Similan And Surin Islands New Rules Being Enforced
Similan and Surin Islands new rules bombshell dropped a few days before the annual reopening. The number of daily visitors has been reduced to 3,850 and divers to just 525. Possibly in reaction to somewhat unflattering images of thousands of tourists packed onto small Similan Island beaches.
Park Fees To Be Paid In Advance
To ensure that no more divers than the allocated 525 per day enter Similan & Surin Island National Parks. Park tickets must be paid for in advance and will be allocated to your name which must be as stipulated in your passport. Name or date changing is not an option so all fees are non-refundable. If you wish to change the date of your liveaboard then you have to pay National Park Fees again.
For all bookings in the 2018/19 season and onwards guests must supply the following information:
- Name as appears in passport
- Date of birth
*Please ensure that you receive a ticket with the valid date
Scuba Diving Insurance Is Now Mandatory
Scuba Diving accident and evacuation Insurance coverage is now “mandatory” for all guests joining any Liveaboard trips. Even if customer bookings were completed before National Marine Parks implemented changes on October 13th 2018
If you have your own scuba diving accident Insurance coverage, we will require Insuring company name, policy number and contact number. For divers with scuba diving accident and evacuation covered under normal travel insurance. We will need to so see the part of the policy that states coverage to ensure it has adequate scuba diving accident coverage included.
Being able to display insurance on your phone should be enough. However it would be prudent to take a short trip back to the dark ages and print it out.
We can supply specific diving insurance through indepths. Daily coverage is THB 150 and weekly THB 600
No More Entry Level Courses
Under the Similan and Surin Islands new rules if you’ve planned an Open Water or Discover Scuba Diving course in the Similan Islands, well it’s not happening. Even if you’ve already booked it before the changes were announced. All divers must be already certified before entering the park.
No Single Use Plastics
Similan and Surin Islands new rules stipulate that single use plastic are no longer allowed inside the National Parks. This counts for all visitors including staff.
- Bags from convenience stores or non convenient stores for that matter
- New plastic wrapped items
- Garbage bags
- Plastic packaged food
- Plastic cutlery
In essence try to avoid bringing any plastics you think can be construed as single or minimal use. We all know the huge issue of plastics in our oceans and divers should be the first to happily comply with this rule.
No More Island Stays
Camping on island no.4 has also been stopped so the only option to stay overnight is on a Similan Island liveaboard. With most boats spread between the Similan and Surin Island National Parks we don’t foresee an adverse effect on scuba diving. However for the day trip snorkelling tours it’s been a bit of a kick in the teeth. They’ve been forced to cancel or change destination on many advance bookings but….
Was It Really Such A Big Surprise?
In 2016 another idyllic island near the Similan Islands was closed to day trip tours. Koh Tachai’s pristine beach was being trashed by sheer volume, environmental damage was immense. Many visitors complained and eventually the island was closed to tourists before the damage became irreparable. The second warning came this year with the closure of Phi Phi’s Maya Bay for exactly the same reasons. So why think that the increasing number of tourists to Similan Island No.4 would end any differently.
Change For The Good
Although a bit more notice would have been nice. The Similan and Surin Island new rules and restrictions are for the good. The long term preservation of these stunning islands and dive sites benefit everyone. We do support the Thai governments stand and hope that it’s enforced correctly.
For the consumer it probably means there will be very few last minute deals, advance booking will be essential.
If you have any questions or wish to cement your place on a Similan Surin Island liveaboard then please contact our team.
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