thani)
  • Mu Koh Surin National Park (Phang Nga)
  • Sirinat National Park (Phuket)
  • Ao Phang Nga National Park (Phang Nga)
  • Than Bok Khorani National Park (Krabi)
  • Nopparat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park (Krabi)
  • Mu Koh Lanta National Park (Krabi)

Three additional locations are under special surveillance due to severe coral bleaching including:

  • Koh Jan in the Hat Wanakon National Park in Prachuap Kiri Khan
  • Koh Pling in Sirinat National Park in Phuket
  • Mu Koh Chumphon National Park in Chumphon
  • Koh Khram
  • Koh Ngam Noi
  • Koh Ngam Yai

Coral reefs Thailand

Koh Pling in Phuket | Photo via Facebook/ Jirapong Jeewarongkakul

Coral bleaching in Phuket
Koh Mai Thon in Phuket | Photo via Facebook/ GreenXpress
Coral bleaching Krabi
Koh Lanta in Krabi | Photo via Facebook/ Psi Scott Ψ ทราย สก๊อต – Merman มนุษย์เงือก

Thailand NewsTourism News

Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

Related Articles