Recently Hua Hin Today was very fortunate to be invited by the Thai Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) to visit the paradise island of Koh Talu for an overnight stay. Many people are unaware of Koh Talu, a secluded and spectacular small island. It may be the epitome of the Thailand tourism mantra ‘Unseen Thailand’. Our trip was led by Khun Orasa Awutkom, the Director of TAT Prachuap Khiri Khan who welcomed local media representatives in travelling to the island. Appreciation and encouragement was being offered for promoting the vast diversity of the Province of Prachuap Khiri Khan and tourism in the region.
There are seven Amphurs in the Province which fall under the responsibility of the TAT Prachuap Khiri Khan, including Bang Saphan Noi, where Koh Talu is situated. Many who have lived in the Hua Hin for multiple years have not experienced this ‘gem’ of an island or are even unaware of its existence, including some of the travellers in this entourage! The island is just a twenty minute speed boat trip from Bang Saphan, a town about 100km south of Prachuap Khiri Khan; however it has remained off the ‘tourism radar’; although it has been named in the top 9 island attractions in Thailand.
This is a magical eco island where coral is regrown and there is a sanctuary for turtles. Hundreds and hundreds of turtle eggs are collected by the local ‘Eco Warriers’ when the mother turtles arrive on the island to complete their part of the breeding cycle. The turtle eggs are then taken with the hatchlings protected in environmentally friendly ponds until they are about 200mm (8 inches) long. They are then released into the bay of Thailand when they are big enough not be eaten by most predators.
This usually occurs three times each year and is a huge happy event for children nationwide and particularly from Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. Thanks to the resort managers, Koh Talu is also famous for growing and replenishing coral with an innovative program that all guests are encouraged to support. The technique is very simple and cheap but very effective. Small pieces of living coral are placed in a plastic tube structure which is placed on the sea bed. Within 3 years, the 1m by 1m plastic tube platform is absolutely covered by new coral.
The living new coral is then separated from its ‘plastic nursery’ and anchored to the sea bed. In time a new huge coral reef will form. The effectiveness of this simple system can be seen by anyone with some exploratory snorkelling. The ‘plastic nursery frame is then recycled. A simple but brilliant idea from Thailand!
The island has two resorts as well as beach front bungalows. All creature comforts can be found at either resort. Koh Talu is a place to relax and chill and to snorkel in crystal clear waters, no full moon rave parties here. A big thank you to ‘Eco Warriers’ Peter Hughes and Roy Thompson with their lovely wife’s Margaret and Kathie who befriended us on Koh Talu. As long time visitors, they devote several hours each day before breakfast together with local Thai people clearing the beach of plastic articles washed up from the mainland. Our thanks to the TAT for such an amazing trip and especially to our friend Khun Orasa. The local TAT Director let us know this year two major tourism projects are being promoted.
This is about the region being a wedding and honeymoon destination. Secondly ‘Let’s Go Travel Green’ promotes sustainable tourism. It is anticipated that media outlets will join in this public relations and promotion strategy direction. Hua Hin Today would certainly like to add our endorsement, especially now we’ve seen a fantastic example of ecotourism or travelling green in action.