Guide to Ang Thong National Marine Park Tour

Guide to Ang Thong National Marine Park Tour

Over the last few years, Thailand has become one of the most visited destinations by international tourists and with absolute reason! It’s a country which offers pristine beaches, bustling streets, and most of all, the warm and welcoming Thai culture and people! A country of distinct beauty, Thailand offers great vacation spots for travellers looking to enjoy some serenity or thrill seekers looking for some activities to indulge in. If you’re planning your first trip and aren’t sure what experiences you’d prefer, follow me through my journal to guide you through what I found was the best of the country!

 

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Sensimar Koh Samui, Surat Thani

 

How to get to Koh Samui?

Before I begin with the coolest activity on the island, take a glance at the 3 ways to reach Koh Samui, depending on your budget and days you have set aside for your trip.

  • A direct flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui is by far the most convenient method of travel but can be an expensive affair.
  • Catch a flight to Suratthani, after which you can board a ferry to Koh Samui, which will take an hour and a half. This is the most preferred route to reach the island.
  • If time is not a constraint, choose the cheapest travel route by taking an overnight train to Suratthani, followed by the 1.5 hour ferry to Koh Samui.

 

Best Time to Visit

We visited Koh Samui in late February/early March this year and really enjoyed the weather, especially during mornings and late afternoons, which were perfectly suitable times to make the most of the pools and beaches.

Koh Samui is at its peak vacation weather around late December, when there are a few showers of rain and an abundance of sunshine to bask in. October and November are probably your best pick to visit the country due to the moderate rainfall {in case you’re looking to save money}, while April and May are not ideal months due to the dryness and strong sun. Bear in mind, March, April and May are suitable months to go whale shark spotting.

 

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How to get around Koh Samui

Unlike its Thai counterparts, Koh Samui does not have a lot of arrangements in terms of public transportation. Popularly used ways of getting to the main city are hailing cabs, the songthaew which costs a small amount of 20 baht per ticket or driving around in a rental car. Traffic can get quite tricky and overwhelming, so if you are not a hundred percent confident in your driving skills, opt out of the rental car option.

Water transportation is a popular way to get to some beaches and for island hopping {for those that are not connected by road}. Longtail boats, motorboats, canoes, cruise ships and yachts are all the ways of commuting from island to island and you will find the information you need at each of the piers. Keep in mind to check the price/ price lists for all of them before picking and boarding your boat.

 

Accommodation

Read my post here for more information.

 

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What to Pack Tips

Keep it light and bright while packing your bag for Koh Samui. The hot and humid weather is the perfect time to pull out your cotton summer dresses, skirts, shorts and blouses, from the closet. I personally packed all my airy and breathable outfits for this trip to ensure comfort in the sultry weather.

Vikram more often than not, dressed himself up in a comfortable pair of cotton or board shorts with cotton or sweat wicking t-shirts. Apart from your daily outfits, we would obviously suggest you carry your swimwear for your dips into the swimming pool and the sea, plus hats and footwear that are easy to slide on and off.

 

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Take a Day Trip to Ang Thong National Marine Park

If the movie ~ The Beach ~ struck you as a piece of paradise, you might be well aware that it was filmed in the picturesque Maya Bay in Phi Phi Islands. A little pocket fact is that the inspiration behind Alex Garland’s novel is none other than the virgin islands of Ang Thong National Marine Park.

Located off the Gulf of Thailand, Ang Thong was arguably the highlight of our time in Thailand. 42 virgin islands come together to form the Ang Thong Archipelago, and I am not exaggerating when I say it looked like it was straight out of a movie! I could have stood and admired the view for the rest of my trip there {ha!}. Decorated with palm-fringed white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, an evergreen forest, stunning rock formations, hidden lagoons, colourful coral reefs and some magnificent bays ~ this piece of paradise looked like a utopian dream that I never wanted to wake up from!

 

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We embarked on our Ang Thong tour from Koh Samui. Here’s what to expect from a perfect day trip to Ang Thong Marine National Park!

Please note: In this guide, I will first cover the technical information you will need to get around and arrange for this day trip, after which we will jump into my personal take on my once in a lifetime experience!

How to Get There

A popular tourist destination amongst all the neighbouring Thai islands such as Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao, most travellers have this on their checklist whilst touring the country. We booked our tour through the resort itself, offering us two ways of getting to Ang Thong Marine Park. A compulsory fee of 300 baht per person was charged to enter the National Park as a foreigner, supplemented by our travel cost via speedboat that came to about 2400 baht per person, or opting for a slower boat which worked out to about 900 baht per person.

