Koh Angthong National Park

IUCN category II (national park) History of Mu Koh Angthong National Marine Park

IUCN category II (national park)
History of Mu Koh Angthong National Marine Park

The Angthong National Park was established on 12th November 1980. Mu Koh Ang Thong is an archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. Most of the islands are close to each other making a breathtaking panorama sailing around the Angthong Marine Park. All the islands are of different sizes and shapes. Most of them are covered with tropical forests and named after their distinguishing geography, a kind of descriptive appellation, such as ‘Sleeping Cow Island’ and ‘Three Pillars Island’. Angthong, translates as ‘golden bowl’ is a protected nature area famous for its natural beauty. All of the islands are uninhabited and undeveloped except for one. All of the islands consists of limestone mountains about 10-400 meters above sea level. Because the limestone can change its structure easily by both chemical condition and weather, during centuries the islands creates strange-looking caves, cliffs and some islands look like ancient Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Prasart Hin Pimai. Part of the famous movie “The Beach” directed by Danny Boyle and based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Alex Garland, took place at Angthong Marine Park an Phi Phi Islands. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and features Tilda Swinton, Robert Carlyle, Virginie Ledoyen and Guillaume Canet.

Mu Ko Ang Thong is a marine national park in the Gulf of Thailand, on the shores of the Surat Thani Province. It covers 42 islands in a total area of 102 km², of which only 18 km² are land.  Population of these islands is estimated around 700-800 Thai people. The northern tip of Ko Phaluai is also part of the marine park. There is a ranger station, bungalows, shop and restaurant at Ko Wua Talap at Ao Phi. The name “Ang Thong” translates in thai as similar to “bowl of gold”. “Mu Ko” simply means “group of islands” or “archipelagos”. Since 2002 the park has been registered as Ramsar site number 1184.

Ang Thong National Marine Park closing period: Are you coming to Koh Samui in November or December? The park is usually closed to visitors from November 1st through December 23rd yearly, to give nature and its creatures a break. That said, this period is Koh Samui’s rainy season, with high likelihood of rough seas. You don’t want to go to Ang Thong unless the conditions are good, check with us directly for regular updates.

Koh Angthong National Park Map

Koh Ang Thong National Park Map

Rules and Regulations

All parks have rules and regulations. These 6 Rules are not there just for the sake of it, they are used to prevent the Angthong National Marine Park and its environment from being damaged. Rules are also used to keep the people who use a park safe. If someone breaks a rule, there may be consequences such as a fine to pay. Parks are for everyone to enjoy and they are important for the environment.

If people use a park correctly, everyone gets to enjoy them!

*** Before swimming… Our Guide and Captain will check the depth, temperature and current ***
– be careful around the edge of the water –

Take all your rubbish and litter home.
Leaving rubbish in a bin can encourage animals to rely on human food.

Leave plants, animals, rocks, shells and soil as you find them.
Stay on the track if there is one.
Disturbing rocks and soil puts the lives of animals and plants at risk and ruins their habitats.

Do not stand on corals or kick coral with fins, they are alive!

All these rules protect the flora and fauna of the parks.
Visitors who break these rules often face large fines or other penalties.

Ecology of Angthong Marine Park

The ocean around Mu Ko Ang Thong averages around 10 metres in depth. Since the archipelago is located near the mainland, it receives sedimentaicontamination from the Tapee river. Sunlight cannot thoroughly penetrate the waters, which is a limiting factor in the control of photosynthetic life such as, corals and other underwater plants. However any other marine creatures are adapted to this environment, and they still live forage, shelter and breed here.

On land, the park supports several types of forest and wildlife such as, dry evergreen forest covers the large islands of Ko Wua talap, Ko Paluai, and Ko Saamsao. An important plant in the park, Ang Thong Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Paphiopedilum x Ang Thong), is an endemic species found only in Mu Ko Ang Thong.

Beach Forest, spares forest growing along the beaches and foothills near the shore. There is little of this type left.

Limestone Mountain Forest. Consist of flora found in limestone crevices with little or no soil. They are often small, dry tolerant, and slow – growing species such as Dracaena loureira, Malayun Spurge Tree Euphorbia antiquarum, and Morinda tinctoria.

Of Mangrove Forest there is very little, some can be seen on the muddy beach in the inner sea and some in the bays to the east of Ko Paluai. They have all been planted.

In general the wildlife found consists of smaller animals, of which researchers have discovered 16 species of mammals, more than 50 species of birds, 14 species of reptiles, and 5 species of amphibians. An interesting one to look out for is the Dusky Langur, which comes down to the park’s HQ allowing visitors to observe closely.