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13 miles from Koh Lanta Lighthouse

KOH MUK WEST. 7°22.128N, 99°16.963E

Also known as Sabay Bay, this anchorage is our pick of the group. Anchor in the northeast monsoon only in 6-8 metres between the two towering cliffs and off the very small beach. The shoreline north and south is honeycombed with crevices and caves, making for excellent dinghy exploring. The beach leads to a small freshwater creek. There is a rough path that leads up over the hill to the main village of Koh Mak.

A few hundred metres south of the anchorage is the entrance to Tham Morakot − the ‘Emerald Cave’− easily recognisable by the mooring buoys with ropes leading into the entrance of the cave.

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The entrance is an 80-metre pitch-dark passageway leading to a completely enclosed circular, cathedral-like ‘hong’, with a diameter of 60 metres. A buoyed line makes it easy for all comers to drag themselves through the dark tunnel and into the hong. Do not try to negotiate the passage without a reliable waterproof torch. It’s terrifying enough. Kayaks and dinghies are not permitted into the cave; it’s for swimmers only. The park rangers will visit your boat to collect the 400 baht per person park fee.

The walls inside the internal hong are draped in lush foliage above a tiny patch of grey silica sand beach and the ethereal glow makes it seem as if you were encased inside an emerald, looking out.

Never mind the untidy lines, moorings and jostling day boats at the entrance. This experience will remain etched in your memory for the rest of your lifetime. Awesome!


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Inside the Emerald Cave on Koh Muk
Inside the Emerald Cave before the ban on kayaks & dinghies (we paddled in and out!) | Photo by Grenville Fordham
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While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.

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