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Koh Tarutao, Phuket Overview

Koh Tarutao, a remote island, located in the Southwestern region of Thailand, is entirely untouched and spared from mass visitors. This is one of the rare places in Thailand that is yet not fully discovered or explored by many tourists. Interiors of Koh Tarutao have steep trails and rough roads where bikers and hikers might have a very good time. Hiking, kayaking and mountain biking are some popular activities here. Near Koh Tarutao are Ko Adang and Ko Rawi ideal places for snorkelling and diving.

Once a concentration camp for more than 3000 Thai criminals and political prisoners, Koh Tarutao Island is the largest island belonging to the “Tarutao National Marine Park”. During the Second World War II, food and medical supplies from the mainland were depleted, and many prisoners died from malaria. Both prisoners and guards who survived became pirates in the nearby Strait of Malacca. In 1951, British troops suppressed the survivors to prevent the rise of more prisoners. The movie Survivor: Thailand was filmed on this island in 2002.

Mangrove forests and limestone cliffs surround Koh Tarutao Island while the whole island is white turquoise blue, making the landscape very picturesque. The gorgeous site is home to more than 100 species of tropical birds and animals. A few rivers run through the island, and there is a massive waterfall in the middle of the jungle. For a rejuvenating and lovely stay amidst peace and serenity, you must head to Koh Tarutao this holiday season.

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Places to Visit at Koh Tarutao

1. Ao Son
Ao Son of Koh Tarutao
Ao Son

This site is sure to leave you stunned with its exceptional coral reef and crystal clear waters and extraordinarily stunning sunsets. Getting to Ao Son might seem a little tedious, but this journey is worth its while. The camping area at the Ao Talo Phante Malacca will definitely leave you wanting for more. 

2. Ao Ta Loo

Located to the east of Koh Tarutao Islands, you will get to see many limestone hills from this beautiful isolated island. It is a historic trail one must not miss to take a look at. Many old structures here tell a historical tale worth exploring.

3. Ko Adang
Koh Adang at Koh Tarutao
Koh Adang

This is the second largest island in the vicinity of the National Park. At Ko Adang, you have a lot of things to do like camping in the forest, trekking, etc. The accommodation services here are also very good. This island has some of the most fantastic trails, one of which is the compelling view of Koh Lipe and another is that of a dazzling waterfall.

4. Ko Kai

This small island is nearly just halfway between Koh Tarutao and Ko Adang and can be visited only during the day time. What makes this worth a visit are the stunning arch formations on the beach that have startling and iconic views to offer. In case you want to spend a few quiet hours alone with breathtaking views then this might be the place you are looking for. Also, do not forget to carry your camera to this wonderland.

Things to Do & Activities

Mountain Biking
You can rent very sturdy and cheap bikes for a day on the island and probably take a trip to Ao Talo Phante Malacca or maybe if you are looking for a more remote place then you must visit Ao Son, which is about 6 km away. The rental would just cost you THB 250. The track will take you through the Tarutao Mainland Jungle, a scenic place with a view so great that every mile you travel will be worth the entire struggle.

Nothing could be more fun than a hike through the lush green spread of jungle when at Koh Tarutao. Your trip won’t be complete unless you commence on the famous trek to the Lu Du Waterfall near Ao Son and the hike to the top of the 400 meters long Pha Toe Boo Cliff that stands majestically tall with a flamboyant backdrop. Going up to the Pha Toe Boo Cliff during sunset is an invigorating experience. Climbing this summit will just take 15 minutes and in no time you will be looking at a view that will leave you astounded.

The most famous activity amongst tourist in the Koh Tarutao Islands is Kayaking. All you could do for a soothing experience in the water is rent a kayak and paddle through the flourishing mangrove spread to the crocodile cave towards Ao Rusi located in the northeastern side of the island. This might be a very fun trip that will cause no fatigue. Renting the paddle boat will cost you around THB 500 for the entire day. Just remember to carry torch lights in case you are planning on visiting the crocodile caves.

Koh Tarutao

Where to Eat & What to Eat

There are a lot many places to go out to eat in case you are keen on trying authentic Thai food. the menus comprise of pad Thai, Krapao, fried rice, barbecued seafood and stir-fried vegetables. The must-try dishes include Gaeng Som Pla i.e Sour Orange Thai Curry with Fish and Pla Neung Manao i.e Steamed Fish with Lime and Garlic Juice. Grilled fish, beef, chicken along with an array of spicy dishes with makeup for most of your meals at Koh Tarutao Island.

In case you are not in the habit of eating spicy foods then you might want to request the restaurant to tone down the chillies in your meal. ‘Barracuda’ is one such restaurant patronized the most by most locals. It offers the best Thai cuisine in the region. For those of you who are vegans or vegetarians, there are a few cafes in the area with a variety of dishes on their menu including burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc.

Koh Tarutao Accommodation

If things like sleeping in a tent, camping after sunsets or living off wifi for a few days comes naturally to you, then you stay at Koh Tarutao will be great fun. When on the Koh Tarutao Island, you might want to forget about luxury living for a bit. The accommodation facilities are such that it will take you back to the basics. You can rent a bungalow or try living in a tent for a while. The bungalows are surrounded by forests on all sides with a picturesque view and serene beach in the surrounding. The rooms are most definitely spacious and airy with long balconies and terraces neighbouring beautiful landscapes.

You also get to pick family bungalows that can accommodate up to 4 people. Even though you might be refrained from most of the modern day amenities, yet the bungalows are a more comfortable option as compared to the tents. Living in a tent is for those of you who are looking forward to living in nature. If you can comfortably sleep without a bed then you could stay in a tent by the beach and it might be a fun option for you. It will be an absolutely new and exciting experience for most of you.
Koh Tarutao
Camping at Koh Tarutao

How to Reach Koh Tarutao Island

Koh Samui is the nearest airport to the island of Koh Tarutao. So, you can take a flight to Koh Samui and later hop on a speedboat to get to the island. On a daily basis, frequent flights operate from Phuket and Bangkok to Koh Samui. A number of flights fly to and fro from Pattaya as well.

Once you land in Koh Samui, you must get to Pak Bara Pier tp get on a speed which will take you to Koh Tarutao Island in nearly 30 minutes. The speedboat ride might cost you THB 400. You can also hop on a boat from Krabi, Ao Nang and Hat Yai but these routes might cost you somewhere between THB 700 to THB 900.

Best Time to Visit

The weather at Koh Tarutao is very predictable, although it is not much of a hassle if you are probably planning to travel there at any time of the year starting from November through April. The dry season during these months will allow you to enjoy the best climate on the island. This is the peak period when tourists don their diving gear to explore the depths of the ocean. However, the wet season that prevails from the month of May brings in heavy rainfall. The waters become unpredictable during this period. Hence, this has a tad influence on the diving activities in the area, and it is advisable for the divers to stay ashore.

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