In the Gulf of Thailand, you will find Ang Thong National Marine Park, one of the most beautiful island archipelagos in the world to the west of Koh Phangan.
A 45-minute boat ride from Koh Phangan about 15 minutes longer from Koh Samui and Koh Tao, Ang Thong National Marine Park is feels like the ultimate idyllic island paradise.
In fact, the book The Beach by English author Alex Garland was actually inspired by the Emerald Lagoon found in this island archipelago that he heard about while visiting the Full Moon Party in Haad Rin on Koh Phangan in the 1990’s.
When the Hollywood movie for The Beach directed Danny Boyle and staring Leonardo DiCaprio they chose to film in Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh island near Koh Phi Phi because it was much more accessible for film crews.
While Maya Bay is mobbed by tourists most of the year, you can experience Ang Thong National Marine Park to experience the real secluded, peaceful beach experience.
What I highly recommend doing is staying over night on Koh Wua Ta Lap Island where you can inexpensively rent cabins and tents that are provided by the Thailand National Park Authority. There is even a decent restaurant of the main ranger island of Koh Wua Ta Lap Island.
The reason you need to stay on Koh Wua Ta Lap Island to experience the real tranquility of this spectacular place is that from 10 am – 3 pm the peace and quiet is interrupted by the loud sound of boat engines from all the tour boats.
Outside of those busy tourist hours, it’s quiet and peaceful in the archipelago and staying on the main ranger’s island of Koh Wua Ta Lap you can hike up to the incredible viewpoint to do a morning yoga or meditation session overlooking the entire Archipelago and perhaps be the only people there.
The area was established a marine national park in 1980, Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park is an archipelago of 42 islands that covers 102 km² in the Gulf of Thailand.
The Natural Wonders of Ang Thong National Marine Park
Here are some photos of the most beautiful natural wonders of the Ang Thong National Marine Park archipelago.
1. The Main Islands of Ang Thong National Park
2. Koh Wua Ta Lap Beach
3. The Emerald Lagoon
4. The Dusky Leaf Monkeys
5. The Koh Wua Ta Lap Island Viewpoint
The awe-inspiring view from the main viewpoint on Koh Wua Ta Lap Island with the Ranger’s Station where you can reserve camping sites or stay in cabins in the bottom left.
6. The Bua Boke Crystal Cave
7. The Sheltered, Clear Azul Waters
If you’re visiting Koh Phangan or the neighboring Gulf of Thailand islands of Koh Tao and Koh Samui then Ang Thong National Marine Park is a must-visit place.
As you can see, it’s one of the most beautiful island archipelago’s found anywhere in the world.