It makes sense that these beautiful islands attract tourists from all over the world. But the unfortunate reality is that these high tourisms rates ultimately lead to the destruction of the natural beauty of the islands. Take what happened to the famous Maya Beach as an example. Maya Beach on the Phi Phi Islands was featured in the 2000 film The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
The sheer beauty of Maya Beach was why it was the one chosen for the film to represent the most beautiful beach in the world, one so remote that only a few people were aware of its existence. This was similar to how Maya Beach was in the 20th century, but that all changed after The Beach was released.
How Tourism Negatively Affected Maya Beach
Shortly after The Beach hit the box office, Maya became swamped with tourism. People from all around the world were coming to Thailand specifically to see the beach where Leo himself basked in the sun. Almost immediately, this huge influx of tourism began destroying Maya; trash was littered all over the sand and water, corals just off shore began to die, and marine life was no longer present. Eventually, the Thai government closed the beach down to tourism altogether.
As anyone can see from what happened to Maya, tourism can have a terrible effect on an island’s natural beauty and overall health. For that reason, the best way to practice responsible tourism is to keep it low key and visit under the radar islands rather than touristic hotspots. Check booking platforms like Bookaway Thailand to research routes to the most remote islands of the country, such as these.
Ko Lipe in the Satun Province
Ko Lipe is just a quick hop and a skip from the popular Malaysian island of Langkawi. In fact, Ko Lipe is actually closer to Malaysia than it is to Thailand, one reason why so many travelers confuse if for part of Malaysia. There may be confusion about what country Ko Lipe is a part of, but there is no question about its stunning emerald waters and white sands.
Ko Lipe is much quieter than the majority of Thai island that tourists are able to travel to. Because of this quietness, this island is considered to be one of the most relaxing places in the world. Ko Lipe is small enough to wander around on foot, which you’ll actually be required to do since there are no cars or motor vehicles anywhere on the island.
Ko Ngai in the Krabi Province
Ko Ngai is a small island in southwest Thailand’s Krabi province. It is known among the SCUBA lovers of the world as a must-visit island, but it’s not known by many others. Here’s what the The Lonely Planet has to say about Ko Ngai:
“Encircled by coral and clear waters, densely forested Ko Ngai (Ko Hai) is both the most family-friendly of the Trang Islands and prime honeymoon territory. The long blonde wind-swept beach on the eastern coast spills into turquoise water with a sandy bottom (perfect for children) that ends at a reef drop-off with good snorkelling.”
Some travelers don’t love the fact that there are no indigenous people living on the island, while others prefer it this way. Whatever your preferences are about living among the locals, Ko Ngai’s beauty caters to everyone, including solo backpackers, honeymooning couples, and families looking for some bonding time.
Ko Lanta in the Krabi Province
Ko Lanta isn’t quite as under the radar as Ko Lipe or Ko Ngai, but it still falls on the list of lesser-known Thai islands. Similar to Ko Ngai, Ko Lanta is an island of the Krabi province. Ko Lanta is much, much larger than Ko Ngai, though, so if you want a small island vibe then a trip to Ko Ngai is suggested over Ko Lanta.
However, Ko Lanta takes the cake for many reasons. The island is the perfect mix of tourism and local culture, meaning travelers have plenty of options on where to stay, places to eat, and activities to remain entertained. However, all of this is inspired entirely by Thai culture rather than foreign influence, giving travelers an authentic Thai experience.
Article written by Rob
(Photo by jmauerer via Flickr)