I didn't go with this company but picked up their leaflet and can tell you what they have to offer. Most companies going to the National Marine Park have the same or similar activity schedule and we actually came across two other groups of people when we were there ourselves, but everything is timed so that the tourists are not kayaking or snorkelling with lots of other people around them at the same time. The companies go to the same places but in different time slots.
If you would like to go Snorkelling and Sightseeing, this may be the trip for you!
English and German speaking guides
Soft drinks and fresh fruit
Mask ad snorkel
Park fee 200 Baht
PRICE 1,300 Baht
Another option if you want to go with Samui Island Tour is to do their other programme which involves kayaking as well as snorkelling!
English and German speaking guides
Soft drinks and fresh fruit
Mask and snorkel
Park fee 200 Baht
PRICE 1,850 Baht.
Visit the Emerald Lake known as "Talay Nai" on Koh Mea Koh. Kayak to Koh Wua Talab where the Headquarters of the National Marine Park lie. Relax on a white powdered sand beach at Ao Ka Bay or go snorkelling.
A lovely way to spend a day is a visit to the Anthong Marine Park Check out Big John Travel. An offshoot of the Big John resort and delicious seafood restaurant in Lipa Noi, the company operates a large 26m Big John boat, which departs for Anthong Marine National Park every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at approx 8.30am. You get to enjoy enjoy a full day out amongst the beautiful splendour of the park aboard the fast comfortable vessel. A full buffet lunch is served on board and you can either spend the day lounging on the sun deck enjoying the view or hop ashore for a stroll along the beach or a spot of snorkelling. Big John also stops of at Mae Koh island to visit the stunningly beautiful Emerald Lake, which is well worth taking the trip for that alone.
Trip costs 1,800 Baht pp & includes all transfers, breakfast, lunch, snacks, soft drinks, snorkelling equipment and park entry fee.
A visit to the beautiful island of Koh Samui is not complete without a snorkelling trip either to the Angthong National Marine Park or Koh Tao.
We chose the former with the 'Highway Travel Highsea Tour' company. Unfortunately this turned out to be a big disappointment. When we arrived at Nathon pier we were led onto a boat which had seen better days. The decommissioned passenger ferry had cracked windows or no windows at all, side rails so high, kids could walk underneath them and fall overboard.
The entire trip, to and fro, we were sitting in a cloud of diesel exhaust fumes but this is Thailand, right?
When we got to the first location the guests were herded onto old 'long tail' boats. Many people struggled to get on and off. Everyone was given life jackets even though some of them looked they had been salvaged off the Bismarck. Some had buckles missing or broken ("Yoo no need buckle, yoo tie knot!"). At the beach everyone was cast off onto large and heavy 3 person kayaks, regardless of age, ability, fitness etc. One woman was sent off with a young child, elderly people returned quickly to the beach knowing they didn't have the stamina to do this.
The 'tour guides' quickly jumped on their own kayaks and took off expecting a group of 20-25 kayaks to keep up with them. One guide was supposed to stay at the tail end for security but he quickly got bored and paddled to his mates at the front of the bunch.
Because it was very windy and the water was choppy some people were struggling and some were swept to sea. The 'guides' were oblivious to this and kept their own pace. The people getting swept away had to be rescued by other, stronger, guests and staff of OTHER TOUR COMPANIES!. When the 'guides' arrived back at the beach they observed this from their waiting deck chairs and thought all this was quite amusing. I suppose they knew there were plenty more 'farangs' waiting to get on board the following day.
Next we were handed diving masks and snorkels and pointed towards an area that was a designated snorkelling area. Some passengers pointed out that their snorkels and masks had MOULD growing inside. On closer inspection, so did ours. We tried to clean it out but to no avail. Needless to say we did not use the masks opting to sit under a coconut tree and wait for departure.
A while later we were herded back onto the boat again for lunch and departure to the second location. The head 'guide' told us that for lunch we'd get "chicken, chicken, chicken and then there's chicken" (hilarious). What he forgot to tell the guests that if they wanted chicken they would have to make sure they'd get to the front of the line because the chicken ran out just two thirds down the queue. A short while later they also ran out of steamed rice, so some guest ended up with 'sweet and sour carrot' and some brown and soggy bananas and water melon.
The brochure said soft drinks were included. Soft drinks apparently meant 2 bottles of Pepsi, to be shared with 50-60 guests. On the way home as a generous gesture 2 more bottles of Pepsi were cracked open.
When we arrived at the next location were handed another lot of mouldy snorkels. I noticed that these snorkels and masks were just thrown in a big crate after use, ready for use the following day. The designated snorkelling area was so shallow, anyone wanting to use if would cut their skin on the coral, either swimming or walking on it. The first aid kit was very popular that day.
