If you’ve seen The Beach, one of your ideas of paradise is probably the beautiful Maya bay in the Phi Phi islands, where the movie was filmed. What you may not know is that the inspiration for Alex Garland’s novel was in fact a different set of idyllic islands: the virgin islands of Angthong National Marine Park.
Located in the Gulf of Thailand, the Angthong archipelago comprises more than 40 inhabited islands featuring stunning rock formations and evergreen forest, hidden lagoons, colorful coral reefs, and perfect white sandy beaches. Or 42 definitions of paradise.
We took an Angthong Marine Park tour from Koh Samui and it was one of the best days of our two weeks in Thailand, if not the best.
There are many day tours from Koh Samui or Koh Phangan to Angthong Marine Park. Tours include transfer from your hotel, transportation in a speed boat or tour boat, breakfast and lunch, admission fee to the park, and English speaking guides.
A word of advice: take the tour boat. Although slower, you’ll have a more comfortable and enjoyable trip, and will be able to admire the views and take plenty of photos. We took the speed boat and it was our only regret on an otherwise perfect day.
Our first stop was Koh Wua Talap, the largest island in the park. Here we had the option of kayaking around the island or hiking up to the island’s viewpoint. We chose the latter.
It took us almost an hour and a lot of sweat to get to the top, but the jaw-dropping view over the 42 islands of Angthong Marine Park was well worth the effort.
After a well deserved lunch at the park headquarter, we still had time for a swim in the warm cerulean sea.
Second stop was Koh Mae Ko, famous for the Emerald Sea or Talay Nai, a dramatic lagoon hidden in the middle of the island.
Again we had the option of climbing up to the viewpoint or staying on the beach. This time we decided to relax on the stunning bay, feeling like we too have found the beach.
The third and last stop of our Angthong Marine Park tour was Koh Samsao for some snorkeling on the coral reef. While the snorkeling here was not excellent, it was a good end for a great day.
If you’re looking for a true vision of paradise, visiting Angthong National Marine Park is an experience you won’t forget!
Have you done an Angthong Marine Park tour? Have you ever visited a place that was your definition of paradise? Share in the comments section below.
- Read my Thailand 2 week itinerary for 1st timers here
- Read my Bangkok 4 day itinerary here
- Read my Chiang Mai 4 day itinerary here
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