Koh Tachai is a 12sqkm island belonging to the Mu Koh Similan National Park in Phang Nga Province. Renowned for its dive sites, Koh Tachai first hosted snorkelling day trips in 2010. Located 54km from Baan Nam Khem Pier, it takes only one hour by speedboat to get there.
This tour allows you to discover a pristine environment with a lot of endemic species as the island has been cut from the mainland for millions of years, and to enjoy snorkelling in one of the Top Ten dive destinations in the world according to the National Geographic Society.
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Koh Tachai Tour by Speedboat is bookable from Khao Lak and Phuket. For the latter, departure is pretty early as it takes about 90 minutes by minibus to reach the port of embarkation: Baan Nam Khem.
Baan Nam Khem is a fishermen village located some 20km north of Khao Lak, at the entrance of Takua Pa town. It paid a heavy toll to the 2004 tsunami and there is a memorial to the victims of this cataclysm in the pier area. While waiting for the departure, you’ll have a chance to get a glimpse of local fishermen’s life, as the fishing boats deliver their catch right next to the departure office.
The waters surrounding Koh Tachai are an amazing source of pleasure for the eyes. The island stands at the top of an underwater elevation and offers a small perimeter of shallow waters, about 60 metres of gentle slope before plunging to an 80 metres abyss. The shallow waters offer some incredible diving and snorkeling sites: boulder rocks, lotus and other types of coral, black tip reef sharks and, if you are lucky, the chance to spot a hawksbill turtle.
After an hour snorkeling at the north-eastern tip of the island, it’s time to play Robinson Crusoe on the land itself. Koh Tachai’s original name was Koh Bua; ‘Bua’ is the name of the lotus flower which used to be present in the island’s swamps before the tsunami. Lotus flowers growing in the brackish water were wiped out, and the island was renamed after one of the first fishermen who came to the island after the tragedy: Uncle Chai (Ta Chai).
The only inhabitants of Koh Tachai are the National Park rangers in whose camp lunch is served at midday. Before lunch, you have about 90 minutes free time which allows you to snorkel from the beach, sunbathe, or explore the area around the camp.
There is only one beach on Koh Tachai. It is about 800 metres long, and it faces east. You have plenty of space to find a place under the shade of the trees and vegetation bordering the beach. At its northern end, you notice a small signboard indicating a path to a viewpoint. A 10-minute steep trek through the jungle will take you to the western rocky side of the island: It’s a beautiful view!
Lunch is served at the rangers’ camp where you will also find toilets and freshwater showers. Serving fish, fried vegetable & shrimps, chicken with coconut milk sauce, rice, watermelon and pineapple, the crew takes good care of you. Coffee, tea and soft drinks are also available to refresh you after all the morning’s activities.
Your siesta will have to wait as right after lunch the guide invites you for a walk to an interesting nature trail nearby the camp. Discover some rare species whether they be fauna or flora: land crabs, giant hermit-crabs, rainforest trees, Nicobar pigeons, and if you are really lucky, you may spot an emerald green snail, a native of the island.
After the trail, you will still have some time to snorkel and work on your suntan before returning to Baan Nam Khem, then to your hotel, after an exhilarating day.
To sum up, this tour is really something different; it offers you a trip back in time to a place which was the same a million years ago. The guide and speedboat crew take good care of you and provide a lot of information about an environment that they know pretty well.
- Opening Hours: From November to April
- Location: In Mu Koh Similan Marine National Park, Phang Nga Province