The ban on single-use plastics appeared to be working, at least in the parts of the Mu Ko Ang Thong and Khao Sok national parks that we visited. And that is an encouraging notion. On previous occasions during my 20 plus years in Thailand that I’d visited the spectacular islands and waters of southern Thailand I had at times spotted errant trash – not to any great extent but still trash – floating or lying around. But, I’m glad to say, not this time.
Ironically, it was not until well into day three of our trip that it suddenly occurred to me I hadn’t seen the odd plastic bag or bottle. Contemplating this at the time, on a longtail boat skimming between islands it so happens, I recalled a quote I’d read from the TAT’s press statement in which it had stressed how the importance of protecting Thailand’s landscape and environment could not be understated.
Indeed, I thought, as a spray of oddly refreshing and yet pleasantly warm seawater caught me full in the face from off the boat’s bow. We were approaching the location for lunch that day, a quaint wooden house-cum-restaurant called Phalauy Sea Food nestled along an inlet on Ko Phaluai island, the largest of the 42 islands in Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park. With many of the island’s residents being fishing folk, the various dishes we enjoyed featured seafood that’s as fresh as it gets. I’m talking grilled crab, barbecued fish, buttered shrimp and prawns the size of your hand.