Tarutao National Park
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Attractions in Thailand
Operating day: Daily
Operating time: 06.00 - 20.00
It is the first marine national park of Thailand. The park is renowned for its history and natural beauty. It is located in the Andaman Sea, around 40 km from the town of Satun or 22 km off the shore from the Pak Bara Pier. To the north, the park borders the Muko Phetra National Park, and to the south, it borders the boundary waters between Malaysia and Thailand.
The park covers an area of about 1,490 sq km, including islands and sea. Of the total 51 islands, there are 7 large islands; namely, Ko Tarutao, Ko Adang, Ko Rawi, Ko Lipe, Ko Klang, Ko Batuang, and Ko Bitsi.
These islands have been formed into two major groups; namely, Muko Tarutao and Muko Adang – Rawi. The area was declared a national park on 19 April 1974, and ASEAN Heritage Parks and Reserves by UNESCO in 1982. The best time for a visit is during November to April.
Attractions in the Tarutao National Park
Ko Tarutao is the largest island of the park, covering an area of 152 sq km. Most of the areas are mountains with a moist evergreen forest, interesting species of plants and wildlife. Some part of the area is a mangrove forest. There are many bays, both small and large, with beautiful beaches.
In the sea, various species of fish, including 4 endangered species of sea turtle, can be been. The word ‘Tarutao’ was gradually changed from ‘Talotrao’ in Malay, which means having many bays.
Apart from an abundance of nature, Ko Tarutao has a memorable history. In 1936, the government had a policy for the Department of Corrections to set up a reformatory estate and a prison. Being a remote island having natural elements which pose obstacles against escape, Tarutao was, therefore, chosen for this purpose.
An office building, houses for warders, a sleeping hall for prisoners, and an occupational training centre, were built at Ao Talo Wao and Ao Talo Udang. In 1938, the first group of 500 prisoners was sent to the island. The number of prisoners gradually increased to a maximum of 3,000. In 1939, the government sent 70 more political prisoners resulting from the Bowondet and Nai Sip rebels, to be detained at Ao Talo Udang.
In 1941, World World II caused an impact on the Tarutao reformatory estate and made it be in short of food and medicine. As a result, a great number of prisoners died of illness. The warders and some prisoners decided to attack commercial ships sailing in the sea at the Straits of Melaka and rob goods from them.
Therefore, commercial ships were scared to come by the area. In 1946, the British government who ruled Melaka at the time successfully suppressed the pirates of Tarutao by force upon permission from the Thai government. Later, the Department of Corrections announced the dissolution of the Tarutao reformatory estate. After that, the island was left deserted for 26 years. On 19 April 1974, the Royal Forest Department declared the establishment of the Tarutao National Park, the first-ever marine national park of Thailand.
Attractions on Ko Tarutao
Ao Phante Melaka is a bay with a clean long white beach. The headquarters of the Tarutao National Park is located here. There is a tourist service centre where an exhibition has been held about the nature and history of Ko Tarutao. This bay also offers a viewpoint for a beautiful sunset. From Ao Phante Melaka, visitors can walk up to a viewpoint on Pha To Bu (To Bu Cliff).
Ao Chak, this small bay is next to Ao Phante Melaka.
Ao Mo Lae, it is 4 km from the park’s headquarters. The bay possesses a clean white sandy beach. There is a beautiful grove of coconut trees amidst tranquility, as well as bungalows suitable for recreation.
Ao Son, it is 8 km from the park’s headquarters. This curve-shaped bay has sandy beaches which are interspersed with rocky beaches. It is also an egg-laying ground for sea turtles. A camping site is provided. A food and beverage service is available. There are small waterfalls: Namtok Ludu and Namtok Lopo. This is an ideal place for forest trekking and a nature study.
Ao Talo Wao is a bay located to the east of the island, and provides another viewpoint for a beautiful sunrise. The Park’s Ranger Station To To 1 (Talo Wao) is situated here. It is a historical area where the reformatory estate for detention and critical prisoners was established. Nowadays, the park has imitation buildings of the past, such as houses of the warders, a sleeping hall of prisoners, an occupational training centre, a cemetery of 700 corpses, etc., constructed in the area.
Ao Talo Udang is a bay located to the south of the island, 8 km from Ko Langkawi.
The Park’s Ranger Station To To 2 (Talo Udang) is situated here. In the past, it was where political prisoners from the Bowondet and Nai Sip rebels were detained.
Namtok Ludu is a small beautiful waterfall, around 3 km from Ao Son. There is a nature trail from Ao Son to Namtok Ludu.
