Ang Thong National Marine Park is one of our most popular tours to a beautiful archipelago of 42 islands famous for its natural beauty, taking around 1 hour by speed boat from Koh Samui. The islands of Ang Thong, or Golden Bowl, cover almost 250Km2 and are each named by the unique size and shape of their geography made so by the limestone karst topography they consist of, which has resulted in spectacular cliffs and rock formations.
Most of the islands are covered either with evergreen, beach or limestone tropical rainforest and the waters surrounding Ang Thong are protected making the marine park a refuge for a variety of wildlife, such as otters, monkeys, boar, bats, lizards, iguanas, pythons, cobras, frogs, Green turtles, Hawksbill turtles, reef sharks, dolphins, whales and 54 species of birds.
You will most likely see some of this wildlife on your tour of Ang Thong Marine Park, so make sure you take your camera along with you! Among the things to explore in Ang Thong on our snorkeling, sightseeing and kayaking tour are caves, hidden lagoons, white sandy beaches and beautiful underwater landscape.
Koh Wao island is in the northern most part of Ang Thong, due to their distance away from the mainland and Koh Samui, offer the best water visibility for snorkeling in the marine park. These islands also offer a beautiful array of soft corals not typical of the region where hard corals are dominant.
Being a protected area, the water is teeming with tropical fish species, vibrant and colorful, undisturbed going about their business, which makes it perfect for the observing snorkeling above. Some of the marine life you may see snorkeling are butterfly fish, bannerfish, angelfish, stingrays, fusiliers, barracuda, moray eels, puffer fish, and snapper.
Koh Mae Koh, translated as Mother Island, is perhaps one of the more visited islands in Ang Thong Marine Park due to its breathtaking view across the whole marine park and being home to the emerald lake, a saltwater lagoon in the middle of the island that is surrounded by dramatic limestone cliffs. A series of staircases are artfully embedded into the natural landscape to take you to the top, which takes around 20 minutes at a leisurely pace. Once you reach the top, after a few photos, you can also choose to climb down the other side to the water’s edge of the emerald lake to take in the scope of the towering cliffs from below.
Koh Paluay is the only island in Ang Thong National Marine Park that is inhabited and developed. On Koh Paluay, the main source of income is fishing in the waters just beyond the marine park’s domain and is done so by the sea-gypsies who live there.
The main fishing village on the west coast, which is protected by a large man made rocky barrier and features a stunning mountainous backdrop, is the destination where our snorkeling & sightseeing tour takes lunch. Constructed right on the waterway so the speed boat can park at the restaurant, you will find the only restaurant in the fishing village charming and the people friendly and helpful as they direct you and serve you your lunch.
The rest of the village is made of structures constructed mainly from materials at hand and indigenous to the island although there is also the odd concrete building. Wildlife runs freely and you will often see chickens, monkies and various reptiles running across the tracks worn into the ground. The locals are also friendly and inviting, and if you grab your tour guide to take you around the village, he will converse with them on your behalf and you might be lucky enough to get to try some of the local delicacies, such as Thai “chewing gum” made from the sap and leaves of a particular tree.
Song Pee Nong, or Two Brothers, is one of more picturesque deserted beaches of Ang Thong Marine Park, found along the northern coast of Ko Paluay. Sheltered between rugged coastline and a stone’s throw from “James Bond” island, it’s perfect for exploring by kayak and spending the afternoon relaxing on the beach.
There are many sightseeing, snorkeling & kayaking tour operators from Koh Samui to Ang Thong National Marine Park but we have found this operator to be the best at avoiding other tours making your tour less busy.
You will experience some interaction with other companies from Koh Samui in the morning around Koh Wao and Koh Mae Koh, however the afternoon around Koh Paluay should be free and clear from the masses.
You will find the tour guides are among the best on Koh Samui due to their friendliness, helpfulness, willingness and communication. If you have any questions, they will only be too happy to answer them.
*Tours chosen to include kayaking only
The day begins with a transfer from your hotel to the speed boat pier in the north of Koh Samui. There you will be greeted by the friendly staff who will help you check-in for your tour to Ang Thong National Marine Park and ensure they have the correct details for your tour insurance. Please remember to take your booking voucher emailed to you so that your check-in runs smoothly. After the brief paperwork has been filled in, you can relax in the beach front restaurant and enjoy some tea and coffee or toast and jam.
