Ang Thong National Marine Park is a collection of 42 islets in the Gulf of Thailand. It was made into a National Park in 1980 and before that it was used by the Thai navy. If you are staying in Koh Phangan, Koh Samui or Koh Tao then it is possible to make a day excursion to Ang Thong Marine Park or stay overnight.

The islets are scattered over 250 square kilometers. They are limestone peeks that form part of a mountain range that finishes in Nakhon Si Thammarat. The islands have strange topography including dramatic rock cliffs, karsts and odd shaped rock formations. The names of the islands such as ‘Sleeping Cow Island’ reflect the shapes that can be seen in the rock formations. Among the islands there are scattered some perfect white sand beaches.

The area gets its name from the large in-land lake on Koh Mae Ko. Its turquoise waters are surrounded by a golden basin (in Thai ‘ang thong’).

The biggest island is called Koh Wua Talab and it is where the park headquarters are situated. It costs 200 Thai Baht to enter the park. There is also a camp site nearby.

High lights of a trip to Ang Thong National Marine Park include sampling the wonderful beaches, sea canoeing, visiting the inland lake of Thale Noi and exploring sea caves. Around the islets there are a number of good snorkeling and dive spots. The best dive spot is at Koh Sam Sao. It is sometimes possible to spot dolphins in this area. During certain parts of the year Ang Thong Marine Park is popular with groups learning to dive.

The park covers a wide area and is perfect for those with their own yacht. It is easy to find a private and secluded beach to have a barbecue and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. The only inhabited island is Koh Paluay which is a base for a small group of sea gypsies.

There is a good selection of wildlife on the islands. This includes dusky langurs, macaques and sea otters, and over 40 species of birds.

So if you get bored of beach parties, room service and crowded beaches or you are lucky enough to have a yacht then head out to Ang Thong National Marine Park for a very memorable visit.