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An idyllic island paradise, Koh Lanta has gained popularity for its quiet and relaxed atmosphere, beach bumming sunshine lifestyle on its long sandy beaches of soft sand, national park, heritage town and close proximity to a host of other Thai islands with rich marine life and famous diving and snorkelling spots. Windsurfing, deep-sea fishing, sailing and heading out on a catamaran, scuba diving and snorkelling are some of the most popular water sports on Koh Lanta.
Koh Lanta Yai is where the majority of tourists go and the large main island measuring around 30km from top to bottom, with a sandy fringe all along the west coast, dense jungle throughout its centre hinterland and rocky coastlines to the east. To really explore the island, it’s best to hire a scooter and galivant, preferably away from the west coast to discover hidden little paradises.
Koh Lanta Noi is the quieter smaller cousin and is inhabited by local Muslim fishing communities. The island boasts rubber and palm trees, along with exceptional secluded beaches.
Although Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, Koh Lanta has an interesting mix of Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Animism. Lanta has a very mellow, laid back vibe with sounds of rustling palm leaves as the seas breeze sweeps through the island combined with a melodic call to prayer which you will hear five times throughout the day. There are enough things to do in Koh Lanta along with fantastic day trips to keep you occupied, should lounging in a hammock with fresh coconut on hand become tiring.
It is the most developed beach but still wide and open enough to not feel too over-crowded, with lots of accommodation and restaurants. it a popular choice for families.
Bamboo Bay is a secluded crescent-shaped southern bay wedged between cliff walls and backed by jungle. It is only accessible by dirt road and remains largely unspoilt with only a few nearby resorts.
Klong Dao Beach
Klong Dao is located near Ban Saladan village, has shallow clear waters, white sand beach and is full of resorts and hotels, making it another favourite for families.
Kawkwang Beach is located in the north close to Saladan Pier. This long stretch of beach is set in a small cove with white sand and shallow aqua water. The currents are generally calm, making it ideal for families with small children to swim
Klong Khong Beach
Klong Khong has the reputation for being the “party beach” of the island, where most of the Koh Lanta nightlife is centred. Same as the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan.
Thung Yee Pheng Mangrove Forest
Thung Yee Pheng mangrove forest. Mangrove trees and their far-reaching root crave out a system of tranquil streams and rivers to cruise along. Spend a few hours in a boat, go mangrove kayaking or stay at a floating homestay.
Discover more thing to do in Koh Lanta
The beaches are the main drawcard. Long Beach is a 4-kilometre strip of sandy beach is fringed by tall pines and is where most of the action happens. It is the most developed beach but still wide and open enough to not feel too over-crowded, with lots of accommodation and restaurants choice amongst the trees by the beach, making it a popular choice for families. Just south of Long Beach you can find the lovely small bays Relax Bay and Lanta Secret Beach.
Saladan Village is the bustling entry point to Koh Lanta with a small beach where all the boats moor. It has a large array of restaurants built on stilts over the sea and offers sensational views onto neighbouring island Koh Lanta Noi. Klong Dao is located near Ban Saladan village, has shallow waters, white sand and is full of resorts and hotels, making it another favourite for families.
Kawkwang Beach is a long strip of white sand with shallow aqua water located in the north close to Saladan Pier. The currents are generally calm, especially at low tide, making it ideal for families with small children to swim.
Nui Beach is a tiny and pretty bay almost hidden on Ko Lanta’s coast, next to Klong Nin. There is only one shack serving refreshments. It’s been called almost paradise because of the overall laid back feeling and great water condition. It takes a little effort to get to Nui Beach but visitors say it’s “all 100% worth it.”
Ba Kantiang Beach is another popular beach towards the southern end of Ko Lanta where you can often find live music in the evenings and good dining options. This golden sand strip stretches for nearly 2 kilometres, and its crescent shape makes for clear calm waters and great swimming conditions.
South of Ba Kantiang is the stunning yet tiny Ao Nui bay. This hidden gem is only accessible by foot down a steep path for about 100 metres. This idyllic beach remains undeveloped due to its hard-to-get-to location and is the perfect hideaway with only one bar to refresh visitors.
Klong Khong has the reputation for being the “party beach” of the island, where most of the Koh Lanta nightlife is centred. This beach attracts many backpackers who want to experience a more chilled version of a half-moon party than the likes of those on Koh Phangnan.
