Koh Lanta’s 4 Islands Tour: Longtail boats, snorkeling, and emerald caves

Once again, in an effort to actually DO something while living the beach bum life on the island of Koh Lanta in Thailand, I decided to take a tour of some of the surrounding islands for a day.

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The ‘4 Islands Tour’ whisks you off to several islands within an hour boat ride for a bit of snorkeling and a delicious lunch on the beach.

For 800 baht, or about $25, I was picked up first thing in the morning by the tour company.  Along with my fellow tour mates we were driven to the pier on the other side of the island.  It was a nice drive through lush forests and small towns dotted around Koh Lanta. 

We then boarded the longtail boat which would be our transportation for the day.

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Now throughout my time on Koh Lanta one thing had become blatantly obvious to me – I was probably one of the only solo, single people occupying the island.  Everywhere I looked couples were taking sunset walks, having romantic dinners by candlelight, and just generally being all lovey dovey.  Now I have no problem traveling by myself and enjoying the single life, but it’s just so much fun to have it thrown in your face day in and day out.  A bit depressing to be honest.

So I was looking forward to maybe mingling with a few other solo travelers on this excursion.  Alas the universe has a lovely sense of humor and everyone on my boat was in a pair.  On a boat of probably 21 people I was the lone woman out.  Ten couples and me. (Sing it with me!  “All by mysellllllllllf.  Don’t wanna be…”).

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But regardless I was determined to have a good time.  And a good time was indeed had.

Our first stop was the island of Koh Chuek.  Everyone immediately donned their fins, masks, and snorkels, and jumped right into the gorgeous emerald water.  While the coral was nothing to write home about, there were plenty of fish to see and I had fun taking my GoPro into the water for the first time.

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Next up was the island of Koh Maa.  More snorkeling, more coral, more GoPro action.

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Then came the highlight of the trip: the Emerald Cave.  At this stop, instead of grabbing our snorkeling gear we put on lifevests and entered the water as one big group.  In a single file line behind our guide we entered a pitch black cave with bright green water.  All you could see in front of you was the guide occasionally turning around and shining his flashlight for you to follow.  It was a bit creepy and a lot of fun.

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On the way out – that’s the sun not an insanely bright flashlight

After a few minutes we emerged from the cave to what I can really only describe as a giant grotto.  It was a large circular opening in the middle of the cave.  There was an opening at the top of the rocks to let in sunlight but the cave we’d come through was the only way in or out.  It looked like a mini tropical rainforest oasis.

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We hung out here for about 20 minutes before making our way out of the cave and back to the boat.

After so much snorkeling we were all definitely ready for lunch.  The staff had been great and had been serving us drinks and fresh fruit throughout the morning but we were all craving real sustinance.  We stopped off at the island of Koh Mook for a meal of spicy chicken, vegetables, and rice. 

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We then had about a half an hour of lounging on the beach and in the still, clear water before it was time to head home.  The tour company once again picked us up at the pier and returned each of us to our hotels/hostels.

On our way home we were met with a torrential downpour and thunderstorm, one of the biggest I’d seen so far on the island (and thunderstorms happened pretty much every afternoon).  After it was over I ventured down to the beach to see the sunset and was shocked to see what the storm had done to the beach!  It looked like a totally different place.

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Before

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After – crazy right?

This is what it looked like the next day.  You had to cross this river just to walk along the beach.

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But the storm also gave us a winning sunset and a great way to end a beautiful day in Thailand.

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So if you ever find yourself on the island of Koh Lanta, I highly recommend the 4 Islands Tour.  You can take either a speed boat or a longtail boat (though the longtail option is cheaper, more fun, and there are less people), and spend the day surrounded by beautiful islands, water, and reefs.

It’s a great, inexpensive way to see the area surrounding Koh Lanta if you choose to finally stop lounging around on the beach all day.

Though I wouldn’t judge if you chose the beach.


Have you ever been on a snorkeling tour?  What did you think?

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3 thoughts on “Koh Lanta’s 4 Islands Tour: Longtail boats, snorkeling, and emerald caves

    • Sorry I don’t actually remember! I stayed in the ‘Let it Bee’ hostel, and I booked it through the travel place right across the street.

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