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'''Ang Thong National Marine Park''' is a fascinating archipelago of 42 or so islands in the [[Central Gulf Coast]] of [[Southern Thailand]]. It is north west of [[Ko Samui]].
+
'''Ang Thong National Marine Park''' is a fascinating archipelago of 42 or so islands in the [[Central Gulf Coast]] of [[Southern Thailand]]. It is northwest of [[Ko Samui]].
  
 
==Understand==
 
==Understand==
  
Most of the islands are close to each other making a breathtaking panorama sailing around the park. All the islands are of different sizes and shapes. Most of them are covered with tropical forests and named after their distinguishing geography, a kind of descriptive appellation, such as 'Sleeping Cow Island' and 'Three Pillars Island'.  
+
Most of the islands are close to each other, making a breathtaking panorama when sailing around the park. All the islands are of different sizes and shapes. Most of them are covered with tropical forests and named after their distinguishing geography, a kind of descriptive appellation, such as 'Sleeping Cow Island' and 'Three Pillars Island'. Ko Wua Talap is the island that contains park headquarters as well as tourist information center, a restaurant,Buaboke Cave, tourist bungalows as well as the famous view point from where you can see the panoramic view of the National Park. Ko Wua Talap has two beaches. Both beaches are located on opposite ends of the island and it is possible to go from one to another via a short but by no means easy jungle trek (around 30 mins) using a trail. There is a rope all along the trail which ensures you do not get lost.
  
 
===History===
 
===History===
Line 9: Line 9:
 
===Landscape===
 
===Landscape===
  
Angthong, translates as 'golden bowl', occupies almost 250 sq km and includes 50 sq km of limestone islands and karsts topography which rise from the sea as dramatic rock cliffs and bizarre rock formations. Caves, hidden lagoons and white sand beaches are there to be explored and snorkeling among the shallow coral gardens makes a popular and fascinating day trip.
+
Ang Thong translates as "golden bowl". It occupies almost 250 sq km and includes 50 sq km of limestone islands and karst topography which rise from the sea as dramatic rock cliffs and bizarre rock formations. Caves, hidden lagoons, and white sand beaches are there to be explored and snorkelling among the shallow coral gardens makes for a popular and fascinating day trip.
  
Ang Thong National Marine Park is a protected nature area consisting of over 40 islands, and is famous for its natural beauty. All of the islands are uninhabited and undeveloped except for one. This island, Ko Paluay, is inhabited by sea-gypsies who still earn a living from fishing.
+
Ang Thong National Marine Park is a protected nature area consisting of over 40 islands, and is famous for its natural beauty. All of the islands are uninhabited and undeveloped except for two. One being Ko Wua Talap and other, Ko Paluay, which is inhabited by sea gypsies who still earn a living from fishing.
  
  
 
===Flora and fauna===  
 
===Flora and fauna===  
 +
 
[[Image:Juvenile_Dusky_Langur.jpg|thumb|300px|Juvenile Dusky Langur on Koh Wuatalab]]
 
[[Image:Juvenile_Dusky_Langur.jpg|thumb|300px|Juvenile Dusky Langur on Koh Wuatalab]]
  
The woods in this national park can be classified as dry evergreen forest, beach forest and limestone forest. Dry evergreen forests are found in larger islands like Wuatalab, Paluay and Samsao.
+
The woods in this national park can be classified as dry evergreen forest, beach forest, and limestone forest. Dry evergreen forests are found in larger islands like Wuatalab, Paluay and Samsao.
 +
 
 
Beach forests are lighter woods found in small stretches along the beaches and the shoulders.
 
Beach forests are lighter woods found in small stretches along the beaches and the shoulders.
 
Limestone forests are found on limestone mountains with thin soil layer. Plants are smaller.
 
Limestone forests are found on limestone mountains with thin soil layer. Plants are smaller.
  
