There are various day trips to Ang Thong Marine Park that leave from Koh Samui, each with their own unique package deals, such as lunch, kayaking or snorkelling.
The park consists of 42 different islands, each with their own landscapes, caves and indigenous wildlife. A complete tour of the Ang Thong would actually take weeks due its sheer size and fascinating views. Here is a guide for how to make the most of one day at Ang Thong Marine Park.
After transferring from the villa to the pier, most tours will depart between 8am and 9am to make the most of the day. They will also a include a light breakfast of croissants, fruit and tea or coffee. If the tour is for specific activity, such as kayaking or scuba diving, they should also come with their own equipment. The best way to travel is by speedboat, as it only takes 45 minutes to reach the park this way.
Koh Mae Ko and Koh Wao
Upon arriving in Ang Thong, the tour boat will dock at either Koh Mae Ko or Koh Wao. Koh Mae Ko is known for its beautiful Emerald Lake, a saltwater lake surrounded by huge limestone cliffs. The Emerald Lake is a spectacular spot with a great view, which can only be reached by hiking up the steep cliffs, through its jungle terrain and squeezing through a deep crevice on the cliff. The reward is an amazing view of the entire Ang Thong archipelago. Swimming and diving is forbidden here
Koh Wao has beautiful turquoise blue water, coral reefs and coves – all these are the homes of interesting marine life, making this little island an excellent spot for snorkelling and diving. The coral is as diverse as the sea life in this crystal clear water. There will be something new for everyone to see.
Explore Ang Thong
Later in the morning, tours will dock at Ang Thong and leave tourists to explore the island. The ‘Golden Basin’ has steep limestone cliffs, some reaching over 400 metres in height, and features four distinct types of forest; dry evergreen, beach, limestone and Mangrove. Each forest is home to many different animals, such as monkeys, otters, eagles, iguanas, pythons and many many more. The surrounding sea is also home to marine life such as sea turtles and many colourful fish. This is a popular spot for snorkelling and swimming.
The majority of tours will include lunch. This can vary from a buffet on the seafront or a traditional Thai meal on the tour boat as it cruises through the park. Fresh fruit is also included.
Koh Sam Sao
After lunch, some tours go on to Koh Sam Sao for kayaking. This island receives very few travellers so if the tour passes through here, visitors can enjoy unobstructed swimming, kayaking and snorkelling in the abundant coral reefs and hikers can explore the numerous caves and caverns, or climb up to the vantage points and enjoy the views.
After visiting a third island most tour boats will take everyone back to Koh Samui and transfer them back to their accommodation, but the fun need not end here. Koh Wua Talap is the island’s camping headquarters. It has six bungalows, which can be rented for 500 Baht per day (for a two bedroom cottage) and plenty of camping space. The cost of hiring a tent for two people is 250 Baht. Additionally, Koh Wua Talap has a restaurant, which is open from 7am until 10pm, a first aid tent and kayaks for rent if guests wish to continue exploring the islands.
The facilities at the island are very basic. Visitors should note that the electricity generator is switched off at 11pm, but it adds to the appeal of camping in a barely inhabited island. No reservations are required for camping but if guests wish to book a bungalow in advance, this can only be done via the Thai government website: http://www.dnp.go.th/parkreserve/reservation.asp
All boats leaving the Ang Thong National Marine Park leave at 3pm daily. Overnight guests can leave by speedboat at 3pm the next day.