Ao Phang-Nga National Park

ASEAN Heritage Parks
Ao Phang-Nga National Park - Thailand's most famous marine protected area
Mu Ko Surin, Mu Ko Similan and Ao Phang-nga National Parks are the most well-known marine protected areas in Thailand. These parks are located in Phang-nga province. Mu Ko Surin is popular for its shallow reef; Mu Ko Similan, for scuba diving; and Ao Phang-nga, for its mangrove ecosystem and karst topography. This group of ASEAN Marine Heritage Parks is managed by the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department.

Ao Phang-Nga Marine National Park. This park is one of the most frequently visited marine national parks of Thailand. It is one of two sea coast national parks in Thailand-the other is Tarutao National Park. Famed for its rich folklore, prehistoric rock arts, and natural beauty, Ao Phang- Nga was established as a National Park in 1981 and covers an area of 40,000 hectares. The Park encompasses coastal forests and a series of strikingly scenic karst limestone hills flooded by the sea to form some 42 sheer islands with high cliffs, rock overhangs and formations, caves, coral gardens, and some scrub.

Mu Ko Surin National Park. The Park is situated in the Andaman Sea, approximately 65 kilometers from the coast of Phangnga Province in the southern peninsula region of Thailand, and only a few kilometers from the border of Myanmar. The Park covers an area of approximately 14,125 hectares (141.25 square kilometers) of which 76 percent is sea. There are five main islands-Ko Surin Nua, Ko Surin Tai, Ko Ree, Ko Klang and Ko Khai. In 2007, the Park's area was extended to cover Riche lieu Rock, which is located between Mu Ko Surin and the Phangnga coast. About 100 kilometers south is Mu Ko Similan National Park.

Mu Ko Similan National Park. About 100 kilometers south of Mu Ko Surin National Park is Mu Ko Similan National Park. It is situated along the western coastline of the Andaman Sea and Indian Ocean. Established in 1982, the Park covers an area of 14,000 hectares that include 1,600 hectares of land and 11 islands-Ko Hu Yong, Ko Pa Yang, Ko PaYan, Ko Miaeng, Ko Ha, Ko Hok, Ko Pa Yu, Ko Similan, Ko Ba Ngu, Ko Bon and Ko Ta Chai. These granite islands were created by upwellings of hot magma during the Tertiary-Cretaceous Period some 65 million years ago, and then smoothed by glacial ice and the wave action of the sea.