Ang Thong Marine Park Guide

16 Dec 2023
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Ang Thong National Marine Park, a stunning archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand, is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and ecological significance. Covering approximately 102 square kilometers, this protected area encompasses 42 islands characterized by lush, forested hills, white sandy beaches, and rich biodiversity both above and below the water's surface. It is a haven for a diverse array of wildlife, including various bird species, monkeys, and exotic fish. The park's underwater landscape, with its vibrant coral reefs and sea life, makes it a popular destination for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Established in 1980, Ang Thong National Marine Park not only offers a picturesque escape for nature lovers but also plays a crucial role in the conservation of marine and island ecosystems in Thailand. The park is located on excellent real estate - with Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao situated east and the Thai mainland to the west. The 42 islands vary in size and form, but they all have an unrivalled beauty.

 

The Beauty

Ang Thong

The islands are covered in tropical forests and named "Sleeping Cow Island" and "Three Pillars Island" based on their geography. Because of its natural beauty, Angthong, which means "golden bowl," has been protected since 1980. Except for one, all of the islands are deserted and underdeveloped.

 

The Beach

Maybe you've heard of the novel and film The Beach? This is where Alex Garland supposedly based the story, and the archipelago inspired him to write it. However, because it is protected, no part of the famous movie was filmed here. Instead, the scenes were shot at Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi.



 

The Journey

Whether you go by speedboat or a more significant, slower boat depends on your chosen boat excursion. It takes around 1.5 hours to get to Angthong on a large boat, but it is a beautiful speed to travel in the morning when breakfast is typically provided, and you may relax and wake up while enjoying the journey on the sea.
If you are impatient or dislike long boat rides, a speedboat excursion is an alternative; however, you will not have access to entertaining features such as a slide and a sun deck. On the larger boats, they may also have kayaks to rent so that you can use them to move location from one island to the next or stay on the boat if you wish.

Reaching Ang Thong National Marine Park, located in the Gulf of Thailand, involves a journey to one of the nearby islands, typically Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, or Koh Tao, as the park does not have direct connections from the mainland.

From Koh Samui: This is the most common starting point for trips to Ang Thong. Numerous tour operators on Koh Samui offer day trips to the park, which usually include hotel pickup, a boat ride to the park, and sometimes meals and snorkeling equipment. These tours typically use speedboats or larger tour boats, and the journey can take between 1 to 2 hours, depending on the boat type and weather conditions. Private charters are also available for a more personalized experience. Additionally, visitors can rent kayaks or join guided kayaking tours upon reaching the park.

From Koh Phangan: Less frequented than Koh Samui, Koh Phangan also offers tours to Ang Thong. Similar to Koh Samui, these include round-trip boat transportation and often other amenities. The boat trip from Koh Phangan is usually shorter, taking about an hour. This option is ideal for those looking for a less crowded, more laid-back point of departure.

From the Mainland: Visitors can also start their journey from the mainland, particularly from the town of Surat Thani. From Surat Thani, one can take a bus or a taxi to the Donsak Pier, where ferries to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan are available. Once on these islands, visitors can then join a tour to the park. This route is longer and more complex but can be a cost-effective option for travelers already exploring the mainland.

Each option offers a different experience, and the choice largely depends on where the traveler is based and their preferences for comfort, speed, and convenience.

 

Important Considerations:

Weather: The best time to visit Ang Thong is from March to October when the seas are calm. The park is often closed during the monsoon season (November to January) due to rough sea conditions.

Accommodation: There are no private accommodations in the park, but camping is allowed on some islands with permission from the park authorities.

Conservation: As a protected area, visitors are urged to respect the environment, avoiding activities that could harm the wildlife or coral reefs.

 

The Main Island

Even though it is not the largest island in Ang Thong National Marine Park, Koh Wua Talap is considered the archipelago's main island. This is where the national park's headquarters are located, as well as Ang Thong's primary attraction: "the most beautiful sight in Thailand",  a sweeping view of the islands and the clean seas surrounding them.

