Ang Thong Marine National Park, established in 1980, covers an area of more than 80% of the entire archipelago. Ang Thong park is a protected area of more than 100 square kilometers of land and sea, and home to a rich variety of exotic wildlife and sea creatures.
Highlights and Features
Ang Thong has some of the most unusual and spectacular scenery in all of Thailand. Its steep limestone cliffs, some rising as high as 400 metres, have been formed into wondrous shapes by centuries of erosion. This ‘Golden Basin’, as ‘Ang Thong’ translates into, features four distinct types of forest, all teeming with wildlife. Some of the creatures to be spotted here are langurs (long-tailed monkeys), little herons, hair-nosed otters, pacific reef egrets, white-bellied sea eagles.
With 42 islands to discover, a complete tour of Ang Thong would take weeks, but most with limited amount of time find their way to Koh Mae (Mother Island), which has a stunning beach and an inland saltwater lagoon called Emerald Lake (Thale Nai). A popular climb up pathways and a wooden staircase takes you to the peak of a nearby mountain where you get the full view of this glittering sea-green body of water. Koh Sam Sao (Tripod Island) features a coral reef, a large and dramatic rock arch and some great hiking grounds.
Getting There & Around
As a national park, only government-approved tour boats may enter Ang Thong, which may be booked on Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao. Sailing liveaboard cruise trips and speedboat charters may also be organised. Most tours stop at a few different locations and combine a day of hiking, sightseeing, kayaking and lounging on the beaches. Some of the hikes require a good level of fitness, so be sure to check with your guide or agent about the degree of difficulty before setting off!
Ang Thong is 28 kilometres from Samui and 32 kilometres from Pha Ngan. The national park entry fee (sometimes included in the tour cost) is 200 baht for foreign adults, 100 baht for foreign children, and 40 baht for Thai nationals.