At the moment you see Koh Phee you might think you just ended up in some adventurous pirate movie. The small island, made out of one giant rock, has the most interesting shape you can imagine. A short distance away from the island of Koh Lanta, this tiny piece of land has the shape… of a skull. Welcome to Ghost Island.
It is really early in the morning – at least it feels like that – when my alarm goes off. I kind of regret that I signed up for a kayak tour to Koh Talabeng. I had a bit too much fun the evening before, but I manage to grab all the stuff I need and to walk to the assembly point. Together with seven other persons from the co-working space I am working at, I will go on a morning tour to Koh Talabeng and Koh Phee. I have no idea what to expect. Someone else organized this trip and well, I thought I will just give it a go. Why not going an a little adventure? So without knowing anything about it, I just joined.
Sailing through the mangrove
To reach Koh Talabeng and Koh Phee by long-tail boat, you have to go to the east side of Koh Lanta first. So a car came to pick us up. The sun was shining bright and the route to the other side of the island was beautiful. At the moment you get off the main road and you take one of the two connecting roads to the east side, you will notice the quietness of the island. We drove along the jungle and mountains, only to reach the small Tung Yee Peng Harbor with a few kayaks and long-tail boats after a 15-minute drive. The harbor is surrounded by mangrove, a natural border between Koh Lanta Yai and Koh Lanta Ngoi. We could jump into the boat straight away and off we went.
The mangrove does look beautiful in a bit of mysterious way and if you take a closer look, you might see monkeys swinging around. But it’s not that big, so it doesn’t take that long until you reach the open ocean. We made a stop on what might be the smallest island in the ocean, we saw some small fishing boats and villages on the islands around us, before we made our way to one of the main destinations for that day: Koh Phee.
Climbing through caves on Koh Phee
We knew that we were going to visit the caves on Koh Phee. But honestly, I had no idea where the name Ghost Island was coming from. Until we headed for a small island made out of one giant rock. Surprisingly I saw that the shape of the island looked like the skull of a monkey. Including two eye sockets you could climb to to see and enjoy the surroundings of the island. Weird!
We arrived on the island, had to climb over some rocks and suddenly we were standing in front of a ladder made out of car tires. Okay, that didn’t look very safe… Of course, everyone joined the tour on flipflops or sandals, but no one hesitated and we started to climb. The cave itself isn’t that big, but it’s interesting to see from the inside. Stalactites are hanging everywhere and it’s pretty quiet inside the cave. You only hear the sound of birds sometimes.
To reach the ‘eye sockets’ of the skull, you have to use a few ropes and climb over some big rocks. If you don’t expect anything like that, it can be a bit tough. And you have to watch that you don’t slip way. Some of the rocks are pretty sharp and dangerous. But the view from Koh Phee is worth the climb. It was beautiful
Kayaking around Koh Talabeng
After our visit to Koh Phee we took the long-tail boat to our next destination: Koh Talabeng. The monkeys on the beach watched us curiously when we jumped of the boat to reach the beach, but they kept their distance. We don’t spend that much time on Koh Talabeng as our goal is to kayak around. It is kind of funny, because we booked a kayak tour with a visit to Koh Phee. But it turned out to be the other we around. Most of the time we spent on Koh Phee, and the kayaking part took about 15, maybe 20 minutes.
I don’t really mind about that fact, as we reach a beach where we get some time to relax and swim. The time passed by so quickly, so after that we kayak back to the boat and we begin the journey back. Right at the moment it get’s cloudy and windy and the sea is getting rougher.
Monkeys on board
On our way to the harbor we see the monkeys again in the mangrove. Although no one is waiting for it, the captain suddenly pulls over to reach the shore. Before we know, the monkeys are on board. No, I am not a fan of these things at all. Not only because I believe that they should stay in their natural habitat. But also because I don’t like the risk of getting bitten. Luckily, the monkeys are not that aggressive and they don’t really touch our stuff. It doesn’t take that long until our guide realizes that no one appreciates this gesture, so we make our way to the middle of the water again. Without monkeys on board. The jump off the boat and swim back to the shore to continue their swinging around the mangrove.
So I didn’t really like the last part of our tour, but I did like our visit to Koh Phee and Koh Talabeng. Especially because not that many tourists do this tour, so it wasn’t crowded at all. Score for that. Climbing the cave on Koh Phee was a different adventure that took most of the time. But kayaking around Koh Talabang was also worth doing to see some of the area around Koh Lanta.
How to visit Koh Phee as well
You can visit Koh Phee from Koh Lanta. The easiest way is to book a tour on Koh Lanta itself. There are different options available, also combined tours with a visit to other islands. If I would have organized this tour myself, I would have make sure that we would skip the monkey part. I am sure you are able to arrange this. The price of these tours is between 800,- THB and 1200 THB, depending on the activities you are going to do.
Are you not really in for a tour but would you like to see Ghost Island anyway? I can recommend you to rent a scooter to take a drive to Koh Lanta Ngoi. Driving this route is a beautiful adventure itself already. There are just a handful of tourists going to Koh Lanta Ngoi, so you will just drive along small villages and the jungle by yourself. This way you get to know local life better. And a big part of the route also goes along the water. On the east side you will find a restaurant called ‘Sea View’. From there you have a great view over Koh Phee.
Would you like to visit Koh Phee as part of your trip to Koh Lanta?