After contemplating and doing a lot of research on how to do Marocot cave by ourselves, we reluctantly decided to go for the 4 island tour from Trang. At 700baht each this wasn’t an easy nor cheap decision.
In the bus we met a lovely Thai mother from Bangkok. She’s traveling with her son. We exchanged numbers and will do the motorbike ride to Marokot cave together tomorrow.
Once we arrived at the ferry point, only I – because I’m white – had to pay the 200baht fine to get into the national park. It is now low season, however there was plenty of local tourists. I would have to be forced at gun point to do this during high season. Only local tourists has its own charm. Walking out to the jetty, we see the shore lined with rubbish and a half sunk ferry. I get the strong feeling these tours exploit the park and was praying that our fare is not contributing to funding the extinction of sea cows in the region. Then, like sheep they herded us onto the ferry. No English so far.
We set off at a painfully slow pace. This is why it is an all day tour, because it takes forever for this boat to get anywhere. Any slower and it would mess with the time-space continuum. Then some more instructions in Thai. Our friend, Tah, came to translate for us that it is now time to fetch our snorkeling mask.
At the first snorkeling spot it was carnage. Everyone thrashing about, trying to get closer to the fish. There was some swell and we were right near rock faces. Underneath the surface there were hundreds of coral fish swarming to get the bread everyone was feeding them. So much so that they nip at your toes and fingers. I swam out a bit and there was nothing, I wondered if the feeding is the only reason there are any fish at all and we are looking at an upset ecosystem.
The lunch buffet was not bad. You had to fetch your own plate on the slippery deck.
After lunch we stopped at two more snorkeling spots and apparently a beautiful beach. Maybe we were spoilt by the Perhentians.
Marokot “Emerald” cave was our last stop and the reason we went on this tour. There was already two boats there when we arrived. We packed our valuables and the OM-D into an ocean pack and plunged into the water. We were at the start of the chain. Everyone holds on to the life jacket of the person in front and the guide pulls the chain of people through the pitch black cave entrance in the water. After a while and enduring a lot of screaming we enter the inner beach which is tiny and riddled with local tourists in orange life jackets. The beach itself is less than 80m wide, but quite impressionable. There was a farang couple with their kayak. I felt sorry for them as they did the 2 hour paddle to find a secluded spot only to have it be overrun with tourists.
The cave was worth seeing and worth the trip. I don’t believe there is any point in doing it yourself as you can’t escape the tourists even in low season.