Larger animals do not thrive on these islands as they are small and dominated mostly by steep limestone mountains, with only few lightly to moderately slanted plains.
+
Larger animals do not thrive on these islands as they are small and dominated mostly by steep limestone mountains, with only few lightly to moderately slanted plains. Sixteen species of mammals like otters, langurs, crab-eating monkeys, hogs, silver haired bats, dolphins, and whales can be found here.
Sixteen species of mammals like otters, langurs, crab-eating monkeys, hogs, silver haired bats, dolphins and whales are found.
+
  
Other inhabitants are at least 54 species of birds, including Little Herons, Brahminy Kites, Common Sandpipers, Oriental Pied Hornbills, Drongoes and Hill Mynas.
+
Other inhabitants include at least 54 species of birds, including little herons, Brahminy kites, common sandpipers, oriental pied hornbills, drongoes and hill mynas. Fourteen species of reptiles are also found. Such as ground lizards, iguanas, Green turtles, hawksbill turtles, pythons, and cobras.
14 species of reptiles are found like ground lizards, iguanas, Green turtles, Hawksbill turtles, phytons and cobras.
+
  
Only five species of amphibians are found, Common Asian Toads, Tiger frogs, Rugose frogs, Grass frogs and Tree frogs.
+
Only five species of amphibians are found: common Asian toads, tiger frogs, rugose frogs, grass frogs, and tree frogs.
  
The waters of the national park are home to Butterfly fish, Angel fish, Parrot fish, Blue-Spotted fantail rays, Blacktip reef sharks, snappers groupers, sea slugs, blue swimming crabs, sea fans, sea whips, giant clams, oysters and coral. The park is also a breeding ground for mackerel.
+
The waters of the national park are home to butterfly fish, angel fish, parrot fish, blue-spotted fantail rays, blacktip reef sharks, snappers, groupers, sea slugs, blue swimming crabs, sea fans, sea whips, giant clams, oysters, and coral. The park is also a breeding ground for mackerel.
  
 
===Climate===
 
===Climate===
  
 
==Get in==
 
==Get in==
Access to the Marine Park is controlled, but there are several Samui based boat rental and kayak operators who are licenced carriers, catering to both independent visitors and in organized kayaking/camping trips. There are also boats based in [[Koh Phangan]] and [[Koh Tao]] that run sailing live aboard cruises to the Ang Thong marine park.
 
  
You can go to Marine park by slow time consuming ferries with many other people in big group (40-50 people, only from Ko Samui) or in smaller group (max. 25 people) by speedboats so you can enjoy more from park. Tours from Ko Phangan cost 1600B (+200B entrance fee). Tour includes pick-up from accommodation, light breakfast, speedboat transfer to marine park with nice snorkelling (better than anywhere on Ko Phangan), visiting crowded touristy Emerald lake viewpoint, then buffet style lunch on another island with beautiful viewpoint and tough hiking (if you will go to the top without breaks at three lower viewpoints and you are really fit you can be on top in 30mins, lower viewpoints with worse views are less challenging) and then relax on another island at deserted beach where you can do kayaking (+200B/person) and transfer back to Ko Phangan and to accommodation. If you want avoid crowds and money is not problem or you are travelling with friends in bigger group you can do private tour for 15000B for maximum 10 people (price from same travel agency, maybe possible to bargain or cheaper at other places) on the speedboat and you can depart/arrive at any time.
+
Access to the park is controlled, but there are several Samui-based boat rental and kayak operators who are licensed carriers, catering to both independent visitors and organized kayaking day trips. There are also boats based on [[Ko Phangan]] or [[Ko Tao]] that run sailing livea board cruises to Ang Thong.
 +
For sailing livea boards from Ko Tao contact [http://www.island-cruises.org/] or for budget group sailing cruises with accommodation ashore on Wua Talap Island in tents starting from Koh Tao or Koh Phangan, contact here[http://www.adventure-cruises.net/] or here [http://www.safariboat.info/]
 +
 
