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Popular Phang Nga islands reopen for high season tourism

PHOTO: Flickr/Uros P.hotography

Hugely popular Maya Bay on Koh phi Phi Leh opened at the start of October. now it’s time for some more of the island’s north of Phuket to also re-open for the tourist high season.

Phang Nga’s Similan and Surin islands reopened yesterday, October 15, in preparation for the arrival of tourists. The island groups, which are about 100 kilometres apart, were closed for 6 months – an annual recovery period for the ecosystem.

The Surin Islands in Mu Ko Surin National Park, are comprised of an archipelago of five islands, located about 55 kilometres from the Phang Nga coast. The Similan archipelago is comprised of eleven islands in Mu Ko Similan National Park, one of the busiest national parks in Thailand.

Thai PBS World reports that the chief of the Similan Islands National Park says that during rainy season, strong winds and high waves make it too dangerous to visit the islands. Sarayuth Paso adds that as the weather is currently calmer, the decision was taken to reopen the islands. However, should weather conditions become unsafe, they could be closed again.

According to Sarayuth, officials have used the 6-month closure to enhance facilities on the islands, including accommodation, restaurants, toilets, and improved mooring buoys for tourist boats. The chief says security has also been improved.

Meanwhile, Supoj Na Nongkhai, the governor of Phang Nga, carried out an inspection of the pier in Tab Lamu, in the Thai Muang district yesterday. Accompanied by various tourism officials, Supoi was checking that all tourist boats meet required safety standards, including having enough life jackets on board and that all skippers have valid operating licences.

The governor says tourism has a very significant role to play in the province, being a major source of revenue for Phang Nga. As a result, the safety of tourists is a main priority, to ensure they have a positive experience.

Tour operator Lertsak Ponklin says around 200 foreign visitors have purchased boat trips from his company and he’s hopeful that customer numbers will be higher than last year.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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