For most of our five days in Ko Samui, David and I did nothing, and it was wonderful. However, we did want to do one trip to discover some of the other islands around the Gulf of Thailand. After some quick research we decided to do a tour of Ang Thong National Marine Park with Tours Koh Samui.
For all that we strongly dislike tours, there is not much of an option for going to the marine park (and we definitely couldn’t afford to hire our own boat!). Tours Koh Samui offered a good itinerary and the price was also more along our budget (1800 THB/person, with the 3-day advanced booking discount, otherwise it would’ve been 2000 THB each).
From Tours Koh Samui’s site, this is what the itinerary looks like:
- 07:00 – 8:00* Transfer from your hotel to the pier. Pick up time is depending on your hotel / resort location. Chaweng, Bophut, Choeng Mon 7:45 – 8:00)
- 08:00 Nescafe or tea while you wait in the restaurant near the pier.
- 08:30 Board our speedboat and depart to Koh Wao.
- 09:20 Arrive at Koh Wao for snorkeling.
- 10:10 Cruising around the magnificent scenery of the Marine Park islands to Mae Koh island.
- 11:30 Land at Mae Koh Island, climb to see the Emerald Lake (Talay Nai) and the spectacular viewpoints.
- 12:30 Departure from Talay Nai to Koh Paluay
- 12:50 Thai buffet lunch is served at the sea-gypsy village restaurant on Koh Paluay.
- 13:50 Arrive at secluded Song Pee Nong Beach. Guided kayaking tour along the coast and James Bond Island (optional).
- 15:30 Depart from Koh Paluay and head back to Koh Samui
- 16:30 Transfer back to your hotel.
Program is subject to change depending on weather and sea conditions.
The tour includes hotel transfers, coffee/tea in the morning, bottled drinking water, fresh fruits, a buffet lunch, sea kayaking, snorkeling equipment including life jacket, and full insurance coverage (Tour prices does not Include the admission fee to the marine park 200THB for adults 100 for children).
They did pick us up from our hotel in Maenam at around 7:30. The driver was a bit rude and rushing us, so much so that we ended up forgetting the rest of the cash (for some reason, they only allow you to pay part of the fee as a deposit, so you have to give them the remaining amount when you check in for the tour. David had to find an ATM, luckily there was one nearby). We were brought to a beach in Bophut near the pier and joined several dozen people who were checking in for their respective tour. We were offered us some coffee or tea and some pastries to start off our day.
There ended up being three different tours and we were identified by a colored string that they put on our wrists at check in. The thirty or so of us boarded our speedboat, our tour guide introduced herself as well as our captain and his assistant, and we were off.
SNORKELING AT KOH WAO
After about an hour, we dropped anchor between two small islands. There was one other boat at the site, though during our time there, two other boats arrived. Our crew handed out snorkel gear and life jackets, and we jumped in!
The water was of varying depth due to coral and rock at the bottom, so we had to be careful not to step on things. It was clear though and there was a lot of awesome fish! We spent about an hour here, which was just the perfect amount of time for me. Not so long that I got bored of floating around, but not so little that I felt cheated (though it may be a bit short to enthusiasts). The variety of fish was great as well. I’ve definitely seen prettier corals and aquatic plants elsewhere, however.
The weather had improved greatly, the snorkeling was lovely, and it was shaping up to be a wonderful day.
CRUISING THE MARINE PARK ISLANDS
Ang Thong National Marine Park is a collection of over 40 islands in the Gulf of Thailand. These islands are of varying sizes — some just a tiny rock in the ocean, some large enough to be settled. They also vary in shape and composition.
As we left Koh Wao and made for Mae Koh, we spent some time coasting along the islands, here and there approaching an island of particular interest. Our crew offered us some fruit and drink as well while we enjoyed taking photos and enjoying the view and the sea breeze.