 +
You can go to the park via slow, time-consuming ferries with many other people in big groups (40-50 persons, only from Ko Samui or Pha Ngan) or in smaller groups (maximum 25 persons) by speedboat, so that you can enjoy more from park and less transit. As on Feb 2013 , Tours from Samui or Pha Ngan can cost anywhere between 1300 baht (including park fees excluding kayaking) to 2100 baht(Kayaking and park fee included).Tours includes pick-up from accommodation, a light breakfast, speedboat transfer to the park with nice snorkelling (better than anywhere on Ko Pha Ngan), visiting crowded touristy Emerald Lake viewpoint, then a buffet lunch either on the ferry or on Ko Wua Talap (park headquarters) island which contains the beautiful viewpoint.
 +
Reaching this view point on top of a cliff needs some tough hiking. If you can go to the top without breaks at three lower viewpoints and you are really fit you can be on top in 30 mins. Lower viewpoints with lesser views are less challenging.
 +
 +
Note that many times due to high tide on the main beach of Ko Wua Talap it is not possible for ferries to drop you on the main beach. In that case most operators will take you to the second beach on the other end of the island and will try to convince you stay on this beach robbing you of the chance to climb up to viewpoint. In that case do insist that you want to go to the other end using the jungle trail and that you need more time.
 +
 
 +
While most tourists will go on the day tour as per the itenary mentioned above , to truly appreciate the heaven that is this place it is recommended that you stay on the basic bungalows for atleast 1-2 nights. The reservation for the bungalows can be made by thai government website. Reservations should be made well in advance as they tend to get booked pretty fast. 
 +
 
 +
If you want avoid crowds and money is not a problem or you are travelling with friends in a bigger group, you can do a private tour for 15,000 baht for a maximum of 10 persons.
  
 
==Fees/Permits==
 
==Fees/Permits==
Entrance fee to the marine park: Normally not included in the tour fee unless otherwise specified, 200 baht/foreigner, 100 baht for foreigner kids under 12 years old. Price for locals 40 baht.
+
 
 +
Admission to the marine park is normally not included in the tour fee unless otherwise specified. 200 baht/foreigner, 100 baht for foreign children under 12 years old. Price for locals 40 baht.
  
 
==Get around==
 
==Get around==
Line 45: Line 55:
 
The most common transport from Ko Samui are tour boats taking 40-50 people, with lunch on board.  These require you to transfer to a longtail boat to get onto the shore of whatever island you are visiting, which can be tricky and requires a modicum of fitness.   
 
The most common transport from Ko Samui are tour boats taking 40-50 people, with lunch on board.  These require you to transfer to a longtail boat to get onto the shore of whatever island you are visiting, which can be tricky and requires a modicum of fitness.   
  
Or else you can take speedboat tours which also provide a snorkeling program and less people in group/board. It gets you to the archipelago faster. The best way is to put together a group of friends to hire a boat and explore the islands and beaches in your own time.
+
You can take speedboat tours which also include a snorkelling program and fewer people. It gets you to the archipelago faster. The best way is to put together a group of friends to hire a boat and explore the islands and beaches on your own schedule.
  
Most tours go to the Park's Visitor Center for lunch and kayaking. The Visitor Center is visited by most tour operators, making it very crowded.
+
Most tours go to the park's visitor centre for lunch and kayaking. The visitor centre is visited by most tour operators, making it very crowded, from about 10:00 to 16:00. Before and after, it's a totally secluded place with almost nobody around.
This applies for the time from about 10am to 4pm. Before and after it's a totally secluded place with almost nobody around.
+
  
 
==See==
 
==See==
Line 54: Line 63:
 
[[image:thale_nai.jpg|frame|Thale Nai - An emerald saltwater lake]]  
 
[[image:thale_nai.jpg|frame|Thale Nai - An emerald saltwater lake]]  
  
Ko Mae Ko (Mother Island) is a must to visit. Here, an emerald seawater lake in the middle of the island is encircled on all sides by limestone cliffs, but linked by an underground tunnel connecting with the sea. Reaching the lake entails a strenuous climb of 40 minutes or so, but is rewarded with a spectacular view across the whole park.
+
Ko Mae Ko (Mother Island) is a must-visit. Here, an emerald seawater lake in the middle of the island is encircled on all sides by limestone cliffs, but linked by an underground tunnel to the sea. Reaching the lake entails a strenuous climb of 40 minutes or so, but is rewarded with a spectacular view across the whole park.
  
