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Phang Nga

No caving to Similan tour operator pressure

The Thaiger

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The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation is refusing to bow to pressure from tour operators in Phang-nga for it to ease current restrictions on the number of visitors to the Similan Islands.

Songtham Suksawang, director of the National Parks Division of the department, says the decision to limit the number of daily visitors to the island at 3,325 plus another 525 visitors for scuba diving was intended to preserve the environment and ecology of the island.

Overnight stays on Similan Islands are also currently banned under the new guidelines.

He says the department doesn’t want a repeat of the situation of the past years when the number of daily visitors spiralled to 6,000-7,000 on some days, well beyond the capability of the island to cope.

“The department doesn’t want to see Similans to end up like Maya Bay in nearby Krabi province which was recently closed indefinitely due to extensive damage caused to coral reefs and the beach from unlimited visitors.”

The parks division chief said he was not worried by the protest of tour operators who claimed that their business would be affected by the restriction because they had already accepted advance bookings from tourists to visit Similan island and that they were given only short notice about the restrictions.

“Park officials had been discussing with the representatives of the operators throughout the past year about the overcrowding problem on the island and about measures to put a curb on the number of visitors to preserve the island’s environment for long-term benefits for all parties concerned.”

Only few tourists visited Similan island yesterday – the second day of the two-day boycott imposed by tour operators to protest against the restrictions.

Tour operators have been taking tourists to Surin island over the past two days.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Tourism

Similan Islands to reopen on October 15 with ‘new normal’ policy

Caitlin Ashworth

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Similan Islands to reopen on October 15 with ‘new normal’ policy | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

After being closed for the season, the Similan Islands National Park is opening back up on October 15, but this time with a “new normal” policy like social distancing, temperature checks and requiring staff and visitors to wear face masks. The national park in the Phang Nga province closes every year from mid-May to mid-October due to unsafe weather conditions.

The province’s deputy governor Boonterm Ranumas says he expects the park’s opening bring in domestic tourists, boosting revenues for vendors and tourism operators in the area.

The islands have a limit on the number of visitors to prevent ongoing environmental damage. Since the island is just opening under the new normal policy, visitors need to register before arriving to the island. Scuba diving excursions and overnight boat tours will be available.

“Some areas on the island are still closed during the re-opening but every national park officers are ready to assist and monitor travelers throughout their visit. A group of local volunteers would also gather to collect garbage around the island and to encourage visitors to protect the island environment.”

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Phang Nga

Newly discovered 3,000 year old cave paintings in Phang Nga

Jack Burton

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Newly discovered 3,000 year old cave paintings in Phang Nga | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Nation Thailand

New cave art, reportedly at least 3,000 years old, has been discovered in the southern Phang Nga province’s Phang Nga Bay Marine National Park. The head of the park says he he found the ancient paintings while leading park officials to investigate the Petch Pakarang Cave at Koh Talu in Takua Thung district on Friday. Currently there are 4 locations in the park where ancient paintings can be found… Khao Phra At Thao, Khao Nak, Khao Raya, and Khao Khien.

“A new set of ancient paintings were as same as other paintings found in Phang Nga Bay and nearby areas. We’re waiting for related authorities to join our investigation. We assume these paintings were painted by ancient sailors who came to shelter from the monsoon. The Fine Arts Department says these paintings were done not less than 3,000 years ago.”

Many of Ao Phang-Nga’s limestone islands have prehistoric rock art painted on or carved into cave walls and ceilings, rock shelters, cliffs and rock massifs. Images at Khao Khian (the most visited cave art site) contain human figures, fish, crabs, prawns, bats, birds and elephants, as well as boats, weapons and fishing equipment, seemingly referencing some communal effort tied to the all-important sea harvest. Most rock paintings are monochrome red, though some have been traced in orange-yellow, blue, grey and black.

Newly discovered 3,000 year old cave paintings in Phang Nga | News by The ThaigerNewly discovered 3,000 year old cave paintings in Phang Nga | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Provinces remind people about wearing face masks

Jack Burton

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Provinces remind people about wearing face masks | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Individual provinces are stepping up safety measures since the roll out of Phase 3 of the lockdown relaxations. In Chanthaburi province, eastern Thailand on the Cambodian border, they’ve announced a “D-Day” against people leaving their homes without masks.

(The Thaiger predicts the authorities in Chanthaburi may not know a lot about what actually happened on D-Day.)

Authorities in Chanthaburi have noted travellers dropping their guard in terms of Covid-19 precautions, and public health officials there are urging people to keep their masks on in public, observe social distancing and avoid crowded places.

Chanthaburi’s governor lamented that locals have been seen commuting without wearing masks, posing a risk of a second wave of infections. He says the province will enforce mask-wearing stringently with a 20,000 baht fine from today.

At Phuket’s Bus Terminal 2, meanwhile, large numbers of people were seen buying tickets. The hub is practicing strict checks, including temperature screenings and enforced distancing. Sritrang Tours, which runs between Phuket and Hat Yai in the South, has reduced its bus loads from a maximum of 39 to only 19, and requires passengers to scan a QR code using the Thai Chana app before boarding. Those unable to do so will be required to fill out a form.

People traveling to Phuket are required to register on the Phuket Smart Check-in app when they enter the province. For now, that means when they cross Sarasin Bridge and go through the Tha Chatchai checkpoint.

Phang Nga Transport Terminal has similarly seen a rise in activity since restrictions on interprovincial travel were lifted on Thursday. Drivers at the terminal are required to report for temperature screenings as part of safety measures. They noted passengers have not reached their maximum yet, as only journeys to some southern areas and provinces, including Phuket, Su-ngai Golok and Betong are available.

SOURCE: NNT

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