ALTHOUGH the Andaman Sea tourism was launched today (Oct. 15) with day trips to Similan and Surin islands off Phang Nga coast permitted till May 15, 2023, strong winds forced the halting of trips to the former group of islands for three days, Amarin TV said this evening.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation had announced that during the open season from today to May 15, 2023 each day altogether 3,325 people may visit Similan islands while 525 are allowed to go there for scuba diving with this taking the daily total to 3,850.
The atmosphere was lively today the first day these trips were permitted with both Thai and foreign tourists flocking to Similan islands on various boats.
However at 5 p.m. Similan Islands National Park chief Mrs. Rakchanok Phaenoi said while both tourists and entrepreneurs welcomed the launch of the open season, it was found that strong winds were endangering these boat trips.
Tour operators cancelled several trips and while around 500 tourists did reach the Similan Islands National Park, they only got as far as Koh four or Koh Miang and were unable to reach Koh eight or Koh Similan.
For this reason day trips to these islands have been halted during Oct. 16-18, 2022 for the safety of life and property. An announcement will be made if there are any further changes.
Meanwhile the Thai Meteorological Department said at 1 p.m. today that the depression Sonca had weakened into a low pressure cell and is moving through Sekong province of Laos.
However despite being weaker, Sonca still affects the Northeast, Central region including Bangkok and its vicinity, and the East bringing moderate rainfall with strong winds in the Northeast.
The wind and waves in the Andaman Sea and lower Gulf of Thailand are stronger, with waves being one to two metres high and in a thunderstorm rising over two metres.
Sailors are warned to proceed with caution and avoid sailing in a thunderstorm.
Top and Front Page: The beautiful Similan islands and tourists heading there today. Photos: Amarin TV