Rather, the climb is up a series of staircases wonderfully combined into the natural landscape of the karst, threading through a narrow opening in the rock face at one point, and entailing minimum exertion if you pace yourself and are in decent physical shape. The final series of steps is a bit steep and caution should be exercised when descending the steps, but the entire trip up and down would not take 40 minutes unless you stopped and enjoyed the spectacular Emerald Lagoon, as the locals call this trapped sea-lake inside the collapsed island, for 20 minutes or so from the lookout point at the very top.
+
The climb is up a series of staircases wonderfully combined into the natural landscape of the karst, threading through a narrow opening in the rock face at one point, and entailing minimum exertion if you pace yourself and are in decent physical shape. The final series of steps is a bit steep and caution should be exercised when descending the steps, but the entire trip up and down should not take more than 40 minutes unless you stop and enjoy spectacular Emerald Lagoon.
  
 
==Do==
 
==Do==
  
Caves in many of the islands have intriguing rock formations. Visit one for an awesome experience. The beaches are surrounded with excellent coral reefs which make for perfect swimming and snorkeling. Hundreds of beaches here in the archipelago are deserted. Get a boat and find your own secret beach away from the crowds.
+
Caves on many of the islands have intriguing rock formations. Visit one for an awesome experience. The beaches are surrounded with excellent coral reefs which make for perfect swimming and snorkelling. Hundreds of beaches here in the archipelago are deserted. Get a boat and find your own secret beach away from the crowds.
 
+
Other popular sites are Ko Sam Sao (Tripod Island) with an extensive coral reef and Wua Talap Island or 'sleeping cow'. It takes some effort to climb up the steep 430m hill to a viewpoint offering great scenery of the entire archipelago and the mainland.
+
*<do name="renate Rue" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long=""></do>
+
  
 +
Other popular sites are Ko Sam Sao (Tripod Island), with an extensive coral reef, and Wua Talap Island or "sleeping cow". It takes some effort to climb up the steep 430 m hill to a viewpoint offering great scenery of the entire archipelago and the mainland. 
  
 
==Buy==
 
==Buy==
Line 70: Line 77:
 
==Eat==
 
==Eat==
  
The main restaurant managed by Nam is excellent and offers a variety of cuisine. Only be careful to order early as the cook leaves by 10pm and the lights go out by 11pm. Cheapest rie meal is vegetable fried rice from 60B, usually delicious meals with good portions cost 100-120B, worth spending money, but place your order as soon as possible, because preparation is VERY slow, expect waiting for 30-40mins for meal in not crowded restaurant.
+
The main restaurant, managed by Nam, is excellent and offers a variety of cuisine. Be careful to order early as the cook leaves by 22:00 and the lights go out at 23:00. Cheapest meal is vegetable fried rice at 60 baht. Delicious meals with good portions cost 100-120 baht, worth every penny, but place your order as soon as possible, because preparation is VERY slow. Expect waiting for 30-40 minutes for meals in this uncrowded restaurant.
  
 
==Drink==
 
==Drink==
  
The Park headquarters offer two "bars" that sell beer. And by bar, this usually means a cooler full of beer. But when sitting on the beach watching the sun set, it beats most bars and clubs fairly easily.
+
The park headquarters has two "bars" that sell beer. By "bar", we mean a cooler full of beer. But when sitting on the beach watching the sunset, it beats most bars and clubs fairly easily.
  
You should take water anyway, you'll need plenty.
+
You should take water. You'll need plenty.
  
 
==Sleep==
 
==Sleep==
  
The park headquarters are located on Ko Wua Talab, which has basic bungalow accommodation.
+
The park headquarters is located on Ko Wua Talap, which has basic bungalow accommodation.
  
