Canoeing Through Sea Caves in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Phang Nga Bay is a beautiful area north of Phuket in Southern Thailand, that is characterized by the limstone karst islands that dot the warm tropical waters, along with perfect beaches and coves that accompany them. So far on our tour of this picturesque tropical paradise we had travelled by long tail boat and explored the Muslim fishing village on Koh Panyee, and then the popular tiny island of Koh Khao Phing Khan – more commonly known as James Bond Island.

To end the day off we headed to nearby Koh Tapu, where we would go sea canoeing through the interesting caves and coves of the island.

When we arrived at the island and got ready for our experience, I was a little disappointed to learn that we wouldn’t actually be paddling the canoes ourselves, and that instead we would be accompanied by a local who would take us around the island. Most people on the tour seemed to be happy about this so I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. At least I was supporting the local people by providing them with some employment.

Sea canoeing in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Sea canoeing at Koh Tapu

We started by paddling through a large cave that literally goes straight under the island. The rock formations are magnificent, and though the limestone has been carved out by the sea, the roof is covered in stalactites.

There waiting for us on the opposite side of the cave was a “floating supermarket” as our paddler called it. Really it was just a local selling drinks and coconuts to the tourists from his long tail boat.

Local selling drinks in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

The “Floating supermarket”

As we continued on and explored more sea caves, I soon realised why we needed someone to paddle for us. The caves and overhangs that we were going under were getting smaller and smaller, and soon we were literally having to lie down to fit under them. Our paddler expertly navigated the little cave systems and coves, and every one had something unique and interesting about it.

Sea canoeing in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Canoes entering some tiny caves

Sea canoeing in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Canoeing under rock overhangs

Some passage ways lead into what are called “Hongs”, which are caves that have collapsed roofs, letting the light shine in to allow vegetation to grow. The peace and quiet inside these little hiding holes was incredible.

Sea canoeing in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Canoeing in a tiny cove

Sea canoeing in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Our paddler stepped straight out of our canoe inside a hong to take our picture

Sea canoeing in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Heading back through the larger cave

Heading back through the first large cave that we entered, we had time to explore some of the caves on the other side of the island. Our paddler aimed straight for a hong that he knew would only be accessible now at low tide.

Through the tiny opening we had to duck our heads and enter the collapsed cave. It was beautiful. High above us the vertical rock walls rose up, the opening allowing the sun light to shine down. There was not a single noise in the place, apart from the gentle lapping of the water against our canoe.

Sea canoeing in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Inside the hong looking towards the opening that we came through. At high tide this opening would be completely under water

Sea canoeing in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Looking up from inside the hong

Now that we were all caved out, we slowly paddled back to our boat, again with the stunning views of Phang Nga Bay to see us off.

Sea canoeing in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Paddling at Koh Tapu in Phang Nga Bay

Have you been sea canoeing/kayaking before? I would love to hear about your experience.


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