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Angthong National Marine Park is a fascinating archipelago of 42 islands on the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand, Northwest of Koh Samui.
Most of the islands are close to each other, forming a breathtaking panorama when sailing around the park. All the islands are of different sizes and shapes. Most of them are covered with tropical forests and named after their distinguishing geography (such as ‘Sleeping Cow Island’ or ‘Three Pillars Island’).
The woods in this national park can be classified as dry evergreen forests, beach forests, and limestone forests. Dry evergreen forests are found in larger islands like Wuatalab, Paluay and Samsao.
Koh Wua Talap is the island that contains park headquarters as well as a tourist information centre, a restaurant, Buaboke Cave, tourist bungalows as well as the famous viewpoint from where you can see the panoramic view of the National Park.
Ko Wua Talap has two beaches, both located on opposite ends of the island. During your visit, it’s possible to go from one to another via a short –but by no means easy– jungle trek (around 30 mins) using a trail.
Koh Yippon Lek is one of the most popular dive sites to visit from Koh Samui. It sits in a sheltered location, north of Angthong Marine Park. Its maximum diving depth is 18m. There are plenty of soft coral and anemones visible even from the surface, so it’s great for snorkelers too. In deeper areas, you’ll find snappers, blue-spotted stingrays and yellow-tailed barracuda.
Its main highlight is a beautiful cave which is only completely underwater when the tide is high. It crosses the eastern tip from one side of the island to the other and schools of vampire fish are always present there. It is about 20 metres long with several air pockets throughout when the water is at its highest. Good buoyancy is still required to cross it and for more experienced divers.
Larger animals do not thrive on these islands as they are small and mostly dominated by steep limestone mountains, with only a few moderately slanted plains. Sixteen species of mammals like otters, langurs, crab-eating monkeys, hogs, silver-haired bats, dolphins, and whales can be found here.
Other inhabitants include at least 54 species of birds, including little herons, Brahminy kites, common sandpipers, oriental pied hornbills, drongoes and hill mynas.
Fourteen species of reptiles can also be found, such as ground lizards, iguanas, Green turtles, hawksbill turtles, pythons, and cobras.
Only five species of amphibians are found: common Asian toads, tiger frogs, rugose frogs, grass frogs, and tree frogs.
The waters of the national park are home to butterfly fish, angel fish, parrot fish, blue-spotted fantail rays, blacktip reef sharks, snappers, groupers, sea slugs, blue swimming crabs, sea fans, sea whips, giant clams, oysters, and coral. The park is also a breeding ground for mackerel.