Local tourist and expats are slowly returning to the resort island of Koh Lan as tourism is now allowed after Covid-19 restrictions were eased. Ko Lan is a small Thai island off the coast of Pattaya, in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s known for its beaches, set against a backdrop of wooded hills.
The island’s reopening comes after curbs were lifted on Sept 1, Chon Buri was among the 29 dark-red zone provinces where strict movement curbs were restrictions were lifted on Sept 1, by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration that is shifting its focus to learning to live with the coronavirus.
Municipal officials from Pattaya were on hand at Bali Hai Pier to greet tourists heading for the island. ID cards and passports were checked before they were allowed to board. Alcohol gel was available at the pier and social distancing measures were observed on the ferries and speed boats.
Delight Koh Lan reopened to tourism
Ferry services are running three times a day with tickets at 30 baht per head per trip. Speedboats charge 250 baht per head. The number of tourists at Bali Hai Pier in Pattaya was not high on Saturday. The tourists were mostly Thai visitors who arrived in small groups of families and friends.
One ferry operator said he was delighted that Koh Lan had reopened, as both ferry operators and local residents would have a chance to earn some income. Almost 100% of the island’s residents have been vaccinated against Covid-19, he said.
Operators of resorts on the island said they had received many room bookings for weekends since authorities eased the Covid restrictions on Wednesday.
Tourism operators in Chon Buri are still hoping for a broader resumption of activity on Oct 1, including vaccinated international travellers. They would be allowed to travel on selected “sealed routes”, similar to the model first tested in Phuket and neighbouring destinations.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said this week that the reopening next month of five more destinations including Chon Buri would depend on a number of factors including the overall Covid case trend and vaccination rates of local residents.