Asian adventure- Phuket-Railay Beach- Krabi-Bangkok-Hong-Kong-China tour.
Where- Mai Khao JW Marriott resort Phuket.
Cost- free (donations)
Time spent- 30 minutes
Highlight- feeding the turtles.
Mai Khao beach is one of the only beaches left in Phuket where turtles still come to nest. The Turtle Foundation funds projects to collect the eggs and gives them to the Phuket Marine Biological Centre and the Royal Thai Navy. They keep them safe until they have hatched and the young turtles are strong enough to be released back into the wild. The foundation also educates people about marine conservation including beach and reef cleaning and recycling projects.
Situated in the JW Marriott resort, The Mai Khao Turtle Foundation currently houses three disabled turtles and offers daily turtle talks at 11am Monday-Friday. We got a taxi from Baan Mai Khao which cost 100 BHT (£2) although you could hire the hotel bikes or even walk along the beach. We arrived at about 10.30 am and were directed to the back of the hotel near to the beach. The Foundation is in a fenced off area to the right just before the pools. There are three turtles swimming in a pool, which is split into two sections. They are called Kieaw, Tommy and Taewada. Kieaw is the largest and is a female Green Sea Turtle, Tommy is medium and is a male Green Sea Turtle and Taewada is a Hawksbill sea turtle. The 2 smaller ones were born without eyes and Kieaw has lost her sense of direction so cannot be released. We were the only ones there for a while and the boys enjoyed watching the turtles swimming about.
The talk started at 11am and was just a very brief introduction to the three turtles and what they eat. Children were then invited to get a number off one of the ladies if they wanted to feed the smaller turtles or to go to another lady if they wanted to feed the big one. The lady gave you some sea weed or sea food (like octopus) to drop into the pool for Kieaw. Once your number was called out you could go and sit next to the other lady and feed the smaller ones. This was done by holding a small stick with a piece of seafood on the end. The lady banged the side of the pool to direct the turtles towards the food and they ate it off the stick.
Our youngest boy is obsessed with Turtles so this was one of his dreams! He even sleeps with a cuddly turtle called Mr Turtle!
The whole experience lasts no more than 15 minutes, but waiting for your turn to feed them may take longer depending on how many people are there.
In summary, we wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to visit here as the whole thing only lasts 10-15 minutes. However, if your child loves turtles or wildlife, or you are staying in the Mai Khao area, then this is worth a quick visit to break up a free day.
Read my other PHUKET posts here- Private day tour of Phuket, Speedboat tour to Phang Nga Bay (James Bond Island), Splash Jungle Water park, and where we stayed Baan Mai Khao.