Last visited MARCH 2017
I offset went to ANG THONG on a 24-hour interval trip inwards the 90s, but it has taken me to 2017 to STAY there.
Because latest see I used ane of the daytrip operators for carry (it’s genuinely the exclusively inexpensive way to larn at that spot – although LEONARDO’s graphic symbol used a long-tail inwards “THE BEACH” – that would cost an arm in addition to a leg these day) much of the next information doubles equally a DAYTRIP REPORT.
Google globe ikon – oops, that is non besides clear.
Maybe this is a chip ameliorate – but you lot volition demand to click-expand the ikon to read labels.Image from Sawadee.com
If you lot click the link you lot volition discovery a total size image.
In reference to the inwards a higher position maps – KO MAE KO has the famous EMERALD LAGOON/GREEN LAKE, KO WUA TALAP is the National Park Headquarters isle amongst the fabulous viewpoint in addition to Lotus Cave, tiny KO TAI PLAO inwards the due north is visited yesteryear some tours (but non mine) for snorkeling in addition to kayaking in addition to large KO PHALUIA inwards the southward has some angling settlements in addition to restaurants but is non visited much yesteryear westerners .
The islands are located betwixt the MAINLAND in addition to the islands of KO SAMUI in addition to KO PHANGAN.
SAMUI has the lion’s part of trip operators – the primary difference piers are at NATHON on the upper due west coast (30km to HQ island) although some boats larn out from the due north coast piers to cutting the rather irksome transfer from major resort areas to NATHON. However that volition add together an hr inwards a piece of cake boat.
Fewer operators come upwards from PHANGAN (32km from THONG SALA) in addition to I know of no regular operators out of KO TAO (north of PHANGAN) – but it is possible to charter a speedboat or sailboat.
No ane operates from the MAINLAND these days.
Guests start arriving inwards SAMUI ISLAND TOUR inclusive shuttle vans in addition to work upwards at the reception tent on NATHON’S primary (crntral) pier. I stayed overnight at COFFEE HOUSE, an elcheapo articulation straightaway reverse the pier in addition to take away hold shell them onboard.
Because most distant CHAWENG in addition to LAMAI guests may take away hold been picked upwards at 0730, at that spot is a uncomplicated buffet breakfast waiting.
The offset of our 2 boats leaves the pier. I prefer these one-time piece of cake boats – they ride crude oil seas much ameliorate than cramped speedboats in addition to take away hold plenty of room to movement around (up forwards on exceed is a spacious sun-bathing area).
Sure the journeying volition take away hold to a greater extent than fourth dimension but some of this tin last spent on meals which the speedboat trips must tally into shore time. And I similar to read, take away hold snaps at my leisure, grab a chip of Sun yada.
On difference a rattling detailed utter on our itinerary in addition to boat security was give. Similar on arrival at each isle stop.
Shortly after, those who take away hold chosen the to a greater extent than expensive KAYAKING selection launch from the lower deck. This is likely the trickiest purpose – lady inwards shot genuinely overbalanced when transferring. However boat gives each kayaker a divers’ DRY BAG to maintain valuable rubber inwards mishaps.
Kayakers take away hold off for landing beach below the GREEN LAGOON/LAKE. This is genuinely HALF the kayakers from each boat – GROUP H5N1 paddles across, GROUP B back. Each leg gives paddlers 30/40 minutes of exercise. I scream upwards they stopped at a tiny beach en-route
We chug around to KO MAO KO’s landing beach, hop into longtails in addition to caput ashore. Note how uncrowded the tiny beach is – contrast this to ninety minutes afterward shown downward page. If you lot click-expand you lot may last able to consider blueish floating pier behind that speedboat – makes beach landings way easier.
The stairway upwards to the viewing platform is curt but killer steep. Fortunately for unfit dudes at that spot are several opportunities to halt in addition to rest.
This shot gives some thought of length (signs state 150m butI scream upwards that’s pinnacle – it seemed abt 300m long which is nevertheless pretty short) in addition to steepness (45degrees inwards parts). Yellow arrow shows viewing platform – blueish lower department of the climb.
….has nearby islands inwards ane direction….
….and the dark-green lagoon/lake (TALAY NAI) inwards the other. This is surrounded yesteryear towering walls, but is opened upwards to the ocean yesteryear a submarine entrance. This featured inwards the novel “THE BEACH” (although they never position the island) – the heroes sought an undeveloped isle out of SAMUI, different the painting which was shot on PHI PHI inwards the ANDAMAN SEA.
Green color comes from the limestone.
On the way down, novel to me (um, non surprising – its been xxx years) was this diversion which dropped to….
….a platform non far inwards a higher position the lagoon surface. National Parks bans swimming here.
