Rayong closes Kham, Ku Dee, Pla Teen, Talu and Kruay Islands until end September, 2021

Photo: Koh Kham — Heinz Albers, Creative Commons

Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation is taking advantage of having few to no international tourists over the next four months, and temporarily shutting down five islands in Rayong province.

The islands shutting down are Kham Island, Ku Dee Island, Pla Teen Island, Talu Island and Kruay Island, and all five are being closed to tourists for conservation purposes.

The island closures will start on June 1st, with the five Thai islands opening up again at the end of September.

It is hoped, with visitors being banned, it will give nature time to self-restore any damage to the islands due to tourist visits as it is occurring during a time period when both domestic and international tourism is miniscule due to Thailand’s Covid-19 restrictions.

Island caretakers will also be able to assess any damage more easily, and then implement steps to correct it.

The closings of the five Thai islands in Rayong follow the closure of the country’s famous Maya Bay on Phi Phi Island back in 2018.

That event was also meant to be for just a few months but, the death of coral as a result of thousands of tourists visiting per day was so extreme, authorities decided to keep Maya Bay closed until 2021 to allow the area to recover.

Maya Bay, of course, was made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach.

Once the bay is reopened, authorities plan on restricting tourist numbers permanently. Something that could also occur with the five islands in Rayong province, depending on how severe the ecological damage turns out to be.