Ang Thong National Marine Park – Image courtesy of Vincent/Wikimedia Commons
Introducing Ang Thong National Marine Park
Discover postcard-perfect vistas of white-sand beaches, hidden lagoons, sheer limestone cliffs and dense jungle at Ang Thong National Marine Park, an archipelago of 42 small islands lying off the coast of Surat Thani Province.
Popularised in the movie The Beach, Ang Thong covers a total area of 10,400ha of which only 1800ha is land. The seven main islands are Wua Ta Lap Island, home to the park's headquarters; Phaluai Island; Mae Koh Island; Sam Sao Island; Hin Dap Island; Nai Phut Island; and Phai Luak Island.
Take a one-day boat trip from Nathon or Mae Nam on Ko Samui to explore some of the lush jungle-clad islands some of which are home to 40m-high limestone towers fringed by lush green jungle and white-sand beaches.
Once a haven for pirates, these islands boast stunning unspoilt white-sand beaches, pristine coral reefs, unusual rock formations, dramatic limestone cliffs and caves as well as wildlife such as long-tailed macaques, leopard cats, common wild pig and squirrels.
Go kayaking, snorkelling and swimming. Hike across Ko Wua Talab (Sleeping Cow Island) to the island’s summit (430m) for postcard-perfect views, discover hidden lagoons and visit Tham Buabok Cave to see lotus-shaped stalactites and stalagmites.
Don’t miss Thalay Noi, an inland saltwater lake with a hidden outlet to the sea on Ko Mae Ko (Mother Island), made famous by the film The Beach.
For visits of longer than a day, small bungalows are available to rent from the national park’s headquarters.
The park is open year-round, but the seas can be rough and the waters are usually less clear during the monsoon season (October through December).
Ang Thong is located 35km northwest of Ko Samui.
Location: 35km northwest of Samui
Phone: 077/286025; 077/420225