Ang Thong National Marine Park kayaking trips

Ang Thong is a spectacular collection of islands

Anyone who arrives into Koh Samui by air during daylight hours should attempt to glimpse the cluster of gorgeous islands which form Ang Thong National Marine Park from the window. These unspoilt gems form a mini-archipelago within the Thai Gulf consisting of towering limestone karsts, clear water and countless curious rock formations.

The best way to really explore this natural wonderland is by sea kayaking trips from Koh Samui, as this allows the chance to paddle around the bizarre landscape rather than merely gaze longingly from afar. There are many experienced operators which provide visitors of all experience levels with the opportunity to do just that, and the vast majority – such as Sea Canoe Thailand and Blue Stars – are quality outfits with experienced staff and exemplary safety records.

Ang Thong National Marine Park comprises around 40 islands northwest of Koh Samui within an area of some 250 square-kilometres. Verdant green landmasses erupt from the surface of the clear blue ocean and touring the area by sea kayak from Koh Samui is a breathtaking experience. This is the area where Alex Garland set his international best-seller The Beach and, even though the Hollywood version was filmed across the country at Koh Phi Phi’s Maya Bay, there will be no doubt what the author had in mind when you arrive here. More on Samui attractions.

Special highlights of the outing include Mae Koh, which has stunning golden beach and a turquoise saltwater lagoon called Thale Nai. There is basic accommodation for those who want to enjoy overnight stays at the park headquarters in Wua Talap, while Sam Sai boasts a thrilling coral reef and enormous rock arch. Phai Luak Island is blessed with dozens of spectacular caves and caverns with oddly-shaped stalactites and limestone formations.

Footage of kayaking around Ang Thong

Blue Stars Tour transports kayakers to the park in their 23m fully-equipped speedboat that completes the journey in around 90 minutes, with a light breakfast included. Along this trip visitors will cruise beneath huge rock overhangs and experience some of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful beaches.

After exploring the area, guests paddle back to the boat for a hearty lunch of traditional Thai food and fruit before then next section of the adventure and Tai Plao Island. Here your party will navigate through magical tunnels and into mysterious caves via strange rock formations, before settling down for a while at the island’s beach for some awe-inspiring snorkelling. More on Samui activities.

Getting to Talay Nai (Green Lagoon) is straightforward as there is a specially constructed wooden stairway and wooden paths over the sheer ravines and through the dense jungle. Once at the top, one of the greatest sights of the marine park awaits.

Once an enormous cave, the roof of Talay Nai has collapsed to leave a saltwater lake that boasts a fantastic variety of diverse aquatic life. After exploring the area, guests return to the boat and while lunch is served the vessel meanders its way to Koh Wao for some more exceptional kayaking and snorkelling.

All throughout the day participants are encouraged to keep a keen eye out for dolphins and sea turtles that inhabit the area and frequently come to say hello. Whale sharks have also been occasionally spotting in the park, and you never know when you are going to be lucky enough to spy one of these majestic creatures. Whatever you take from on your Koh Samui sea kayaking excursion, there will certainly be no shortage of conversation on the journey back to your hotel.

Details: Most Koh Samui sea kayaking packages to Ang Thong National Marine Park include: Instant Confirmation, breakfast, lunch, hotel pick-up and drop-off plus transfer by boat, snorkelling gear, marine park admission fee and an English-speaking professional guide. Tours generally start at 08:00 and end back at your accommodation by 17:00 and cost around 2,00 baht for adults and 1,400 baht for under-12s.

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