Watersports, snorkelling, boat and kayak trips

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Photo of Watersports, snorkelling, boat and kayak trips, , Ko Lanta

What we say: 4 stars

Snorkelling and kayaking trips to the small islands surrounding Lanta are extremely popular. Around a dozen different tour operators lead trips that will appeal to different people.

One large chunk of these head south, usually for snorkelling at Ko Chuek and Ko Ma before stopping at Ko Muk's Emerald Cave, a hidden lagoon reached by a swim-through cave. While stunning, the lagoon can get over crowded with day trippers. These trips typically include a stop for lunch at either Ko Ngai or Ko Kradan. Prices range from 1,000 baht up to 1,800 for a group tour depending on whether you choose to go by longtail boat, slowboat or speedboat. The longtail tours offer more intimate groups but are slower, less comfortable and probably not as safe as the larger boats.

Another segment of boat tours hits the closer eastern islands of Ko Talabeng, Ko Bu Bu and Ko Phee. These are more focused on kayaking amid sea caves and limestone cliffs, though it's also possible to swim, lounge on the beaches and explore land caves as well. Some of these tours also include kayaking in Thung Yee Pheng mangrove forest. While the majority of tours skip Ko Phee ("Ghost Island"), its gaping expanse of rock with crevices that come together to resemble a giant human skull might be worth a peek. These trips are nearly always done by longtail boat and start at 1,000 baht.

Other boat tours focus on fishing, crabbing and sailing. Longtail boats and speedboats can be chartered if you prefer to keep it private, but expect to pay a minimum of 2,000 baht to Ko Talabeng and at least 4,000 to Emerald Cave. Those just looking to do some kayaking on their own can rent one at any of the beaches for around 500 baht per day, or head over to Thung Yee Pheng mangrove forest.

Any travel office on Lanta can arrange all of the above and more. Many boat tours depart from Old Town pier, with some offering a little extra time to explore this historic town. All tour prices will include pick up at your hotel.

If you're looking for something more DIY, with mostly calm water, a fair amount of wind and the occasional surf break, Lanta is a great place to break up those beach-lounging stretches with some watersports. You'll find Stand Up Paddling (SUP) offered on all of the "big four" beaches, but Klong Dao Water Sports (T: (088) 440 3393), based at Noble House Resort on Haad Khlong Dao, offers a wider range of activities. Apart from SUP, these include surfing (when possible), boogie boarding, windsurfing, sailing and a half-day excursion by longtail over to Thung Yee Pheng for SUP amid the mangroves. Windsurfing lessons cost 1,000 baht.

Last updated: 8th June, 2014

About the author:
Usually found exploring Bangkok's side streets or south Thailand's islands, David Luekens is an American freelance writer & photographer who finds everyday life in Asia to be extraordinary. You can follow his travails here.
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