Every year, Thailand’s Department of National Parks (DNP) temporarily closes a number of visitor attractions. The closures at some of Thailand’s national parks are primarily for safety reasons or to allow for the rest and recovery of specific sites. Attractions affected include popular dive zones, waterfalls, mountains and caves. The timing of the closures mainly coincides with the May-October rainy season although there are some regional variations with the dates. Heavy rain can result in dangerous conditions on hiking trails and at beauty spots. And at sea, some national marine parks are subject to strong winds and big waves which can make conditions hazardous for small boats and unsuitable for diving.
When are parks closed?
The exact dates and locations where access is restricted at national parks can vary from year to year. On Thailand’s Andaman Coast, the closures usually take place from May-October. On the opposite Gulf Coast, the period of closures tend to be from November to mid-December. It’s also important to note that the closures don’t apply to all national parks and there are still many popular natural attractions that can be visited all year round.
What locations are closed to the public?
Some of the main locations affected are listed below:
Southern Thailand (Andaman Coast)
- Surin Islands (closed May 16 to October 14)
- Similan Islands (closed May 16 to October 14)
- Mu Ko Lanta National Park, Krabi – the islands of Ko Rok Nok, Ko Rok Nai, Ko Ngai, Mu Ko Ha, and Kong Hin Daeng-Hin Muang (closed May 16 to October 14)
- Hat Chao Mai National Park – the islands of Ko Muk, Ko Morakot, Ko Kradan, Ko Chueak, and Ko Waen (closed June 1 to September 30)
- Mu Ko Ranong – Ao Khai Tao and Ko Chang, near Ranong (closed May 16 to October 14)
- Tarutao Marine Park – Mu Ko Adang/Rawi (closed May 16 to October 14)
- Mu Ko Phetra, Satun – Ko Bulon and Ko Lao Liang (closed May 16 to October 14)
- Khao Phanom Bencha Trekking Trail, Krabi (closed until further notice)
- *Maya Bay, Phi Phi Leh (closed June to September)
Southern Thailand (Gulf Coast)
- Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park, Surat Thani, near Ko Samui (closed November 1 to December 15)
- Islands in Mu Ko Chumphon National Park (closed November 1 to December 15)
- Than Sadet Waterfall, Ko Pha Ngan (closed October 1 to December 23)
North and north-east Thailand
- Pha Diao Dai Viewpoint and Natural Trail in Khao Yai National Park (closed June 1 to September 30)
- Ko Kudi and Ko Thalu in Rayong province (closed May 1 to September 30)
- Ko Thong Lang, Ko Kra and Ko Thien in Trat province (closed until further notice)
In recent months, there have been a number of contradictory reports about the possible closure of Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh. The site is famous as being one of the locations for the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, ‘The Beach’. Latest reports suggest that Thai authorities will temporarily restrict access to Maya Bay during the low season months from June to September, 2018. The move is aimed at allowing much needed respite for the coral reefs and marine life found in the area. And when Maya Bay does reopen to tourists, boat operators will be subject to tighter regulations and there will be a reduction in the number of daily visitors allowed.
Update May 17:
Thai authorities have now confirmed the temporary closure of Maya Bay from June 1 to September 30, 2018
Update October 3:
A decision has been made to close Maya Bay for an indefinite period.