Koh Sak is a globally unique island. It is two hours from Bangkok and only 20 minutes by speedboat from Pattaya making it an ideal location for the peace and quiet that many people expect when they go to a tropical island. It is surrounded by vibrant coral reefs and boasts cement casts of the handprints, footprints and signatures of past visitors including their Royal Highnesses the King and Queen of Thailand; the Apollo 11 crew (three months after returning from the Moon) and many other dignitaries and entertainers.
However, mass tourism is reducing the quality of experience and causing a rapid decline in island quality and coral reef integrity and health as more and more speedboats bring tourists who unwittingly contribute to the decline. MUIC’s Reef Ecology Group (REG) has been documenting changes in the reef caused by tourism. Activities carried out in and on the reef are reducing reef resilience in the face of global climate change and if things do not change and tourism is unchallenged the reef will disappear as key ecological processes are disrupted by the “way things are done”.