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We went on two speedboat tours in the Gulf of Thailand on two consecutive days – the first day to see Ko Tao and Ko Nang Yuan and the second day to visit the Ang Thong Marine National Park (Ang Thong = “Golden Bowl”, see part 1 here). We were lucky because as you can see in the photos the sea was very calm.  Many visitors on Tripadvisor complained about seasick and getting drenched in a speedboat on the rough sea.

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After cruising around the Gulf to see the various islands, we went to lunch at a simple restaurant on Ko Paluay, one of the bigger islands. We had some really fresh tasting all-you-can-eat shrimp tempura.

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Although the islands are part of the marine park, only some are owned by the government. The islands on the southern end of the park are inhabited by families of fishermen who continue to make a living on the fishing grounds in the Gulf of Thailand (and run tourist restaurants on the islands).
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The islands in the park are made of limestone with steep cliffs, hidden lagoons, beaches and caves. This must be the most iconic rock in the Gulf of Thailand. Looks like it is hovering above the water.

Nat park-15Same rock as above, view from another side.

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After lunch, our boat cruised to a beach to swim, kayak, and relax. We were the first boat to arrive after lunch, hence the tranquility. A few more boats came later. An impromptu game of takraw (or sepak takraw) was started on the beach by the crews of several boats (hollow rattan ball kept aloft and passed between players by using only feet, chest and head, essentially kick volleyball).

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I(Chris) walked parallel to the coastline, around an outcrop of rocks in shallow water (towards the left side of the photo above), and found a secluded beach.  The water in the channels between the rocks was just knee deep and calm enough to allow me to use the camera while wading through.

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I could have continued walking in shallow water parallel to the coastline and would probably find more beaches like this one.  The beach front and the rocks behind it were full of small white butterflies, usually a chain of them, one chasing the other. A swing hangs from a leaning branch.

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Launching point for kayaks.

ang thong-42We borrowed this one picture of the islands  from Wikipedia. It was taken from a viewpoint high on Ko Paluay which we did not have time to ascend.

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On our way back, we had a chance to see the north shore of Ko Samui where the most exclusive and remotely located resorts are hidden.

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The bungalows and facilities are scattered on a headland and hidden from view by the trees on land but not from the sea.

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A sand spit extends into the Gulf.

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At the end, we were dropped off from the boat at the beach in front of our resort, Hansar (see our post here). The beach is steep enough to allow the front of the boat to go all the way up to where we could hop off onto dry sand.

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We hope to go back and spend more time on the islands – however, we would charter our own boat (surprisingly inexpensive if you organize a small group) to discover the hidden caves and hard-to-reach beaches, which can be your private beach for a few hours.

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2 Comments

  1. Beautiful pictures – reminds me of our time in Halong Bay (but probably cleaner! )

  2. Awesome. Especially when New York is snowing.


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