18 Oct The Mu Ko Ang Thong Marine Park, off Koh Samui
The Me Ko Ang Thong Marine Park is about 60km off Koh Samui and consists of 42 islands, all but one uninhabited, that jut out of the azure blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Each a limestone formation topped with lush green forests, and lined by inviting white beaches that are home to tall palm trees that offer shade to day visitors lucky enough to visit here.
History of Mu Koh Ang Thong National Marine Park
The National Park was established in November 1980 as Thailand’s 21st National Park with the express purpose of protecting this 102 square kilometer archipelago. Of the 42 islands, many are close to each other, each of distinct size and shape, and make for breathtaking scenery as you sail between them. Covered with tropical forests and formed from limestone that reach up to 400m above sea level, they descriptive names such as ‘Sleeping Cow Island’ and ‘Three Pillars Island’, which adds to the character. The word Ang Thong translates to golden bowl. Some of the scenery may look familiar as part of the movie The Beach, staring Leonardo DiCaprio, was filmed here.
Life in the Marine Park
The water around the Mu Ko Ang Thong islands is shallow and makes for easy swimming. On land, the park supports several types of vegetarian, including the lesser-known Ang Thong Lady’s Slipper Orchid, an endemic species found only in the reserve. Wildlife found here includes 16 species of mammals, more than 50 bird types and 19 species of reptiles and frogs. Look out for the elusive Dusky Leaf Monkey with it’s white eyes set in a black face, which you might be lucky enough to see in the trees as you explore the island.
Activities in the reserve
The boat trip along the Koh Samui shoreline and into the Gulf of Thailand is mesmerising in itself, as you watch the many islands come into view. Once stopped, consider snorkeling, kayaking and diving, as well as nature walks, rock climbing and volleyball at the main camp. Or simply retreat for some relaxed time on the beach with occasional dips in the sea.
A Day with Boutique Yachting
Travel time by speedboat from Koh Samui to the Marine Park takes about 45 minutes, but we recommend that you make the most of the experience by joining Boutique Yachting for a full day of discovery and exploration at sea. Climb aboard their luxury yacht Naga at the Petcherat Pier to take up your position on the deck, ensuring the best views across the endless blue waters as you head out towards the Ang Thong Marine Park.
Once you arrive at Ang Thong Marine Park’s Koh Wua Talap, enjoy a refreshing dip in the sea and time on the white beaches. At Koh Mae Koh climb to to the island’s top viewpoint to see the beautiful Emerald Lake with its glassy green surface and rich surrounding vegetation, before a swim, lunch onboard and cruising back at a leisurely pace. You pass Monkey Rock and many of the other uninhabited islands on the way, catching the sunset before docking at Koh Samui. It makes for a perfect day that speaks of quintessential Thailand. Meals served on board and hotel transfers are included in the day package.
Accommodation on Koh Wua Talab
If the day tour is not long enough you can opt to overnight at the Ang Thong National Marine Park. There are six basic bungalows and camping tents for rent at the Park Headquarters on Koh Wua Talab, which also has a restaurant, visitor information center and museum. There are kayaks for rent and a beach to nap on, and once the day visitors have gone you’ll get a sense of having a tropical island almost all to yourself. Do note that advanced bookings are required and that you will need to take all required provisions.
For more information on the Park visit http://www.angthongmarinepark.com/ and to book a full day trip with Boutique Yachting, see https://www.boutiqueyachting.com/ang-thong-tour/