If your idea of Thailand is simply a touristic place, Koh Lanta will prove you wrong. A few hours away from Krabi & Phuket, this place has nothing to envy to its neighbours. Welcome to the unspoiled beautiful Thailand, a place full of authenticity, culture, and breathtaking nature.
Paradise for diving
Let’s start with the most well known activity in Koh Lanta, diving. Koh Lanta is a paradise for divers. Diving spots around offers an excellent underwater visibility and are suitable for all levels.
Lanta’s local spot Koh Haa (meaning “Five islands” in Thai) offers spectacular snorkeling and terrific diving through caverns, coral walls, chambers, underwater pinnacles. You may spot along your dive some turtles, octopus, barracuda, clown fish, and even giant morays, just to quote a few. Marine life in Koh Lanta is so colourful, rich and accessible to all.
If you are new to diving, this is the ideal place for your christening or even for a snorkeling excursion in some of the most spectacular spots Thailand .
eOasia recommendation : Try the 2 Days Scuba Diver Course , a perfect initiation where you will obtain your first ticket to the underwater world with a scuba diver certification. Open Water Courses are available too, but will require a minimum of 3 days, it all depends of the commitment you want to put in it !
& Plenty of other sportive activities!
Diving is not your thing? Not a problem!
How about a scenic bike tour up and down the hills heading towards the Koh Lanta National Park which is located at the southern tip of the island?
You can just rent a bicycle in the old town, and ride along the scenic roads.
You can then park your bike or bicycle at the entrance of the park, and walk in the jungle, where you’ll probably make some new monkey friends!
If the cycling did not tire you enough, we suggest you to experience some of the Thai culture by trying their national sport, the Muay Thai, commonly known as Thai boxing. A gym has been opened in the center of the island by some well known Thai champion and his classes are well conducted. Book your Muay Thai Class here.
But if boxing is not your thing, you can rent a Stand up paddle board at the beautiful Khlong Dao. Best to do it in late afternoon as you will get to watch a stunning sunset from the top of your board.
Quietness & Relaxation
If quietness is what you’ve been looking for, we can assure you that you will find plenty in Koh Lanta. The busiest time of the year is between December & March, but even at this moment of the year you can come for some relaxation. Beaches on the west side of the coast or where most tourists go, and even those beaches are considered relatively quiet if you compare them to Phuket or Krabi. If you head further south, you might find unexplored beaches perfectly hidden between two cliffs.
On the other south side of the island, you will find the Old Town. While you might be tempted by the inviting water you cannot actually swim there. However, this is still a very beautiful spot chill by the sea and meet the island friendly fishermen. It is quiet, charming, you can enjoy a morning yoga or a massage anytime ( ask to the guys from The Old Times Lanta ).
Indeed, the island is perfect for a healthy retreat or just some well deserved laziness!
Koh Lanta is the perfect destination for love birds. Its beautiful nature offers a perfect setting for a honeymooners pearly white sand, crystal clear water, unforgettable sunset. The large island is littered with high cliffs and lush jungles that will also make you and your special feel lost together in a beautiful tropical paradise. Sri Lanta, Costa Lanta, ( about $100 a night) are two accessible options for couples. Choose Pimalai or Layana Resort for a luxurious stay whether on top of Koh Lanta with a spectacular view on the beach from your 5 stars little sanctuary, or intimate by the beach at Layana.
Authenticity & Friendly People
What we loved the most about Koh Lanta is its authenticity.
You will meet some of the friendliest Thai people during your stay. Perhaps these welcoming locals are the reason why Thailand is called the land of smiles.
Koh Lanta used to be a meeting point between the trading posts of Phuket & Penang in Malaysia resulting in a great melting pot of culture. With Malays, Thai & Chinese, and on top of it some of the nomadic sea gypsies took refuge on this island and brought a bit of their culture from the sea. The whole mix is a colourful one just like the island and this creates a funky while welcoming atmosphere where everyone lives in harmony.
Also, note that high season in Koh Lanta takes place for about 3 to 5 months a year, so the rest of the time locals go back to their rural life and are happy to meet tourists!
Artistic & Creative Activities
Koh Lanta’s landscape has definitely a hint of hippy on it. You will definitely find nice souvenirs from clothes, leather products, spices, or recipes from those mouthwatering Thai dishes. If you wish to master these creative skills we have two options for you :
- An exciting cooking class by the beach with Junie. She’ve been here for 11 years spending her time teaching tourists how to cook the most delicious fusion Thai dishes she found while travelling. The class starts on a creative note by making a small dish with all the ingredients on the table, “Thailand in one bite” – this unique class is made in a way to develop your creativity through colours and flavours, a lot of fun and very professionally held! It finishes with a happy hour, tasting some creative homemade cocktails by the beach.
- Second option is located in the heart of Koh Lanta where Anke and her husband are establishing a school for children. They also create their own natural spa made with natural ingredients, and designed a steam room filled with fresh herbs. This is the kind of organic and creative place that fits so well in the island, you can also learn how to do your own jewelleries through a workshop or get an introduction to healing and spiritual development.
If authentic Thai cuisine and fresh seafood is what you’ve been after, this is one of the best place to get it!
Do not try going to the fanciest places as most of the time the best food is on the most basic places – plastic chairs, simple table and Thai people around the kitchen, it can only be a good recipe !
We will still give you a few addresses that you should not miss :
- Time for lime at Khlong Dao beach. Ask for the tapas plate of fusion Thai dishes, best time to go is in the evening.
- Phad Thai Rock & Roll in Kantiang Bay, local people claim that it is the best phad thai in Thailand. A Must if you enjoy eating Phad Thai!
- Apsara, in the Old Town. Sit at the end of the jetty and get served the freshest fishes or seafood with typical seasoning. We tried some calamari in a curry sauce and it was definitely our best dinner during this trip!
However, if you are not a Thai food addict, you can always find all kind of other foods, pizza, burgers, etc – not to worry, you’ll be eating very well!
They are probably the main reason of your visit to Koh Lanta. The island is made of 9 splendid beaches, all located on the West side of the island. A 30 kilometers drive down from North to South will take you an approximate hour to reach the last beach in the south.
The further south you go, the lesser people you will encounter and the more monkeys you will meet on the roads!
If you are planning to stay with your family in Koh Lanta, Khlong Dao beach is the place to be. Long beach is best for sunset drinks and fire shows by the beach.
Nature, Fauna & Flora
The island’s landscape is big and diverse with lush tropical rainforests, white sand beaches and cliffs, you will also get the access to protected sites such as the Koh Lanta National Park, or Koh Haa marine park if you head towards the islands of the Andaman sea.
You can enjoy an elephant trekking in the jungle, where elephants are relatively better treated as compared to other places of Thailand.
Another option to make the most of Lanta’s stunning nature would be to go on a longtail boat or kayak trip,where you would be able to spot along your way mangroves, spectaculars limestones and a rich marine life.
The Old Town
How to miss the Old Town if you are in Lanta?
Ok, there is no beach there but probably the chillest atmosphere you will find on the island. This fishermen village kept his authenticity for hundred years and locals still live in charming wooden houses, literally feet in the waters in waterfront houses on stilts.
The town is just the size of a street, but you’ll find there a local market every Sunday, fresh fishes and seafood in the restaurants. There is also a Chinese temple and a little museum, the place is ideal to buy some gifts and souvenirs and it worths staying one or two nights to enjoy its serenity and authenticity!
Oh by the way, How to get there ?
From Krabi or Phuket, public ferries bring you there once or twice a day in about 2 to 3 hours. The ferry ticket is about 20$, but best is to look for the time schedule at a local travel agent. Otherwise, we can help you with private transfers from Krabi mainland, as cars can also get on the ferry and this is probably your faster option if you arrive from Krabi airport. Book your transfer from Krabi to Koh Lanta, right here.
We hope this article will help you plan your trip to Koh Lanta. It worths mentioning that the best time to visit is from November to April. However, it is also good to visit in low season if you are looking for a quiet holiday with a local landscape. Have a nice trip!