Beach sights in Lower Southern Gulf
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Popularised by its role as home to a utopian beach society in the movie version of Alex Garland's novel The Beach, Ang Thong National Marine Park is made up of an archipelago of about 40 small islands combining sheer limestone cliffs, hidden lagoons, white-sand beaches and dense vegetation providing a postcard-perfect vista almost anywhere you look.
The numerous caves and crevices are home to nesting swallows and there's a narrow coral reef in the southwest of the park.
From Ko Samui, a couple of tour operators run day trips to the Ang Thong archipelago from Na Thon or Mae Nam.
There are bungalows available at the park headquarters on Ko Wat Ta Lap, but you may not be…
If museums aren't your style, head to the beach. The residents have begun taking better care of the strip of white sand along Hat Samila, and it is now quite pleasant for strolling or flying a kite (a local obsession). A bronze Mermaid sculpture, depicted squeezing water from her long hair in tribute to Mae Thorani (the Hindu-Buddhist earth goddess), sits atop some rocks at the northern end of the beach. Locals treat the figure like a shrine, tying the waist with coloured cloth and rubbing the breasts for good luck. Next to that are the Cat and Rat sculptures, named for the Cat and Rat Islands (Ko Yo and Ko Losin). Fragments of a dragon statue are sliced up and placed…
Also called Bottle Beach, Hat Khuat is a classic fave. Visitors flock to this shore for a relaxing day of swimming and snorkelling – some opt to stay the night at one of the several bungalow operations along the beach. For additional seclusion, try the isolated beaches on the east coast, which include Than Sadet, Hat Yuan, Hat Thian and the teeny Ao Thong Reng. For additional enchanting beaches, consider doing a day trip to the stunning Ang Thong Marine National Park.
This is Ko Samui's most popular spot – it's the longest and most beautiful beach on the island. The sand is powder soft, and the water is surprisingly clear, considering the number of boats and bathers. Picture ops are best from the southern part of the beach, with stunning views of the hilly headland to the north.