Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park – Thailand
It’s a National Marine Park located at the south of Thailand, in the province of Surat Thani. Thailand has several nature reserves but in this one you can rest in one of its islands where you will be almost alone: Ko Wua Talap. Tourists are arriving there only around 11.30 to 12.30 and around 14.00 to 15.00. These tours arrive, climb to a viewpoint and then they go.
In order to enjoy the most you should sleep at least one night here! There is accommodation on the island itself. Besides relaxing there you can do many other things.
➽ In the island there is no ATM, so don’t forget to bring money. You won’t find Wifi either.
You can find more information about that archipelago clicking on these links:
February, March and April are the best months to go. During November and half of December the national park remains closed because of monsoon. You check it in the links before.
I propose several activities below but in order to do all things you must stay overnight there:
1. Ko Wua Talap viewpoint
Climb the viewpoint of the island through its steep path: Pha Jun Jaras (500 metres gradient). It takes around 30 minutes to get there and you should wear appropriate shoes. There are several viewpoints before the final one, and the last part of the path is a little bit dangerous, if you don’t feel safe to reach the final you don’t worry, your effort will have been worthwhile because of the others views. You should do this route before the tours’ arrival or after they leave.
2. Bua Boke Cave
Visit the Cave Bua Boke. Trail is 1km long. It is advisable to wear appropriate shoes as well. Again, you should do this route before the tours’ arrival or after they leave.
3. Explore the beaches
Apart from the main beach you can visit two more. Both accessible through a short path (less than 1km). One of them is at the opposite side of the main beach and the other one is located in the north. The beginning of the path to the northern beach is behind a big antenna. If you have questions about how to get there you can always ask to the staff at the Visitors Centre. The starting point of the path doesn’t have any sign. Best thing is: tours don’t visit these areas.
4. Observe the monkeys
You don’t need to look for them, they will catch you by surprise you anywhere around the island. Don’t feed them and be careful because they can bite you. Seeing them at dawn while they run around your bungalow is priceless.
5. Kayaking and snorkeling
You can rent a kayak and go around Ko Wua Talap or to the island just in front: Ko Phi. These and other activities about the island can be found on this page: Information about Angthong National Marine Park (on the right side there is a map ‘Open map of Mu Ko Ang Thong’, zoom in on details and you will see: the best place for snorkeling, a possible route by kayak).
6. Others Activities
Activities organized by the tour which you have contracted (since this tour is necessary anyway to get to the island).
As already mentioned above, there is accommodation on the island: 5 bungalows and some tents. If you want to sleep a bungalow you should book it through the official site: Reservation: Home & Camp but it is not possible from foreign country anymore (updated 2019). It is because the money transfer must be done within 2 days and that is complicated from outside Thailand. I suggest you request the reservation to the hotel that you have booked in Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Tao.
If you prefer to sleep in a tent you don’t need a booking. You can use the shared toilets and showers and the tent will be provided by the Visitors Centre.
The island has a restaurant at a good price and a kind of cafeteria with cafe, ice cream, etc. There are some important rules in the island: don’t drink alcohol, don’t feed the animals.
The only way to go to Ko Wua Talap is with a tour. The tours usually depart from these islands: Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan o Koh Tao. There are many tours that depart every day to Angthong National Marine Park, by speed boat or by thai boat. The advantage of thai boat is that they will always depart in spite of bad sea condition, however they are slower. On the other hand the speed boat may be canceled in case of bad weather.
Most of the tours consist in: transport by boat to the national park, climb to Ko Wua Talap viewpoint, lunch, climb to Emerald Lake viewpoint (other island) and snorkeling in a place where you don’t see anything but tourists legs.
Summing up the options:
- By thai boat. It is a traditional big thai boat which fits 100 people more or less. It is cheaper but full of people, I call it ‘full tourist experience’. When you contract the tour you must tell them that you are going to sleep at Ko Wua Talap, so they take you to the island and next day they pick you up from there. You can choose when you want to do the tour, the first or the second day.
- By speed boat. We tried to do this option: booking a more expensive tour but with less people (12 persons) and then snorkeling in the only nice place in the surroundings: Koh Wao (far north of the archipelago). This excursion includes lunch and the visit to Ko Wua Talap and the Emerald Lake viewpoint. Plan included they leaving us at the island and next day in the afternoon coming back by thai boat. We tried that through an agency in Koh Samui but they tried to trick us and we had to cancel it.
In the next map you can see all the places I’ve mentioned throughout this article.
Visiting Ko Wua Talap was a great idea, not only because it’s a peaceful place but also because of the spectacular view from the viewpoint and the deserted beach with crystal clear waters. The food is good and not expensive. On the other hand the shower only had cold water (hot water isn’t necessary) and the mattress was tolerable for a few days. Anyways the evaluation is totally positive and I recommend the visit to everybody, but avoid going everybody at the same time because it won’t be so lovely!
The booking website has been modified and the process is not the same (read section accommodation). Anyway, I tell you my experience about the old process: First book through the web and then you have 3 days (be careful with the timezone difference) to send the payment, either by bank transfer or using a thai bank. The only possibility though, if you don’t live in Thailand, is making a bank transfer (the bank fee may cost more than the bungalow, we paid 24 euro). For us the reservation of the bungalow in Ko Wua Talap was an uncertainty during days because they didn’t reply to our email to verify the payment and we only had two documents: the sent booking and the receipt of the bank transfer. They were really slow in changing the status of the booking to OK on their web page.
We took the tour in our hotel at Koh Samui. The price included the park fees as well.