Tarutao is the first marine park of Thailand. It is famous for its distinguished history and natural beauty. It is located in the Andaman Sea 40 kilometres from town or 22 kilometres from Bara Pier. The park borders Mu Ko Phetra National Park in the north and the Thai-Malaysian sea border in the south. The park occupies an area of 1,490 square kilometres and comprises 51 islands. Seven large islands are Ko Tarutao , Ko Adang, Ko Rawi, Ko Li Pe , Ko Klang, Ko Ba Tuang, and Ko Bit Si. Tarutao was proclaimed a National Park on 19 April 1974 and declared by UNESCO as an ASEAN Heritage Park and Reserve in 1982. The best time to visit is from November to April.
Ko Tarutao is the biggest island in the park that covers an area of 152 square kilometres. The island is teeming with verdant forests and white sandy beaches. There are also camping and diving facility to see corals.
Penitentiary Memorial on Tarutao Island comprises two parts; Ao Talo Udang Prison is at the southernmost bay of Tarutao Island and Ao Talowao Prison, a prison for common and political prisoners which is situated in the south and the east of the island.
The historical six-kilometre road trail was built by prisoners connecting Ao Talowao to Ao Talo Udang and is 12 kilometres long.
Activities on Ko Tarutao
Walking trail from the National Park Office on Ao Phante Malaka is a 12-kilometre walking trail which runs through verdant forest all the way to Ao Talowao. Various types of trees, wild animals like wild boar and mouse deer, and birds, hornbills in particular, are found along sides this trail. An eight-kilometre walking trail begins at Ao Ma Lae ends at Ao Son, passing through virgin forest where various kinds of birds are found. Bird-watching is ideal here.
Boat rides on a long-tail boat around island for eco-tourism is recommended. The National Park provides boat service with guides for visitors to tour around beaches. The journey could begin with bird-watching on Ao Chak, going to see the longest white sandy beach on Tarutao Island at Ao Son, tracing historical trail on Ao Talo Udang, enjoying natural beauty on Ao Talowao , ending with diving and visiting mangrove forests. For more information on a one-day trip, contact the tourist centre at the Tarutao National Park.
Mu Ko Adang Rawi is located 40 kilometres from the east of Tarutao Island or 80 kilometres from town. The 30 square-kilometre island possesses beautiful sandy beaches and coral reefs. There are several small islands around Mu Ko Adang-Rawi including Ko Li Pe, Ko Dong, Ko Hin Ngam, and Kao Yang . Diving can be done around Ko Adang and Ko Rawi. The area of Ko Adang is mountainous and covered with forest and has a large waterfall where water runs all year round.
Ko Li Pe is located 2 kilometres from the south of Ko Adang. This is where a sea gypsy village is situated. On the 13th-15th day of the waxing moon in May and November, sea gypsies would gather for a traditional celebration for 3 days and 3 nights. They would join in building a boat to float in the sea to in the belief that this would predict that fishing fortunes. The island offers coral reefs, a beautiful bay, and a white sandy beach. Ao Phatthaya is the most beautiful bay on this island. Privately-owned accommodation is available.
Ko Hin Ngam is located in the southwest of Ko Adang. It is full of shiny black pebbles along its beaches.
Ko Khai is located in the west of Tarutao Island, 40 minutes from Tarutao. The famous natural stone arch which is somewhat of a symbol of Tarutao National Park is located on Ko Khai. Coral reefs can be found around the island. Camping is not allowed on this island but swimming can be done.
Diving and snorkeling can be done around Ko Cha Bang where light-coloured flower corals lie underneath the sea. Deepwater and shallow-water snorkeling for antler coral and table coral is recommended around Ko Yang and Ko Kata. Snorkeling for hard coral is recommended around Ko Adang, Ko Rawi, Ko Kra, and Ko Dong
The admission is 200 baht for adults and 100 baht for children
How to Get To Tarutao National Park and its islands
Pak Bara Pier is home to the branch office of Tarutao National Park. It is located 22 kilometres from Ko Tarutao and is the nearest pier to Tarutao Island.
Accommodation in Tarutao National Park
Accommodations are available on Tarutao and Adang islands. For more information contact the Marine National Park, Forestry Department tel: 0 2561 2918-21 or Tarutao National Park, Tambon Pak Nam, Amphoe La-ngu, Satun 91110 tel: 0 7478 1285 and Tarutao unit tel: 0 7472 9002-3.