Can any Thai enlighten me as to why foreigners are not permitted to visit the commendable Sea Turtle Conservation Centre on the Navy base near Sattahip?
Over the years I have visited it twice with my Thai wife, albeit only via the back gate near U-Tapao, being denied access at the main gate on Sukhumvit Road. Having seen the many signs in English advertising this project, my daughter, visiting from Canada, asked if she could see it. Although accompanied by two Thais we were denied access. My wife asked the marine in the guardhouse why we could not enter and the answer was, “Orders from the big boss.”
As we drove away shaking our heads at the illogical denial of our entry we surmised that the Navy must be carrying out top-secret testing of advanced underwater warfare techniques, using trained turtles with hi-tech equipment strapped to their shells to detect enemy submarines. Foreigners, of course, would pose a major national security threat should they see this technology. However, I hope this strategy proves cheaper than the “toys for the boys” that the Navy is still seeking.
Ironically the Navy does allow foreigners to enter its other base north of Sattahip, for access to the excellent Sa Kaew beach. But here a fee is required (double the amount for a foreigner) and the beach affords many opportunities to spend money on food and drink. Perhaps the Navy should charge a fee to see those hi-tech turtles.