When I arrived in Southern Thailand, of course I wanted to go to the beach, but I wanted to make sure I saw more than just a beach. Because you can see white sandy beaches a lot closer to home as well! So I signed up for a Mangrove tour in Koh Lanta where I was staying. They picked me up and drove me to the other side of the island, where there were no beaches, just mangrove forests.
I got out of the car with the driver and we walked along a series of docks and boardwalks through the swampy mangrove forest. This picture above is a boardwalk that shot off to the side that I was very glad was NOT the direction we were going.
Along the way he pointed out some very colorful crabs that live in the mud. These are yellow claw crabs. Very cute and colorful in such a mucky environment. They are tiny by the way… I had to zoom in.
Here I am ready to get started on my mangrove adventure using the longboat behind me. The squares in the dock I’m standing on are fish farm areas. They had a couple giant fish and one square was full of cute tiger striped fish. The big fish were fat and ugly!
As I was sitting there waiting to get started, I noticed the beautiful contrast of the orchids with the mangrove ecosystem. I was 20 minutes away from some of the most idyllic beaches, but I found it just as beautiful.
Here I am alone on the longboat. It was just me and the driver! I ended up getting what was meant to be a group tour all to myself. I was actually quite happy about it. I love being on a boat no matter what!
We left the mangrove forest and headed out across the open water! I was super excited to see all the other surrounding islands on the horizon.
He took me to this small island pictured above. I had it all to myself for an hour. I went swimming and ran around taking pictures. I asked the driver if he would take a picture of me with my camera and he sort of grunted no. But that’s OK… I like arm-length pictures of myself. It’s my signature style of photo.
Here I am testing out my water-proof camera. It turns out, it really is waterproof! What a relief.
Megan’s private island in Thailand!
There was a hawk on the other side of my island, looked like a bald eagle. He was eating stuff out of the puddles on the rocks. When he noticed me, he looked at me and cocked his head before flying away. He was beautiful!
And after the island, on our way back my driver swung by the monkey colony in the mangrove forest. At first I smiled and exclaimed, “Monkeys!” But then he got closer and they started jumping on my boat… and I started screaming! Ah!
He was feeding them watermelon peels out of a big bag he brought. He tried to hand the bag to me, but I shook my head with visions of rabies shots in my head. So he just laughed and walked around the boat feeding them. The monkeys were cute from afar but this was just too close. With their long tails they reminded me of New York City rats.
But they do have an endearing way of sitting next to you and looking innocent.
But I just kept my hands to myself and shot pictures. Some of the big male monkeys would steal food right out of the smaller monkeys mouths. Their social rules and etiquette intrigued me. They were kind of mean to each other. But I could kind of tell when a male and female were a couple. I even saw a mom with a baby that stayed in the trees.
So our boat was taken over by monkeys for a while, but when the bag was empty and the engine started they jumped back to their trees or swam back.
As we drove back to our dock, I had a huge smile on my face. I got to see monkeys up close and personal and swim on my own island. This mangrove tour was a lot better than I anticipated. I recommend it to others. There’s an option that includes kayaking as well, but I was feeling lazy that day.