Tham Chorakhe is a cave of 300 m in depth. Inside, beautiful stalactites and stalagmites can be found in different forms. To visit the cave, take a long-tailed boat for around 20 minutes.
The boat cruises along Khlong Phante Melaka (Phante Melaka Canal) where numerous mangrove trees grow all along its banks. About an hour is needed to explore the inside of the cave. Visitors should bring their own torches. For more information, contact the Visitor Service Centre of the park.
Pha To Bu Viewpoint. Pha To Bu is a cliff 60 m above sea level. A 20-minute-walk up to the viewpoint passes by a dry evergreen forest. The viewpoint is behind the park’s headquarters, overlooking the beach of Ao Phante Melaka, Ko Bulon, Ko Klang, Ko Khai, Ko Adang, Ko Rawi, and Muko Phetra. A beautiful scene of the sunset can also be seen from here.
Activities on Ko Tarutao
Nature Trail, from the park’s headquarters in the area of Ao Phante Melaka, a nature trail goes through an evergreen forest to Ao Talo Wao. This 12-kilometre path is flanked by dense woods and shady plants. Wild animals such as common wild pig, mouse deer, and many interesting species of bird, particularly hornbill, can be often seen along the way.
Another nature trail is to Ao Chak, Ao Mo and Ao Son. The 8-kilometre walk takes about 2 hours to pass through a virgin rain forest, and is suitable for bird-watching; for example, hornbill and drongo.
Cruising Route around the Island, to study the nature as part of ecotourism, the park provides boats with guiding officers for a visit to the beaches. The one-day boat trip will take visitors to see birds at Ao Chak; the white sandy beach at Ao Son which is the longest one on Ko Tarutao; historical traces at Ao Talo Udang; and nature at Ao Talo Wao; dive on a coral reef, and visit a mangrove forest. For more information, contact the Visitor Service Centre on the island.
Accommodation of the Tarutao National Park
In the area of the Tarutao National Park, guesthouses for visitors are available on Ko Tarutao and Ko Adang. For further details, contact the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Flora at Tel. 0 2562 0760, or the Visitor Service Centre of the Tarutao National Park at the Pak Bara Pier in Tambon Pak Nam, Amphoe La-ngu, Satun 91110, at Tel. 0 7478 3485, or the Tarutao National Park Ranger Station To To 1 (Ao Phante Melaka) on the island, at Tel. 0 7472 9002 – 3, or visit the website: www.dnp.go.th.
To Get to Tarutao National Park Pak Bara Pier It is located at the mouth of Khlong La-ngu in Tambon Pak Nam, Amphoe La-ngu, around 8 km from the district of La-ngu. It is the nearest pier to Ko Tarutao, a total distance of 22 km. Located not far from the pier is the Visitor Service Centre of the Tarutao National Park.
Satun – Pak Bara Pier From Amphoe Mueang Satun, visitors can travel to the Pak Bara Pier as follows:-
By car Take Highway 406 to Ban Chalung and turn left to Highway 416 (Satun – La-ngu). From Amphoe La-ngu, take Highway 4052 toward the Pak Bara Pier.
By bus A Satun – Pak Bara taxi departs from the taxi stand near the Bangkok Bank Satun Branch many times a day. In addition, there are mini-buses and passenger vans leaving town as well.
Amphoe Hat Yai – Pak Bara Pier From Amphoe Hat Yai, visitors can travel to the Pak Bara Pier as follows:-
By car Take Highway 406 to Ban Chalung, Satun, and turn right to Highway 416 (Satun – La-ngu). From Amphoe La-ngu, take Highway 4052 toward the Pak Bara Pier.
By bus There is a bus service departing from the Hat Yai Bus Terminal during 6.10 a.m. – 4.50 p.m. The bus stops for passengers opposite the Hat Yai’s Clock Tower. The journey takes 2½ hours. For more information, contact the Satun Transport Company Limited at Tel. 0 7424 3797.
By van From the van stand in front of the Hat Yai Railway Station, a passenger van leaves every hour during 6.00 a.m. – 6.30 p.m. For more information, contact the Satun Transport Company Limited at Tel. 0 7424 5655.
Pak Bara Pier – Tarutao National Park
During the Tarutao tourism season from November to April, a boat service is available to islands in the Tarutao National Park.
Tarutao National Park Map
Category: ●Nature and Wildlife
Tag: ●Tarutao National Park
Last Update: 3 YearAgo