The turtle came ashore in front of the Kata Beach Community Park at 00:50am, much to the amazement of people still on the beach celebrating the New Year.
The turtle’s shell measured 150cm long and 119cm wide, with the turtle’s front left flipper measuring 86cm long and its front right flipper 83cm long, reported officers from thre Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR).
The turtle was estimated to weigh about 300kg.
After the turtle returned to the sea, at about 4:30am, the officers inspected the nest and found about 50-60 eggs.
The nest site has been sealed off for protection and a thermometer installed to monitor the temperature in the nest.
Karon Deputy Mayor Itthiporn Sangkaew, himself a native of Kata-Karon area, was overly happy about the turtle.
“As far as I can remember the last time turtles laid eggs at a beach in Kata-Karon was decades ago. Certainly not in the past 20 years,” he said.
Officers have been ordered to protect the nest and people visiting the beach are being asked to ensure the nest remains undisturbed.