Angthong Marine Park, Surat Thani, Thailand
Angthong Marine Park is an archipelago of 42 islands which are home to a series of bays, pristine beaches, lagoons and caves in the Gulf of Thailand. It is easily reachable from the tourist islands of Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan and makes an excellent day trip, though a day is not nearly enough time in this paradise.
You can book a place on a boat tour at any of the hundreds of tourist booths along Chaweng Beach or elsewhere on Ko Samui. The usual price is around 2000thb (plus 300thb entrance to the marine park) and this usually includes breakfast, lunch, kayaking and snorkelling and pick up/drop off from your hotel.
What to do and see at Angthong Marine Park
Koh Wau Ta Lap Island
The beaches at Angthong Marine Park look like they are straight out of Robinson Crusoe; an emerald blue sea lapping at curved white sand beaches against a backdrop of hanging palm trees and dense jungle.
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There is a viewing platform at 500 metres with sweeping, panoramic views across the marine park. It’s a tough climb, especially in the heat of the day, and takes 30 to 40 minutes.
Bua Boke Cave
Hike the 1 kilometre Bua Boke Natural Trail to see the amazing stalactites and stalagmites in this wonderous underground cavern.
Most tours of the islands include a kayaking option where you can navigate the shores and otherwise inaccessible caves and coves of Ang Thong. Highly recommended! You can also hire a kayak from the visitor centre on Ko Wau Ta Lap.
Koh Mae Koh Island
There are six beaches on Koh Mae Koh which are connected by a series of trails. If you leave the main beach where the visitor centre is it’s entirely possible you can have one of the others to yourself as the tourists on boat tours don’t head to these others.
The crystal-clear water of Koh Mae’s beaches is perfect for snorkelling and equipment can be borrowed on-site.
Talay Nai (Emerald Lake)
The Emerald Lake, also know as the Blue Lagoon, is a large lake a few hundred metres from the main beach and visitor centre on Koh Mae Koh. There are steps up to a viewing platform and you can descend over the other side down to the lake shore where you can gaze into the translucent greeny, blue waters and spot plenty of marine life.
Dangers at Angthong Marine Park
Being in the tropics, Thailand has its fair share of snakes and creepy crawlies that can pack a punch, but the biggest danger is the deadly Box Jellyfish (Chironex Feleckeri) which is known to inhabit these waters. Pay attention to local news and ask your guide and staff if there have been any sightings or stings in the area.
You can mitigate the risks by taking a few precautions such as not swimming at night, after rain and near estuaries. The best protection is a stinger suit which you can pick up on Ko Samui or order online before you go.
Sea urchins pose a threat to bare feet!
When is the best time to visit Angthong?
Angthong Marine Park is closed every year from November to early December (the worst of the monsoon season). The best time to visit is late December to September. I went in August and there was the usual afternoon shower but mainly hot and sunny throughout the day.
How to get to Angthong
The only way to reach the archipelago is by boat. You can take a tour of the island as a day trip from Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan but these tours are quite rushed.
It’s possible to arrange drop off and pick up with the tour boats and camp on Koh Wau Ta Lap (see accommodation below).
Another option is to charter a boat yourself.
Journey time by ferry from Nathong Pier , Ko Samui is approximately 2 hours. By private speedboat the journey time is less than an hour.
Accommodation at Angthong Marine Park
It’s possible to stay overnight on Koh Wau Ta Lap. There is a small campsite and six wood cabins that can be booked only through the Thai National Parks website. Prices start at around 600 Baht ($20) per night.
Ameneties on Angthong
On Koh Wau Ta Lap there is a visitor centre where you can hire kayaks and snorkelling gear. There is a campsite and six wood cabins, a small restaurant and bar.
The electric generator is turned off at 23:30 and after that there is no electricity until morning. There is no Wifi on the islands.
On Koh Mae Koh there is a small visitor centre and kiosk selling drinks and snacks.
What Should I Pack for a trip to Angthong?
As there are very few amenities on Ang Thong you should bring everything you will need for the duration of your stay.
Below is a list of recommended items to pack:
- Sturdy Shoes for the trails
- Food and Drink
- Swimwear (including stinger suit)
More of Thailand
Want to discover more of Thailand’s National Parks? Check out Kaeng Krachan National Park which is a nature lover’s paradise where you can see monkeys, hornbills, porcupines and even leopards if you are lucky!
Check out this guide to diving off the Similan Islands for those looking at scuba a scuba diving trip!
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About the author: Steve Rohan, originally from England, has lived in China for over six years. He has lived in the frozen city of Harbin, the ancient capital of Luoyang and now resides in the tropical paradise of Sanya on Hainan Island.
He has travelled extensively across Europe and Asia, mostly by train, and has written about his travels for this blog as well as self-publishing his first book, Siberian Odyssey.
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