One of Big Boat’s most popular tours is that of Ang Thong National Marine Park; it is an exotic destination that consists of 42 islands, known for their natural beauty. It is situated toward the west of Koh Samui, and can easily be reached by a tour boat in an hour and a half.
Ang Thong is a Thai term that translates to ‘Golden Bowl.’ The islands of Ang Thong are spread over an area of roughly 250Km2. Their special geography has resulted in stunning rock formations and cliffs, and also earned each island a unique name.
The islands boast fauna and flora, as well as a combination of beaches, limestone tropical rainforests, and evergreen. The fauna include bats, boars, cobras, dolphins, frogs, green turtles, hawksbill turtles, iguanas, lizards, otters, pythons, and whales as well as over 50 different species of birds. The park also serves as a refuge and a sanctuary for all the wildlife. When taking a tour of the park, you will definitely come across the natural wildlife so keep a camera in hand to save these moments and turn them into memories. There are a variety of things that you can do during your tour, including touring the caves, kayaking, snorkeling, sightseeing, and relaxing at the hidden lagoons and white sandy beaches.
One of the most visited islands in Ang Thong is the Koh Mae Koh (Mother Island). Its popularity stems from the breathtaking views of the entire park that it offers. In addition to that, it also hosts the Emerald Seawater Lagoon, which is situated in the middle of it. The island is surrounded by stunning limestone cliffs. You can easily reach the top for a better view by climbing the staircases that have been carefully incorporated in its natural landscape. Going from the bottom to the top hardly takes 20 minutes. On your way back, you can choose to come down another series of stairs that takes you straight to the Emerald Lake and enjoy the cliffs that tower around it.
The headquarters of Ang Thong National Marine Park, as well as the information center, are located in Koh Wua Talap. This island offers a variety of views with key locations at every 100 meters, peaking at 500 meters and overlooking the entire park. The beaches have beautiful soft white sand, clean water, and the islands are carefully maintained. The beaches have seated areas for picnics and resting. If you are planning to camp, there is a very affordable camping area where guests can stay overnight. You can also explore the Bua Boke cave that is barely a kilometer away from the information center, and has a geology consisting of stalagmite and stalactite.
The Ang Thong Marine Park Tour Package includes:
- Pick and drop from the hotel to the pier.
- Snorkeling equipment (masks and snorkels), life jackets, and children’s equipment. Please note that the equipment is loaned to you so you have to take care of it, and you may be charged in case of loss or damage.
- Kayaking (2 persons per kayak).*
- Free refreshments (including soft drinks) throughout the day.
- All tour guides speak good English, and some of them also speak German, French, Mandarin and Russian. They are trained in providing first aid and have the kits readily available to them in case you need first aid.
- Medicines for seasickness are provided free of cost, and need to be taken 20 minutes before leaving for Koh Samui, and then again 20 minutes before leaving Ang Thong on your way back.
- The tour cost also includes a breakfast (coffee, tea, jam, and toast.) in the morning on the way to Ang Thong, and a Thai buffet for lunch (self-serving).
- During kayaking and snorkeling at the Ang Thong National Marine Park, you are fully insured.
Entrance fee of Ang Thong National Marine Park (300 Adults, 150 Children).
*Only applicable to tours that include Kayaking
The Ang Thong Marine Park Tour Package does not include:
- Flippers/Fins for snorkeling
- Swimming costumes
- Tips for the members of staff/crew
Snorkeling, Kayaking, and Sightseeing Tour Plan
The tour starts with your transfer from the hotel to the Nathon baot pier in West Koh Samui. The staff will receive you on your arrival, check you in, and check the insurance details to make sure everything goes smoothly during the tour. You are required to keep your booking voucher with you to make the check-in more efficient and fast. Once everything is set, you will board the tour boat and set for Koh Mae Koh in Ang Thong National Marine Park. A light breakfast will be served on the boat on your way.
Once you arrive on Koh Mae Koh, a traditional Thai long-tail boat will take you to an island for two hours for sightseeing; in case of kayaking, your time starts when you begin kayaking. You will be geared and briefed for kayaking, and then a guide will take you to the coastline of Koh Mae Koh so you can explore the hidden caves and kayak under the overhanging cliffs. Once you are finished kayaking, you will have some time to explore Koh Mae Koh; one of the main things to do there is climbing the staircases to the viewpoints that overlook Thale Nai, the Emerald Lake, and a complete overview of the Ang Thong Marine Park. You can climb down to the Emerald Lagoon where the guides will be happy to take your photos for you. The staircases on the way down are steep, but there is no rush so you can easily take your time.
