Forty-two jagged islands poke through azure seas featuring limestone massifs, tropical rain forests, deserted coves with white sand beaches, caves, waterfalls, mangrove forests, hidden lagoons and plenty of wildlife. Sea erosion has carved the limestone islands into fascination shapes with underground caves and natural stone bridges leading out to the water.
Once a haven for pirates during bad weather it is now the Ang Thong National Marine Park. Covering over 100 square kilometres of land and sea, it was also the inspiration for the Alex Garland bestseller, The Beach (the movie was filmed elsewhere though). The area is also home to a rich variety wildlife such as dolphins, sea otters, long-tailed macaques, leopard cats, wild pig, brahminy kites, kingfishers and more. Koh Paluay, the only island inhabited, is home to sea gypsies who still maintain their traditional lifestyle.
While it is not possible to visit each island, day tours make stops at different locations for a combination of hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and beach time. Highlights include the Koh Mae’s (Mother Island) stunning beach and inland saltwater lagoon; a strenuous hike to the top of a hill offers a panoramic of its sparkling green waters hence its name, Emerald Lake. Koh Sam Sao, or Tripod Island, has an extensive coral reef and a dramatic stone bridge and a number of hiking trails. Koh Wua Thalap, where the park headquarters are located, offers prisitne white beaches and an underground cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Contact the hotel tour desk to organise a day trip that is suitable for families, friends and couples.