Ang Thong National Park (Codename : 'Operation Avoid the Moon')
Ang Thong Travel Blog› entry 113 of 268 › view all entries
Friends, Romans and countrymen, lend me your Internet Service Providers. Today I look upon you and the world with new eyes… but only because I managed to roll over on the night boat to Samui travel guide">Koh Samui and flatten my glasses last night. “Darn it, they’d lasted 2 years!”.
Anyways. Enough silliness. I gotta focus for today is the launch day for Mu Ko Angthong or Angthong National Park. A journey codenamed ‘Operation Avoid the Moon’. Yes, after many a long week of consideration and deliberation my darling sis and partner, following a last minute change of plan from Koh Tao have settled on Koh Phangan as the venue for our reunion.
Yes full moon, in full and terrible bloom with all its peculiar effects upon the backpacker species. It is well known and observed to turn a perfectly well meaning, free-loading, beer-chugging pseudo dippy-trippy-hippy bunch of schmucks into… oh it’s just ghastly!…well, precisely the same rabble actually.
So ya get the idea. An encounter I’m looking to avoid. So a change of plan at the last minute sees me boomerang off the night ferry to Koh Samui from Surat Thani (arriving at 5.45am) onto the 8.30am boat to the Ang Thong National Park for which I purchase a ticket only half and hour after docking at Samui.
The Ang Thong National Park is a collection of forty two little predominantly limestone islands sat within an 82 kilometre square designated marine park area of the Gulf of Thailand between the mainland and Koh Samui. About 2 hours by boat from the latter. A couple of tour boats make a daily round trip to two islands of principle interest within the Park. Snorkelling and kayaking are potential activities for punters and meals and drinks on the day are included. The real trick I think - which almost nobody does - is to stop at the main island and Park HQ Ko Wua Tulap overnight. Your ticket is still valid for the onward leg of the ‘tour’ and return to Samui the following day.
There are various forms of accommodation (huts/ bungalows etc) at the Park HQ, and I will be bunking down in one of their tents for 150 Baht (£1.50). 50 Baht extra for some nominal bedding, but no need as this increasingly resourceful little backpacker’s dried out the life jacket provided to him by the tour company and will use that as a pint-sized mattress instead.
So basically I just chill, reading and taking in the scenery on pretty little Ao Kah beach whilst everyone else dashes off for their 40 minutes kayaking and 20 minutes (crap no visibility) snorkelling or to brave the ascent of the island’s chief viewing point (doing both activities pretty much impossible in the time allotted). Soon enough they’ve all jiggered off and aside from the skeleton crew staff here at the HQ I now have the entire island to myself!
First stop I clamber all the way up to the viewing point near the top of island; the Pha Jun-Jaras Nature Trail. Whilst there is a good rope ‘banister’ to cling to and pull up on the entire length of the ascent, make no bones that this is a strenuous little 40 minute plus clamber.
The view from the summit though, north over the visible spread of the Angthong islands immediately remedies you of any bodily fatigue by feeding the soul one of the finest views I would imagine probably available in southern Thailand. Incredible! And as with all those ’postcard’ panoramas, there’s no beating seeing this vision, this spectacle, taking in its colours as the natural light bathes upon it, breathing the winds and air that wreathe around it, way up high with all your senses in situ.
This place is just such a perfect contrast to the insanity I suspect is cranking up on Koh Phangan right now as I unwind in Angthong. My SpicyThai pal Jon (NYC) made great efforts to attend Full Moon on Phangan in January just. It quote unquote “wrecked” him. A scar on his neck from jumping through a hoop of fire and a stay in hospital for a full course of rabies injections after a dog he drunkenly stepped on at the party later returned the favour with a bite were some of his more noteworthy injuries and losses on the night.
… nope I’d much rather be where I am right now! On top of the world again. I climbed all the way back to the viewpoint summit to watch sundown over the Angthong islands. It’s so, so calming to feel it’s nothing more complicated right now than just you and whatever nature conjures for your entertainment.
Everything’s aaaall mine! The white sands, the cool evening breeze,the green green trees and turquoise seas so you can take your Full Moon party people and… and… and well, yes… you can shove it where the sun don’t shine!