Traveling by long-tail boat is a very authentic mode of transport in Thailand and a great way to see the Thai islands up close. These bad boys zip through shallow water at surprising speeds and plow through small waves with ease. While I was in Krabi, I decided to take the popular Four Island tour so I could explore the nearby islands.
I booked the day tour through my hostel, and it included the day-long tour, transportation to and from the hostel and lunch. The islands we visited were Koh Gai, Koh Tup, Koh Mawh and Poda, and we also made a stop at Rai Leh Beach and Phra Nang Cave.
The tour started off pretty rocky when the motor on our long-tail boat sputtered to a stop, leaving us stranded in the middle of the sea. After many stops and starts (our captain diligently tried to fix the motor using the whack and pound method), we finally made it back to shallower waters when a passing long-tail towed us in. Another long-tail pulled up beside us and we transferred ourselves and our gear to the new vessel.
Everyone on the tour maintained good spirits (they were on vacation in Thailand after all), and we began our journey once again. I think our false start actually helped us because when we arrived at the sites, there was much less boat traffic than expected. If we had been on time, we would have to fight for docking space at the islands and would be surrounded by loads of other tourists.
Two of the four locations were snorkel sites so many of us donned our mask and fins to explore the underwater world. Life vests were also available, but most of us just hopped in without them. It was amazing to see the different types of fish that swam within a foot of you. They obviously weren’t fussed about us, and the captain didn’t need to chum the water to attract them. Sometimes it was hard to dive under the water because of the high salinity, but you’re still able to see many different species of fish just by floating on top the water.
Our lunch consisted of not-very-good vegetarian fair, but the scenic views around us made the food more palatable. It’s crazy just how clear the water is in Thailand, and the beautiful change in color from clear to blue is incredible. The depth of the water is extremely shallow so it’s great for people who lack strong swimming skills. You can get pretty far out before the water even hits your waist.
Although the long-tail boats are extremely loud and noisy, I thoroughly enjoyed this tour and had a good time with the people on it. I especially liked how close to the water we were and the sun shining down on us. This idyllic existence is probably what many people dream of, and I’m so lucky to live it.