'Overcrowded' Thai Island Koh Tachai To Close Indefinitely

The Similan Islands | © Mathias Krumbholz/WikiCommons
The Similan Islands | © Mathias Krumbholz/WikiCommons
Photo of Carley Lanich
9 February 2017

Koh Tachai, a popular tourist destination in Thailand, will close soon due to overcrowding. The island is just off the coast of Thailand’s southwest Phang Nga province in the Andaman Sea and is part of an archipelago of 11 islands that make up the Similan National Park.

Au naturel #beach

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Set to close to tourists on October 15th, Koh Tachai is surrounded by scenic sea life drawing tourists, divers and snorkelers to its waters. The island is well known as a destination to catch a close-up glimpse of marine life including manta rays, whale sharks and barracudas.

Many Thai islands typically close to tourists between May and October for Thailand’s monsoon season, but this season, Koh Tachai will remain closed to allow for the rehabilitation of natural life in the area, believed to be affected by overcrowding.

Authorities believe too much recreation on and around the island could be leading to harmful consequences. Litter from tourists and leaked gasoline from boats transporting visitors to the island could be causing adverse effects on water and coral in the area.

The island, which is a popular destination for day trips to the beach, is just 12 square kilometers. Yet experts have reportedly estimated Koh Tachai regularly exceeds its 70-person capacity, at times seeing more than 1,000 people on the island at one time.

Nominated by the National Geographic Society as one of the top ten diving destinations in the world, Koh Tachai’s only beach is advertised as being only 800 meters long and perfect for family vacations.

While most only take day trips to the island due to Koh Tachai’s lack of hotels, some stay the night in tents and have been invited to join guides on daily inspections of the island on small jungle trails of the island’s inland forests.

Two deep-sea diving locations will remain open after the monsoon season, while the island itself will be closed indefinitely. Authorities warned travelers to be wary of travel packages to the island after October 15th, as a purchase of this kind will not secure any form of entry to the island.