Phuket

Ta Chai island to remain closed, says DNP

PHUKET: The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) has announced that Ta Chai island is to remain closed ‘until further improvement’ has taken place.

The island was indefinitely closed off for all tourists and visitors in May last year, with officials citing ‘marine life recovery and restoration’ as the primary reason (story here).

Several groups, including the Phang Nga Tourist Association, had requested officials to reassess the situation and reopen Ta Chai island as soon possible, saying it was a major tourist attraction for Phang Nga.

DNP Director General Thanya Netithammakunl observed the island on Sunday and said that natural life in the area was gradually improving, but not enough to warrant reopening it.

In prior years, islands in Mu Koh Similan National Park, including Ta Chai and the Similans, have remained closed from May 16 to October 14 annually, but last year was the first instance of an ‘indefinite closure’.

“We can see that some of the marine life has shown improvement, while other parts of it still need time. At present, we plan to keep the island closed. Next year, we will observe the area again and then decide what further action is needed,” he said.

“We also plan is to improve public facilities at Ta Chai, including toilets, accommodation and the standard of management,” he added.

— Kongleaphy Keam

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