Let’s play good news – bad news.
Good news! The price of island tours is going down from 18 June 2015!
Bad news! The reason is that tourists now have to pay their own National Park fees, and they just increased the price.
How this affects you
Following some recent scandal about the (non-)declaration of income from entry fees to Krabi’s very popular National Marine Parks (the local rangers had been reporting some 200 visitors a day at Phi Phi, when there is easily 10 times this amount), the central Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation issued a directive both to raise the entry fees, and have more transparency in the way the fees are collected.
This new way, which has already been in practice for many years in areas such as Koh Samui, will mean tourists on group tours will need to carry cash to pay the rangers themselves when they arrive at the beach, and that rangers will have to issue receipts for all visitors. Previously only independent travellers used this system; the tour companies were able to include the National Park entry fee in their ticket price by making their own arrangements with the rangers.
The new prices
The new directive affects all group tours, from all companies, as well as all individual / private visitors to the following destinations:
Had Nopparat Thara – Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park
Islands in this park: Phi Phi Islands (Phi Phi Leh, Phi Phi Don, Koh Yung, Bamboo Island) and 4 Islands (Koh Poda, Chicken Island, Koh Tub, Koh Mor)
Entry fee due in cash: 400 THB / adult and 200 THB / child
Tharnbok Khorani National Park
Islands in this park: Hong Islands (Koh Hong, Koh Pakbia, Koh Rai, Lahding / Paradise Island, Koh Daeng)
Entry fee due in cash: 300 THB / adult and 150 THB / child
These are fees to be paid by all visitors over and above the price of your tour ticket or boat charter. The fee is payable once per National Park and covers all the islands in that park for one day. This means if you go on a 4 Islands tour, you will only pay once (400 THB) and not 4 times (1600 THB!). If you head to Phi Phi in the same day (only possible with private boat charter), you would be covered for these islands too, with your original 400 THB ticket.
Note: James Bond Island is not affected by these changes, as it is in Phang Nga Province: the entry fee for this island is still included in your ticket price here if you visit with a group tour; individuals are charged at 300 THB / adult and 150 THB / child.
The changes will come into effect on 18 June, 2015 and will apply to both new and existing bookings (made prior to the announcement).
Note: this system and prices are still current as of April 2018.