Koh Paluay, (Koh Phaluay, Paluai), “เกาะพะลวย“, is the largest island in the Ang Thong archipelago, a key national park area in the Thai Gulf. It is the only inhabited island in the island group and has a town primarily inhabited by fishing folk or ‘sea-gypsies’ in the southern section, a total of some 450 people. The northern part of the island is still fairly virgin, as it forms part of the National Park. It has some of the best residual mangrove areas within the Gulf. The island is administered from Koh Samui and has a daily ferry arrival from Surat Thani mainland, although the return requires a next day ferry.
Until recently there was very little infrastructure on the island, more recently some roadway has been built and, most significantly, a government initiative installed renewable energy generation capability by solar power and wind harvesting with small local wind generators, although these have now ceased operation and power is, today, solar. The existing systems have been in place for some 10 years leaving the community short of electrical power and restrictions on usage. New government proposals for the installation of a solar powered microgrid to serve the islands, is planned for initiation at, as yet, an undecided future date. Rainwater capture is critical in providing much of the islands water. For its environmental sustainability it is often referred to as a ‘Green Island’ and is quite unique in the area.
Although Koh Paluai has very few foreign visitors and only a few very small resorts and home stays it has potential as an eco and community based tourism centre, something which the island is keen to develop in a controlled and sustainable way.
To date EcoThailand has supported the island community with a MicroGrant to help towards the purchase of water purification filters, and also visits, discussions and advice directed towards the islands objective of careful and sustainable development of eco and community tourism.
In 2021 we have increased our support and help to mitigate need and to develop the aspirations of Koh Paluai and their community further as they move forward with their plans.
EcoThailand has visited Koh Phaluay in the Ang Thong island group in 2021 to present a MicroGrant to Bays 2, 3 and 4 Crab Banks, to provide hydraulic and solar engineering technicians to the communities to identify repairs required to their solar powered water supply, a key issue on the island. We also held discussions on the potential and possible future directions of eco tourism and community tourism, extended our MicroGrant and advice into 2022 and to also assessed island and community needs for future support.
Raja Ferry service are due to start regular operations to the island, whilst this will undoubtedly increase tourism on the island it will also place already strained resources under increased pressure. We work towards a sustainable future for the islanders, addressing existing issues whilst preserving the unique character of Koh Paluay for future generations.
We thank all of the people of Koh Phaluay for their warm welcome and help whilst on their island.
Koh Paluai Picture Gallery: