Samui Wining & Dining
THE STAR OF THE SHOW

Explore hidden caves and secret beaches with Blue Stars Kayaking.


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Koh Samui is a beautiful island, but just sometimes you want to explore a little further. From the hills of Samui, you can see many small islands dotted around, and perhaps you wonder what secrets they might hold.

        Well, you’re in luck because not only is Samui within easy reach of the world famous Angthong National Marine Park but there is also a kayaking company which has been leading tours there for more than 17 years. Yes, Blue Stars Kayaking first arrived on Samui 17 years ago, and are proud to offer a tried and tested tour of this beautiful natural attraction.

        The Marine Park is a collection of uninhabited islands lying to the west of Koh Samui. Made famous by Alex Garland’s book ‘The Beach’, the islands are full of hidden caves and secret beaches, and what better way to view them all than from a kayak. The park covers 42 islands in a total area well over 100 km², of which only 18 km² are land. The words ‘Ang Thong’ mean ‘golden bowl’ and the park is famous for its natural beauty. The islands themselves seem to leap up from the sea and boast dramatic cliffs, bizarre rock formations, towering limestone mountains, thick jungle, white-sand

beaches, fertile mangroves, waterfalls and hidden coves and lagoons. The islands are also home to a variety of wildlife including lizards, pythons, Asian long-tailed monkeys and many, many birds.

         Blue Stars operate from a large boat that’s big enough to carry all the kayaks on board instead of leaving them on a beach somewhere in the park. Having them on-board, means that the boat has total freedom to go where it wants, and if the weather takes a turn for the worse, it has the flexibility to change its course and find a suitable spot for kayaking.

          The fully-equipped boat is 23 metres long, which means it is stable and you can easily get up and walk around on the journey out to the Marine Park. Yes, the journey does take a little longer that the speed boats (up to one hour 30 minutes), but what’s the rush? Take in the beautiful views of Samui as you head out west, and as you watch it getting smaller and smaller, the peaks of the cliffs on the islands in the marine park will start getting bigger. Enjoy your breakfast after snapping some pictures, head up to the sun deck on of the boat to catch some rays before the sun gets too hot, or just relax on the main deck.

          The day starts around 7:15 am when you’re collected from your hotel and taken to Nathon Pier to board the boat. You enjoy a light breakfast and tea or coffee while you cruise out to the park. There are a number of activities during the day - kayaking, hiking to the viewpoint and snorkelling or swimming. The group is split into two smaller groups. In the morning one group kayaks while the other group snorkels or swims. These activities are then switched so that the kayaking group get a chance to go snorkelling or swimming and vice versa. This is so that it never feels too crowded, and everyone feels like they’re getting a great experience instead of being rushed and pushed around.

          Back to the boat to indulge in the delicious buffet lunch while cruising to the next stop for the mid-afternoon activities. Again working with two smaller groups, one group enjoys a second session of kayaking while the other group hikes to the viewpoint to see the stunning Emerald Lagoon, after which the activities are again switched. This means that everyone gets to kayak twice, snorkel and visit the viewpoint. If you prefer, you are welcome to just relax on the boat.

          The boat is more than capable of carrying 100 passengers, but Blue Stars like to keep the maximum number of passengers to around 44 so that everyone has enough space and can easily move around or find a space to sit as needed. Judging from the many positive reviews on TripAdvisor, this is clearly a service which they have perfected. “A great day out.”, “Awesome experience.”, “Brilliant day trip.” and “Great tour operation” are just the first few you see.

          Besides their admin office, they have another office in Chaweng behind Bondi which is open afternoons and evenings. However, it’s easiest for everyone if you book online and pay on arrival. They run trips on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays but during high season, they might add extra days so be sure to check.

          Due to the popularity of the tours, they are often fully booked so it’s advisable to book in advance to avoid any disappointment. So do it quickly and don’t miss out!

          

 Colleen Setchell


 


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