Back at the beach nosotros had nigh forty minutes – I grabbed my human face upwards mask in addition to swam out along the dorsum of the swimming enclosure 30m off the sand – a chip of coral, plenty of weed in addition to a few fish but aught to larn excited about.
National Parks had a canteen ready dorsum of beach – did a roaring merchandise inwards snacks in addition to drinks. Bathrooms are inwards this expanse addition some dainty shade.
Back to the boats (background). At to the lowest degree a dozen other arts and crafts had come upwards inwards during out fourth dimension here.
We picked upwards luncheon on the lower deck on boarding – plenty of room to swallow upwards hither on the 2d level. Eats the common Thai fried chicken amongst curry, vegs, fruit, H2O etc – yummy in addition to no shortage if you lot fancy seconds. Beer in addition to snacks could last bought.
Approaching the National Park HQ beach on KO WUA LAP/KO WA TA LAP/KO WUA TALAP island. Awesome VIEWPOINT is at highest betoken inwards shot – the LOTUS CAVE is but out of frame to the left – its access rail starts close terminate of beach.
Beach is pretty nice. This early on morn shot is uncrowded but fifty-fifty when lots of boats larn inwards afterward it doesn’t larn besides busy largely because lots of people are doing the climbs which tend to last fourth dimension consuming
Our tour leader told us people non staying overnight (I was the exclusively over-nighter on the 2 boats) take away hold until 16.00. This gives sufficient fourth dimension to climb to both the VIEWPOINT in addition to LOTUS CAVE, addition take away hold a swim/snorkel in addition to pass some fourth dimension on the beach. However people of average fitness should mayhap do exclusively ONE of the climbs – I’m super fit but was bushed plenty after the haul to the viewpoint to postpone the cave to the 2d day. Then ane time to a greater extent than I’m 71 (a super tally 71yo is equal to a rattling tally 20yo). It was no work doing both on the same 24-hour interval xxx years ago.
If I had to pick which climb, I’d take away hold the VIEWPOINT. It’s 100% to a greater extent than rewarding vs 30% harder.
ANG THONG MARINE PARK HQ area. You may take away hold to click expand to read labels. The cleared expanse behind the beach slopes dorsum slightly less than 200m. I forgot to add together a linear scale – direct work distance betwixt placemarkers of the eating theater in addition to N is 280m.
My offset halt was the NATIONAL PARKS OFFICE/VISITOR’s CENTER to majority in. The staff is non bad – polite in addition to helpful: non the officious types you lot larn at the SIMILANS in addition to SURINS.
The expanse also has a modest museum where displays demo the geology in addition to fauna/flora of the area. This skeleton came from a 8m BRYDE’S WHALE washed upwards on an isle beach a few years ago.
They had some rattling practiced large scale photos of common highlights. This ane is non bad for people unable to larn to the VIEWPOINT – you lot tin insert yourself into the painting yesteryear standing on the platform. The opening pic at the exceed of the page is some other from here.
My NP tent. One of iv ready (they tin apace erect to a greater extent than if a large grouping arrives – at that spot is no booking organisation for the tents) but I was the exclusively somebody there. In practiced condition, but large plenty for 2 addition gear (fine for solo me), sparse yoga type matress in addition to modest hard pillow but I slept pretty well. I didn’t demand the supplied sleeping bag.
Cost me 250baht – I don’t scream upwards I was charged the NP ENTRANCE FEE (300b for non-Thais) likely because it was included inwards my boat trip fee (1300 all up).
Tents were on a gentle slope nigh 100m behind the beach (there is a chip of telephoto inwards this pic) – a serenity area. Nearest bath was abt lxx to correct of shot: beingness furthest from beach in addition to the daytrippers it was inwards best status at the terminate of the day. Note ane WC was western style, ane Thai squat. Ditto the other bath closed the beach in addition to restaurant.
You tin convey your ain tent in addition to army camp for 100baht or so. Thais are keen campers in addition to flock to NP islands inwards vacation time, but these tents were occupied yesteryear a grouping of French kayakers who paddled inwards belatedly afternoon.
BTW the visitors’ see has rental kayaks. There are a few other beaches around this isle in addition to it’s non besides far to next islands.
Visitors tin also remain inwards 2 sleeping accommodation NP bungalows for a reasonable 600b. However these are hard to pay for if exterior Thailand (none of this credit menu stuff!) – they were all taken when I arrived.
I stayed inwards similar on KO TARATAO some years agone – non besides bad.
These dudes were hanging around the HQ clearing in addition to beach – rangers volition fine you lot for feeding them but they were pretty slick inwards raiding unattended nutrient equally the French campers flora out.