Klong Nin is a more peaceful beach further south with a village feel to it and a few restaurants and bars. With clear water, the seas are great for swimming and the beach is lined by native Umbrella trees which offer much-needed shade from the blistering sun. With a mountain and tropical rain forest backdrop, the natural scenery is exceptional, making Klong Nin one of the best beaches on Lanta.
Bamboo Bay is a secluded crescent-shaped southern bay wedged between cliff walls and backed by jungle. It is only accessible by dirt road and remains largely unspoilt with only a few nearby resorts. It is considered one of the best beaches on the island. Klong Jark beach is long, sandy and peaceful with a nearby bohemian cafe. Nearby is a small waterfall that takes about 30-minutes on foot to get to. Be sure to visit during the rainy season because it runs dry for the rest of the year.
Bamboo Bay fits smack into the meaning of a secluded beautiful beach. It is the quietest and most peaceful area in Ko Lanta, with only a few hotels, shops and resorts and amenities.
Moving beyond the beaches, Koh Lanta Old Town is a great place to visit. Originally a sea gypsy settlement, it evolved into a trading village to become what was once the port and commercial hub of the island and a safe trade route for Chinese and Arabic trading vessels travelling between Penang and Singapore. Old Town is now the capital of Ko Lanta District, with its own post office, police station, Buddhist and Chinese temples as well as a hospital and a long pier.
You can still see the Chinese influence today with charming stilted teak houses sitting over the water with walk bridges connecting them and red lanterns hovering in the wind as if time had stood still over the place. Enjoy a stroll among the quaint shops and local lunch in one of the many restaurants in the middle of the town and walk around this old-fashioned sea village – a memorable experience especially during high tide and you can take in breathtaking views of the other islands and the mainland.
Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy Mu Koh Lanta National Park with its hiking trails and long stretches of deserted beaches for a small entry fee of 200 baht. It’s a great idea to head up to the lighthouse which offers one of the best panoramic viewpoints on Koh Lanta. But beware of the monkeys! They are bold so don’t travel with food or anything shiny unless you want a troop following you. Take a guide or go independently and trek to Khlong Chak Waterfall in the national park.
One of the top attractions in Koh Lanta and the best day trips is a four island tour. These tours sail to the islands of Koh Chuak, Mook, Kradan, and Ngai where you can snorkel and swim and include a visit to the remarkable Emerald Cave and its not-so-secret vivid green lagoon on Koh Mook that is reached by swimming through an eery pitch-black 80-metre long passageway with your tour guide leading.
Or head to Koh Talabeng for brilliant fishing, excellent snorkelling opportunities, or try sea kayaking to the limestone caves. Visitors may also opt to charter a longtail boat to the gnarly mangroves around Koh Klang and Koh Lanta Noi to explore a different landscape towards Koh Lanta’s northeast coast. The mangrove trees and their far-reaching roots carve out a system of tranquil streams and rivers to cruise along. Spend a few hours in a boat, go mangrove kayaking or stay at a floating homestay. On Koh Lanta Noi, you can also enjoy Klong Jark Beach, the prettiest beach on Koh Lanta Noi, a narrow strip of empty white sand with large trees on the road giving shade to the beach.
You can also take a ferry to Ao Nang Beach, Krabi’s most popular destination with a wide range of accommodations like hotels, resorts and entertainment in bars and restaurants.
A really amazing adventure awaits at Khao Mai Kaew caves on Koh Lanta Yai nearby Hat Klong Nin Beach. Your journey into the caverns will require a tour guide as solo trips are not permitted. This escapade is not for the faint-hearted with a demanding trek involving slippery and muddy surfaces, crawling through wet dark enclaves, climbing ladders and going across rickety bamboo bridges. You will get dirty so don’t wear your best gear and make sure you are wearing some decent footwear and not flip flops. You are also are bound to encounter large siders, bats and other critters along the way but it is well worth it because once you reach the cave, you can cool off swimming in the cave pool in the middle surrounded by incredible stalactites and stalagmite formations inside a large quiet hall reminiscent of a medieval cathedral.
Koh Lanta isn’t a budget island and like many of the popular islands in Thailand, it is significantly more expensive for food, drinks and hotel accommodations than the mainland. In high season the prices shoot up so if you are not on a tighter spending schedule then coming in the shoulder or low season will be the best option. The beaches of Koh Lanta such as Klong nin and Kantiang beach are among the most beautiful beaches and thus charge higher prices for meals, but you can still find relatively cheap BBQ seafood and Thai food throughout the island, you just need to shop around.
