Ang Thong National Marine Park

Tag: Destinations, Gulf of Thailand, Thailand   Type:
February 25, 2011   2 Comments

We took an early morning speedboat from Koh Phangan – slightly cramped with over 30 people onboard – westwards into the Gulf of Thailand to the national marine park of the uninhabited 42-island archipelago.

View of Islands at Ang Thong Marine Park Ang Thong National Marine Park

View of Islands at Ang Thong Marine Park

We snorkelled at the first island with about 5 other tourist boats docked there and sadly, for a conservation park, there was some rubbish floating in the water, along with the dozens of people. Too cramped, not great – but lots of fish though!

Afterwards, we sped down through the islands and stopped off to climb to a viewpoint and see the Emerald Lagoon. Here again there were several other boats and the trek up ladders, steps and rocks (it really was a thigh-burning climb!) to the viewpoint was, at times, very squashed, as you had to negotiate your way passed people coming down. We were glad we had bought trainers with us as the people in flip-flops struggled.

Islands from boat at Ang Thong Marine Park Ang Thong National Marine Park

Some of the Ang Thong islands from the boat with a nice view of our friendly guides left leg

A downer on our day was that at times it felt like we were herded about like cattle, to the detriment of our enjoyment of the outstanding natural beauty around us. After our climb, the view at the top was well worth it though as we could see many of the other islands with their steep limestone cliffs jutting out of the sea, their lush vegetation and the odd sandy stretch of beach. In addition, as if the scenery needed even more natural beauty, from here you look down into a brilliant turquoise lagoon enclosed by sheer cliff faces. Absolutely gorgeous.

A short panoramic from the viewpoint showing some of the islands and the Emerald Lagoon. The video also suggests how busy this place was with people everywhere...hence the video being cut together and silenced (the original sound was a din...) icon sad Ang Thong National Marine Park

This lagoon was the inspiration for Alex Garland to write The Beach (the actual beach used in the film is on Koh Phi Phi Leh) and we were told there was a community of people that lived at Ang Thong in their own private paradise just like in the film, who subsequently moved on to Koh Phangan. Not sure if true but a cool story either way!

Emerald Lagoon Ang Thong Marine Park Ang Thong National Marine Park

Emerald Lagoon Ang Thong Marine Park

After the usual (and very nice) lunch of chicken, veg and rice – as always followed by lovely watermelon and pineapple – we trekked up to another viewpoint before heading off and stopping at yet another island for a few hours, where we had the choice of snorkelling, sunbathing or kayaking. Being the adventurous types that we are (!) we opted for the kayaking along with 4 or 5 other couples – nice to get away from the big group of people.

Beach at Ang Thong Marine Park Ang Thong National Marine Park

Speedboats and kayaks on a beach at Ang Thong Marine Park

We soon found ourselves splashing-about at the back of the pack, having not really found a good rhythm (paddles synchronised or alternating—who knows?!) Still, we enjoyed exploring some amazing scenery – going under cliff overhangs, through little channels squeezed in by the rocks and stopping off at a couple of beaches for a refreshing swim. It was simply amazing arriving at a deserted beach with no signs of civilisation, stunning scenery everywhere, and jumping in for a swim – it felt very special.

Kayaking beach at Ang Thong Marine Park1 Ang Thong National Marine Park

Beach we kayaked from at Ang Thong Marine Park

Back onboard it was trip-over – after 60 minutes of whiplash as our speedboat bounced back to Phangan we were gratefully on dry land. It was our most expensive day excursion yet (about £40 each) but Ang Thong is beautiful and the special moments will live long in the memory.



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2 Responses to “Ang Thong National Marine Park”

Sarah Fletcher
February 26th, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

Hi you two!

It sounds and looks wonderful where you are : ) I know what you mean about the kayaking – took us quite a whilte to get sychronised when we did it in Barbados lol!!! Its really interesting reading your blogs – keep it up : )

Sxxx

Carol & Mike
February 27th, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

Looks spectacular can’t wait for the Chiang Mai blog.
Take care
Skype soon xx

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