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. 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 seen.
Attractions on Ko Tarutao:
Ao Phante Melaka:
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 Mo Lae:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.