Overnight stays on the Similan Islands are now banned
But overnight stays within the Similan national park are still permitted
The national parks department of Thailand has announced that overnight stays on the Similan Islands will no longer be permitted. The camp sites and bungalows at Similan Islands numbers 4 and 8 are being dismantled.
This is to preserve the pristine environment which has come under threat from mass tourism overcrowding. The Similan Islands have limited fresh water supply. Waste water management and trash management are a challenge.
Day trips to the Similan Islands will still be permitted, it only takes about an hour by speedboat to get from Khao Lak to the Similan Islands.
Liveaboards can still go to the Similan Islands
Liveaboards can also still enter the national park so they are now the only way to stay overnight. We think liveaboards are the best way to snorkel at the Similan Islands.
The shortest available trips are 2 days 2 nights with the Oktavia liveaboard. Longer trips are also available which include Koh Bon (manta rays) and Richelieu Rock (whale sharks).
Protecting Thailand’s national parks
The ban is part of a wider effort by the national parks department to protect Thailand’s natural environment. In previous years Koh Tachai, Moskito Island and others have been closed to tourists and never yet been re-opened. This year the famous Maya bay in Phi Phi has been closed to all boats for a 4 month period. Many people think that will be extended, and caps on tourist numbers is also rumored.
It’s great to see the national parks department getting serious about protecting these natural wonders.