Koh Phaluai, (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.
We hope to support and help develop the aspirations of Koh Paluai and their community further as they move forward with their plans.
Koh Paluai Picture Gallery: