Koh Tachai – Paradise Found
Crystal clear water of the deepest turquoise, a beach so white and pristine, you will wonder if another human being has ever set foot upon it. This is paradise as many have envisioned it in their mind’s eye. Yet, as with so many things in Thailand, it is only a fantasy, an impossibility that can never be fulfilled in the real world. Then you discover Koh Tachai and everything changes. Finally, that fantasy has become a reality.
Koh Tachai is one of the most beautiful and pristine islands located along the Andaman Coast. In past years, Koh Tachai has always played second fiddle to the more popular Similan Island, but in recent years it has increased in popularity. Fortunately, it has yet to reach the level of prominence as Koh Similan, so you will encounter far less people on your trip. It is protected by the government and is well tended to throughout the year which helps it to remain in such a good condition. It is also closed for about half the year, only opening between October and some time in May, which allows the island to recover from the tourist season.
Note: As of June 1st, 2016, Koh Tachai has been closed indefinitely by the government of Thailand. According to government sources, this was done to help preserve the island from the damages of tourism.
The island of Tachai is located approximately 50 kilometers from the docks at Ban Nam Khem, a small dock located just north of Khao Lak. This is about an hour by speed boat depending on the conditions at sea. It is the northern most island located within the Similan Marine National Park.
If you are on the guided tour, your first stop once you reach the island is for a bit of snorkeling. Now we won’t lie to you, snorkeling around Koh Tachai isn’t anything special. Your speed boat will stop at a number of spots around the island. There are a variety of fish and sea life, but overall, it’s not a very impressive sight.
The main attraction when visiting Koh Tachai is of course the beach. Nestled along the northern coast of the island, this 800 meter stretch of white sand is something out of a Thailand promotional poster. It is as untouched by modern influence as almost anything that you can find in Southeast Asia. Don’t be surprised if you are asked to remove your shoes on the mainland. At Koh Tachai, the sand is such a pristine white that they are not allowed. But do not worry, it is of such a fine grain that the sand is smooth to the touch and never gets hot, even on the sunniest days. It is one of the most pleasant experiences imaginable just meandering along from one side of the beach to the other.
When arriving at the island, you will be given the opportunity to eat the lunch that your tour group provides within the ranger’s camp. You’ll get rice with chicken, shrimp and vegetables, fresh watermelon and pineapple. Also, free water and sodas, so be sure to stay hydrated. You have a bit of time on the island and are free to do as you please until the speed boats signal for departure, so feel free to explore. If you’d rather just relax, throw down a towel on the beach and head on into the ocean.
At the center of the island is jungle. If you are on a guided tour, you may find yourself on a nature tour through the jungle. Walking barefoot through the jungle may not sound like a pleasant experience, but so long as you stay on the well-trodden path, you shouldn’t have any problems. The path, although a bit tough to navigate in a few areas, is quite easy on the feet. There are a number of species native to Koh Tachai, including the Chicken Crab which live in and around the roots of the islands trees. Also of note are the Emerald Green Snails which live on the leaves of those same trees. If you are lucky, you may just stumble upon a Monitor Lizard. If you do, be careful, they are quite large and they are known to bite.
Koh Tachai is a destination that should not be overlooked. It is one of the most beautiful places that you will find within the Kingdom of Thailand. With it’s white sand beach and perfect turquoise waters, you may never want to go home.
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