Wednesday, May 18, 2016

WHAT MASS TOURISM IS DOING TO PHUKET THAILAND AND HOW CENTERS LIKE THAILAND DIVERS CAN HELP.

WHAT MASS TOURISM IS DOING TO PHUKET THAILAND AND HOW CENTERS LIKE THAILAND DIVERS CAN HELP.

james bond island which lies to the north of phuket in the gulf of Thailand., like so many beautiful places around the world, phuket thailand has been well and truly discovered my the masses. What was once a large island base for people to explore the Andaman ocean has also led to the destruction of the reason so many people flood there each year.
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Places like james bond island made famous by the movie ” The Man With The Golden Gun” or phi phi island from the movie “The Beach” Now people flock to these tiny islands in the thousands or some cases ten thousands. This in itself is terrible news for the tiny islands as they cant cope with that sort wear from tourists. Then there is also the knock on effect. Other islands in the area get discovered and added to tours to make a longer day out of it. Islands like bamboo island to the north of phi phi. Its not much more than some sand, a few rocks and a few palm trees. Its a real pirates desert island. You could imagine Jack Sparrow staggering round the corner at any moment. However bamboo island is now home to a few shacks selling drinks, ice cream and snacks, plus a thousand or more tourists who stop off on their way to or from phi phi for a spot of snorkeling. This little island can not take this kind of mass tourism. its so small its cant take anymore than a couple of dozen people a day without having an effect.
The same can be said for the similan islands. Many dive centers run similan liveaboard trips  from October till mid May. These on there own cause little damage as the boats and divers do not go onto the islands themselves and all divers have to be certified. This way they do little damage. Then speed boats of snorkelers arrive who do go on the island and do stand on the coral and feed the fish. Divers can spend several days there as they stay on the boats but snorkelers can not. So they put some log cabins and tents on one island. Now the same thing is happening the more people go the more other want to and the more damage is done. This year a great island that lie to the north of the similan islands called Koh Tachai has been close to all for the next few years as to limit the damage. This was one of the top dive spots of the world and being so far north of the similan islands was not too popular. Then again the snorkelers and all the rest turn up too. Again these tiny islands cant cope with more than a few dozen each day and Koh Tachai was getting a thousand a day in high season. Its great that its been closed to protect it but so sad to think that it was allowed to get like that to begin with. The similan liveaboards were going there for years with very minimal damage as they were  arriving off shore. diving and moving on. Now this great site has been lost to all.
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For dive centers like Thailand Divers and many others around the world who really care for the world we live and work in its sad to see mass tourism bought to such places. Yes all companies like to be busy but in and around phuket thailand we have so many great places and even the average places here are better than most, so we have so many other stunning options for taking snorkelers and people learning to dive that we dont need to take then to the more fragile areas. But like so many places before some companies prefer quantity rather than quality and we loose another of the worlds most beautiful islands.  So when looking at thailand liveaboards please ask the size of the boat and if the boat has more than 15 – 20 people then look at other options as you will have a better trip. You will see more than just other divers,  the boat will be friendlier and you will do less damage as you pass by.  Day trips tend to go to more robust places anyway that can take larger numbers of people but all place have a limit.
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So I can guess when finding that perfect location in some isolated corner of the world the best option is “dont tell anyone”  But as thats not going to happen and we all want to go to see the stunning places  so the next best option is to talk to the better dive and tour centers and find the times of year when there are less people. Is there a quiet time during high season ? Is there somewhere to get away from the masses?  is the place worth going to?  The answer to these questions is always yes if you are talking to someone who is not there just to sell to you. Companies like Thailand Divers want these great places visited but not over run. Look on trip advisor  and other places like this to see what others thought. Places like bamboo island are great places to visit at certain times of the year as are the similan islands ( which are closed for 6 moths of the year which is a massive help).  Places like maya bay on phi phi,the so call hidden beach is stunning when you are not there will the other hundred speed boats. So pick the tours that suit the time of year that you will be going on holiday. If you want certain tours then you will not be let down if you ask when is the best time to go there.  phuket thailand does have some amazing places like james bond island to visit but to get the most out of these amazing places its best to see them well away from the masses.
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