Slightly hesitant and cautious we approached the cave entrance. The clear, green-blue water quickly lost its color as the sunlight was swallowed up by the dark cave. The resonating sound of the waves made such a noise that we could barely hear each other, while our kayak dangerously rocked back and forth. After twenty meters the darkness was so complete, that we could not even see our hands in front of our eyes. Armed with just a single flashlight we anxiously searched for the exit. Welcome to the Emerald Cave in Koh Mook!
Emerald Cave: Sea Cave with Beach
In Koh Mook Island, also known as Koh Muk, we self-organized a trip to the Emerald Cave (also called Morakot Cave); without a guide or tour agency. And it was… spectacular.
The Emerald Cave in Koh Mook island ends at a “secret” lagoon, that even has it’s very own beach. The lagoon can only be reached if you kayak, or swim through a pitch black, 80 meter long cave. Eventually you’ll arrive at one of the most unique and beautiful places in Thailand: a beach surrounded by towering cliffs that are covered with tropical vegetation.
Centuries ago pirates used the lagune to hide their treasures. Can you imagine?!
We’d love to tell you more about the Emerald Cave, but before we do, you must know that we experienced a serious kayak-trauma in Thailand.
Last year (March 2016) we explored a number of smaller caves at Railay Beach. A great experience, until our kayak capsized and we ended up in the water. No biggie, until we found out that our dry bag wasn’t properly sealed. Farewell brand new SLR camera.
So this around time we left our new new camera behind in our room, and only took a mobile phone, dry bag and waterproof flashlight (a must!) with us.
Let the adventure begin!
We were slightly nervous as we walked across Charlie Beach towards the kayak rentals.
“The sea looks pretty rough. And the tide, is it not too high? ”
According to the friendly kayak renter, everything was “Yes okay, no problem. Easy!”
Mainly due to the optimism of the kayak renter, we left the beach full of (Dutch?) courage and paddled towards the large rocks in the distance.
After about half an hour on the open sea, the cave entrance became clearly visible. Not because it was a large opening, but because a hundred (!) Thai tourists – with matching orange life jackets – were swimming out of the cave in a row.
We waited for the cave entrance to clear, as this was the last tourist-group of the day (around 4:00 PM).
That is when the adventure really began. The cave was completely abandoned and pitch black – it was terrifying! We didn’t know what to expect or how long the trip would take.
We were afraid of capsizing the kayak and losing the flashlight. There was a definite chance, as we were rocked back and forth by the waves – dangerously close to the cave walls.
The tide was high and we almost bumped our heads, and had to duck unexpectedly for overhanging rocks. That – in combination with the paddling and maintaining our balance – made it one of the most stressful moments of our trip to Thailand.
Eventually we saw light at the end of the tunnel and arrived in paradise!
Koh Mook, or Koh Muk, is part of the Trang Islands and can be reached in several ways:
From the mainland, long-tail boats leave from the Hat Yao Pier (Trang Pier) to Koh Mook every hour. This pier is a short drive from Trang Airport. You can take a direct flight Bangkok to Trang Airport that costs about 1,200 baht per person and takes 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Koh Mook is easily accessible in high season (November to March) from Phuket, Krabi, Koh Lanta, the Trang Islands and Koh Lipe. Transport to Koh Mook can be arranged on the spot without prior booking.
The best travel time for a visit to Koh Mook are the months from November to May. During the rainy season (June to October), the island is still open for tourism, but bear in mind that some hotels and restaurants are closed and the boats sail less often.