Chumphon National Park is part of a much larger Chumphon Archipelago that includes famous islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao. The province of Chumphon is officially called “Gate to Thailand’s South,” while Chumphon Marine Park welcomes you to the southern islands of Thailand. Announced as a National Park in 1989, Chumphon National Park spans an area of 317 square kilometers covering 100km of beaches and 40 islands in the Gulf of Thailand.
The most popular islands of Chumphon National Park include Koh Ngam Yai, Koh Ngam Noi, Koh Samed, Koh Mattra, Koh Lawa, Koh Kalok, Koh Langka Jew, Koh Phitak, and Koh Maphrao. Every year, thousands of people visit to scuba dive and snorkel in its greenish-blue sea and relax on the white-sand beaches. Chumphon National Park is a hidden jewel of scuba diving in the Gulf of Thailand with spectacular reefs and unspoiled waters attracting whale sharks. It is surprising that international travelers widely neglect this pristine region. Do you want to be among them?
Why visit Chumphon National Park
- Discover why Koh Langka Jew island is so pretty that King Rama V visited it three times
- Visit quiet and secluded Koh Ngam Yai that resembles the shape of Buddha’s hand
- Dive with whale sharks in one of the best dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand on Koh Ngam Noi
- Dive deeper to explore Prab shipwreck that is almost identical in design to her sister ship – the Koh Tao’s Sattakut wreck
- Swim through caves and snorkel impressive coral gardens at Koh Talu
- Take a selfie at Koh Kalok known as Skull Island because of its shape
- Beachcomb idyllic beaches and sandbanks on Koh Samed, the largest island of Chumphon Marine Park
- Learn how villagers breed giant clams at Koh Mattra
- Meet the gypsies collecting the bird’s nest soup on Koh Maphrao
- Experience the hospitality of the “Gate to Thailand’s South” before island hopping to Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui next.
Best time to visit Chumphon National Park
Arguably, the best time to visit Chumphon National Park is from March to late September. That period is known as a high diving season featuring sunny and stable weather, warm and calm waters, and lovely diving and snorkeling spots. Avoid October to December since these three months experience the highest level of rainfall and windy weather that sometimes makes it impossible for boats to reach these islands.
Best islands in Chumphon National Park
Koh Ngam Yai
Koh Ngam Yai is famed for its cliff formation in the shape of Buddha’s hand. Quiet and secluded, home to the little edible-nest swiftlet, equipped with thriving reefs, the sheer number of fish, colorful coral found in many places a mere six feet below its transparent surface.
Koh Ngam Noi
The sea area off Koh Ngam Noi is called Lak Ngam and is one of the best dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand. Whale sharks can be found with a bit of luck! There is also a Prab wreck almost identical in design to her sister ship – Koh Tao’s Sattakut wreck. Along the limestone cliffs are bamboo piles and small cave entrances, where bird nests are collected by locals.
With shallow margin reefs, caves you can swim through, and impressive coral gardens, Koh Talu is a popular snorkeling and diving destination. Large shoals of fusiliers are common here, alongside ever-fascinating rays. Nearby Koh Talu, you can visit Koh Kalok. This island resembles a skull, hence is known as Skull Island. The reef around here is home to bountiful anemones and feather stars.
Koh Samet is the largest island of Chumphon Marine Park and has several idyllic beaches. The center of the island is wooded with coconut palms and is very quiet. Japanese military used to occupy the island in the past. There are still military shelters and an old pier to visit. At the tip of Laem Thian Beach is also the mini island Koh Kho Thian, which is connected to the beach by a sandbank.
The cape in front of Koh Mattra has a coral reef line that features spectacular snorkeling; it is also where villagers breed giant clams. On one of the island’s deserted beaches, you can spot hairy-leg mountain-crabs that climb trees and sound like baby chicks! Nearby Koh Mattra, there is a tiny Koh Lawa island. It features a gleaming, white beach surrounded by shallow water with a host of vibrant colors and anemones – making it a popular snorkeling stop, too.
Koh Maphrao is a bird’s nest concessionary island, where the nests of swiftlets are collected to make the Chinese delicacy, bird’s nest soup. At the center of the island is a long and picturesque, sandy beach. Visitors must ask for permission to enter from a bird-nest caretaker.
Koh Langka Jew is the most beautiful island of Chumphon. Home to a heart-shaped coral reef, cliffs covered with coconut trees, and soft, white sand mixed with scattered shells on the 50-meter beach. The island is so pretty that King Rama V visited three times and inscribed his name here. Koh Langa Jew is our favorite island in Chumphon National Park. It is a must-visit stop during your island hopping in the region.
Koh Phitak is a small island that is home to several fishing families and coconut farmers. In addition to a great sandy beach, there’s a landscaped, wooden walkway with several viewpoints, plus scintillating, clear water for swimming and snorkeling.
How to reach Chumphon National Park
You can reach Chumphon National Marine Park from a sleepy town Chumphon, located about 500 km south of Bangkok. However, if you plan to stay on one of the three major islands of Chumphon Archipelago (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao), you are not that far. It is possible to take a private boat tour from Koh Tao to Chumphon National Park, or charter a yacht holiday from Koh Samui. Koh Samui international airport provides the easiest access with daily international flights. However, Koh Tao is the closest from Chumphon National Park and serves as a better starting point for a private boat tour.