The trip home was another 90 minutes of diesel fumes.
I'm quite sure there are lots of good tours and tour companies on Samui. I was extremely disappointed with this one.
Blue Stars Kayaking
picked up from the hotel, to the pier, and the boat. after 2 hours, and reaching the anthong marine park
then group will be divided into 2, one group go snorkling( on that day, the water was murky), one group went kayaking. then swapped. It;s nice swimming and kayaking.
then on the boat again, sail a bit further,anchored. then again one group hiking to see the green lagoon, and one group go kayaking, then swapped.
We were picked up early and driven to a hotel on the north coast then onto a speed boat............if you are going on a day trip then this is the best way as it takes over an hour just to get here by speed boat. This trip can be booked from most travel agents and costs about £20 for the day and pick up from your hotel is about 7am. It is cheaper by a slower boat but i would think the journey would be too long. Also if you want to stay for longer than 1 day then it is no problem to catch a small ferry, the main boat terminals being either at Nathon or near Big Buddha.
The trip included snorkelling, a visit to the emerald lake, sea canoeing and lunch. At Emerald lake there is a very steep and rough climb which you need to be quite fit to manage in the heat, but if you can't manage this there is a good beach to relax and wait for everyone to get back.
The trip arrived back at Samui at about 7pm
We join the Blue Stars Kayaking for the trip to Ang Thong marine national park. It was fun and enjoyable. Thumbs up for Blue Stars as they are very efficient and puntual. German/english speaking guide. Pick and transfer from your resort to the pier, light breakfast and lunch provided with fruits and snacks onboard the boat. Free flow of soft drinks. Kayaks and snorkelling gears are all provided. Waterproof bags provided. You may want to get a sports pack (water resistant) for your camera as i did so for my sony cybershot and took lots and lots of pictures!
Caves exploring are splendid! You guys must do this...it's just so cool!
The 2-hour boat ride to Angthong National Marine Park is nice, but can get a bit strenuous & boring on the way back. In the end, I thought it was well worth it - getting to see some of nature's beauty without the noise and crowds (well, there are other tourist groups) of Koh Samui.
Angthong is a fascinating group of 42 islands in north of Samui rising from the sea as dramatic rock walls. The park coves an area of 102 square kilometers of which only 18 square kilometers are land. Besides small caves and beaches you will find some strange formations nature has formed. One island has a mysterious sink hole, completely enclosed by walls of rock, in its center, forming a beautiful turquoise lake, which can be reached by a 30 minute climb over rocks and improvised steps made of bamboo. It's exhausting, and you're not allowed to swim in the lake, but it's still worth it!
If you plan to snorkel, it seems best to take your own equipment as we had quite a disappointment when our tour-operator didn't have enough sets for everyone. Also, for snorkeling its best to swim away from the beaches or even take one of the kanus. The water around the islands is fairly turbid or muddy with sediments and therefore has poor visibility, but by the rocks and cliffs you'll be much luckier.
WARNING: Watch-out for dropping coconuts! A 4-kilo coconut from 40 feet height can make more than a bump on your head.
If you spend any time on Ko Wua Talab, Ang Thong National Marine Park’s largest island and site of the park headquarters, I highly recommend climbing to the viewpoint, where panoramic views of the park’s idyllic islands await. If you don’t have the stamina or desire to make the steep ascent, at least make the short climb to the first viewpoint. Go quietly, and before getting to the viewpoint you are likely to encounter some inquisitive and quite cute monkeys.
Ang Thong National Marine Park is a group of 42 idyllic islands and the surrounding waters. Located approximately 30 kilometers from Ko Samui, the park is most often visited as part of a day trip from Ko Samui. Ang Thong takes its name from a turquoise-colored, landlocked lake that served as the inspiration for Alex Garland’s best-seller The Beach. Not surprisingly, the lake features prominently on all day trips from Ko Samui. In addition to the lake and a viewpoint overlooking it and some nearby islands, most tours also include snorkeling (which is average at best), a Thai buffet lunch, and a visit to Ko Wua Talab for kayaking or a steep climb to a marvelous viewpoint. Tours take up most of the day, with speedboat tours costing approximately 1700 baht (including the park entry fee) and large boat tours costing 950 baht (excluding the 200 baht park entry fee). All things considered, it is an enjoyable day and worth the money.
Another leaflet I picked up about The National Marine Park, but this was too pricey for us and didn't look as enjoyable as the others. Eventhough their brochure looks superb, you are inside a beautiful yacht rather than outside smelling the sea air. You also need to put down anchor far out for shore and then hop onto a speed boat to take you to land. But if you want a slightly more classy day trip, I think this company is for you!
