Tarutao & Adang-Rawi Archipelago
Established as Thailand's second marine national park on 19 April 1974, Tarutao National Marine Park covers an area of 1,490 square kilometres, 1,260 ocean and 230 land, in the Andaman Sea at the southernmost Thailand, off the coast at Satun Province. The Marine Park consists of 51 islands within two main groups the Tarutao to the east and Adang-Rawi to the west, which are then divided into three archipelagos: Tarutao Archipelago, Klang Archipelago and Adang Archipelago. The islands are scattered from 20 to 70 kilometres distance from the south-westernmost Thailand's mainland. The southernmost part of the park lies on the Malaysian maritime border. The name Tarutao derives from a Thai corruption of Malay word "Pulau Tertua" that was the original name of main island of Park, which means old, mysterious, and primitive island. Tarutao National Marine Park was declared as an ASEAN Heritage Parks and Reserves in 1982. It was also candidate to UNESCO for inclusion into World Heritage Sites in 1990, but its listing was rejected due to concerns around protection of river and swamps of Tarutao Island, which were the last known refuge for the saltwater crocodile. The rare specie now is believed to be extinct in the national park and entire Thailand. Among the 51 islands what form the Marine Park some are simple rocky outcrops that emerge just above the sea surface, a few are quite large, while the most are of small and medium in size. Mostly uninhabited, they are characterized by tropical vegetation inside and beautiful coastline, with pristine beaches and beautiful coral reefs in many of the islands. In the Park there are seven large or medium-sized islands, in order of size they are: Koh Tarutao, Koh Adang, Koh Rawi, Koh Butang, Koh Lipe, Koh Klang and Koh Bitsee. Koh Lipe, Koh Tarutao and Koh Adang are those that definitely worth a visit. Koh Tarutao is the largest island of Park and the nearest gateway for the boats service to Marine Park. Quiet and undeveloped, it is covered by dense tropical forests for more than 70 percent of its surface and is one of the most unspoiled islands in all of Thailand. Koh Tarutao is home to National Park Headquarters, located in Ao Phante Malacca the main bay on its northwest coast. The Headquarters area has a visitor centre, a small shop and other basic facilities; a campsite and few bungalows are available in Mo Lae Bay, located 4.2 km south from HQ. Koh Adang is the second biggest island within Tarutao National Marine Park. The hilly interior is mostly covered by dense jungle. Wild and undeveloped as Koh Tarutao, the island not have its own pier for connections to the mainland, the only way to reach it are the long-tail services from the nearby Koh Lipe. Koh Adang has a ranger station, camping facilities, a restaurant and few bungalows located on its southern tip. Koh Lipe is the only island of all Tarutao Marine Park with tourism development. The small island of Adang-Rawi Archipelago is home to the largest permanent settlement, about 800 people, and the only with water available throughout the year. Koh Lipe is the gateway for the ferry services in and out of the Adang-Rawi group.Read More
- Address Park Office : Kalong Rd., Khuan Kalong, Satun
- Telephone: +66 7478 3485
- Website: www.dnp.go.th
- Admission fee: 200 THB for adults and 100 THB for children
The islands of Tarutao National Marine Park are scattered in the southern area of Andaman Sea, roughly from 20 to 70 kilometres off the coasts of Saturn province. The best weather conditions in the area exist from November to April. A cool dry period, characterized by a constant sunny weather, the average temperatures are between +27° C and +33° C, the surface conditions are generally calm and the water temperature is between 26° C and 30° C. The rainy season starts from May until November and is influenced by the southwest monsoon, during which rainfall is more frequent with furious storms and downpours. However, the rainfall usually do not last more than a day or all day, sunny days are not rare even in this period. The average temperature during this time is between 24° C and 30° C with the humidity usually well over 70%. During the monsoon season strong winds swell the surface of the Andaman Sea making the navigation very dangerous and, therefore, most of Park's islands are closed for tourism from mid-May until mid-November, only Koh Lipe and Koh Tarutao are open to tourists all year round.
