Ang Thong Marine National Park

Ang Thong Marine National Park

An island paradise off the coast of Thailand

 

Thailand is a country known for its many wonders, both natural and man-made.  One of these, the Ang Thong (or “golden bowl”) National Marine Park is an island chain filled with beauty.  Those looking for a real-life location that embodies the essence of the classic island paradise will find Ang Thong to be the perfect vacation destination.

Stretched across more than 60 square miles, Ang Thong includes a series of 42 separate islands of many shapes and sizes.  Most of them are overgrown with tropical forests and filled with the exotic animals that one might expect from Thailand.  Though previously a haven for pirates in the area, this breathtaking scenery is much safer now and a geared toward the growing tourist population that is discovering this hidden treasure.

Among the flora and fauna, one can expect to see a wide variety of birds as well as plenty of jungle-dwelling creatures, such as monkeys, wild pigs, otters, bats and more.  The area is also home to a rich diversity of sea life, including groups of dolphins and whales that make their way through the park on occasion.  For divers and snorkelers, Ang Thong a great place to spend some time beneath the water.

Since the area is fast becoming renowned for its tourism, there are plenty of tours 

available that cater to all manner of visitors’ desires.  You can take a look at the area via fishing boar, speed boat or even a luxury yacht if you happen to have the money to spare and wish to travel in style.  Or, for the more adventurous, kayaking tours are popular and can be a great way to both see the islands as well as a convenient way to stop on whichever of them strikes your fancy.  There are also tours designed specifically for divers or for those who wish to get in some time hiking through the jungles or just relaxing on one of the many pristine beaches.  If you feel like spending more than one day in Ang Thong, you have the option of renting a bungalow or a tent and sleeping on the islands.

Unfortunately, the rise of tourism also means the place can be a bit crowded during peak season.  If you’re looking for a private getaway, Ang Thong may not be the place for you unless you manage to sneak in during a slower period.  Also, the ride to the islands is a long one, since you have to leave out of Samui and it takes an hour or two to get there.  Still, considering the sheer beauty of the region, it may be worth the crowds and the journey to spend some time at Ang Thong.