0700 - Transfer from your hotel to the Nathon Pier
0830 - Departure from Koh Samui to Angthong National Marine Park
1000 - Arrive at Koh Tai Plow and kayak to explore the various caves or snorket around the beaches
1200 - Eat international buffet lunch onboard. Discovery starts cruising towards Koh Mae Koh
1330 - Arrive at Koh Mae Koh and climb the pathway to view the famous inner sea
1500 - Have a small meal onboard
1530 - Discovery starts cruising back to Koh Samui
1700 - Arrive back and transfer back to your hotel.
PRICE: Adult - 2,800 Baht , Child - 2,300 Baht
We had decided that we had been very good with our money so far and hadn't taken extravagent trips anywhere so Samui was the place to do it! We had been given early Christmas/ Birthday money and decided to spend it on a day tour of the Angthong National Marine Park. We looked around at different companies who offered day trips and checked prices and decided to go with Lomprayah as we had had only good experiences with them so far. Below is the itineary:
0700: Air-con mini van pick up from your hotel to Lomprayah Pier. Light meal will be served for breakfast at the pier. (This consisted of two croissants and tea or coffee each)
0815: Board to our new modern speedboat. The most comfortable way to get there within 45mins.
0900: Arrive Koh Vaw (or Koh Samsao or Koh Thiplao depending on weather condition) for visit and ready for your underwater explorer and then move onto the "Talay nai" or The Emerald Lake for you to enjoy the view point and fun activities.
1200: Lunch will be served at Koh Wao Ta Lap" Restaurant and from now you can enjoy the viewpoint and kayaks are already there for you to begin real fun with your buddy.
1500: Get ready to board back to Koh Samui and say good-bye to the nature. Return to Koh Samui.
1600: Looking for some souvenir and transfer back to your hotel. (As you board the boat in the morning they take a photo of you. When you come back, they have mounted it onto a saucer. A tacky souvenir, but I bought it anyway!!!)
Programme includes full insurance coverage, hotel transfers, admission fee, english speaking guide, life jackets and snorkel set, lunch buffet and soft drinks on board.
We had a fantastic day and it was well worth the money and gave us something different to do other than just sit on the beach again. The fish we saw when snokelling were out of this world, so colourful and calm.Please try out this trip!
We did a tour to the marine park, we went snorkelling and then went to the emerald lagoon. The water was so incredibly beautiful. We then we taken to a nearby island where we were given a great lunch and then went kayaking around some of the smaller islands.
Ang thong park is where the book "the beach" is set.
Samui and it's beaches are wonderful, but if you want to get a real taste of beautiful islands and stunning scenery, the take a trip to Angthong National Marine Park. Located an hours speedboat ride from Samui, this group of 42 islands is considered some of the most spectacular in Thailand.
Tickets cost around 600baht for the day trip which includes lunch and a couple of activities. Best place I saw for deals where on Chaweng beach where the guys in the tourist huts promote this and other Samui tours.
It's an early start as you're collected from your hotel and taken to Bophut pier for the hour long speedboat ride.
When you arrive, you land on a perfect white sandy beach, surrounded by high cliffs and palm trees. Then it's into a kayak and you're given an hour or so to canoe your way around the islands. BTW, life-jackets are provided! When you get back, you get time to chill for a while before lunch is server - typically Thai food (rice, chicken, veg and salads).
Then, back into the boat for a short trip over to the Emerald Lake. It takes a fair amount of effort to climb up and through the rocks to the viewing platform - but believe me, it's well worth it. After that, if you're feeling adventurous, climb further still and you'll reach a second view point, but this time you get a fantastic panoramic view across all the islands! BTW - you can't swim in the Emerald Lake as it's a nature reserve and is protected.
Once back in the boat, you're off to a shallower area for the snorkeling. All the equipment is provided by the tour guides - they even throw in bread so you can feed the fish!
Finally it's back on the boat and time to relax once again as you head back to Bophut pier.
Tip: Flip slops etc are great for the beaches etc, but if you're planning on seeing the Emerald Lake, then slightly better footwear is recommended just to help with the climbing.
this activity is pretty cool....gets you off the beach...sort of!! The trip I took by boat left Ko Samui and then went through an area that is like Archepeligoes...and it's just awsome! We stopped at one of the main islands (picture to follow) where you could take a hike up to a Salt Lake, on this path tight and winding through sharp volcanic rocks. I didn't make it to the top!! Hiking in such humidity is NOT for me!
But there was an awsome beach/lagoon there. The fun part of getting to the island from the boat was taking long-boats to the island.... and then trying to get on and off the long-boat to the rolling waves.
They cooked the lunch right on the main boat...a most awsome curry. then we had a leisurely ride back to Ko Samui. Something for everyone to do!