The joy of travel is discovering new places and there is real majesty in doing so on the ocean. A yacht offers so much freedom to go where you want, on your own time. That feeling of discovering somewhere for the first time is indescribable, which is why we urge our guests to take that extra step. This is one of those steps.
The coastline of the protected Hat Khanom & Mu Koh Thale Tai National Park is nestled on the mainland, south-west of Koh Samui and is made up of a series of beaches hidden amongst the limestone and shale peaks of the Thammarat Mountain Range. All of the beaches are as stunning as you might imagine and as you head inland to explore the hills you encounter a plethora of waterfalls, wildlife and landscapes including some incredible natural caves.
Starting with the beaches and you are immediately spoilt for choice. You could spend endless days cruising the coastline discovering the wealth of sandy bays separated by rocky outlets or diving and snorkeling in the crystal waters amongst the diverse coral reefs. One of the most famous is Nha Dan which is actually made up of three beaches including the stunning crescent shaped Nai Plao.
We are not, however, done talking about marine life. Did we mention pink dolphins earlier? This region is one of the few remaining places in the world to see this endangered species. Head out in the morning and fingers crossed you will encounter the naturally inquisitive creatures. Patience is certainly a virtue here as they are more than worth the wait. The pink dolphins, also known as humpback dolphins, start their life dark grey and slowly turn pink to moderate their body temperature. They are even known to blush much like us humans.
Back on land as you venture into the hills you enter a wildlife wonderland. Head to Khao Dat Fa for sunrise and even spot Samui in the distance as you see and hear countless tropical birds and the unmistakable local gibbon families.
Along the way you will also encounter some other natural wonders including the 3-tiered Naan Pai waterfall, the Khlong Khanom mangrove forest and finally the majestic caves at Khao Wang Thong. Entering through just a small hole the cave opens up into various chambers dominated by huge stalagmites and stalactites and if you time it right they almost come to life as the light shines through.
Overall, the entire region is beautifully preserved and a million miles away from its developed neighbors. This is truly a step off the beaten path but one that we highly recommend. There’s never been a better time.