The stunning Tarutao National Marine Park spans 51 islands and is located in the Andaman Sea just off the coast of southern Thailand. The islands fall into two groups Adang-Rawi and Tarutao, with the latter serving as inspiration for our Tarutao collection.
Join Aquila Jewellery as we explore this unique place and discover how its vibrant nature has influenced our jewellery designs.
On the outside, the park is a paradise of dazzling coral reefs, thriving mangrove forests, sun-drenched beaches and colourful animals. On the inside, diverse ecosystems support and preserve the park in a powerful motion of nature.
Spanning nearly 600 square miles, this marine park is home to a diverse range of marine and terrestrial species. king cobras, giant squirrels and flying foxes are just some of the sightings visitors might spot.
Famous for its 110 bird species as well as 32 marine species such as zebra sharks, yellowtail barracudas and red lionfish, the park is also home to rare animals many of which are critically endangered and on the IUCN Red List. These include leatherback turtles, dugongs (similar to manatees), greater mouse deer, nicobar pigeons and the back finless porpoises.
Alive with ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangrove forests and natural features like waterfalls, caves and beaches, Tarutao national park is one of Thailand’s most revered ecological locations; the ideal destination to inspire jewellery like our Tarutao silver ring.
It’s also a sister location to Palawan, another Thailand-inspired collection.
A short history
Archaeological evidence suggests the islands within the park may have had human inhabitants as far back as 4,000 years ago. The Chao Leh people, or ‘Sea Gypsies’ are thought to be the first inhabitants, and they remain in the area to this day.
The early 20th century saw Tarutao island used as a penal colony accommodating 3,000 political prisoners and common criminals until it closed in 1948. After the islands were uninhabited for some time, fishermen and farmers began living there.
In 1974, Tarutao National Marine Park was established by the Royal Forest National Park Department, making it one of Thailand’s largest parks. In 1982 it was listed as an ASEAN Heritage Park in recognition of its biodiversity.
The love affair between Thailand and its jewellery started all the way back in the 13th century. It was mostly worn by wealthy people and was made from precious stones and local precious metals such as gold and silver. Rich and noble families wore beautifully ornate gold necklaces and gem-studded silver bracelets as well as more intricate precious stone pieces.
Jewellery from this country has always had a close link to the hill tribes that live there. Most notable are the Karen Tribes who create unique motifs and designs with locally sourced silver.
Over the next 400 years, the jewellery industry grew in size, creativity and influence, relying on mostly gold and silver metals.
By the mid-20th century after the implementation of new technologies and techniques, Thailand’s government began to invest in the industry, train their native people and create the successful industry that now thrives.
Today, the country is one of the world’s leading producers of fine jewellery. Thai silver jewellery is famed for its high quality of at least 95% purity.
Getting around Tarutao park isn’t a problem as there are plenty of options. It all depends on what kind of views you want and how active you want to be.
For those who love hiking, the park presents several trails which can be explored alone or with a guide. There are mountain bikes available to rent at Mo Lae Bay amongst other places. It is a fantastic way to soak up all the sights and beauty of the park without leaving a trace.
If you’d like to travel by sea, boat tours and long-tail boat hire gives you unique access to the archipelago. Renting a kayak presents a brilliant opportunity to explore the coasts and mangroves.
For tired legs, there are shuttle taxis that operate across Tarutao island that can be booked for roughly 300 Baht.
Where to visit and what to do
Tarutao park offers endless ways to have beautiful experiences with nature. You can visit for the day or spend a few days in the park, staying in any of the bungalows or campsites located within it. It is worth noting that the park is closed from May to October, the rainy season.
To access the beaches at Tarutao National Marine Park you’ll need to first arrive at Koh Tarutao and then take a long-tail boat or kayak to your desired beach. Some of the most popular are Ao Phante Malaka, Ao Talo Udang and Ao Son. Expect untouched, quiet beaches and undisturbed wildlife.
The park has many caves and geologically interesting locations. A popular cave is Bat Cave on Adang Island.
If snorkelling or scuba diving is your thing, the coral reefs in the park are bustling with colour and marine life. Popular locations are Koh Lek, Koh Sarai and Hin Ngam.
Refresh yourself and take in the beauty of some of the many waterfalls in the area. Visitors often take a trip to see Lu Du Waterfall, situated near the HQ. This multi-tiered waterfall has a series of pools that you can swim in.
Alternatively, the Mai Tai Waterfall in the north of the park is great for having a picnic and a dip in the cool waters.
Our founder Stacey loved every second of visiting the Tarutao National Marine Park. She visited Koh Lipe and Koh Ra Wi via boat and was amazed by how perfectly untouched the beaches were, something which can be hard to find these days!
The crystal clear waters were teeming with marine life and vivid coral reef. She spotted some zebra sharks and witnessed the denseness of the mangroves.
The Tarutao collection carries the spirit of Tarutao park in its form, with the ‘cut out’ design representing the dynamic systems of nature at play in this incredible destination.
Would you like to visit Tarutao park? What would you do there? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below