Once my materials was stowed inwards the tent I decided to tackle the VIEWPOINT CLIMB. This is a 450m trek inwards which you lot climb from abt 20m to 220 – that’s an average slope of 1 inwards 2.5, non existent easy. But it is considerably steeper towards the top. Most consists of pretty good formed steps amongst assist ropes. NPs also station workers towards the exceed for guidance (and encouragement).
I approached the climb equally a fitness workout – was determined to do it inwards ane hop despite mayhap v repose points, some amongst practiced viewpoints. I take away hold to tell you lot that despite my way average higher fitness I was pretty used upwards yesteryear the top.
The outlook from the exceed is worth it – I’ve been most places inwards the Gulf in addition to Andaman the yesteryear xxx years in addition to can’t scream upwards of whatever viewpoint to beats this.
On the way down, I spent fourth dimension at the repose stops. Not wasted.
Back on the beach the day-trippers start moving out to their boats.
The position gets pretty serenity ane time the day-tiippers leave.
Dinner inwards the NATIONAL PARK RESTAURANT. I’ve flora quality/prices vary according to who has got the contract – this ane pretty practiced amongst okay food, reasonable prices in addition to practiced service. I didn’t see during day-tripper peak in addition to can’t state how the position goes inwards a busy period. At dinner in addition to breakfast at that spot was exclusively a few customers.
0900 24-hour interval 2
Beach nevertheless set back.
Lovers of scenes similar this: brand the best of it – the day-tripper boats volition start arriving inside ninety mins.
I decided to snorkel the outer expanse of the swimming enclosure earlier incoming boats churned upwards visibility. Typical of ANG THONG, the underwater scene was aught to larn excited nigh – some scattered coral, a fair chip of weed in addition to some dainty fish. But I’m spoiled, having snorkeled then much at Australia’s Barrier Reef.
The climb to the LOTUS CAVE was shorter than to the VIEWPOINT (300v450) but non all that easier. Total fourth dimension taken nigh the same. Conditions underfoot were oft rougher (not a position for flip-flops etc) in addition to fifty-fifty steeper inwards parts. Fortunately a lot had helper ropes.
Part way up, the rail flatens for nigh 50m in addition to at that spot is a curt sign-posted off-shoot to this practiced BEACH VIEWPOINT.
Inside the cave, a circuitous road continues to climb steeply for one-half the distance. Unfortunately helper ropes are non equally plentiful here. Natural lite agency torches non necessary. Stalagmites, stalactites in addition to other cave features non especially hear blowing.
Back to the beach for to a greater extent than swimming in addition to sun. I take away hold arranged to consider our tour leader at 1415 close the cabana left background – then at 1330 I grab a beer or 2 from the beach canteen (bottom left) in addition to caput upwards to these shaded picnic tables where I tin cheque his arrival.
We larn out the beach. This is a completely different grouping to yesterday. Some are likely wondering where this funny looking one-time dude has come upwards from but are besides polite to demo it.
On board. After tea in addition to java many repair to the upper deck for some afternoon sunshine. Try this on a bumpy cramped speedboat.
Back at Nathon, nosotros transfer to the pier via sis boat.
The SIMILANS in addition to SURINS are the other large 2 isle national parks.
BEST VIEWPOINT – ANG THONG
BEST SCENERY – SIMILANS AND ANG THONG for multi-island daytrippers, ANG THONG for National Park HQ Island exclusively visitors.
BEST BEACH. Donald Duck beach inwards the Similans may last the best inwards Thailand. There is a 2d NP army camp the world at that spot but it is a chip fourth dimension consuming to reach. All the day-trips visit. For NATIONAL HQ ISLANDS I reckon the SIMILANS win but the others are non shabby.
BEST SNORKELING – the SIMILANS although things take away hold gone downhill. The daytrip visits to a greater extent than snorkeling spots in addition to the long distance from the coast (hence deeper, clearer water) potentially makes for ameliorate coral. But bleaching certain has knocked it around. Ditto the SURINS. ANG THONG CORAL (shallow H2O closed to the coast) has ever been a distant third.
MOST POPULAR – the SIMILANS likely because of closeness to PHUKET in addition to KHAO LAK. The lovely primary beach at HQ islandcan larn quite crowded betwixt 1030 in addition to 1500.
BEST BOAT TRIP – ANG THONG. The SIMILANS is besides far for a piece of cake boat which jams you lot into bumpy speedboats. The trip out to the SURINS is shortest but for some argue piece of cake boats were non offered when I visited. As far equally attractiveness of places visited, the SIMILANS daytrip likely wins although ANG THONG is non far behind.
MOST ISOLATED – although closest the coast, you lot are less probable to last staying closed to the difference pier for the SURINS.
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SAMUI ISLAND TOUR