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Snorkeling in Koh Lanta, Thailand is one of the best island experiences! We nearly passed on the full-day boat trip, but now realize that would have been a big mistake – as it was one of the most memorable days of our visit to Koh Lanta.
At the beginning of our Koh Lanta trip, we were fairly content to lazily let the days drift by as we squished sand between our toes. After traveling non-stop for six months, we were craving a little R&R – and no better place to do that than on Koh Lanta.
We happily spent most of our days enjoying the best things to do in Koh Lanta on Klong Khong Beach (our favorite beach on the island). However, when fellow travelers raved about snorkeling in Koh Lanta on the 4 Island Island Tour, our interest was piqued and we had to see for ourselves.
Snorkeling in Koh Lanta, Thailand
The Andaman Sea is regularly touted as the place for the best snorkeling in Thailand – and that is precisely where Koh Lanta is located. From the coast of Krabi, Koh Lanta, several large monoliths are scattered across the Andaman Sea.
Each of the rock formations is unique; some feature sheer rock that plunges into the sea, others have small beaches along the edge and a few have navigable caves. It is on these karst islands that visitors will find the best places in Koh Lanta for snorkeling.
Surrounding the karst rocks, the reef that lies just below the surface is a feasting ground for fish and marine life of all shapes, sizes and colors. For sea-loving humans, swimming in the fantastic snorkeling spots is one of the top Koh Lanta things to do!
Koh Lanta tours regularly route boats to the small cluster of islands, which are the top attraction of the 4 Island Tour in Koh Lanta.
Four Island Tour Koh Lanta: What To Expect
Boat and snorkeling trips are one of the most popular Koh Lanta activities – and a reason many tourists travel to Koh Lanta. While there are several sea and snorkeling adventures offered on the island, we opted to join one of the affordable 4 Island Koh Lanta day trips for a full day of snorkeling and exploration at sea.
Details of 4 Island Snorkeling Tour
The 4 Island Koh Lanta tours utilize traditional longtail boats to usher travelers to the best islands near Koh Lanta for snorkeling. The tours include an English-speaking captain-slash-guide, snorkeling equipment and a prepared lunch.
The best tours navigate the Andaman Sea to four snorkeling spots, plus a lunch stop and island viewing from the boat. Our Koh Lanta Island Tour included the islands of Koh Maa (no snorkeling), Koh Chuek, Koh Waen, Koh Mook and Koh Ngai.
Hotel pick up is provided – and 4 Island Tour day trips from Koh Lanta commence at the Old Town Pier where multiple traditional Thai Longtail boats await tourists.
Thai Longtail Boats
The 70-foot-long, wooden Longtail boats used for the Koh Lanta 4 Island Tour have the shape of a canoe, but are much longer and wider and have both an engine and a canopy. That said, longtail boats aren’t known for their speed, as the propeller is quite small. The slow, smooth ride allows you to relish the ever-changing seascapes.
Our captain and guide was casual and fun. He wore thick wire-rim glasses, baggy pants, a faded Sex Pistols t-shirt and a straw farmer’s hat. Our group of 13 – most of whom we recognized from our days on the beach – fit comfortably in the boat.
Snorkeling Koh Lanta Four Island Tour Review
There are multiple daily departures for the four islands and other popular tours. Our boat was one of the last Koh Lanta boat tours to leave the docks. The sky was slightly overcast and we lingered behind the other boats, stopping first at Koh Maa.
Visiting Koh Maa Thailand
At the edge of Koh Maa, the first karst we approached, was a falling-down shack and the only sign of life was the colony of bats. Trees grew from crevices in the rocky and bats dangled from the branches.
We didn’t disembark here – the island isn’t officially part of the Koh Lanta snorkeling tour. Instead we bobbed at the base of the karst, marveling at the gigantic rock and how it rose straight up from the aqua water.
Snorkeling Koh Chuek Thailand
Our first Koh Lanta snorkeling spot was Koh Chuek. We glided up to boats already moored there and before we were even anchored, our captain was shouting, “Go! Get in! Swim!”. We loved the informal approach to Koh Lanta excursions: no rules or strict guidelines; just get out and play! We grabbed masks and snorkel tubes and were the first ones in the water.
The water was murky – possibly from being over-toured by Koh Lanta boat trips, but more likely from the morning’s storm – making it difficult to see the coral that was about 10 feet below us.
However, bright yellow fish were everywhere and they weren’t shy as they swam right alongside of us. We explored the edge of the rock and went further away than most of the group, allowing us to get to less crowded and clearer spots. We saw heaps of tropical fish and a few large schools that hid on the underside of overhanging rocks.
Koh Waen Thailand Snorkeling
Koh Waen was the next snorkeling location. Once again, as soon as we tied up near Koh Waen we were instructed to hop out of the boat.
As we were snorkeling, we noticed that the current was stronger at Koh Waen and we drifted along with entire schools of fish. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of fish swam in unison right alongside us. It was like watching an episode of Nat Geo. An entire school would quickly change direction – and once, they were forced to split up to get around us and then seamlessly reconnected.
It was remarkable. Also remarkable was the strength of the current and swimming against it to get back to the boat was a bit of a chore.
