Ko Hin-Ngam - Atlas Obscura

Ko Hin-Ngam

Ko Tarutao, Thailand

The cursed island of black pebbles. 


In Thailand stands Ko Hingham, a small uninhabited island that no one would ever bother to visit. Unless, of course, the gods had decided to adorn the entire island with precious stones. Which according to Thai mythology, they did.

Precious, indeed, because the Gods—precisely the god of Tarutao, a Thai deity—is said to have placed a curse onto the island. Any visitor who would dare to take even a pebble off the island would be cursed forever. Each year the the National Park office that manages the island receives dozens of stones returned via mail, sent back by people who want to lift the curse. The stones of Koh Hingham must stay on Koh Hingham or you risk the wrath of Tarutao.

Even though you cannot take the stones home, you can play with them within the boundaries of the island for as long as your inner child wishes to do so. Thai people, for example, use them to build miniaturized cheddis and kneeling in front of them, they lay their most ardent wishes and prayers. Less mystically, tourists write short messages in black and white such as flower-powers and I-love-yous. Come and do the same, just leave the stones behind.

Know Before You Go

Find a old man on Koh Lipe and bargain as skillfully as possible for a long tail boat trip.

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March 16, 2012

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