Koh Lanta is located in Krabi province in the south of Thailand. There is no airport on the island itself – the nearest airport is Krabi Airport. The island is accessible by speedboat, minivan and ferry from the mainland. You can also get there from Phuket and Trang Airports but the journey is will take a significantly longer time.
The general consensus across travel forums is that Koh Lanta is less crowded than Phuket or Koh Phi Phi Leh in Thailand, but still has its moments of being touristy in high season.
People mainly come to Koh Lanta for its slow pace and because they want to relax on the beach. It’s not an action-packed place but there are enough activities to keep you from boredom. How long you stay depends on what kind of holiday you want to have. If it’s to see and do as much as possible in a short amount of time, then 3 days might be enough, but if you want some serious downtime, then a week or more may satisfy you better.
Koh Lanta Thailand is best known for stunning clear water and most beautiful beaches, great diving, a historical town, waterfalls, and jungles. It is nearby many other small islands and is a great base from which to go island-hopping. Although it is developed in the north and west of the island, other parts remain less busy and undeveloped. More relaxed than neighbouring Koh Phi Phi, what to do in Koh Lanta centres mainly around lounging on one of the many beaches of Koh Lanta and enjoying its relaxing atmosphere.The lush mangrove sites, coral rimmed beaches and tree-covered hills make it popular among tourists, on top of its long sandy beaches and scuba diving areas. It is unique because it has a combination of Thai kindness and Muslim hospitality in the tropical paradise atmosphere of Southeast Asia. The island is also home to the Mu Ko Lanta National Park, established in 1990 as the 62nd national park of the country.Its near neighbours are Nuea Khlong in the northwest and Khlong Thom in the northeast and east.
Several bars along Long Beach operate sunset sessions with DJs or live musicians playing laid back tunes as day turns to night. A couple of bars on Long and Klong Khong beaches take it to the next level on certain nights of the week having techno beach parties complete with glow in the dark themes with neon body paint and light and live fire shows until the sun comes up. Mushroom Bar situated on Klong Khong beach is notorious for hosting wild Full Moon and Half Moon parties. They are not as grand as the Koh Phangan parties but are still as popular.
The most popular areas to stay in are the beautiful beaches of Long, Ba Kantiang and Klong Khong beaches. These are also the popular beaches among all the beaches of Ko Lanta. For those looking to party, any of these options will suffice. For families, Klong Nin or Klong Dao beach will be most suitable. For visitors looking for a bit of historical ambience and memorable pictures, then Lanta Old Town is a good choice. For the budget-conscious, Phra Ae Beach has a good array of budget-friendly accommodation, food and drinks. Phra Ae Beach is more commonly known as Long Beach and it is the second main beach from the northern end of the island. Phra Ae Beach is a long relaxed beach with shallow surf, shaded areas with beach bars nearby and resort accommodations and is the perfect place for a quiet relaxing vacation.
Depending on your pier of departure and the ferry company you use, the trip from Phuket to Ko Lanta will take from 1 hour 30 minutes to 5 hours.
It is equivalent to 1 hour and 54 minutes or 80 km through Route 4 and Route 4206. The ferry departs at 11 am, for the ticket price of 400Baht. You can take a transit bus to the pier for 30 Baht or take a taxi.The ferries run regularly during the high season, November to April. The low season has unpredictable weather and sea conditions so the ferry services do not operate.
You can take a ferry or speedboat from Saladan Pier in Koh Lanta to Koh Lipe. You can also book a joint ticket, i.e., a hotel transfer to the pier on Koh Lanta plus the boat ticket to Koh Lipe. The journey takes approximately 2-3 hours.
If you are coming from Phuket Airport, take a taxi or a minivan to Rassada Pier. The minivan is recommended if you’re looking for a cheaper option, then take the ferry to Saladan Pier, Koh Lanta. Or take a ferry from Ao Po Pier in Phuket to Koh Lanta.Phuket International Airport has a taxi pickup service to the Rassada Pier. Or you can take a minivan for a cheaper option via the Phuket Old Bus Station or Krabi Bus Station. From there your ferry can get you to Saladan Pier.
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