Samui Wining & Dining
Blue Stars Kayaking offers great day trips to amazing tropical islands.


Undoubtedly one of the best days out around Samui has to be a trip to the beautiful Angthong National Marine Park. For most people it’s the highlight of their vacation, topping many visitors’ lists of must-see places in the region. The marine park is a collection of over 42 beautiful tropical islands off the west coast of Samui. The chain of rocky islets stretches almost as far down as the mainland. During a trip to the park you will discover hidden lagoons, green islands, an emerald green lake, and mysterious caves. As well as natural wildlife; crab-eating monkeys, small herons, dolphins, otters, and silver-haired bats.


Blue Stars Kayaking is an extremely well-established tour operator on Koh Samui specializing in excursions with sightseeing, snorkelling and kayaking to the marine park. Operating since 1995, they have a vast knowledge of the area and the best places for kayaking or just lazing on a beautiful beach. Your trip begins with a minibus pick-up from your hotel at around 7:15 am to 7:30 am. The minibus will take you to Nathon pier on the northwest coast of Samui, where the 23 metre fully-equipped tour boat is waiting to take you to the marine park. Leaving Nathon at about 8:00 am, a light breakfast of croissants and tea or coffee is served while the boat steadily makes it way to the park. The trip there takes approximately an hour and a half, but with the wonderful scenery of Samui, Koh Pha-Ngan and the southern tip of the marine park, the time aboard slips by in a pleasant and relaxing manner.


Although it could carry more, Blue Stars limit the capacity of the boat to 44 people, and once you arrive at the park, the operators have found that it works best to split the tour into two smaller groups. This ensures that everyone will have a good day out, without it being overcrowded. The first session of kayaking begins upon arrival at the marine park with the first port of call on the trip being the island of Koh Mae Ko which is the main island of the archipelago. The boat will moor at the beach here, and kayaking and snorkelling can be enjoyed in the blue tropical waters.


On this island you can also climb up a ridge to take in the majestic sight of the Emerald Lake, a volcanic crater, edged by sheer rock walls. After all the morning activities, lunch time is a highlight for many on the tour. INTO THE BLUE BEYONDThe food is delicious and there’s a lot of positive feedback. The lunch is a buffet of three Thai dishes with a salad and rice, but don’t panic if you can’t eat spicy food, it’s all agreeably mild. Lunch is served on the boat while you cruise further north past the stunning scenery of the other smaller islands, including the one made famous by the book ‘The Beach’, Koh Sam Sao. The boat cuts its path through the turquoise waters to the quieter and less visited northern islands of Koh Nai Phut and Koh Tai Plao. No other operators visit this area which is surprising since it offers some fantastic places for kayaking.


After lunch you can explore the myriad of caves and tunnels in this area, which are truly breath-taking, and paddle under overhanging rock formations. You can also go snorkelling here. With the place pretty much to yourself you can truly soak up the beauty and majesty of these amazing islands. Also keep an eye out for some of the natural inhabitants of this region and you may be lucky and spot a dolphin or whale shark. It’s a great place to go swimming, although it can sometimes be a bit cloudy for snorkelling. Cold drinks and water are freely available throughout the day, so if you tire of all that exercise you can take time out to enjoy a drink while you get back your energy. An afternoon snack of banana muffins is also served, so there’s not much chance of anyone going hungry or thirsty on the tour.


All the equipment, the snorkelling gear, life vests and the high quality Oceanbrand kayaks are included in the price of the tour. Blue Stars also provide waterproof bags for your camera and phone. The only things you need to bring are a beach towel, your swimwear,INTO THE BLUE BEYOND a change of t-shirts and a little pocket money if you want an ice-cream on the beach at the first stop. After that everything else is taken care of. The company representative on the boat is English and German speaking, and after living on Samui for many years has an extensive knowledge of the marine park.


After an incredible day out the boat will make its way back to Samui at about 3:00 pm, when you can enjoy your afternoon snack and sip at a coffee or tea. Many people recommend the tour and the company, and often cite the fact that the company offers a trip on a large slow boat and not a speed boat, so the customers feel relaxed and not as though they are being herded from one point to another.


And for those who’re concerned that they are not experienced kayakers, then there’s no need to worry. The basics are easy to learn and the staff very helpful. As one couple said, “We weren’t highly experienced kayakers but didn’t have any issues.”


“Awesome experience”, “brilliant day trip” and “a great day out” are just a few ways in which customers have described their trip with Blue Stars Kayaking. If you’d like to try it out for yourself, have a look at their website and check out the fantastic pictures of the limestone rock formations of the marine park. You can also make a reservation through the website before you arrive on Samui to ensure your place on the trip.


 Natalie Hughes


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