There are many small tour operators on Lanta island offering snorkeling, diving, elephant rain forest expeditions and kayaking. Sue and I went on three. The first was to Ko Rok, which is considered the best nearby snorkeling. We saw a few fish longer than a foot, but many smaller ones of many different colors and patters. Some were bright iridescent colors. Sue is not the most enthusiastic snorkeler; I usually have to drag her along to snorkeling. We had about three forty minute sessions. In the first she was getting used to the borrowed equipment, which I thought was good. The second she enjoyed. By the third she wanted to stay out four more hours.
Ko Rok is actually two islands very close together. We snorkeled off the rocky areas. There are beautiful beaches where the islands face each other. The sand is very white and very fine. After the first two sessions we went to one of the beaches to relax and have lunch. It was a great setting.
Our second trip was a half hour elephant ride up to a rain forest. From there we hiked up to a cave and waterfall. The cave was nice but not spectacular at all. The waterfall was large, covering a lot of area but just dripping at this time of year.
When it was time to ride the elephant back down we were ready to get on a different elephant when the handler of our previous one showed up and asked us to wait for him. We had ridden up on one of the few males. He had been rather difficult, stopping to eat, stepping down into a stream to have a drink, etc. His handler had to work with him a bit to get him back on the trail. I wanted to see if I could drive going back, and thought a female would be easier to direct.
I was still able to drive. The handler took my camera and walked along behind us. Sitting on the neck works better in some ways than the chair on the back, which pitches around a bit more when the elephant walks. Going downhill is the most difficult because you feel like you’ll get pitched over his head. Also, the skin on his neck was loose, and slide from side to side easily. He helped by pulling his ears back to clamp my legs. He did stop in a stream to drink once, but turned on a dime and otherwise was pretty easy. I think it is similar going back to the stable on a rented horse.
The third outing was the “Four Island Tour” which included the emerald cave. The islands around Lanta are really beautiful. Many of them are mound shaped, heavily forested and higher than they are wide. The cave is actually a long passageway through the base of the island to an interior sandy beach enclosed on all sides by high cliffs. The cliffs are alive with all kinds of tropical foliage and open only to the sky. We floated through the cave in life jackets. It was completely dark in areas. If you bring children on this you should bring a waterproof flashlight to help calm them.
We have taken the day trips associated with various vacations and cruises around the world. I would rate these three trips equal to or better than any of them.