A beautiful beach, an intriguing cave with stalagmites and stalactites, and a few adorable monkeys can all be found on Koh Wua Talap. This is the island on which you sleep if you want to spend the night within the national park.

 

The Viewpoint of all Viewpoints

The walk to Pha Jun Jaras viewpoint is steep and strenuous, but it is well worth it. Even though the name is a little cliché, it feels appropriate when you watch the water glitter around the jungled limestone cliffs in the distance when you get there. You'll have to climb almost 500 meters vertically to reach the summit, all on quite decent steps. Most individuals will need 30-45 minutes to go up there and a bit less time to come down. Allow additional time for photographs. You'll be much more comfortable if you go early or late in the day since you'll escape the mid-day heat and humidity. Suppose you want to save time and your legs! On the climb up, you may stop at various viewpoints along the route that provide spectacular views of Koh Wua Talap's beach and the rest of the archipelago's islands.

 

The Cave

On most day trips, you may pick between seeing the viewpoint or going to the cave.
The journey to the cave isn't lengthy, but it is strenuous, with some parts requiring scrambling and basic climbing. However, the stalagmites and stalactites are spectacular, and the cave is highly picturesque due to the light coming in from both sides.

 

The Emerald Lake

Ko Mae Ko, which means "mother island," is an island with an emerald saltwater lake named Thale Nai that is linked to the sea via underwater tunnels. A 20-minute walk from a local beach leads to a spectacular lake view. Limestone cliffs surround the lake, one of the most stunning parts of Ang Thong. There are a few white beaches on the island also to enjoy.

 

Guided Tours

 

Guided tours to Ang Thong National Marine Park are a popular way to explore this breathtaking archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. These tours, often originating from nearby islands like Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao, offer a hassle-free and informative journey through the park's 42 islands. They typically include round-trip boat transportation, with options ranging from speedboats for a quicker journey to larger, more leisurely tour boats. Many tours also offer additional amenities such as snorkeling equipment, lunch, and sometimes even kayaking opportunities. Experienced guides provide valuable insights into the park's unique geological formations, lush wildlife, and rich marine ecosystems, enhancing the visitor experience. These tours are not only convenient but also foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of the park's natural beauty and ecological importance. For those seeking an immersive experience in one of Thailand's most stunning natural settings, a guided tour to Ang Thong National Marine Park is an excellent choice.

 

Recommended Tours

Ang Thong National Marine Park Speedboat Tour from Koh Phangan

 

The small speed boat tour from Koh Phangan to Ang Thong National Marine Park offers a unique and agile way to explore the area. Being in a smaller vessel allows access to exclusive swimming and snorkeling spots, unreachable by larger boats, and enables direct beach landings. This tour caters to a variety of preferences, allowing guests to engage in activities like snorkeling and kayaking with provided equipment, or simply relax on the beach. A light breakfast of coffee, tea, and biscuits is provided, along with lunch, drinking water, and soft drinks during the tour. While hotel transportation is included, there is an additional fee for pickups from the Thong Nai Pan area. This tour presents a flexible and enjoyable experience for the entire family, combining adventure with relaxation in the scenic setting of the marine park.

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Angthong Marine Park Full Day Tour : Snorkeling & Sea Kayaking

This tour offers a full-day exploration of Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park, providing an opportunity to experience its marine wonders through snorkeling and kayaking. Participants can enjoy the park's isolated beaches, dramatic cliffs, serene blue lagoons, and rich marine life. The itinerary includes sailing around the island cluster, where guests can snorkel among vibrant coral reefs and tropical fish. Additionally, the tour provides sea kayaks for exploring the park's oceanic landscape, lush shores, and hidden caves. Essential equipment for snorkeling and kayaking, as well as life jackets, are provided for safety and convenience. The tour also includes a Thai buffet lunch, offering a taste of local cuisine. It's designed for a small group, with a maximum of 15 people, ensuring a more personalized experience. Round-trip transfers from hotels, insurance for the duration of the trip, and the guidance of a professional English-speaking guide are part of the package, making it a comprehensive way to experience the natural beauty of Ang Thong National Marine Park.

