A paddle through the caverns
Published/Last edited or updated: 9th May, 2017
At Tham Le Khao Kob visitors paddle a boat through a sizeable set of caverns carved into a limestone massif.
After smiling to a few locals who looked surprised to see a foreigner, we paid our 300 baht and hopped in a blue plastic rowboat for a 10-minute paddle down a stream draped in banyan trees. At the low hanging cave entrance we had to briefly lie back before cruising into darkness offset by the occasional streak of plants growing under fluorescent lights.
We then jumped off the boat and followed our guide into a series of spacious caverns with hundreds of impressive stalactites dropping water from above. The humidity hit like a wall of steam. Certain stalagmites resemble male and female genitalia, we were told, as flashes of turquoise and golden hues appeared on the smooth rock surfaces.
After another stint in the boat followed by a shorter stroll through more caves, we rowed towards the cave’s dramatic exit that a friend back in Trang can’t handle due to her claustrophobia. The dark ceiling lowered, forcing us to lie flat on our back and tuck in our belly to avoid scraping against the stone. Cries of a little kid in a boat behind us dissipated as we emerged back into the daylight.
Our journey into the cave took around 40 minutes and the guide mainly spoke Thai with us, throwing in some of the few English words that he knew. Though the cave is popular with Thai tourists, few foreigners make it here.
The pride of Huai Yot district, Le Khao Kob is an example of local officials going a little overboard to hype up their tourist attraction. While we feel it’s worth a visit if you have time, we’re not sure it deserves the big concrete gate, brochures, T-shirts and key chains complete with a Le Khao Kob logo. Vendors in the car park also sell food and drinks.
After hitting the cave you could strike 25 kilometres east to see a reclining Buddha image unusually depicted wearing a crown like those used in Southern Thai manora dance performances at Wat Phu Khao Thong, set in the western hills of Khao Pu Khao Ya National Park.
Le Khao Kob (also spelt Kop) is located 30 km north of Trang train station. Cut west out of town and head north on Route 403; turn left (west) when you hit Phetkasem Road (Route 4) and you’ll see signs pointing left to the cave. Travel agents in Trang can arrange round trips for around 800 baht. Boats into the cave cost 300 baht for up to five people.
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.