Ang Thong Marine Park
Ang Thong Marine Park
42 Paradise islands in one place!
The archipelago landmarks stretch across the clear aqua waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Tourists line the harbours of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, located just northwest of the Ang Thong National Park, to catch a glimpse of the undeveloped wonders. The islands are sacred - in 1980, the Ang Thong islands were declared a National Park. The only development is the natural growth of the luscious greenery that blankets the various islands. Many tourists looking to escape the loud sounds of the speedy bikes and cars zooming along the Koh Samui and Koh Phangan roads have discovered the perfect getaway in the Ang Thong Islands.
Limestone lines the islands - built from the natural flow of the sea - these coral and mollusk rocks elevate the fascinating beauty of the land. It is vital for tourists to respect the untouched limestone of the smaller islands within Ang Thong. Setting foot on the islets is forbidden but snorkelling around the land is permissible. On the larger islands, tourists are able to rest against the transparent blues on clean sandy beaches. Here, relaxation replaces stress and everyday worry.
Though day trips are available ranging in price and quality, expect things to be hurried as the schedule is tight and travel time takes up a big chunk of the day. The best way by far is to charter a yacht to Ang Thong and spend at least one night there so you can explore at your own pace, take the island in properly and experience the sunset, sunrise, the calm of the night and the island before and after the tours leave.
Each island adds its own character to the Ang Thong National Park - whether it features an abundance of marine life, soft sand along the shoreline, or adventurous hikes!
Ko Mae Ko offers a unique walk. Be prepared for the hike as the steps leading up to the scenic view can be challenging. Among the steps and view rests a lagoon. Beneath the moonstone cove is a plethora of fish - a reward for those who reach the top of the steps. Swimming in the water is prohibited, but the ability to even take in the jaw-dropping views makes up for the lack of cooling off!
Ko Wua Talap is a popular place for travellers to visit. It has endless activities, ranging from kayaking, wildlife, a restaurant, beaches, and a hikes that take as long as 1.5 to 2 hours, leading to an aesthetic viewpoint overlooking the Marine Park. Along with activities, it is also permissible to stay overnight in a bungalow or tent. The hosts provide the tent, sleeping bag, and mosquito net if needed. Ko Wua Talap is wonderful place for both a day trip or a nights’ stay - there is plenty to explore!
The hike on Ko Wua Talap is an adventurous escapade. Here the trail requires the usage of the rope provided. Once visitors reach the top, all adrenaline from the fun rope-filled journey will fade as the awe of the archipelago below sets in. The hike is possible to complete in one to two hours; this leaves time for activities such as resting along the white shores, snorkelling, or viewing the wildlife.
The wildlife is another reason to visit Ko Wua Talap - there are dusky langurs - monkeys with adorable faces that will pop out of the trees at anytime. Along with the dusky leaf monkeys are long-tailed monkeys, sea turtles, lizards, tortoises, pythons and a variety of colourful birds. Viewing a dusky langur is an ordinary occurrence, whereas the sea turtles, lizards, tortoises and pythons are more rare to spot.
Ao Kha, the park headquarters, located on Ko Wua Talap, is the place to go for avid kayakers. From here, kayakers can travel to several smaller unpopulated beaches such as Ko Sam Sao, or make their way to Ko Mae Ko.
Ko Phaluai is the largest island among the Ang Thong Marine Park. It is home to various fishing villages where several residents make their living. Due to the steady influx of fish, the island was bound to create the perfect seafood place to stop at for a bite to eat. The island remains a vast wonder of verdant greenery, and it aims to stay this way. It is the perfect place to escape for the ones craving a look into a world completely outside of what they know. Likewise to its neighbours, Ko Phaluai is another fantastic location for flipping through the pages of a book while relaxing on the sandy shores of Two Brothers beach. Kayaking is also an option on this beach.
The Ang Thong islands are majestic wonders of the Gulf of Thailand. Tourists marvel at the various attributes of each island from the astounding imagery of the limestone carved cliffs to the stunning viewpoints to the kayak trips.