 
===Lodging===
 
===Lodging===
  
The park has 5 bungalows which are of different sizes. The costs are quite low - 500 Baht per day - for a 2 bedroom cottage. The cottages are set in a beautiful backdrop and the park staff are very friendly, and fanatical about football. However please note that the park is not for the resort seeker. Facilities are basic - no hot water - and the park shuts off its electric supply at 11pm. So no electricity at night which only adds to the appeal of the place.
+
The park has 5 bungalows which are of different sizes. The costs are quite low: 500 baht per day for a 2 bedroom cottage. The cottages are set against a beautiful backdrop and the park staff are very friendly, and fanatical about football. However, please note that the park is not for the resort seeker. Facilities are basic: no hot water. And the park shuts off its generator at 23:00. So no electricity at night (which only adds to the appeal of the place). Reservations can be made using thai government website [dnp.go.th/parkreserve/reservation.asp?lg=2].
  
 
===Camping===
 
===Camping===
  
In case the cottages are full, you can rent a tent for 2 for 250 Baht. You can also bring your own tent and camp at the camping grounds. But you will almost always find a tent to rent.
+
If the cottages are full, you can rent a tent for 2 for 250 baht. You can also bring your own tent and camp at the campground. But you will almost always find a tent to rent.
  
 
===Backcountry===
 
===Backcountry===
  
Probably one of the best hikes in Thailand. In the National Park headquarters there is a path leading up the side of the rocks. This will take maybe 25-30 minutes to walk up, and well worth it. But be warned, this is not a hike for the faint hearted. Make sure you have good footwear as there are sharp limestone crags which will be your foothold, especially towards the peak. With a breathtaking view of all the Ang Thong islands, the end result of the hike is well worth it. Beware though, the hike is very steep in some sections and offer questionable ropes to hang on to. But this hike will justify the trip to Ang Thong alone.
+
Probably one of the best hikes in Thailand. At park headquarters there is a path leading up the side of the rocks. This will take maybe 25-30 minutes to walk up, and well worth it. But be warned, this is not a hike for the faint-hearted. Make sure you have good footwear as there are sharp limestone crags which will be your foothold, especially towards the peak. With a breathtaking view of all the Ang Thong islands, the end-result of the hike is well worth it. Beware though, the hike is very steep in some sections and offer questionable ropes to hang on to. But this hike alone will justify your trip to Ang Thong.
  
 
==Stay safe==
 
==Stay safe==
Obvious things like take water, hat, sunscreen and something like an old t-shirt to cover up with when you snorkling are always worth mentioning.
+
 
 +
Obvious things like take water, hat, sunscreen and something like an old t-shirt to cover up with when you are snorkelling.
  
 
==Get out==
 
==Get out==
Line 101: Line 109:
 
*[[Ko Samui]] - well-developed tourist beach destination
 
*[[Ko Samui]] - well-developed tourist beach destination
  
[[WikiPedia:Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park]]
+
[[WikiPedia: Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park]]
 +
 
 +
[[Category: Thai national parks]]
  
 
{{isPartOf|Central Gulf Coast}}
 
{{isPartOf|Central Gulf Coast}}
 
{{outline}}
 
{{outline}}
 
[[de:Ang Thong Marine National Park]]
 
[[de:Ang Thong Marine National Park]]

Revision as of 09:12, 14 July 2013

Ang Thong National Marine Park is a fascinating archipelago of 42 or so islands in the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand. It is northwest of Ko Samui.

Contents

Understand

Most of the islands are close to each other, making a breathtaking panorama when sailing around the park. All the islands are of different sizes and shapes. Most of them are covered with tropical forests and named after their distinguishing geography, a kind of descriptive appellation, such as 'Sleeping Cow Island' and 'Three Pillars Island'. Ko Wua Talap is the island that contains park headquarters as well as tourist information center, a restaurant,Buaboke Cave, tourist bungalows as well as the famous view point from where you can see the panoramic view of the National Park. Ko Wua Talap has two beaches. Both beaches are located on opposite ends of the island and it is possible to go from one to another via a short but by no means easy jungle trek (around 30 mins) using a trail. There is a rope all along the trail which ensures you do not get lost.

History

Landscape

Ang Thong translates as "golden bowl". It occupies almost 250 sq km and includes 50 sq km of limestone islands and karst topography which rise from the sea as dramatic rock cliffs and bizarre rock formations. Caves, hidden lagoons, and white sand beaches are there to be explored and snorkelling among the shallow coral gardens makes for a popular and fascinating day trip.

