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The Similans, back and beautiful as ever after a monsoon season break

How Phuket Could Look: Similans Album

Friday, November 2, 2012
PHUKET: The glorious Similan islands reopened for snorkelling day-trips and dive excursions from Phuket and Phang Nga this week.

And as our Photo Album shows, the beauty of the appealing outcrops and their surroundings has been enhanced by a respite from the pressures of tourism.

Closed from April to November 1 each year, the Similans enjoy a chance for regrowth and revival that Phuket and other nearby islands do not have.

The pressures of year-round tourism are constant and growing, along with the commercialisation of every accessible strip of sand.

Phuket must once have looked just the way the Similans do today. Although administrators now talk of ''sustainability,'' little is being done in a practical way.

Five years ago, Phuket was more appealing because its natural attractions were still quite obvious. Phuket remains appealing, of that there is no doubt.

But what will it seem like in another five years? As each year passes, the natural attractions of Phuket are diminished.

The national government now understands that Phuket must be made safe and secure for visitors - and residents - to maximise the returns from tourism.

But for Phuket to remain an appealing option, serious effort is also needed to put ''sustainability'' into practice.

The Similans returns each year after a respite, looking fresh and wonderful.

Authorities now need to work out how to ensure that Phuket's natural appeal also remains undiminished.

Comments

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I've seen photos of Phuket, taken by a friend who's been here for nearly 40 years. The change in just the last 15 is dramatic and almost unrecognizable.

Sustainability doesn't seem to be about the eco-system but rather the financial system.

As much as most people would like greed and corruption has turned this island into something far less desirable and with the Thai Governments drive to increase tourism revenue the situation is only going to get worse.

Just look around - the entire island is a garbage dump. Power lines hanging everywhere, few sidewalks, traffic to breaking levels, filthy beaches where sewage is pumped right into the water.

Posted by Graham on November 2, 2012 11:58

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The Similans are beautiful and even more so underwater. What needs to be reigned in however is the illegal fishing. Dive a bit off known dive spots and you'll find plenty of illegal fishing traps.

During daytime you can see boats full of these traps around the NP boundaries, yet the rangers take no action whatsoever.

That said, Koh Ratcha Noi has scenery similar to Similans and is much closer to Phuket.

It's the only place I've seen goats while diving, albeit they were on land and I was in the water.

Posted by Andrew on November 2, 2012 13:05

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Last time i was staying in Kata i was surprised at the amount of trash all over the beach. There was even an old crt tv.

Makes me wonder why they dont get some of those beach cleaning machines and put them to use here at least combing the tide lines periodically. Im not sure how turtle egg friendly they are, but the same can be said about a tourists foot.

Posted by Jordan on November 2, 2012 15:31

Editor Comment:

During the high season the beaches are clean. The rubbish is (mostly) a seasonal thing, during the monsoon period.

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Mai khow beach near the airport is unspoiled and looks the same as this .. its beautiful up there ..

Posted by poppops on November 2, 2012 16:20

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That's how Phuket should look.very simple solution. Send the tourist out.

Posted by stoca on November 3, 2012 07:41

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Yep, with the Similans closing down for 6 months of the year it does wonders to keeping it in good condition.

Long may they be open just November to April!!!

Posted by Jamie on November 3, 2012 16:52


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