Koh Muk Snorkeling and Thai Cave Exploring
Koh Muk (also Koh Mook) is one of the top Koh Lanta attractions – and we were stoked that it was included in our 4 Island Tour. First, we hopped out of the boat for Koh Mook snorkeling, but then followed our captain into a karst cave for exploration.
Named Emerald Cave because of how the water inside the cave glows bright green, we swam a half mile through the cave to an interior karst beach! Nestled in what felt like the bottom of a volcano, the hidden paradise of soft sand, jungle trees and soaring rock felt like an exotic movie set. The oasis was once used by pirates as a place to store their treasures, our guide explained to us.
Koh Ngai Thailand
Koh Ngai was the last island we would visit on our Koh Lanta snorkeling tour. Our captain now turned chef assembled lunch on the beach – including rice, curry and pineapple salad (which included a unique combination of pickles, potatoes and tomatoes; so simple, so fresh, so good). We ate on the beach and watched as other boats came and went in the tropical bliss.
The clear, calm water beckoned us for an after-lunch swim. We took in our surroundings, savoring the beauty of it all. We were swimming in the Andaman Sea – one of the absolute best things to do in Koh Lanta, Thailand – and our day wasn’t over yet!
Snorkeling on Koh Ngai
We hopped back into the boat for a short ride to the end of Koh Ngai for one more snorkeling stop. Little did we know that our captain had saved the best snorkeling in Koh Lanta for last!
The reef is only about 3 feet below water and the visibility is much clearer, allowing snorkelers to better see the fish. We found an anemone with several orange ‘Nemo fish’ – and also saw an enormous puffer fish, a striped snake-like eel, hordes of radiantly colored fish and even unsightly camouflaged fish. Just like at every other stop, Kris and I were the last ones back in the boat and we wish we could have stayed longer!
Final Thoughts on 4 Island Koh Lanta Snorkeling Trips
We really think we lucked out and got on the best Koh Lanta boat trip! We loved the relaxed style of our captain and the prepared lunch was just different enough to be memorable.
The highlights for us were swimming through the cave to the secluded beach and our last snorkeling stop where we saw a variety of sea creatures. It won’t rank as the Best Snorkeling in Thailand – we had a better experience spotting marine life on our Koh Chang Snorkeling 4 Islands Tour (although that boat ride was quite rough!).
That being said, we highly recommend the 4 Island Tour as one of the top things to do in Koh Lanta! Rather than spending your time snorkeling on the beach by your hotel, we think it’s well worth it to book a Four Island Koh Lanta Experience!
Koh Lanta Travel Tips
The 4 Islands Snorkeling Tour is just one of many things to do on a Koh Lanta trip! We are sharing a few of our top tips for planning your vacation to Thailand.
What To Bring on Koh Lanta Snorkeling Tours
Before you set off on your Koh Lanta Snorkel Trip, you will want to be sure that you have everything you need for the full day excursion.
Action Camera with Waterproof Casing
When we took the 4 Island trip, we didn’t yet have an action camera with waterproof casing – something we totally regret!! We highly recommend buying a GoPro (or similar, less-expensive action camera) so you can truly capture the sights under the sea!
Waterproof Travel Pouch
A waterproof case is a good idea anytime you are around water – and you will be in and around water all day on your snorkeling boat trip. A Sea-to-Summit Case will keep your phone and other devices safe and dry!
Where To Stay on Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta is a top Thailand destination – and accommodations are strewn from one of the island to the other. Of all the beaches in Koh Lanta, we think Klong Khong Beach ranks supreme. Use our guide for Klong Khong Beach to find out if it is the right beach for your trip!
Klong Khong features a variety of accommodations that fit a range of budgets. During our visit to Koh Lanta, we stayed in the Phutara Lanta Resort. The Koh Lanta hotel is not directly on the beach, but it is situated in lush gardens and has pool.
More Koh Lanta Tours and Day Trips
The Koh Lanta Snorkel 4 Island Tour is just one of many island adventures. We are sharing a few more tips for what to do in Koh Lanta to help you plan your best trip!
Tour Koh Lanta – Either rent a motorbike or hire a tuk-tuk driver for the day to explore the top places to visit in Koh Lanta. Or join a tour!
Koh Rok Snorkeling Tour – Hop on a speedboat for a day of snorkeling at Koh Rok Island. Find out more!
Koh Lanta to Koh Phi Phi Tour – Join a tour guide for a Koh Lanta to Phi Phi day trip – one of the top tours from Koh Lanta! Get the details!
Koh Lanta Diving – Inquire with online tourist agencies about scuba diving trips from Koh Lanta.
Planning a Trip to Koh Lanta Island and Thailand
Koh Lanta is often just one destination on a longer Thailand trip, and our free and honest guides can help!
- Best 2-Week Thailand Itinerary
- How To Spend 4 Days in Bangkok
- Best Things To Do in Chiang Mai
- What To See in Chiang Rai
- Where To Stay in Bangkok
- Most Beautiful Thai Beaches
- What To Eat at Kamala Beach on Phuket
- Ride the Slow Boat on the Mekong
As you begin making travel plans for your Koh Lanta trip, staying organized is key. Stay on top of all the details with our Printable Travel Planner!
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