For the vast majority of Thailand's independent travellers, Thailand's Lower Gulf means the three idyllic tropical islands that make up the Samui archipelago, together with the 42 mainly uninhabited islands that constitute the wonderfully unique Ang Thong National Marine Park. Generations of backpackers have flocked to the tropical paradises of Ko Samui, Ko Tao and Ko Pha Ngan. If you're seeking sun, gorgeous beaches, swimming, superb diving and snorkelling, or just lazy days in cheap beachfront cottages, then it's difficult to find anywhere on earth that is better suited for your needs. But there’s so much more to do and enjoy on these three heavenly islands: 24/7 partying; sipping refreshing cocktails while you enjoy incredible views of the shimmering gulf and fantastic sunsets; trekking and climbing across the islands' interiors; cliff jumping; kayaking; stand up paddling; attending Yoga retreats…and much more.
It’s difficult to not find something to suit everyone, unless none of the above sounds good to you!
Ko Samui, the largest of the three islands, has become known for its five-star resorts and high-end spas, but there is still plenty of reasonably priced accommodation across the island. There’s loads of temples, activities, restaurants and bars for those that like plenty of different things to do. The mystical island of Koh Phangan, famous for the hedonistic bucket-laden Full Moon Parties, has a treasure trove of places to explore - from the atmospheric temples to some delightful waterfalls and hiking trails leading to incredible viewpoints. It is also increasingly becoming a world-renowned centre for yoga retreats. The small volcanic island of Koh Tao is indisputably a world-famous diver's paradise, with over 18 established dive sites and around 40 diving centres and resorts to serve you and to get you PADI/SSI certified. With its shallow waters, the island is perfect for beginners, as well as for more experienced divers - not to mention the increasingly popular free diving fraternity. The unique Ang Thong Marine National Park is accessible from any of the three islands by boat. Great to explore, snorkel and kayak amongst its little islets, in the countless lagoons and caverns beneath the towering limestone cliffs. Probably the pièce de résistance is the beautiful inland 'Emerald' seawater lake, world-famous for a scene from the iconic film, "The Island".