Trekking to Khao Mai Kaew Cave is one of the best tours we have been on on Koh Lanta. The cave is huge and varied and walking the whole route requires…. some courage. You descend into the cave via a narrow opening on a ladder, and inside there are lots of smaller and larger ladders connecting the chambers inside. The best part, however, is at the end. To exit the cave, you have to crawl through a small and narrow corridor. Sounds like a real adventure, doesn’t it?
See how to get to Khao Mai Kaew Cave, whether kids can make it and how much it all costs.
O tym przeczytasz
- 1 Khao Mai Kaew Cave – in which part of Koh Lanta is this cave located?
- 2 Khao Mai Kaew Cave – is it only with a guide?
- 3 How much does it cost to enter Khao Mai Kaew Cave?
- 4 Khao Mai Kaew Cave – what’s the trek like?
- 5 Entrance to the Khao Mai Kaew Cave
- 6 Koh Lanta with kids – Khao Mai Kaew Cave tour
- 7 How much time do you need for the whole trip?
- 8 How to prepare for the trek to Khao Mai Kaew Cave?
- 9 Can the children manage to walk the whole route?
- 10 Stay with us for longer!
Khao Mai Kaew Cave – in which part of Koh Lanta is this cave located?
Koh Lanta in the Andaman Sea is not a very big island, yet it has quite a lot to offer. Beautiful wide beaches, mangroves, snorkelling and diving, waterfalls in the middle of the jungle, trekking in Mu Ko National Park, an ethical elephant sanctuary, good food. And then there are the caves.
Khao Mai Kaew Cave (Tham Khao Mai Kaew – tham is Thai for cave) is located in the central part of the island, at the height of Khlong Nin beach in the west of the island and a little above the Old Town in the east. The easiest way to get to it is either by scooter or car – turn off the tarmac road towards Lanta Elephant Sanctuary and drive a few kilometres further into the jungle.
Before entering the trail leading to the cave, there is an information point (it is somehow not outstandingly well marked) where a fee is charged. There you also wait for a guide to lead you into the cave.
Khao Mai Kaew Cave – is it only with a guide?
Although simply getting to the cave or walking through it is not some eminently complicated task, such a trip needs to be done with a guide. Why? Firstly, because the trail is not marked at all. There are no signs along the route (apart from one large informative one) which way you have to go, or where you enter the cave. The cave trail itself is not very intuitive as well.
Secondly, after the covid period, when a lot of tourist businesses collapsed and people lost their livelihood overnight, in many places in Thailand the authorities made it compulsory to hire guides. This gives the local community a chance to earn an extra (and sometimes the only) income. And although not all the trails where such local guides and local guides work require assistance, I think it is simply worth supporting the people who live next to all these tourist attractions. For us it’s a few hundred baths, for Thais it’s often an entire day’s earnings.
How much does it cost to enter Khao Mai Kaew Cave?
The cost to enter the cave is 300 baths per person. Young children, such as our 4-year-old Basia, enter free of charge. The guide’s fee is already included in the price. The guides work from morning until sunset. You can also drive up the day before and make an appointment for a specific time the next day.
Khao Mai Kaew Cave – what’s the trek like?
A moderately difficult trail leads to the cave itself, located on a hill in the middle of the jungle. At first, you walk along a fairly wide paved road. Then the uphill climb begins. The path is quite well prepared, but at times it is very slippery. Parts of it are a bit more difficult – you have to climb up almost vertical ladders or pull yourself up stones on a rope. However, it is not very demanding. The path to the cave took us about half an hour.
Entrance to the Khao Mai Kaew Cave
However, the whole adventure begins just before we enter the cave. I remember the faces of our children when the guide pointed out to us the narrow opening by which we were to enter it. We looked inside and saw a ladder leading into the darkness…. It wasn’t until we switched on our torches that we noticed that the ladder wasn’t long and that we were descending into a small room full of stalagmites and stalactites.
Koh Lanta with kids – Khao Mai Kaew Cave tour
There are more than a dozen such rooms, small or large, in the cave. As a rule, they are connected by ladders or bamboo bridges. In fact, every now and then you either go up or down somewhere. You walk for a few minutes on the flat terrain along huge rock blocks and then descend again somewhere.
Huge stalactites hang from the top, bizarre rock formations and stalagmites pile up on the walls. From time to time we pass bodies of water, we can hear the splashing of water or the murmur of small streams. There are also a lot of bats in the final section.
The best – according to our children – however, is just before we leave the cave. The final fraction is very narrow and slippery. At one point it narrows and descends so much that the only way to get out is to crawl. You have to lie down with your whole body on the wet ground and slippery stones and just squeeze through the gap between the rocks. An amazing experience!
How much time do you need for the whole trip?
After leaving the cave, there is still a way back to the car park. Although you legally exit at the same point as the cave entrance, – to add variety to the route – the guide led us to the car park via a completely different trail. Instead of a steep jungle path, it was now a leisurely walk down along fields and rubber plantations.
How to prepare for the trek to Khao Mai Kaew Cave?
The cave is dark, slippery and muddy. So wear clothing that can get dirty with mud, silt or possibly accidentally damaged. Also wear covered shoes, preferably trekking shoes (addidas should also work). We recommend taking a supply of water, some small snack for the kids and headlamp torches. Although the guidebook has a supply of torches for everyone, it is still a good idea to have your own.
Can the children manage to walk the whole route?
The route is not long. But it is a bit demanding and at times dangerous, especially for toddlers. Our 4-year-old Basia walked almost the entire route on her own. We only put her in the baby carrier for a short while – during a short walk on a bamboo bridge over a small precipice. It was slippery and narrow there. And dark, as it is in a cave :). So we decided that it would be better for Basi in a carrier. The older children (7 and 9 years old) easily walked the whole route on their own.
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