The ‘Sandbox’ is a new initiative to reopen Phuket on July 1st.
It is no secret that tourism has been hit hard around the world, so we are eager to welcome overseas visitors back to the region. It is excellent to see Phuket become one of the first tourist destinations to open up to vaccinated visitors without them having to do the 14-day hotel quarantine.
There are a few stipulations though, you must have negative Covid tests (of
course), and you must stay in a SHA + hotel for the 14-day duration.
Here at Sea Bees, we have this certification so you are in safe hands for your diving and of course, you can stay at our convenient resorts in Chalong and after the Sandbox stay, you may stay in Palm Gardens in Khao Lak before boarding your liveaboard to a very quiet Similan and Surin Island exploration!
Phuket’s underwater world has significantly improved since the planes halted and the world came to a stop, making the diving experience in Phuket even more enjoyable. Our recent dives have revealed an impressive increase in barracuda and anemone fish. In addition, we have observed an increase in leopard and black-tip sharks at nearby dive sites, including Anemone Reef, Kingcruiser and Koh Dok Mai.
The surrounding marine life is now healthier and abundant.
The fall of mass tourism has brought about some natural changes, such as
endangered Leatherback turtles returning to Phuket’s beaches to lay their eggs.
Marine parks have made some improvements intentionally, most notably closing some tourist hot spots to allow nature to take a break. Even though ‘The Beach’ was supposed to be set in the Gulf of Thailand, Maya Bay was chosen as the location for the film due to its magnificent limestone cliffs and enticing turquoise waters. It attracted thousands of tourists every day, at a heavy cost to the ecosystem.
Speedboats and hordes of people peppering the bay made it impossible for tourists to truly enjoy a visit to this iconic Thai beauty attraction. In 2018, Maya Bay was closed completely to help regenerate and preserve the bay, and the results have been impressive. It is estimated that Maya Bay contains over 100 blacktip reef sharks, according to Thailand’s Department of National Parks. Currently, Maya Bay has the highest shark population in Thai waters.
Visitors can now enjoy much richer underwater experiences in Phuket during the early stages of its reopening to tourism. Divers will be delighted to learn that some of the most sought-after diving spots in the region, including Hin Deang and Hin Muang, are now much quieter and a real pleasure to dive. This is the perfect time to come and see us again. The boats and dive sites are quiet, there are good deals on hotels, and the beaches are empty, just like Phuket 20 years ago!
Imagine a Phuket without all the traffic woes and busy beaches… it really has transformed in many places back to its former glory. Even the locals are finding time to bring a few things back to how it used to be, there are more local coffee shops using beans from the northern hill tribes, more restaurants using the family grown herbs and vegetables.
More families are focusing on what Phuket has to offer culturally, with Phuket Town enjoying a revival and some of the ugly electrical cables now installed underground, making it a far nicer experience for everyone.
So, come back and see us soon and enjoy the quieter and more peaceful times in Phuket, before borders open everywhere and we forget how good we had it!
*To ensure the safety of our guests, all members of our dive crew have been vaccinated and we follow all health and safety guidelines issued by the Thai government. Our dive operations and Palm Gardens resorts are all SHA + certified.