Angthong Marine Park Blog
Thailand is undoubtedly known as one of the most beautiful places on the planet. From the busy, culture filled streets of Bangkok, to the fresh aired, misty mountains of the north, and lets not forget the iconic white sandy beaches of the south found in so many postcards. This tropical paradise has all that and everything in between, but one place in the land of smiles that takes the prize as the most beautiful place in Thailand, is the Angthong National Marine Park. If you could imagine 42 limestone islands surrounded by Colgate white beaches, water so crystal clear you want to drink it, and not a soul in eyeshot to bother you, then you can imagine Angthong Marine Park!!
Big Blue Tech Thailand is only 4 short hours from this paradise, and guess what? That’s right! We are heading there in early July 2014 for some exploration diving with Big Blue Dive Club over 3 days/2 nights! This is a diving trip open for all divers, Recreational, Technical, and for the first time, Freedivers. If you’re not sure if this trip is for you, then go ahead, keep reading and when you’re done, give us a shout to confirm your place!
Being a national Marine park, Angthong has no bars, clubs, 711’s or motorbikes. Where the bars and clubs usually are there are mangroves. Where the roads with big franchises usually are, there are lakes, jungles and coconut trees. The 42 islands are filled with a huge variety of wildlife in the jungle and the sea. 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 (leaf monkey), which comes down to the park’s HQ allowing visitors to get up and close with this cute creature. The park supports several types of forest and flora such as; dry evergreen forests that cover the large islands of Koh Wua Talap, Koh Paluai, and also Koh Saamsao. A very important plant Ang Thong Lady’s Slipper Orchid, is an endemic species found only in Mu Koh Ang Thong.
First established on the 12th November 1980. Koh Angthong is an archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. With 42 islands in total, most of them quite close to each other, the national park offers breathtaking panorama views while boating around the islands. While all the islands are covered in lush, tropical forests, all of them are different shapes and sizes. Many of the islands consist of limestone Mountains ranging from 10 to 400 meters high. As limestone is ever changing over the centuries from weather, this has created unique caves and cliffs above water and below. All of the islands are uninhabited and undeveloped except for one.
Other than sitting on the beach taking in the sheer beauty of the islands, Angthong also offers a wide range of activities including; snorkeling the reefs, kayaking though the islands, hiking to the many spectacular viewpoints and of course DIVING!! With vast array of dive sites ranging from 10m to 25m this is a diver’s heaven. An abundance of coral, sea life, swim-through caves and if you’re lucky a whale shark or even pilot whales, is all found in the surrounding waters.
Many dive sites on Angthong are undiscovered, so the exploration aspect of diving here is truly incredible. With no buoy lines or other divers to be seen anywhere, it is quite possible that you could be the first person to be diving through one of the hundreds of swim-though caves. Last time Big Blue Tech was there, we found many un-dived sites and caves.
Koh Yippon Lek dive site has a depth of 20m suitable for all levels of divers. The name translates as “Small Japanese Island”. On the furthest north end of the park, this site has many shallow caves and swim-though. Marine life includes Squid, Cuttlefish, Banded Sea Snakes and huge Barrel coral.
Koh Wao dive site has a depth of 18m, starting at 5m near the carpeting rocks and heading out deeper to find the amazing overhangs and very tight swim-through caves. Juvenile Sweetlips can be found here as well as Blue Spotted Rays and Banded Sea Snakes.
Hin Yippon is a site not to be missed! Made up of huge boulders and dozens of swim-through caves this site is a great place to find hiding big Red Snappers and Groupers. This is a picture perfect site, perfect of underwater photographers. Max depth is 25m however most interesting features are at 18m or below.
The Big Blue Dive Club trip will leave Koh Tao on the 4th July. We will arrive in Angthong Marine Park in the afternoon with enough time for a couple of dives before checking in to our bungalows on the beach. A yummy home cooked Thai dinner will be served and then time to chill out and enjoy the peacefulness of it all. The following day will consist of two dives in the morning to some of the incredible swim-through caves followed by packing our lunch and heading off on the kayaks to explore the islands and have lunch on one of the many white beaches. The afternoon will be left up to you. Two more dives? Or maybe trekking up to the best viewpoint 500m above sea level! After a sunset night dive we will have a BBQ on the beach with a few beverages to celebrate under the stars. The next morning will be two more expletory dives hopefully finding the Pilot Whales Big Blue Tech saw last time we were there. After that one more yummy Thai lunch in this paradise then back on the boat to chill out as we cruise through the islands getting the perfect photo on the way back to Koh Tao.
Ok, convinced yet? Well if your not, this certainly will help. The price!! You get transfers to and from the park, lunch included on the ride there, 2 nights accommodation in bungalows on the beach, 8 amazing expletory dives, all equipment included, beach BBQ, kayak hire, park entry fees, unlimited water and soft drink, and possibly the best underwater photo you will ever get. All of this for only 5500 Thai Baht!!
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