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Angthong Marine Park Semi-Private Sunset Tour

The tour offers a peaceful sailing experience to the scenic limestone islands of Ang Thong Marine Park. Participants have the opportunity to engage in activities like snorkeling in secluded lagoons and kayaking along the coastline, including through caves and tunnels. The tour also includes a visit to the renowned Emerald Lake (Talay Nai) and concludes with a view from the Blue Lagoon viewpoint. Guests are served a light breakfast and a cooked lunch during the trip. The tour is conducted aboard a well-equipped yacht featuring amenities such as a sun deck, internal saloon, and a hot tub, ensuring a comfortable journey. With the aim of providing a more personalized experience, the tour maintains a small-group format. Additionally, the tour includes round-trip hotel transfers and dinghy transport from Koh Samui for added convenience.

Included in the tour package are several amenities and services: round-trip hotel transfer, full insurance coverage, meals and beverages like coffee, tea, soda, and a buffet lunch, as well as bottled water. For the activities, guests are provided with snorkeling equipment, life vests, and towels. The yacht is equipped with WiFi, restroom facilities, and a netted raft for relaxation. Private transportation ensures a smooth and comfortable travel experience.

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Angthong Marine Park VIP Guided Tour

This tour offers an exclusive and intimate experience of Angthong Marine Park, ideal for those seeking a VIP-style adventure. The tour caters to small groups, allowing for a more personal and engaging experience. Participants have the opportunity to indulge in various activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, or simply relaxing under the shade on the beach. All necessary equipment for water sports is provided. Convenience is a key aspect of the tour, with included hotel transfer services ensuring easy transportation to and from the accommodation. The tour package also includes a variety of refreshments to keep guests hydrated and cool, such as bottled water and soda/pop. Guests can also enjoy a taste of local Thai cuisine with a lunch service, along with additional snacks. For safety and comfort, the tour provides full insurance coverage, life jackets, towels, and access to restrooms on board. All fees and taxes associated with the tour are covered in the package.

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Private Full-Day Blue Dragon Yacht to Angthong

 

This private charter tour offers a personalized sailing experience to the Ang Thong Marine Park, accommodating up to 15 passengers. Departing from Koh Samui, the tour provides an exclusive journey aboard the 'Blue Dragon,' a 68-foot luxury yacht equipped with amenities like a sun deck, saloon, and hot tub. The itinerary includes stops at the park's remote island beaches and the famous Emerald Lake, with opportunities for snorkeling under the guidance of a PADI-certified instructor. The charter ensures a comfortable and enjoyable experience with a light breakfast, fresh fruit, soft drinks, and a cooked lunch included. Additional features of the tour include coffee and tea, boat transfers by dinghy, use of a floating pool, and round-trip hotel transportation. For convenience and safety, guests have access to snorkeling equipment, life vests, towels, and a restroom on board. The yacht also offers WiFi and a netted raft for non-swimmers. Full insurance coverage is included, ensuring a secure and well-facilitated adventure in the marine park.

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Ang Thong National Marine Park

Ang Thong National Marine Park offers visitors a glimpse into a world of natural beauty and marine diversity. Accessible primarily from the nearby islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao, the journey to this ecological haven involves a mix of ferry rides and organized tours, each providing a unique perspective of the Thai archipelago. Whether departing from the bustling Koh Samui, the tranquil Koh Phangan, or the diving paradise of Koh Tao, travelers can expect an adventure filled with stunning landscapes, rich underwater ecosystems, and opportunities for exploration and relaxation. With considerations for travel logistics, weather conditions, and environmental conservation, a trip to Ang Thong National Marine Park promises a memorable experience that encapsulates the beauty and fragility of Thailand's marine environments.

 

 


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