Ko Taratao lies approximately 30 km west off the coastal city of Satun. The island is 26.5 km long and 11 km wide. The highest point is over 700 m elevation. Rainforest covers over 70 percent of the island.
The name Tarutao comes from the Malay words “Pulau Tertua” (the island of old).
In the early 1940s Ko Tarutao was used as a prison because it was remote and hard to escape from.
The 5th season of the television show Survivor was filmed on Ko Tarutao.
There is a one-time national park admission charge upon arrival of 200 baht for foreign adults and 40 baht for Thai adults.
Speedboats operating between Ko Lipe and Pak Bara will stop at Ko Tarutao if the captain is notified ahead of time. An extra charge may have to be paid. The journey from Pak Bara takes 30 min. From Ko Lipe to Ko Tarutao takes 1 hr. minutes and costs 450 baht. You may be able to buy a ticket between Pak Bara and Ko Lipe and “stopover” in Ko Tarutao for a few days. Pak Bara offers bus and minibus connections to most of the major cities in Thailand, while Ko Lipe can be reached from Malaysia. If taking the bus to Pak Bara from elsewhere in Thailand, make sure that you will arrive in time to catch the ferry, otherwise you will have to spend a night in Pak Bara.
Ferries depart Ko Lipe daily for Ko Tarutao at 09:30 year round, with additional daily departures at 11:30 and 15:30 during the high season (Feb 2016).
Ferries depart Pak Bara daily for Ko Tarutao at 11:30 year round, with additional daily departures at 09:30 and 15:30 during the high season.
Walking is the best way to see the island. The speedboats drop off passengers near the park headquarters building on the north side of the island.
The south part of the island is generally unpatrolled and a report notes that it is run by gangsters and is the location of a human trafficking operation.
- Crocodile Cave (Tam Jorakae). Guided tours from the park headquarters building.