One of the most-visited Thai holiday islands that still remains relatively uncommercial is Koh Lanta in the South of Thailand. This immense destination is set over two main islands – Lanta Yai and Lanta Noi. Do you want to discover Koh Lanta? We recommend you take a kayak trip like I once did to explore its earth-shattering natural beauty of this tropical paradise.
Koh Lanta Kayaking
A day out with a difference starts and ends in a mangrove swamp! The word ‘swamp’ seems to be a little harsh for one of nature’s natural defense systems protecting coastlines from storm surges (especially during typhoons), soil erosion and tsunamis. Sometimes the term mangrove forest is used but this does not point to the fact that they grow in saltwater, and a more correct name may be ‘mangrove biome’. Nevertheless, our kayaking trip to discover Koh Lanta starts in one of nature’s wonders.
After the pick-up at your hotel in the morning, you will be taken to the east coast of Koh Lanta. You will be dropped off near the waterway that divides the two halves of Lanta, which is mostly mangrove. The journey starts along walkways through the trees, and above the soil where crabs form mounds of the earth until you arrive at your long-tail boat.
The Southern Thai version of the long-tail has a characteristic prow of outsized proportions whereby the stem post rises sharply upwards for nearly a meter with apparently no purpose other than to look beautiful. Indeed, it is pretty and usually wrapped around with a colorful cloth. Or even a Thai flag and was no doubt the traditional style long before the boat grew its motorized tail. The ‘tail’ is a long shaft complete with propeller driven by a naked truck engine and resembles a giant’s egg whisk. Mercifully, this boat’s engine has a silencer.
There is also a good width of the craft of the day. So ten travelers and two crew can set out in relative comfort destined for Koh Ta La Beng. It is a good half hour’s trip and the perfect time to slap on the suntan cream.
Exploring Koh Lanta by Kayak
Picking the way through the creeks of the mangrove, we are now on open water between the eye-catching islands east of Koh Lanta. Tropical islands do not always sport palm trees. But all are densely wooded and generally complemented with sandy beaches. Our destination island has other attractive features, not least the sheer cliffs where plant life still lives.
As with many Thai islands, this one is split into two and everyone reaches for the camera on approach to capture the magnificence of the divide with its upright cliffs rising out of the Andaman Sea. There is a small hidden cove in complete shade on the smaller island where the boat beaches and a support long-tail brings additional kayaks for the focus of the day. The circumnavigation of Ta La Beng.
In stark contrast to the mother ship, the two-man kayaks are modern with moulded plastic seats and footrests to suit most human forms. Stalactites and drooping creepers festoon the cliffs as you navigate around the island. Take your time to sail into caves with their equally impressive beauty. The trip takes nearly an hour before arriving back at the cove with its welcome shade and a Coke.
Visiting Babu Island
Now it is time for the next destination; Bubu Island, where lunch is waiting. Finding places such as Babu Island is why you are here to discover Koh Lanta in the first place. This is a private island with a few bungalows, a restaurant, and a wonderful beach. Lunch is freshly prepared Thai food consisting of Thai green curry, cashew nut chicken, fried vegetables, and plenty of rice, with watermelon and pineapple to follow, all served at tables in the shade of tall trees.
There is a choice of bottled water or Coke, and other options to buy from the restaurant bar. Tropical crickets chirp noisily overhead, then fall silent as the peace of this island retreat begins to settle. A snooze in a hammock between the trees or a lie on the sand might be the order of the day before diving into the sea for welcome relief from the heat on your Thailand holiday.
After a couple of hours of relaxing it is time to head back to the mangroves and some closer eco-inspection. There are inhabitants further up the animal scale than the crabs. There may be iguanas, definitely no crocodiles, but this creature is not normally associated with the sea. They are monkeys. Macaques to be precise, but the description monkey will do. Moreover, they are foraging around the sediments of the biome floor rather than swinging from the trees.
Stopping the boat for a while, it is time to feed them the skins of the fruit from lunch, and wonder at their feeding habits. They are most particular about washing their food before eating, and there are squabbles amongst the hierarchy. They also display the answer to the question “Do monkeys swim?” Yes, they do indeed and are pretty good at it. Some keep their heads firmly above water, whilst others dive and emerge on the other side of the creek. There is also no apparent lower age limit for these aquanauts, for the smallest of the primates seem equally adept.
Koh Lanta Travel Advice
A last meander up the creeks to the attractive setting of the jetty ends a thoroughly enjoyable day out, before being taken back to your hotel on four wheels.
Remember to bring: swimwear, suntan lotion, sunhats, and cameras.
When you want to discover Koh Lanta and find some interesting and unique thing to see and do, a special Kayaking trip around the island is something you will remember for the rest of your life. If you would like to take advantage of this trip, it costs around 1500 baht per person, which is an immense deal. If you want to learn more about a Koh Lanta Kayaking trip, you can contact us directly for more details.