The nearest access to the islands is the Pak Bara Pier at Pak Nam, a small costal town in La-ngu District. To reach the pier from Bangkok, or other tourist resorts in Thailand, you can choose between several different travel options, which are a combination of plane, train or bus plus, of course, the ferries. Pak Nam is located about 77 km north of Satun, 112 km south of Trang and 125 km west of Hat Yai, cities where are the nearest airports, railway stations and bus terminals. From these provincial cities there are several local buses, minivans services and as a last choice even taxis to reach the Pak Bara Pier. Local buses are very cheap, between 50 and 80 THB; minivans have a cost between 150 and 300 THB depending on the city of departure; Taxis are the most comfortable solution, but the most expensive, between 1,500 and 2,500 THB. If your destination is Koh Lipe, the Nok Air offers two daily flights to Trang with the option to include an island transfer package, which includes the bus to Pak Bara and the ferry to Koh Lipe. Air Asia offers the same package as option at its flights from Bangkok to Hat Yai. Four companies offer speedboat services from Pak Bara Pier to Koh Tarutao and Koh Lipe during the high season. Adang Sea Tours, Lipe Speedboat, Bundhaya and Forra Speedboat operates six daily speedboats from 1st November until 15th May, leaving Pak Bara at 09:00, 10:30, 11:30, 14:30, 15:00 and 15:30. Except a boat which stops at Koh Bulon all other dock at Ao Pante Malacca Bay Pier in Koh Tarutao. Koh Lipe has no pier so ferries and speedboats moor to a floating dock off Pattaya Beach; during the monsoon season, the boats often moor off the sheltered Sunrise Beach. Boats are met by long-tail boats offering transfers to anywhere on Koh Lipe for an additional cost of 50 THB per person, the price isn't negotiable. The boats leave from Koh Lipe for the return trip at 09:00, 09:30, 11:00, 11:30, 13:00, 16:00. The journey from Pak Bara to Koh Lipe takes 90 minutes and costs 650 THB one-way and 1,200 THB for the round trip; 45 minutes to reach Koh Tarutao with a cost of 400 one-way and 700 THB for the round trip. In the low season, there are only two boats per day from Pak Bara Pier to Koh Tarutao and Koh Lipe that leave at 09:00 and 11:30; the return trips depart at 09:00 and 16:00. Since Koh Lipe has become a popular tourist destination it also connected by boats with Trang, Koh Lanta, Krabi, Phi Phi Don and even Phuket. From 1st November to 1st May, you can travel from Phuket to Koh Lipe and vice versa, without ever setting foot on land. Satun Pakbara Speedboat operates a daily speedboat from Rassada Pier in Phuket, leaving at 08:30 and stopping at Phi Phi Don, Koh Lanta, Koh Ngai, Koh Mook, Koh Kradan, Koh Bulone, before reaching Koh Lipe at 15:30; the boat leaves Koh Lipe at 09:00 for the return trip. The journey from Phuket takes about 5 hours and costs about 3,400 THB per person, 2,040 THB for child. Tigerline Ferry operates a daily ferry from Rassada Pier in Phuket, leaving at 08:00 and stopping at Phi Phi Don, Koh Lanta, Koh Ngai, Koh Kradan, Koh Mook, Trang, before reaching Koh Lipe at 16:00; the boat leaves Koh Lipe at 10:00 for the return trip. The journey from Phuket takes about 8 hours and costs about 2,400 THB per person and 1680 THB for child, 2.160 and 1,512 THB for online booking. During the high season, since on the southern tip of Pattaya Beach was opened a seasonal office of Thai Immigration, there is also the possibility to reach Koh Lipe from Langkawi, a beautiful Malaysian island located only 42 km to south, which is in turn well connected with flights to Bangkok, Penang and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and even Singapore. Satun Pakbara Speedboat operates two daily speedboats from Telaga Harbour Marina in Langkawi with departures at 09:30 and 14:30; the return trips from Koh Lipe depart at 10:30 and 16:30. The journey takes about 60 minutes and costs approximately 160 Ringgit, 1,400 THB. Tropical Charters instead offers two daily ferries that leave from Kuah Jetty Pier in Langkawi at 09:30 and 14:30; the return trips depart at 11:00 and 16:00. The journey takes about 90 minutes and costs approximately 130 Ringgit, 1,100 THB. Bundhaya and Lipe Speedboat Company operate ferries and speedboats from Pak Bara Pier to Kuah Jetty Pier in Langkawi passing through Koh Lipe, leaving at similar times and costing the same as above. Tigerline Ferry offers the same ferry service at similar cost but departs from Had Yao Pier in Trang.
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