Multiple tour companies continued their businesses even after the Similan Islands were ordered to a temporary shutdown in hopes of minimizing the spread of Covid-19. The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) announced on 23 March 2020 that all National parks along with all forest parks are to be closed down to visitors starting from the 25th. This order applies to all Marine National Parks that will remain closed off to visitors until further notice. Those who have already booked ahead can ask for a refund via the park websites.
Khaosod online received information on the 25th, the first date that the order comes into effect, that there are groups of tourists still visiting the Similan Islands in Phang Nga Province, despite the government’s advice to stay home and go outside only when it is necessary. The news source reveals that many companies have chosen to ignore the closedown order from the department and continued taking tourists on tour to the islands. Tourists are going on boats to the islands from the Ban Tha Chat Chai Pier in Phuket and the Ban Tha Thap Lamu Pier in Phang Nga.
Most of the tourists appear to be Russians, approximately 400 tourists went to the Similan Islands on the 25th. The tour companies took the tourists on a tour boat to the islands, as if there was no such thing as a Covid-19 situation in Thailand right now. There has been no confirmation to which tour companies left the pier to the islands on such a date. Hopefully, the companies decide to take notice of the order and temporarily put the Similan Islands tour on hold until the official announcement comes out to when the Marine National Parks will be re-opened for visitation. The temporary shut down allows officials to repair the National Parks and to also give nature time to repair itself, much like a detox session.
FB Caption: About 400 tourists visited the Similan Islands on the 25th, even after DNP announced that the islands will go into a temporary shutdown to help control the spread of Covid-19.