Photo: The beaches on Ko Libong can get very busy.

Point Dugongs

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An Andaman Sea breeze filled the cave. After a challenging climb, a wooden ladder carried us to a platform with views to a host of islands dotting the teal water. From here we reckoned that Point Dugongs is one of the finest viewpoints found on any Thai island — and we hadn’t even reached the top yet.

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Get here while the wooden supports are still new.

Get here before the wooden supports start to decay.

Located at the far southern end of Ko Libong, Point Dugongs — or Jud Chom Phayoon to use the Thai name — is a natural limestone tower with impressive caves leading to impressive views. Presumably too dangerous to be touted as a tourist attraction in the past, locals added ropes along with wooden ladders, stairs and platforms in 2015, making it reasonably safe.

After passing through rubber groves, we parked our motorbike at a switchback turn along a slippery dirt road and walked the final 200 metres to the entrance. A steep dirt path led up to a large cavern, where ropes kept us from falling at least 20 metres into a deep, dark hole. This is the first of many places where extreme caution is necessary.

Our intrepid mom climbs out of the darkness.

Our intrepid mum climbs out of the darkness.

The rugged trail continued up through a second, more stunning cavern with a broad sloping roof. Ice-blue limestone blended into turquoise, sea-green and amber on the walls to create a fresco of nature’s design. A strong sea wind funneled through, keeping us cool as we climbed higher amid the crags.

It's worth the trip for the cave alone.

It’s worth the trip for the cave alone.

Passing through an opening in the rock wall, we emerged outside on a notch affording sea views through the treetops. Just wide enough for a single person, a cliffside ledge had been outiffited with a rope to keep people from tumbling down the treacherous drop. We opted to pull ourselves up jagged rocks within the relative safety of the cavern.

We'll pass on that part.

We’ll pass on that part.

In a secondary room, a wide circular window with views out to sea provided an ideal place to soak in the tranquility. A couple of British guys wandered through, commending us for wearing sneakers rather than sandles. “The rocks get a lot sharper up there,” they said.

On the inland side of the hill, a sturdy wooden ladder brought us to a stairway that culminated at a large wooden deck. Though we didn’t spot any dugongs bobbing in the water down below, the views were marvellous.

The western view.

The western view.

To the east, Batu Bute’s purple dugong-spotting tower looked like a plaything far down below. Looking west, the karst cliffs of Ko Lao Liang, Ko Takiang and Ko Phetra appeared close enough to jump to. Ko Adang and Ko Tarutao loomed on the southern horizon. We felt certain that Malaysia’s northernmost mountains were just within our sights.

The rock is almost too sharp to hold in places.

The rock is almost too sharp to hold in places.

Many visitors will be satisfied with the viewing platform, but we couldn’t resist another rope-supported “trail” leading all the way to the summit. The rock up here becomes extremely sharp, adding to the sense of danger. Reaching the highest slab of limestone with our feet planted on the base of a small tree, we resisted the butterflies circling in our stomach to take in the view.

Yes, it was worth it.

Yes, it was worth it.

Standing on rubbery legs after getting briefly lost on the way back down, we were surprised that the potentially dangerous “summit pass” and cliffside ledge had been outfitted with ropes. A tumble would be tragic and even a minor slip could cause significant damage due to the sharp rocks. Wear decent shoes, bring water and, if possible, don’t attempt the climb alone (at worst, let someone know you are going if you do).


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How to get there
A 10-minute motorbike ride east of the resort beach and three minutes west of Batu Bute village, the turnoff to Point Dugongs is clearly signposted off the main cross-island road in the south of Ko Libong. From there it's a five-minute ride to the entrance, marked by a dugong statue.

Location map for Point Dugongs

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ko Libong.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Ko Libong.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ko Libong.
 Read up on how to get to Ko Libong, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Ko Libong? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
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