Turtle Conservation Center
One of the many reasons that attracts visitors of all ages and keeps many returning year after year is that nearly all the area we know as Khao Lak is a National Park, the natural beauty of the mountains and countryside wonderfully complementing the 25 km of gorgeous beaches. People love the flowers, the vegetation and the wildlife. For some nature lovers though their enjoyment is enhanced by the unique opportunity to visit the Thai Royal Navy Sea Turtle Conservation Unit located on the base at Tab Lamu. The entrance to the base is down the road in Tab Lamu leading to the pier where boats depart for various destinations including the birth place of these lovely creatures, the Similan Islands.
A Marine Unit is stationed on one of the islands that is protected from any other access and when the turtles are hatched they are brought across to the mainland and placed in tanks at the Conservation Unit where they are nurtured and cared for until they are about a year old. They are then taken back to their birth place and released into their natural habit, the Andaman Sea. This process is estimated to increase their chance of surviving being attacked and eaten by predators from 10% to about 65% so is a vital part of sustaining the on-going presence of these beautiful reptiles. Even sickly babies are taken at birth and many nursed back to health when otherwise they would not have survived at all. There are also some full grown specimens to view which bring gasps of amazement when seen up close for the first time. There is plenty of information available and marines, who must have one of the best jobs in the world looking after their charges, to give you information. Admission is free but donations are always welcomed.
If visitors want a glimpse of more turtles, especially bigger ones of different varieties, they can go about 25 km down the highway towards Phuket and call in at the Marine Life Conservation Centre on the right hand side of the Thai Mueang beach road just before the entrance to yet another National Park. Here they can also sea fish of all sizes from the tiny Clown Fish (or Nemos as they are commonly known) to huge Sea Groupers as well as sea anemones in many beautiful colours. All are being prepared for return into the ocean around the developing reefs to help create and sustain the eco systems there for the future.
Turtle time is truly family time!