Around the Lanta Islands

Island hopping cruises; diving and snorkelling; and fishing: explore the southern Andaman from Koh Lanta

Why go from one beach to another, you may ask. Well, because the islands around Ko Lanta - Ko Rok, Ko Ngai, Ko Muk and Ko Phi Phi - are simply stunning as well as offering amazing snorkelling. You won't regret stirring from your hammock, we promise.

To organise any of these excursions - which can all be done in a day - contact your hotel tour desk or visit one of the many independent agents on the island the day before you wish to travel. Most tours will include round trip transfers from / to your hotel so there is no need to worry about transport to the departure point.

They will also all include lunch and soft drinks, as well as snorkeling equipment. Things you may wish to bring are your camera (and a waterproof pouch) and sun cream; beachwear is acceptable at all destinations. Prices vary from 1200 - 1500 baht per person, depending on the destination / mode of transport.

Note: because of the distances involved, none of these trips can be done independently (i.e. in a chartered longtail boat); you must travel with a group tour in a bigger vessel or speedboat.

Koh Rok Islands

The best snorkelling spot in Krabi?

It is precisely because of their remoteness and their inaccesibility to the Ao Nang and Phuket crowds that the twin Ko Rok islands are probably the best snorkelling spot in the south Andaman Sea.

Perfect, pristine corals, in clear, shallow water, with almost obscene amounts of tropical fish and other marine life await those who endure the bumpy 45-minute ride from Ko Lanta. It feels as though you are swimming inside a giant aquarium. Ko Rok is part of the Ko Lanta National Marine Park and the islands themselves are stunning.

Ko Rok Nok, the larger of the two, is home to the Marine Park HQ, as well as a handful of bungalows where you can, if you wish, stay overnight in this mini-Eden, returning the next day with a tour company. Advance booking is essential; contact the National Marine Park in Ko Lanta itself first, or visit www.dnp.go.th.

The island is also where the tour boats stop for lunch; you can either lounge on the white sand beach, or go exploring inland: there is a horseshoe bay on the other side, which is home to a community of Hermit crabs, as well as a viewpoint, a short scramble up the hill. This trip should not be attempted without mosquito repellent, however; and remember to cover every inch of your body - or scratch the consequences.

The second island, Ko Rok Nai, is mainly rocky with a tiny beach opposite Ko Rok Nok. The tour boats circumnavigate the island for a snorkelling stop, as well as to see the magnificent waterfall on its western side, its fresh water tumbling down the sheer cliffs to the sea.

Tours cost around 1500 baht per person, including lunch, soft drinks and snorkelling equipment. Only available November - April - the islands are closed during the off-season to allow for rejuvenation of marine life.

4 island tour: Koh Muk, Ngai, Kradan, Cheuak, Waen

Isn't that FIVE islands?

Yes, that's five islands! But the last two are only snorkelling stops, so the itinerary depends on the company and the tides on the day.

The four/five islands are located to the south of Ko Lanta, around half an hour by speedboat from the southern tip of the island. Only one of them (Ko Ngai - often pronounced Ko Hai) actually belongs to Krabi Province; the others, close by, are part of Trang province and all are popular tourist destinations in themselves - both Ko Muk and Ko Ngai have resorts and bungalows where you can stay overnight. The beach at Koh Ngai in particular, where most of the tour boats stop for lunch, is dazzling.

This day trip from Ko Lanta takes in the main beaches, several snorkelling stops, as well as the slightly scary but astonishing Emerald Cave on Ko Muk. The boat moors outside an unassuming rock face, and then you get out and swim through a long dark tunnel in the cliff - apparently only 50m, though it feels like a lot more - and out onto the other side. For those who are not strong swimmers, or are afraid of the dark, a life jacket is available and recommended. There is also a rope to guide you through the passage and the boat staff usually sing and make noise to reassure you. Claustrophobic people should not attempt this at all.

The other side, a collapsed cave, feels like a secret world. A tiny beach, open to the air, but enclosed on all sides by towering cliffs: this is Emerald Cave.

Tours cost around 1200 baht per person. Only available November - April - the sea conditions during the monsoon months make travel impossible.

Koh Phi Phi islands

Krabi's most popular island cruise

The magical Phi Phi Islands are also accessible from Ko Lanta by speedboat on a day tour, where you will take in most of the famous sights like Maya Bay, Losamah Bay Monkey Beach, as well as the main island of Phi Phi Don. For more on the Phi Phi Island beaches, see our Phi Phi Island Guide. See also our Phi Phi day trip guide on the same site.

Tours cost around 1400 baht per person by speedboat, again only available during the high season months of November - April.

Fishing in Koh Lanta

Take a trip closer to shore

As one of the traditional activities of the Lanta Islands' inhabitants, fishing is one of the easiest things to organise yourself. Most of the longtail boatmen will be able to take you out - although they may have only the old-style reel of wire and hooks to offer as equipment. This can be fun in itself, and you will learn a lot about the local culture.

Your resort will also be able to arrange a fishing trip, either with local people who have more modern fishing rods, or with an organised tour - whose aim is usually to catch big game fish such as barracuda, or big snappers.

The best part of fishing is, of course, that you can eat what you catch: most resorts will be happy to cook, or barbecue your very own 'catch of the day' in the evening when you get back - what could be more satisfying?

Kayaking in Koh Lanta

Explore the mangrove environment

Several tour operators offer kayaking tours, which are worth trying if you are a nature enthusiast. Between the two Lanta islands (Noi and Yai) is a considerable area of mangrove forest, that is home to all sorts of rare species of bird, monkeys, crabs and others.

You will be given the opportunity for a silent paddle through the backwaters, observing much more than is possible from a noisy boat. It is also possible to visit Koh Talabeng,a small island off the east coast of Lanta Yai, which has caves to explore. Book any of these programmes at your hotel tour desk or local agent.