If you’re seeking to get away from the crowds, Koh Tarutao is the perfect place to satisfy your desire for serenity. In fact, not only is the name derived from the Malay word for “old and mysterious” but it is also so remote that it was once used as a prison for convicted criminals who would have found it difficult to escape.
You won’t have any trouble arriving or leaving however. Once you rent a boat, you are only an hour or two’s sail from Koh Lipe. A small one-time national park admission charge gives you access to the lush jungles and pristine beaches which adorn the island, as well as to the many smaller islands nearby. Whether you’re seeking a thrilling adventure or a peaceful afternoon to relax, the island offers a range of activities to suit everyone, making it a delightful time for those who rent a yacht to Koh Tarutao.
Opt to explore the island on a leisurely walk, or rent a mountain bike and follow the trail through the mainland jungle. Cycling enthusiasts will love the challenging trails which make their way through the hilly terrain. For an enthralling step back into history, follow the concrete walkways that lead to the old prison site, and peer into the dark solitary confinement pit.
If your ideal sailing holiday includes the experience of being stranded on a deserted island, it’s easy to pretend on Koh Tarutao, where many of the beaches are untouched and rarely frequented, such as on Ao Son or Ao Rusi. Spend an afternoon snorkelling off the bay or grab a kayak to make your way through the mangrove forest which will take you straight to a crocodile cave. If you’re feeling a little lonely, head to Ao Molae where, tucked between the trees, you will find a small open-air cafe serving up classic Thai food and cold beers.
Nature lovers will be in awe of the range of wildlife in the island’s dense jungle, including an incredible variety of birds. Challenge yourself on the hiking trails that wind through meandering streams and mossy jungles. You might spot macaques, flying lemurs, exotic butterflies and even wild boars. Take a break and cool off at Lu Du and Lo Po waterfalls, located where two hiking trails cut 3 kms inland.
A yacht rental is the best way to get the most out of Koh Tarutao as accommodation options are limited to a few bungalows and camping sites where as there is no shortage of places park up and enjoy the peace. It is also advisable to stock some food and drinks at the destination you rent a yacht from, as restaurants on the island tend to close fairly early. You may also choose to sail a little further out to enjoy some fantastic untouched scuba diving sites while also stopping at one of the many islands that make up Tarutao national park.