July 29, 2015 | talktraveltome | Leave a comment Off the east coast of Southern Thailand, in the Gulf of Thailand, is the Angthong National Marine Park. Comprised of more than 40 islands, it’s an incredibly beautiful natural formation, and home to a plethora of marine life as well as some of the most amazing white sand beaches in the country. While visiting Koh Samui, we had the opportunity to jump aboard a speed boat with 100 Degrees East and spend the day exploring this incredible part of Thailand! One thing that set 100 Degrees East apart from other boat trips we’ve taken was how conscious they are about the environment and preserving the pristine natural beauty of Angthong National Marine Park. We’ve done other snorkeling/scuba diving trips where our guides would literally stand on the coral or even in one case break a piece off. But that is not the case with 100 Degrees East (round-of-applause for them). Before our speed boat journey, Ivan, one of the owners, gave our group a quick talk about being mindful of the marine park and the importance of keeping it clean and being respectful while visiting. During our travels we’ve noticed the devastating impact pollution has had on the environment, so it was nice to hear that someone was sticking up for the Earth! After our talk with Ivan, we hopped on the speed boat to make our way to Angthong National Marine Park. The boat ride is about an hour and goes pretty quickly, especially since we were passing the time by staring at breathtakingly beautiful islands. Once we got to the Marine Park, we were thanking the Tourist Gods to be with 100 Degrees East. When we reached the snorkel spot we were surrounded by at least 100 other snorkelers who looked like a giant school of fish and all seemed to be confined to a certain area. Luckily for us, our guide jumped in the water and we started swimming away from the other groups, thus avoiding getting a fin to the face. The highlight of the snorkeling portion of the trip was getting to explore a nearby cave. It was an above water cave, but we had to swim through a narrow pass to enter it. Once we got inside we were blown away. There were tons of small fish swimming all over and there was also a hole in the center of the cave’s roof that let the sun shine through. It was one of the coolest water caves we’ve ever been in, and we’ve been to some pretty cool grottos in Italy. After having our minds blown with the amazing snorkeling, we jumped back on the boat and went to our next stop, a secluded beach in the middle of the park. Here we unloaded from the speedboat and set out on a guided kayak tour around the local islands. The highlight on this part of the trip was another cave of sorts. The tide was low which revealed an underpass to the limestone cliffs that surround the islands. We paddled under and at certain points could look up and see straight through. After about an hour of kayaking we were back on the beach and ready for lunch! While we were paddling around one of the guides was preparing a full buffet on the secluded beach. The spread was impressive to say the least… they had chicken curry, vegetable curry, fried rice, white rice, chicken legs, and fresh fruit. There was no fish in the meal, because as our guide said, “Today we’re here to see the fish in the water, not on our plates”. After stuffing our faces we were given about an hour to relax on the gorgeous beach, take in the views and enjoy some time on a wooden rope swing that was strung between two trees. Once we caught some z’s on the beach it was time to load up again. This time we were off to see the famous Emerald Lake. It’s located on Mu Koin and it’s a bit of a climb to get to the lake itself. The hike only takes 15 minutes, but the whole walk is climbing up “stairs”. We put stairs in quotations here because it’s more like a ladder than stairs. Regardless, it’s not a bad walk and it’s absolutely worth doing. Once we got to the top we were greeted with an unbelievable view of the Emerald Lake and the Marine Park. Our guide told us how the author of the book The Beach was inspired by this Emerald Lake, and we could see why! We spent a few minutes taking in the views and snapping a few pictures before it was time for our final stop, Monkey Island. Can you guess what we saw on Monkey Island?! You got it… MONKEYS! We’ve grown accustom to seeing monkeys after spending time in Bali, but these ones were different. The Dusky Leaf Monkeys had darker fur and white circles around their eyes. No matter how many times you see a monkey it never gets old! Once we had our fill of watching the monkeys swing through the trees, it was time for us to head home. The day was an awesome adventure through the Angthong National Marine Park and the absolute highlight of our trip to Koh Samui. Thank you 100 Degrees East for hosting us in the Angthong Marine Park! As always, our opinions are our own as we Talk Travel.