Destinations, Thailand

The real ‘Beach’: Ang Thong National Marine Park

2 Comments 21 June 2013

The real ‘Beach’: Ang Thong National Marine Park

Everyone heads to Ko Phi Phi for the famous lagoon film location featured in The Beach. It’s stunning and a great day trip, but wouldn’t you rather visit the original?

Ang Thong National Marine Park, off the coast of Koh Samui is the real inspiration behind Alex Garland’s secret paradise in his novel. The un-touched group of islands are worth a trip without any films or books to lure you in. Plus, the 42-island archipelago is especially superior to the must-see Maya Bay, because there are far less people. Walking around Ko Mae Ko and its natural lagoon with only a boat full of people, you’ll actually feel like you’ve stumbled upon a undiscovered paradise.

Ric and I visited Ang Thong National Marine Park on a day trip from Koh Samui. They picked us up in a fishing boat with about 20-30 people on board.

Ang Thong National Park

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Ang Thong National Park

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

I got excited when islands started to appear in the distance. I was taken aback by the changing sea color. It would go from a deep blue to a light green and back again.

Ang Thong National Park

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Ang Thong National Park

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

The day tour includes a guided kayak trip, during which our guide pointed out the blow hole Richard would have escaped the shark that was chasing him in The Beach.

Ang Thong National Park

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

The real hidden lagoon where the Swedes would fish and beach colony would play cricket located on Ko Mae Ko.

Ang Thong National Park

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

The scene from the lookout point at Ko Mae Ko.

Ang Thong National Park

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

The day ends with snorkeling and lunch at Mu Koh Ang Thong National Park. People can camp over night on this island with special permission, but we only spent about an hour here doing epic jump shots before returning to Koh Samui.

Ang Thong National Park

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Ang Thong National Park

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

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- who has written 310 posts on Heels and Wheels.

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  • Influenced Book

    I love this area of Thailand. I did this trip back in 1999 when I was 17. Loved it so much and do plan on going back. This year I stuck to Krabi and headed to Malaysia instead. Looks like you had a blast!

  • http://www.heelsandwheelsonline.com/ Bobbi Lee Hitchon

    It’s a beautiful area but I loved Krabi and Malaysia too. One of my biggest regrets in SE Asia was not spending more time in Malaysia.

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