Thailand Closing Koh Tachai Island Indefinitely in October
PHOTO: Koh Tachai Island, pictured, will be closed indefinitely starting in October. (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
Starting on Oct. 15, the shoreline, beaches and coral reefs around Koh Tachai Island in Thailand will be closed to visitors indefinitely.
According to the Bangkok Post, the closure of the popular tourist attraction in the Similan National Park is part of an effort to reduce the strain on natural resources and the environment due to the influx of travelers.
Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation Director Tunya Netithammakul announced that all parks in the country will be closed during the monsoon season, but when most others reopen in October, Koh Tachai Island will remain shut down.
“Thanks to its beauty, Koh Tachai has become a popular tourist site for both Thai and foreign tourists,” Netithammakul told the Bangkok Post. “This has resulted in overcrowding and the degradation of natural resources and the environment. We have to close it to allow the rehabilitation of the environment both on the island and in the sea without being disturbed by tourism activities before the damage is beyond repair.”
To help tourists plan around the closure, officials in Thailand have made the announcement far enough ahead of time to make reworking itineraries feasible. Travelers should be aware that some tour companies may still be selling expeditions to the closed island, though.
“In fact, Koh Tachai is preserved as a primitive zone, not a tourist site,” Kasetsart University Professor Thon Thamrongnawasawat told the Bangkok Post. “A beach on the island can hold up to 70 people. But sometimes the number of tourists was well over 1,000 on the beach, which was already crowded with food stalls and tour boats. This caused the island to quickly deteriorate. If it's not closed now, we'll lose Koh Tachai permanently.”
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