Ang Thong National Marine Park is a protected nature area consisting of over 40 islands, and is famous for its natural beauty. All of the islands are uninhabited and undeveloped except for two. One being Ko Wua Talap and other, Ko Paluay, which is inhabited by sea gypsies who still earn a living from fishing.


Flora and fauna

Juvenile Dusky Langur on Koh Wuatalab

The woods in this national park can be classified as dry evergreen forest, beach forest, and limestone forest. Dry evergreen forests are found in larger islands like Wuatalab, Paluay and Samsao.

Beach forests are lighter woods found in small stretches along the beaches and the shoulders. Limestone forests are found on limestone mountains with thin soil layer. Plants are smaller.

Larger animals do not thrive on these islands as they are small and dominated mostly by steep limestone mountains, with only few lightly to moderately slanted plains. Sixteen species of mammals like otters, langurs, crab-eating monkeys, hogs, silver haired bats, dolphins, and whales can be found here.

Other inhabitants include at least 54 species of birds, including little herons, Brahminy kites, common sandpipers, oriental pied hornbills, drongoes and hill mynas. Fourteen species of reptiles are also found. Such as ground lizards, iguanas, Green turtles, hawksbill turtles, pythons, and cobras.

Only five species of amphibians are found: common Asian toads, tiger frogs, rugose frogs, grass frogs, and tree frogs.

The waters of the national park are home to butterfly fish, angel fish, parrot fish, blue-spotted fantail rays, blacktip reef sharks, snappers, groupers, sea slugs, blue swimming crabs, sea fans, sea whips, giant clams, oysters, and coral. The park is also a breeding ground for mackerel.

Climate

Get in

Access to the park is controlled, but there are several Samui-based boat rental and kayak operators who are licensed carriers, catering to both independent visitors and organized kayaking day trips. There are also boats based on Ko Phangan or Ko Tao that run sailing livea board cruises to Ang Thong. For sailing livea boards from Ko Tao contact [1] or for budget group sailing cruises with accommodation ashore on Wua Talap Island in tents starting from Koh Tao or Koh Phangan, contact here[2] or here [3]

You can go to the park via slow, time-consuming ferries with many other people in big groups (40-50 persons, only from Ko Samui or Pha Ngan) or in smaller groups (maximum 25 persons) by speedboat, so that you can enjoy more from park and less transit. As on Feb 2013 , Tours from Samui or Pha Ngan can cost anywhere between 1300 baht (including park fees excluding kayaking) to 2100 baht(Kayaking and park fee included).Tours includes pick-up from accommodation, a light breakfast, speedboat transfer to the park with nice snorkelling (better than anywhere on Ko Pha Ngan), visiting crowded touristy Emerald Lake viewpoint, then a buffet lunch either on the ferry or on Ko Wua Talap (park headquarters) island which contains the beautiful viewpoint. Reaching this view point on top of a cliff needs some tough hiking. If you can go to the top without breaks at three lower viewpoints and you are really fit you can be on top in 30 mins. Lower viewpoints with lesser views are less challenging.

Note that many times due to high tide on the main beach of Ko Wua Talap it is not possible for ferries to drop you on the main beach. In that case most operators will take you to the second beach on the other end of the island and will try to convince you stay on this beach robbing you of the chance to climb up to viewpoint. In that case do insist that you want to go to the other end using the jungle trail and that you need more time.

While most tourists will go on the day tour as per the itenary mentioned above , to truly appreciate the heaven that is this place it is recommended that you stay on the basic bungalows for atleast 1-2 nights. The reservation for the bungalows can be made by thai government website. Reservations should be made well in advance as they tend to get booked pretty fast.

If you want avoid crowds and money is not a problem or you are travelling with friends in a bigger group, you can do a private tour for 15,000 baht for a maximum of 10 persons.

Fees/Permits

Admission to the marine park is normally not included in the tour fee unless otherwise specified. 200 baht/foreigner, 100 baht for foreign children under 12 years old. Price for locals 40 baht.

