Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tarutao National Park: Dont Miss It

Koh Tarutao National Park is composed of 61 islands, 7 of them covering relatively large areas, namely Tarutao, Adang, Rawi, Lipe, Klang, Dong and Lek Islands. The rest are small islands scattered on the east coast of Tarutao and surrounding Adang and Rawi Islands. Therefore, the park can be divided geographically into two main parts: the Tarutao Archipelago, located 30 kilometres away from the coast and the Adang-Rawi Archipelago another 45 kilometres to the West. The southern boundary of the national park is the Thai-Malaysian border with the island of Langkawi only 5 kilometres away from the southern tip of Tarutao Island.
Ko Tarutao Island covers a land area of 152 square kilometres and stretches for 24 kilometres in North-South direction. The topography is mainly mountainous with the highest peak reaching 713 metres. There are only few plains on the island, like at Talo Wao Bay and Talo U-dang Bay, that have been used for planting seasonal crops and coconut plantations. Only the latter can still be found there as all residents have been moved out, when the island was declared Thailand's first marine national park in 1974. Important beaches are at Phante Malacca Bay, Chak Bay and Son Bay that are all located on the western coast.
Koh Tarutau Island was used as a prison during the Forties of the last century. While the prison site at Talo Wao on the eastern side served for normal prisoners, at Talo U-dang Bay normal prisoners and political prisoners from the first democratic movements in the country where detained. As the distance to the next islands and the crocodile infested mangrove forests at this time made escape unlikely, most buildings were made only from wood and have vanished over the decades. Besides earthen foundation walls and overgrown tracks, some iron tools are the only remains of this dark period of the island. (The Pirates of Tarutao by Paul Adirex, ISBN 9748904695)
More interesting than a visit to the historical sites of Tarutao, might be an excursion to the Crocodile Cave. Located in the hinterland of Phante Malacca Bay, the cave can be reached by long-tail boat along one of the most important streams of the islands, Khlong Phante Malacca, that passes through dense mangrove forests and the limestone cliffs of the northern part of Tarutao. The entrance to the cave is above sea level but inside the cave, where the sea water enters subterranean transportation is by raft that will be pulled through the cave along a rope.
Koh Tarutao's national park office is located at Phante Malacca Bay. Visitors to the island have to contact there and ask for permission to built up tents at the designated areas or use the long houses for their stay. There is a restaurant, a small shop and a small exhibition showing the features of the islands. The limestone cliff that bounds the plain area to the East offers a beautiful view to the bay and the mouth of Khlong Phante Malacca.

p/s: Aku ingin mengesyorkan agar peminat MTB tidak melepaskan peluang menikmati keindahan Taman Negara Pulau Tarutao ini. Untuk memuaskan hati, aku cadangkan kayuhan bermula dari Wang Kelian ke Pak Bara meliputi jarak kayuhan 80km. Malam pertama kita tidoq di mana-mana resort yang terdapat di Pak Bara.
Hari kedua barulah kita menaiki feri yang berlepas
pada pukul 12 tengah hari ke Tarutao. Perjalanan menaiki feri hanya memakan masa satu jam.

Di Tarutao kita boleh memilih samada untuk tidoq di dalam khemah ataupun menyewa banglow. Kemudahan asas untuk perkhemahan seperti tempat mandi serta bilik air agak baik. Perkhidmatan sewa khemah juga disediakan.

Jarak keseluruhan trail yang terdapat di sini ialah 70km.

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