Ang Thong, translated as the “Golden Bowl”, is the protected archipelago of Forty-two islands, situated in the Gulf of Thailand, is known as Ang Thong National Marine Park in Thailand. A vast field of limestone cliffs, lush forests, white sand beaches, waterfalls, concealed coves, and lakes await exploration. This large protected area covers more than 100 square kilometers of sea and land, where species of plants and animals live there.
Koh Wua Ta Lap
The headquarters and vital facilities are situated on Ko Wua Talap, the main island. The headquarters are situated in Kha Bay, on the north of the island. Two white beaches are situated on the island: one at headquarters, the other at the western end. In the HQ region of the park, you will find townhouses, campgrounds, a visitor center, restaurants, shops, and a guide center. Walking for less than half an hour will lead you to the spot where you can enjoy the breathtaking view, what everyone is seeking for.
Travelers with little time to spare typically travel to Koh Mae (Mother Island). There is a saltwater lagoon known as Emerald Lake (Thale Nai) that stretches from the mainland to the sea via underground tunnels, and from there, you can see a gorgeous beach on the island. A 20-minute trek leads to the site with a dramatic view of the lake through a pathway on a local beach. Limestone cliffs surround the lake. Besides, the island has a handful of white beaches.
Koh Sam Sao
Situated on the east side of Ko Mae Ko, this island has several beaches, a great coral reef, and a camping ground. Koh Sam Sao is so isolated untouched and doesn’t contain many facilities. There are no shops or restaurants there. If you desire to try camping, you have to rent one from Koh Wua Ta Lap. An arch of natural stone curves out to sea on the white beach and at the island’s north end. You can try kayaking and snorkeling there.
- Note that rainwater is used to fill the rainwater reservoir in the showers, so there will be no water in the showers most of the time.
Standing about 400 m above sea level, Ko Phaluai is the highest peak in The area. There has been hardly any tourism on the island. Compared to the other islands of Ang Thong, It is a very isolated island. So if you are seeking an untouched place and away from a mass of people, you should go to Ko Phaluai. Keep in mind that the accommodations are limited as well. A few hotels and resorts can be found. Yet, many activities are available there. You can enjoy gorgeous viewpoints, trek with others and even join a Fishing tour with local fishermen.
Nature and Wildlife
The islands are covered by four different types of forests. Here is a list that includes some more details about each.
- Dry Evergreen forest: It can be identified on the more extended islands, including Wua Ta Lap, Phaluai, and Sam Sao. Almost all the Wua Ta Lap and Sam Sao are covered with Dry Evergreen forests.
- Beach Forest: They can be observed in a narrow section, mostly above the highpoint on coasts and all over most of the larger islands.
- Limestone forest: These forests cover the unprotected cliff fronts and the very slight soils of the limestone hills.
- Mangrove forests: They are common on shorelines and on mudflats where shorelines and mudflats have grown together. This forest category is most popular on Mae Koh Island and Phaluai Island’s east coast.
There are only a limited number of animal species. Sixteen mammals, more than fifty birds, fourteen reptiles, hogs, and five amphibian species live in Mu Ko Ang Thong. In the surrounding waters, many-hued fishes can be seen, too. The animals that can be found here include the langurs, little herons, pacific reef egrets, butterflyfish, angelfish, parrotfish, white-bellied sea eagles, sea turtles, iguanas, pythons, corals, etc.
Koh Samui and Koh Phangan are the largest islands in the Gulf. Ang Thong is just 28 km from Samui and 32 km from Phan Gan. Almost all the travelers start by visiting either of these islands, then joining a day tour, or traveling on a boat.
The easiest way to reach Koh Samui and Koh Phangan is to travel there from Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur. Remember that a private company runs the airport in Samui, so these flights are limited to a few airlines and are rather costly at 3,000 Baht (about 95 USD) Restaurants.
After all of these fascinating activities, you may want to eat something at Ang Thong. Thai food and international food at good prices are all available. Fortunately, some restaurants give you some decent options of vegetarian-friendly, vegan, and Gluten-Free food.
