Published/Last edited or updated: 9th February, 2019
The south of Ko Lanta has a couple of caves and one small waterfall to check out if you feel like getting dirty.
Tham Mai Kaew
With a deep and scary nature that makes it accessible only with one of the local guides who hang out at the entrance, this cave has long tunnels leading to a cathedral-size chamber with a cool pool at the centre. Expect to pothole through tight pinches, climb down bamboo ladders and pull yourself up steep rocks with the help of ropes. You will get muddy. A two- to three-hour tour costs 200 baht per person, headlamp included.
To reach Tham Mai Kaew, take the main cross-island road from Baan Khlong Tob (near Khlong Nin beach) and look for a sign-posted right turn after less than one km. From there it’s another km to the entrance on a dirt road hosting a few cheap bungalow joints. Para Hut is a good one if you seek the quiet life of a spelunker.
“Tiger Cave” is less strenuous than Tham Mai Kaew and can be visited with or without a guide, often in conjunction with Khlong Jak Waterfall and the far southern beaches. We were told it goes deeper than most people know, so splurging the 300 baht for a guide might be worth it if you’re a serious caver. At least one guide speaks English. There is also a fee—it seems to vary but we’ve been quoted 150 baht—for the privilege of walking through a guy’s lawn.
To reach Tham Seua, head south past Khlong Nin and look for a sign pointing left soon after you pass Diamond Cliff Restaurant.
Khlong Jak Waterfall
Seven-metre-high Nam Tok Khlong Jak cascades down a vertical cliff shrouded in lush jungle, emptying into a clear pool that’s good for a dip if the water is high enough. While it’s a refreshing spot from roughly June through November, the falls become a trickle during dry season and often disappoint those who make the two-km hike. But the trail leads past impressive old growth and is one of the only well-known options on Ko Lanta for a taste of the jungle.
To reach the trailhead, take the inland lane behind Ao Khlong Jak; you’ll pass an elephant camp before reaching the end, where it’s 20 baht to park a motorbike. You can always follow the stream if you lose the trail.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
Our top 7 other sights and activities in and around Ko Lanta