An idyllic island paradise, Koh Lanta has gained popularity for its relaxed atmosphere, beach bumming lifestyle, 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 inhabited by local Muslim fishing communities. The island boasts with 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.
Klong Dao Beach
Klong Khong Beach
Thung Yee Pheng Mangrove Forest
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, making it ideal for families with small children to swim.
Ba Kantiang Beach is another popular Lanta beach 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 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 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.
Moving beyond the beaches, Koh Lanta Old Town is a quaint and relaxed place to visit. It was once a trade route for Chinese merchants between Phuket and Penang in Malaysia. 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. Enjoy a local lunch in one of the many restaurants in the town and walk around this old-fashioned sea village.
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 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.
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 surrounded by incredible stalactites and stalagmite formations inside a large 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 accommodation than the mainland. In high season the prices shoot up so if you are not a tighter spending schedule then coming in the shoulder or low season will be the best option. Beaches such as Klong nin and Kantiang beach to 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 significantly longer.
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 on a short amount of time, then 3 days might be enough, but if you want some serious down-time, then a week or more may suit you better.
Koh Lanta Thailand is best known for stunning clear water and beaches, 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. What to do in Koh Lanta centres mainly around lounging on one of the many beaches and enjoying its relaxing atmosphere.
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 are on Long, Ba Kantiang and Klong Khong beaches. 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, 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.
The ferry from Phuket in Thailand to Koh Lanta takes about one and a half hours and the distance is 76 kms.
About 50 km. You will need to get from the airport to pier in Krabi Town or to the pier in Ao Nang and then take a ferry from there. Passenger ferries only operate during the high season from November to April. In the low season due to unpredictable weather and sea conditions, these ferries generally stop operating so then there is only one option to cross and that is with a car ferry.
You need to take a ferry from Saladan Pier in Koh Lanta to Koh Lipe in Thailand, and the journey takes approximately 2 hours.
If you are coming from Phuket Airport, you should 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.
Discover Thailand's top must-see destinations & everything you need to know for your next trip to "the land of Smiles".
Follow our accommodation guide to choose the best places to stay during your holiday to suit your plans, budget and expectations.
Plan for an unforgettable holiday escapade and uncover the fascinating assortment of things to do and see in Thailand's most popular destinations as well as those lesser known travel spots and routes.