Upon your return from the viewpoints of Koh Mae Koh, a long-tail boat will take you back to the tour boat where you will have a freshly prepared Thai buffet lunch. After lunch, the boat will take you to Koh Wua Talap, the information center of Ang Thong National Marine Park, where another long-tail boat will take you back to the island.
You will have 2 and a half hour to visit the information center, explore or relax on the beaches, or to go swimming or kayaking again. There are various hiking trails, viewpoints, and information points waiting to be explored, along with the native wildlife of the park.
After your time at Koh Wua Talap, you will head back to the Nathon pier Koh Samui. When you get back there, your guide will brief you on departing from the boat and getting a taxi to reach your hotel easily. Make sure that all your belongings, including bags, shoes, towels, etc., are with you. If you are satisfied with the service, leaving a tip to the staff is recommended. Tip boxes are available and you can leave a tip of up to 200 Baht for the captain, crew, and the guides; their monthly salary is only about 8,000 Baht.
Ang Thong Marine Park Tour Itinerary
07:30 – 08:30: Transfer from the hotel to Nathon pier.
08:30 – 10:00: Departure to Koh Mae Koh by tour boat. (Light breakfast provided on the boat.)
10:00 – 12:00: Arrival at Ang Thong National Marine Park. You can start kayaking here or hop aboard the long-tail boat and head to Koh Mae Koh to see the Emerald Lake and other viewpoints.
12:00 – 12:30: Thai Buffet Lunch served on the tour boat
12:30 – 15:00: Arrival at Wua Talap. You can kayak again, climbs the stairs up to 500 meters to enjoy the beautiful scenery, hike your way to Bua Boke cave, snorkel, or relax at the beach.
15:00 – 16:30: Depart from Ang Thong Marine Park and head back to Koh Samui. (Tea, coffee, and snacks will be served.)
16:30: Transfer back to the hotel
Things to Bring Along to Ang Thong Marine Park
- Sun block
- Swimming costume
- Comfortable and suitable footwear
- Money for souvenirs and other minor expenditures
- Visit Talay Nai, the emerald green lake on Koh Mae Koh
- Go to the viewpoint for a view of the entire park at Koh Mae Koh
- Hiking to multiple view points all the way up to 500m on Koh Wua Ta Lap
- Bua Boke cave featuring impressive stalagmites and stalactites
- Scuba diving
- Snorkeling at Koh Yippon and Koh Wao Yai
- BBQ on the Beach
- Go to the Picnic area
- All transfers
- Thai Buffet Dinner
- Non-alcoholic drinks, coffee, tea, and espresso
- Full breakfast
- Seasonal fruits
- Knowledge Development to understand the basic principles of scuba diving
- Confined water dives to learn basic scuba skills
- Equipment assembly, adjustment, and preparation
- Deep water entry
- Proper weighting
- Snorkel regulator exchange
- Regulator recovery and clearing
- Air depletion
- Alternate air source
- Partial and full mask flooding and clearing
- Mask removal and replacement
- Breathing from a regulator without a mask (60 seconds)
- No mask swim
- Scuba unit removal and replacement at the surface
- Weight belt removal and replacement at the surface
- Cramp removal
- Tired diver tow
- Scuba unit removal and replacement underwater
- Weight belt removal and replacement underwater
- Fin pivot (oral and low pressure inflator)
- Neutral buoyancy (hovering)
- Free flowing regulator breathing (30 seconds)
- Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent
- Exiting the water
- Equipment disassembly & maintenance
- Open water dives to review your skills and explore!
- Wreck Diving
- Night Diving
- Search and Recovery
- Peak Performance Buoyancy
- Digital Underwater Photography
- AWARE Fish Identification
- Diver Propulsion Vehicles (Underwater Scooters)
- Underwater Videography
- Multilevel & computer diving
- Boat Diving
- Much faster journey, much shorter day
- Their speed means they can visit dive sites further away
- Speedboats are smaller vessels, so they can moor up closer to dive sites and visit some dive sites that larger boats can’t
- A bit more exciting than a slow boat!
- Slow boats are big boats, which have more space to move around and they’re more stable in the water.
- They also typically have more divers on board making for a good atmosphere where everyone has 1 thing in common.
- Big boats tend to use less gasoline, so the tour prices are typically cheaper.
- Generally as there’s more space, tea, coffee, and snacks are provided and there are better facilities onboard such as a wash tank, shower, and proper sized toilet.