Get around

The most common transport from Ko Samui are tour boats taking 40-50 people, with lunch on board. These require you to transfer to a longtail boat to get onto the shore of whatever island you are visiting, which can be tricky and requires a modicum of fitness.

You can take speedboat tours which also include a snorkelling program and fewer people. It gets you to the archipelago faster. The best way is to put together a group of friends to hire a boat and explore the islands and beaches on your own schedule.

Most tours go to the park's visitor centre for lunch and kayaking. The visitor centre is visited by most tour operators, making it very crowded, from about 10:00 to 16:00. Before and after, it's a totally secluded place with almost nobody around.

See

Thale Nai - An emerald saltwater lake

Ko Mae Ko (Mother Island) is a must-visit. Here, an emerald seawater lake in the middle of the island is encircled on all sides by limestone cliffs, but linked by an underground tunnel to the sea. Reaching the lake entails a strenuous climb of 40 minutes or so, but is rewarded with a spectacular view across the whole park.

The climb is up a series of staircases wonderfully combined into the natural landscape of the karst, threading through a narrow opening in the rock face at one point, and entailing minimum exertion if you pace yourself and are in decent physical shape. The final series of steps is a bit steep and caution should be exercised when descending the steps, but the entire trip up and down should not take more than 40 minutes unless you stop and enjoy spectacular Emerald Lagoon.

Do

Caves on many of the islands have intriguing rock formations. Visit one for an awesome experience. The beaches are surrounded with excellent coral reefs which make for perfect swimming and snorkelling. Hundreds of beaches here in the archipelago are deserted. Get a boat and find your own secret beach away from the crowds.

Other popular sites are Ko Sam Sao (Tripod Island), with an extensive coral reef, and Wua Talap Island or "sleeping cow". It takes some effort to climb up the steep 430 m hill to a viewpoint offering great scenery of the entire archipelago and the mainland.

Buy

Eat

The main restaurant, managed by Nam, is excellent and offers a variety of cuisine. Be careful to order early as the cook leaves by 22:00 and the lights go out at 23:00. Cheapest meal is vegetable fried rice at 60 baht. Delicious meals with good portions cost 100-120 baht, worth every penny, but place your order as soon as possible, because preparation is VERY slow. Expect waiting for 30-40 minutes for meals in this uncrowded restaurant.

Drink

The park headquarters has two "bars" that sell beer. By "bar", we mean a cooler full of beer. But when sitting on the beach watching the sunset, it beats most bars and clubs fairly easily.

You should take water. You'll need plenty.

Sleep

The park headquarters is located on Ko Wua Talap, which has basic bungalow accommodation.

Lodging

The park has 5 bungalows which are of different sizes. The costs are quite low: 500 baht per day for a 2 bedroom cottage. The cottages are set against a beautiful backdrop and the park staff are very friendly, and fanatical about football. However, please note that the park is not for the resort seeker. Facilities are basic: no hot water. And the park shuts off its generator at 23:00. So no electricity at night (which only adds to the appeal of the place). Reservations can be made using thai government website [dnp.go.th/parkreserve/reservation.asp?lg=2].

Camping

If the cottages are full, you can rent a tent for 2 for 250 baht. You can also bring your own tent and camp at the campground. But you will almost always find a tent to rent.

Backcountry

Probably one of the best hikes in Thailand. At park headquarters there is a path leading up the side of the rocks. This will take maybe 25-30 minutes to walk up, and well worth it. But be warned, this is not a hike for the faint-hearted. Make sure you have good footwear as there are sharp limestone crags which will be your foothold, especially towards the peak. With a breathtaking view of all the Ang Thong islands, the end-result of the hike is well worth it. Beware though, the hike is very steep in some sections and offer questionable ropes to hang on to. But this hike alone will justify your trip to Ang Thong.

Stay safe

Obvious things like take water, hat, sunscreen and something like an old t-shirt to cover up with when you are snorkelling.

Get out

  • Ko Samui - well-developed tourist beach destination



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