Angthong National Park was one of the things I wanted to do in Thailand from the moment we decided we were going to stop off there on our RTW trip. I’d heard all sorts of great reviews about the place, both online and from friends too – who’d been in the past – speaking of these incredible turquoise waters, sandy beaches and gorgeous desert islands. Well, the place delivered on all three, and it was absolutely beautiful.
The Marine Park is made up of 42 islands (I think….. around that amount anyway) spotted across the ocean. Some are big, some are small, some have beaches – some have this huge sheer cliff faces. It’s quite a beautiful experience as you zoom through them in whatever boat you’ve hired to take you around them.
We went with a small tour group on a speedboat, which made the whole experience a lot more exciting too, it’s awesome zooming through the islands at super speed, I actually spent half the time stood up at the back of the boat pretending I was Kate Winslet in titanic. Or 007 from James Bond. It tended to vary depending on my mood throughout the day. Fun none the less though!
I think there are lots of tours you can get around the area – and there seems to be a big variation in price too. But I’m guess – as with most things in Thailand – you pay for what you get. The cheaper tours had much slower boats and much bigger groups, which wouldn’t have been so great in the heat. The speedboat was a blessing in disguise in more ways than one – the main plus point being the constant breeze you have whooshing through the boat whenever you’re on the move. Definitely a welcome breeze when it’s sunny and 34 degrees.
Our tour cost us 2200 THB each – which I think was actually way too expensive and we might have fallen into a bit of tourist trap there. Saying that, I booked it in advance online a few months ago – so I didn’t really begrudge paying extra because it wasn’t coming out of our current travel budget on the day. I think, if we did it again though, we’d have waited until we arrived and just booked it through a local tour company. It probably would’ve been half the price.
The day consisted of lots of zooming around in the speedboat (fun fun fun) and a few stop offs along the way. We did an hour of snorkelling in a little cove which was lovely and so much calmer than when we snorkelled the Great Barrier Reef – and we both came away from that first activity with big smiles on our faces too – as the water they dropped us off in was absolutely teaming with fish.
Next stop was a little desert island, for kayaking and lunch. Kayaking was a disaster. Not anyone’s fault but my own. I couldn’t get comfy, my back hurt (a whole lot) because the kayaks were funny shaped, and I made Pad do all the hard work whilst I sobbed silently in the front seat trying to shake off the big red biting ants that were also sharing the boat with us. So not the most fun time we’ve ever had I guess. But Pad came through for me as kayaking super-hero of the decade (big cheer) and paddled us all the way back to shore in one piece. Where he didn’t even hold a grudge. It is at times like these (granted – we don’t often have kayaking disasters day to day, but still) that I feel very lucky and loved.
I felt a bit betrayed by the kayaks to be honest. As I’d enjoyed it so so much in New Zealand. Where did it all go wrong!?
Smiles returned after lunch though (hurray) and we set off around the corner to the green lagoon.
The Green Lagoon (above) is a lagoon nestled at the top of a huge mountain. It has the most incredible views (below) but it takes some dedication and physical strength to get up there. It’s basically a trail of about 15 vertical ladders (very steep too, I might add – especially when you’re only 5ft2!) and by the time you reach the top you’re so hot and sweaty you need a minute on your in the shade before you even realise there is a view to be had.
But there is, and it was definitely worth the climb up. And you can see – the lagoon and the outlook onto the national park is just breathtaking. It actually reminded me a little of Bay of Islands in New Zealand the way all the islands were sotted about the ocean, and the clarity and colour of it all too. They are really very similar.
Don’t look at the photo below for too long – otherwise you’ll notice how we are literally glistening with sweat. It was such hard work getting to the top!
Oh, one last thing, on the way back to the mainland we saw some dolphins! So if you ever go, keep an eye out for them in the water. Always lovely to see wild animals out like that.