Our tour package included a bus pick up and drop from our hotel in a minibus which was satisfying in terms of cleanliness, time and efficiency. Pickup time varies depending on the hotel you are residing in and where it is located, all of which will be coordinated with your hotel itself to keep you well informed. The boat was stocked up with a light breakfast for all the guests to snack on, which included a healthy range of bananas, juices and the mandatory tea and coffee, to get you up and active for your action packed day planned ahead.

I would recommend grabbing a good meal at your hotel before catching the minibus to the National Park, if you need an appetising breakfast like we did. A buffet lunch was set up on the main island of Ko Wua Ta Lap, which is the headquarters of the Park, which was filling but nothing too special to elaborate on. Our package also included an insurance coverage, our tour leaders and the boat crew that accompanied us during the activities of the day.

A word of advice: I would personally like to suggest taking the big boat tour because it may be a slower mode of getting to the park but you get to settle in more comfortably and you get a longer duration to admire your surroundings. This is also perfect for those of you looking to take plenty of photos of the beautiful landscapes.

Tip: You should aim to book your tour at least a week or two in advance to make sure you get your tickets for the park. If you are visiting the country during peak season, that is, December to March, booking even earlier than two weeks is a good idea.

 

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The Itinerary

  • Koh Mae Ko Island and Lagoon

Our first stop of this scenic tour was the Emerald Lagoon {Talay Nai}, which was most definitely a very popular spot! Just about every tour made a stop here and for obvious reasons. The waves of the lagoon broke along the golden sand shoreline in rhythm of a melodious song. An easy and short walk up a pathway of steps led to the emerald green lagoon at a well heighted viewpoint of 240m, to have you gobsmacked at this gem of a vision!

Back at the shoreline, the beach was lined up with a few hammocks and swings, perfect for those looking to relax and take in the beauty of this picturesque setting in front of you.

Tip: The narrow stairs that lead you up to the view point can get quite busy, so keep in mind to spare plenty time for what is a rather short walk.

 

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  • Koh Wua Talap Viewpoint

An hour into marvelling the Emerald Lagoon, we moved to our second stop of the tour that was Koh Wua Talap, the largest island of the park. Packed with activities for the adventurers and thrill seekers, you can opt to go kayaking or hiking to the viewpoint of this island. Vikram and I had seen too many pictures of the scenery the viewpoint had to offer, so we hurried off to get our hike on!

Forty five minutes later, after some struggle and a lot of sweat, we had finally reached our destination to the top, literally! The cover of the canopy left us in the open air, sweating bullets under the scorching sun and the steep stairway, but no amount of pain could obstruct us from the state of shock we found ourselves in! A jaw dropping view of the 42 islands of the National Park from the viewpoint made every drop of sweat and sore muscle, worth the effort!

Ang Thong Marine Park is truly a precious slice of nature, with its smooth stretches of white sand beaches, and sweeping dramatic landscapes. For anyone not from this part of the world or used to seeing any of this in the flesh, it can be properly stunning!

Tip: Remember to slip into sensible footwear such as walking/ hiking shoes, because the hike will not be a comfortable one in slippers. We encountered a few adorable monkeys during our hike, but it is important to note that you should not feed the wildlife in the park.

 

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We eventually headed back down and back on the boat to head to the main island for lunch. The buffet here was nothing spectacular, but it was good to get some nourishment after our hike. We caught a few relaxing moments on the beach, which was a nice break after our sweltering hike.

After, we headed back to Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui, where we reached at a reasonable time of 5pm. The company that had arranged our minibus pick up in the morning had arranged our drop back to the resort, depending on our assigned numbers for our vicinity.

 

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Conclusion

With the innumerable day trips arranged for daily, the tour was almost mechanical and had a very distinct promptness to maintain schedule, which was a definite brownie point. You can also opt to take a private tour, but that is slightly heavier on the pocket, depending on how many people constitute the group.

I believe that this is one of the worthiest day trips, and for those putting together a bucket list of activities, do not leave this Park out! This place offers beauty and elegance no mainland can offer you, especially on a bright sunny day.

Watch a slice of paradise unveil itself because no picture will ever sum up the awestruck feeling when visiting Ang Thong National Marine Park! 

 

If you have visited Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park, on either a day trip or an overnight stay, let me know your thoughts! As always, comments and questions are more than welcome 🙂

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