After everyone has arrived, the speed boats will leave Koh Samui to Ang Thong National Marine Park, arriving at Koh Wao for snorkeling first. You will have 45 minutes to 1 hour of time to snorkel from the speed boat and peer in to the world beneath the water’s surface. Your guide will provide you with snorkeling equipment (mask & snorkel) and life jacket (if needed) and will point you in the direction of the best areas to snorkel and will help you identify the fish you see. The tour guides are highly trained and will be happy to take care of those who are not comfortable snorkeling in the water by themselves. Please take care of the equipment as loss or damage will be charged for and please notify the tour guide immediately if you have lost or dropped your equipment so they can help you find it.
After snorkeling around Koh Wao, your tour guide will collect the snorkeling equipment loaned to you and the speed boat will cruise through Ang Thong Marine Park towards Koh Mae Koh, where your tour guide will show you some points of interest along the way.
Arriving at Koh Mae Koh, you will have about 1 hour sightseeing time on the island. The main point of interest is climbing to the view point over the emerald lake and Ang Thong Marine Park, and if you have the energy, back down the other side to the emerald lakes edge. The tour guides and crew will be more than happy to come along to help you by taking photographs. Coming back down the staircase can be steep, so please take your time.
Once everyone has returned from Koh Mae Koh’s view point, the speed boat will depart for lunch at the fishing village on Koh Paluay. The journey takes around 20 minutes and cruises further south though the marine park, providing numerous photo opportunities. Arriving at the fishing village, you will disembark the speed boat straight into the restaurant on the waterfront, where you will have 1 hour to enjoy your Thai buffet style (self-serving) lunch, consisting of rice, 3 delicious Thai dishes, fresh fruit and water. Soft drinks, alcohol and additional items can be purchased at the restaurant at very reasonable prices.
Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements when booking, such being vegetarian, so that we may let the restaurant know to accommodate these. After you have finished your lunch, you are free to wander and explore Koh Paluay village for the rest of the time you have left.
Leaving the fishing village, we travel to the north of Koh Paluay where the deserted beach of Song Pee Nong complete with kayaks awaits. With 2 to a kayak (singles can pair up together or go with the tour guide), you will explore the rugged coastline with your tour guide, kayaking under the limestone karst overhangs and caves. For those waiting their turn to kayak, you can relax or explore the beach, cool off in the shallow water or seek award winning photographs in the beautiful landscape that surrounds you.
Finally you will head back to Koh Samui, cruising along the northern coast of Koh Samui, where your tour guide will point out interesting features, hotels, beaches and houses owned by the rich and famous. For those lucky enough to stay in a hotel along the north coast of Koh Samui (Bang Por, Mae Nam or Bophut), you will be dropped off right outside your hotel!
For those who aren’t as lucky, when you arrive back to Koh Samui, your tour guide will brief you on departing from the boat and finding your way back to your hotel.
Please do not forget any of your personal belongings, such as bags, shoes and towels. If you found the service to be good, we do recommend leaving a small tip upon leaving the boat in the tip box provided (we suggest anything up to 200 Baht) for the captain, crew and tour guide as their monthly salary are not a lot at around 8,000 Baht per month.
VIP tours follow the same itinerary as the standard tour. With a maximum of 20 people and twice the number of tour guides, the experience is much more personal.
|06:45-08:30||Transfer from your hotel to the pier along Big Buddha beach. Enjoy our complimentary breakfast of hot tea & coffee, toast and fresh fruit.|
|08:30-09:30||Depart by speed boat to Koh Wao for the best snorkeling in the marine park.|
|09:30-10:30||Snorkel the coral reef and admire the beauty of the underwater world.|
|10:30-10:50||Cruise through the marine park toward Koh Mae Koh.|
|10:30-12:00||See the emerald green lake “Thale Nai” on Koh Mae Koh and climb to the view point for a breath taking view across the park.|
|12:00-13:30||Enjoy a tasty thai buffet lunch in a traditional Thai fishing village restaurant on Koh Paluay.|
|13:30-15:00||Stop at the secluded Song Pee Nong “2 Brothers” beach and spend time kayaking along the rugged coastline or relaxing on he beach.|
|15:00-16:00||Journey by speed boat back to Koh Samui and transfer back to your hotel.|
|06:45-07:00||Taling Ngam, Lipa Noi|
|07:00-07:15||Lamai, Nathon, Butterfly Garden|
|07:20-07:40||Chaweng, Baan Tai|
|07:40-08:00||Maenam, Bophut, Choeng Mon, Bangrak|