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Ang Thong Marine National Park/Thailand

Introducing Ang Thong Marine National Park

Easily the most popular activity in Samui is a boat trip around this picture-perfect archipelago made up of around 40 small islands. Sheer limestone cliffs, white-sand beaches, hidden lagoons and dense vegetation all add to the cosmetic beauty. The park lies 31km northwest of Ko Samui and encompasses 18 sq km of islands, plus 84 sq km of marine environments.

Any travel agency can book a day trip to Ang Thong, and tours usually include pick-up from your hotel. Travel agencies simply act as booking agents for the tour companies, which all offer nearly identical trips in terms of quality and itineraries. Lunch and snorkelling are included, along with a climb to the top of a 240m hill to view the whole island group; some tours visit Tham Bua Bok, a cavern containing lotus-shaped cave formations, and other tours offer sea kayaking. There’s officially a 200B admission fee for foreigners, though it should be included in your tour. Bring shoes with good traction, a hat, plenty of sunscreen and drinking water. Tours cost about 1700B. Overnight tours are also available. At the park headquarters (0 7728 6025), on Ko Wat Ta Lap, there are bungalows, but you may not be able to reserve them unless you go with a tour.