Koh Yung closed to tourists
Favourite Phi Phi snorkeling island closed
Koh Yung (Mosquito Island) is part of the Hat Nopparathara national park which covers all the Phi Phi Islands and the islands around Krabi (Phi Phi is part of Krabi province). As of this week the national parks department is barring entry of all boats to Mosquito Island.
This is said to be to preserve the natural beauty of the island and to keep it’s surrounding reefs in pristine condition. Reefs in Thailand are under threat from over use by tourists. The current el nino which is causing rising temperatures make reefs even more prone to bleaching if stressed.
We will miss mosquito island as it was a beautiful spot for snorkeling but any action to protect the reefs has to be applauded, especially around Phi Phi which has, in some areas, been trashed by over development.
There is no indication of when the island will be opened again, and this may not be the only island in the area to be closed off, other islands could follow soon. The national parks department has a history of taking this kind of action. Three of the Similan Islands (there are nine in total) have been closed for years and several reefs on the open islands are out of bounds to dive and snorkel boats. We wouldn’t be surprised to see other popular beaches at Phi Phi closed, or at least restrictions imposed on tourist numbers. Maya bay would surely benefit from fewer daily visitors.
We are also waiting to see how the island closure will affect the itineraries of day trips from Phuket to Phi Phi. There are plenty of other spots to visit in the archipelago. The Phi Phi Early Bird tour (our favourite Phi Phi tour) will visit Nui bay instead, the 6 islands day trip hasn’t decided yet so for now we’ll call it the 5 islands day trip.