Staying at Ang Thong
A lot of travelers try one-day trips. However, for those who prefer spending more time on Ang Thong, there are lots of options available. You can book a luxury room or spend the night in Villas and Resorts. They offer gorgeous views and free Wi-Fi. Also, some include breakfast and free parking. Camping is another option. Remember to check the camping areas before your travel and make sure that you have the accommodations or will surely rent a tent.
Appeals of Ang Thong
Blue Lagoon (Emerald Lake)
Ko Mae Ko Island has a rare characteristic known as Thale Nai or mountain lagoon. This natural phenomenon appears to be caused by drainage from a limestone basin. Taking shape in an oval, Thale Nai has a width of 250 meters, a length of 350 meters, and a depth of 7 meters. To see the viewpoint, visitors should first take a 15-minute boat ride via the National Park Office, followed by a 400-meter walk. A short but quite challenging climb to the top still awaits visitors. Then they will have the opportunity to observe the stunning scenery of the emerald lagoon and even the open sea encircled by mountains and forests.
Pha Jun Jaras Viewpoint
The main viewpoint, Ko Wua Talap, is a definite must-see when traveling to Ang Thong, as All the islands can be seen extending into the horizon.
It takes only about half an hour to hike to the top, but you should keep in mind that it is not a hike for everyone. Because there are a lot of stairs and some places may be slippery, you really need to be physically ready. There are some stops in the middle of the way, where you can drink some water and enjoy the view. However, it is a bit tiring, the view from the top completely worth it. Note that wearing a suitable shoe and taking some water is necessary.
More in Koh Samui
Before going to Ang Thong, It is recommended to spend a while at Koh Samui too. Aside from the above activities, there are extra things to do there, which can make your trip even more enjoyable. Skyhawk Adventure, Samui Canopy Adventures, scuba diving, and kayaking are among these activities.
Activities in Ang Thong
There is no better place to do activities like swimming and camping than the white beaches of Ang Thong.
On the northern islands, you can see a few snorkeling sites, which would make diving great. The loveliest spots for snorkeling are not situated inside the national park; nonetheless, they offer stunning views. You may also see lots of fishes and corals there.
Canoeing and Kayaking
Canoeing and kayaking are among the other activities you can do while you’re in Ang Thong. Most of the travelers claimed that kayaking along the coastline was the most splendid thing they did. It’s something that you can’t miss.
Tropical climate characterizes this area. There is lots of rain in the summers here, while it rains very little in the winter. Ang Thong is oppressively humid and cloudy during the wet season, muggy and partly cloudy during the dry season, and hot all year round. Its temperature normally varies between 20C and 36C at different times of the year.
Ideal Time to Travel
The perfect time to explore the islands is in February and October, when the ocean is peaceful. During that time, you can enjoy various water sports and activities like swimming, snorkeling, and sailing. March through April is the period when the water is at its smoothest. It’s also the warmest season.
Since the Gulf of Thailand can have big waves and strong winds in November and December, allowing boat sailing to Ang Thong National Park is unsafe. Due to this, the park office is permanently closed from the beginning of November to the end of December.
The majority of tours take in multiple sites. A day of walks, sightseeing, kayaking, and snorkeling incorporates beach lazing. Some paths are not easy for everyone. Before heading out on some hikes, discuss the level of fitness you need to be able to complete them with your guidance. You can also book private boats on some tours. Make sure to check the supplies before making your reservation.
Notes Before Traveling
- Since it is a national park, you need to pay an entrance fee. This is something that all tour companies may not cover. Therefore, remember that you have to pay 300 Baht (9.5 USD) for an adult tourist and 150 Baht (Less than 10 USD) for kids. For the Thais, the entrance fee is 40 Bahts.
- Speed boats are prioritized since they are safer, faster, and more comfortable. -Only boats that are licensed by the government are permitted to enter the Ang Thong National Park. These day trips may be reserved on Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, or Koh Tao. Cruises can also be prepared on sailing liveaboards and speedboats.
- Make sure that you bring enough water and sunscreen.
- From November through January, the park is closed because of stormy weather.