Islands Near Phuket That Will Seasonally Close in 2024

by Mama Loves Phuket

The serene islands of southern Thailand offer a perfect retreat from the bustling crowds of Phuket. However, tourists might be surprised to find that these enchanting tropical gems are sometimes temporarily closed to the public.

Seasonal closures, primarily for environmental conservation, ensure that the natural beauty and biodiversity of these islands remain vibrant and healthy for future generations. Some of the closures are also placed for safety reasons during the monsoon season to prevent marine accidents in adverse weather conditions.

Based on information currently available from the National Parks of Thailand, here’s what you need to know about the seasonal closure of islands near Phuket in 2024.

Similan Islands

Closed from 16 May to 14 October 2024

The Similan Islands in Thailand, renowned for their exceptional snorkelling and diving, typically close during the monsoon months from mid-May to mid-October to preserve the area’s diverse marine life and delicate coral reefs.

During this time, the reduced human activity allows the ecosystem to recover and maintain its biodiversity, ensuring that the islands remain a sustainable and vibrant destination for future visitors.

Parts of the Similan Islands, including Fantasy Reef, Anita Reef, and Ko Tachai, are also closed indefinitely for rehabilitation.

Maya Bay, Phi Phi Islands

Closed from 1 August to 30 September 2024

Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh is one of the most instantly recognisable beaches in southern Thailand. It was made famous by the 2000 film The Beach starring Leonardo Di Caprio. Since shooting to fame, as many as 6,000 tourists have been flocking daily to the 250-meter-long beach to catch a glimpse of the tropical paradise.

Maya Bay in phuket tHailand
Drone image of Maya Bay during its extensive closure and rehabilitation

The bay was shut for an extensive period of time from 2018 to 2022, allowing the stunning picturesque bay to recuperate from significant ecological strain and environmental damage caused by years of excessive overtourism.

Maya Bay reopened in January 2022 with modifications to boat entry and much stricter rules for tourists and tour operators. One condition of reopening, in addition to prohibiting swimming (you can only wade in the waters up to your knees), was that the bay would close annually for a period of recuperation.

Note that you can still take the ferry and smaller speed boat craft (weather dependent) to Tonsai in Phi Phi Don throughout the year, as well as tour around the islands without disembarking. Phi Phi Don is the only part of the Phi Phi Islands that is permanently inhabited.

One of the smaller islands of the north of the Phi Phi group, Ko Yung, remains indefinitely closed.

Koh Kradan, Hat Chao Mai National Park

Closed from 1 June to 30 September 2024

One of the most stunning areas of southern Phuket in the Andaman Sea, Koh Kradan, in Trang Province, appeared at number 1 in the World Beach Guide Top 100 Beaches in 2023 (which incidentally also included Railay Beach in Krabi, Freedom Beach in Phuket, Leam Beach on Koh Yao Yai, and Tanot Bay Beach on Koh Tao).

With this sort of international recognition inevitably comes an influx of tourists. Will it meet the same fate as Maya Bay?

couple walking on a beach on koh kradan thailand, most beautiful beach in the world winner 2023. image by fokke baarssen

Authorities charged with protecting the island’s environment have stated that a four-month closure will take place this monsoon season to allow for rehabilitation and work on visitor safety. Further infrastructure, such as water and electricity, will be installed on the island to help it cope with the influx of tourism. We suspect the seasonal closure will remain a permanent annual fixture.

This closure also impacts Ko Kuk, Ko Kha Dan, Ko Cheuk and Ko Wan within the national park.

Koh Rok & Koh Haa, Mu Ko Lanta National Park

Closed from 1 July to 30 August

Further south again, the seasonal closures continue in the idyllic islands of Ko Lanta National Park and several islands in Satun province (bordering Malaysia). If you are planning to island-hop north from Langkawi, check if these seasonal closures may impact your journey.

Select Islands in Phang Nga Bay

Closed from 1 August to 30 September 2024

Phang Nga Bay (most famous for ‘James Bond Island‘ and the Koh Panyee floating village) remains generally open throughout the wet season but may limit access to certain areas to protect its ecosystem.

The 2024 closures look like they’ll apply to Ko Lawa Yai, Ao Khian, Ko Boi Yai, and the Ao Phang-Nga campsite on the mainland.

More Important Notes on Thailands National Park

It should go without saying that leave-no-trace principles should be applied when visiting any of Thailand’s national parks, regardless of the season and whether you are visiting on a group tour or hiring a private watercraft to explore some of the country’s most remote and beautiful parts.

Single-use plastics (including bags, cutlery, straws, and cups) and foam containers are banned in all 155 Thailand National Parks; violators can be fined up to 100,000 THB.

Thailand National Parks have entry fees; check if your tour operator includes these or if you’ll need to pay on arrival (in most instances, 400 THB for adults).

You can stay up to date with Thailand National Park information on Instagram (English Translate is your friend!) or through their website – this really good guide goes into specifics for 2024 (Thai year 2567) in both Thai & English.

Illustrative beach photos in this post by Fokke Baarseen, designed with CanvaPro


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© Mama Loves Phuket 2024

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