The 42 karst islets of Ang Thong National Marine Park (Mu Koh Ang Thong) in southern Thailand comprise a picturesque seascape spanning more than 95 square miles (246 square kilometers). These limestone pinnacles harbor secluded powdery beaches, sheer cliffs, and caves, and are home to myriad birds, monkeys, dolphins, and other wildlife.
Ang Thong National Park is a popular destination for Thailand visitors seeking a little adventure and a lot of nature. Tropical and dry evergreen forests of the interior area house oriental pied hornbills, little herons, crab-eating monkeys, and bats. In the shallow waters, sometimes you can find dolphins, whales, and otters. It’s said that the park inspired the backpacker utopia of Alex Garland’s The Beach.
Most travelers experience Ang Thong on single-day guided tours from Koh Samui or Koh Phangan to Wua Talap Island and its famous Emerald Lake. These guided tours are the way to go, and most day trips include lunch, snorkeling gear, park admission fees, and hotel transfers. Tour boats are often multi-story, open-air, 40- to 50-person crafts, but small private speedboats or luxury yachts are also available. If you wanting to see what’s under the surface, opt for snorkeling, sea kayaking, or scuba diving tours.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Ang Thong National Marine Park is a must for nature lovers and adventure travelers.
- Choose between a group boat tour or a private excursion aboard a speedboat or luxury yacht.
- Full-day tours to Ang Thong from Koh Samui last upwards of eight hours.
- Don’t forget to bring swimwear, a towel, sunscreen, and a hat.
- Most tours provide water and snorkeling gear.
How to Get There
Ang Thong Marine Park is accessible only by boat. You can choose from a whole host of options, from big party boats to private boat charters.
When to Get There
The best months to visit the national park are between March and October, when the seas lie flat. The park closes completely during the height of the monsoons—between November and December each year. July and August tend to be the busiest months.
Sea Gypsies of the Ang Thong Islands
All but one of the 42 Ang Thong Islands are uninhabited. The one with a permanent community, Koh Paluay, is home to a traditional community of sea gypsies who still earn a living through traditional fishing methods.