The Emerald Isles of Angthong Archipelago
Angthong National Marine Park (NMP), a scenic and compact cluster of islands in the Gulf of Thailand near Koh Samui, make an excellent day trip by slow boat or speedboat to enjoy snorkeling, kayaking or a hike to a viewpoint for a breathtaking panorama of this tropical island paradise.
The marine park is a beautiful archipelago of 42 emerald green islands rising out of the aquamarine waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Part of Surat Thani Province, these islands are accessible for a day trip from Koh Samui, Koh Phangan or Koh Tao.
Most of the islands have names inspired by their distinguishing geographical features such as ‘Three Pillars Island’ and ‘Sleeping Cow Island.’ The limestone karsts that form these jungle-clad islands are punctuated by craggy outcrops and caves, places that call for exploration by adventurous travelers, with opportunities for rock climbing, kayaking or hiking along jungle nature trails.
The marine park is also home to an abundance of unique flora and fauna. The exquisitely beautiful and delicately shaped lady’s slipper orchid – an endemic plant species – is found only in Angthong NMP. Wildlife such as the dusky langur – a small monkey with adorable eyes – is known to make regular appearances at the park’s headquarters. With over 50 species of colorful birds, 14 kinds of reptiles and five amphibians, bird watching, binoculars and a camera are a must.
Khiri Travel offers day trips to this scenic cluster of islands aboard a Chinese junk that will make clients feel as if they are stepping back in time. Mae Koh Island is an excellent first stop for kayaking and snorkeling in the clear, calm water. The marine park is one of the best places to paddle a kayak and explore hidden inlets or float beneath rocky cliffs rising up to 400 meters.
At Koh Wua Talab (Sleeping Cow) Island – one of the most popular points of interest in the park – there is a steep climb up a series of staircases to three levels of viewpoints. It takes about 60 minutes, a good deal of effort and adequate footwear. However, at the very top, travelers will be rewarded with the most breathtaking panorama of emerald isles, sea and sky. The view of the tropical paradise below and the refreshing ocean breeze will more than justify all the huffing and puffing getting to the summit.
For more information about Angthong National Marine Park and other activities around Koh Samui, such as kayaking, diving or rock climbing, please contact [email protected]