Ang Thong National Marine Park is a pristine archipelago of 42 islands in the Gulf of Thailand. It features towering limestone mountains, thick jungle, white-sand beaches, waterfalls and hidden coves and lakes to explore. The protected area of more than 100 sq km of land and sea has a rich biodiversity. Snorkelling, hiking, sea kayaking, diving, and simply relaxing are the main activities to enjoy at Ang Thong.
Most Ang Thong visitors arrive on a join-in day trip or by boat charter from Koh Samui or Koh Phangan. For those who wish to stay overnight, there are simple bungalows and camping tents available on Koh Wua Ta Lap. The Park Headquarters also hosts a simple restaurant. Even with its increasing popularity, the islands have maintained their picture-postcard appeal.
- Ang Thong Adventure Tour
- Ko Tao & Ko Nang Yuan Snorkeling Tour
- Jungle Adventure
- Sea Kayaking at Ang Thong Marine Park
- Around the Island Tour
- Temples & City Tour
- Big Game Fishing Full-Day Tour
- 4-Wheel ATV Adventure
- Red Baron Junk Sailing Tour with Transfers
- Guided Photography Tour with Golden Pagoda & Big Buddha
Interested in this tour? Book it here.
Ang Thong Marine National Park's history
Ang Thong Marine National Park, established in 1980, covers an area of more than 80% of the entire archipelago. Its national park status ensures that development remains minimal. Only a few licensed tour operators have access to the park.
Ang Thong gained widespread renown when it appeared in the novel The Beach by Alex Garland. It's the destination where backpackers in search of a secret island utopia set up camp. The subsequent movie starring Leonardo Di Caprio was actually filmed on Koh Phi Phi Leh, but by then Ang Thong was already on the bucket-list of many travellers.
Only one of its islands, Koh Paluay, is inhabited. It's home to a sea-gypsy community that largely maintains its traditional fishing lifestyle.
Ang Thong 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 4 distinct types of forest, all teeming with wildlife. Some of the creatures that live here are langurs (long-tailed monkeys), little herons, hair-nosed otters, pacific reef egrets, white-bellied sea eagles, sea turtles, iguanas and pythons. In the surrounding sea, many colourful fish can be seen, offering some decent snorkelling and diving sights.
With 42 islands to discover, a complete tour of Ang Thong would take weeks. Only a few islands are visited during day trips from Samui. Those include the aforementioned Koh Wua Ta Lap. Additionally, most visitors with a limited amount of time find their way to Koh Mae (Mother Island). This island 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 to and around Ang Thong
As a national park, only government-approved tour boats may enter Ang Thong. These day trips may be booked on Koh Samui, Koh Phangan or Koh Tao. Sailing liveaboard cruise trips and speedboat charters may also be organised. Most tours stop at a few different locations. They 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 about the degree of difficulty before setting off!
Ang Thong is 28 km from Samui and 32 km from Pha Ngan and the best time to visit Ang Thong Marine National Park is from March to October when the seas are calmer. The park is sometimes closed due to inclement weather in the months of November through January.
Ang Thong National Marine Park
- Location: Ang Thong, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand