Formed by a group of islands in the Andaman Sea, southwest of Thailand and belonging to the province of Krabi, Koh Lanta is a perfect destination where you can spend a few days of rest without getting bored. The fact that it is fortunately much less famous than its neighbour Koh Phi Phi makes it so. In addition, the lesser popularity and influx of tourism helps it to retain its personality.
With its long coconut palm-fringed beaches and bars where chillout music is constantly played, Ko Lanta Yai, the largest island in the archipelago, attracts families, couples and lonely travelers who need some peace after a few weeks of busy travel.
- Best Time To Visit Koh Lanta
- Top 6 beaches to see in Koh Lanta
- Scuba Diving
- BAN SRI RAYA
- ANIMAL WELFARE LANTA
- Popular Tours
- Getting around in Koh Lanta
- Accommodation in Koh Lanta
- Where to eat and drink in Koh Lanta
- How to get to Koh Lanta
Best Time To Visit Koh Lanta
The best time to visit Koh Lanta is from November to April when it’s the dry season. We went there in early May with the first monsoon rains and enjoyed absolute tranquility. The storms, which came every afternoon and night, did not prevent us from doing any of the activities. You can take a look at our article on the weather in Bangkok by month for more information.
Top 6 beaches to see in Koh Lanta
As we have read, Kantiang Bay has been listed as one of the 10 best beaches in the world. No wonder, as this beach of white sand and crystal-clear water, expands almost 1 km south of Koh Lanta. It has very few hotels, some of them quite luxurious, and thanks to this, it is usually quite quiet and without many people. You can get a pair of goggles and snorkel and explore the seabed by snorkeling, you will find plenty of corals and fish.
KHLONG JAK BEACH
Because of its location, near Mu Koh Lanta National Park and about 16 km south of Saladan, Khlong Jark has become a secluded beach with only a handful of resorts. It is ideal if you are looking for tranquility, shallow water and spectacular views. In addition, near the beach, walking about 800 meters, you will find Khlong Jark waterfall, a waterfall in the heart of the National Park.
HAD HIN NGAM and LAEM TANOD
Located in the protected area belonging to the Mu Koh Lanta National Park, we find two small beaches, Had Hin Ngam and Laem Tanod. Being in a protected area, there are no hotels in this area and they have a natural tropical richness. A lighthouse at the southernmost point of the island, Cape Tanod, offers impressive views. You can spend the night near these beaches, but you should ask the national park for information.
KHLONG KHONG BEACH
We chose Khlong Khong where at the beginning of May, starting the low season, it was almost impossible to cross paths with other tourists. The seashore is full of rocks in some stretches, especially in front of our guest house Lanta’s Lodge, but the absolute silence you enjoy sitting on the deckchair is priceless. The tranquility was such that sometimes we forgot we were in Thailand.
PHRA AE BEACH or Long Beach
Only 10 km from Saladan, we find this very long beach embraced by a dense pine forest. As Phra Ae is such a long beach, there is quite a lot of space between the resorts and it is not usually crowded, although as it is near the port, it is perhaps one of the most frequented in Koh Lanta. It is the ideal place to watch the sun set over the sea at sunset while enjoying a beer on the beach.
KHLONG NIN and KHLONG TOAB
Khlong Nin is a small village in the central part of Koh Lanta that has a beautiful long tongue of sand with rocky areas on the sides and a dense forest that protects it. The beach, with its crystal clear water and sand, is often frequented by backpackers and is full of bars, restaurants and guesthouses. Not as spectacular as its neighbor, Khlong Toab Beach, in the southern part of Khlong Nin, is a narrow beach separated from the jungle by a road. Many fishermen use it to moor their longtail boats.
CAVES OF KHAO MAI KAEW
A good option is to visit the caves of Khao Mai Kaew, a set of chambers inside a mountain linked by long corridors. For the visit it is necessary to hire the services of a guide who shows you all the corners and helps you to walk safely. He also offers you flashlights because inside it is absolutely dark. The visit lasts a little over an hour, which flies by as you go around every corner of the cave and observe the whimsical shapes of the rocks.
MU KOH LANTA NATIONAL PARK
At the southern tip of the island is Mu Koh Lanta National Park, where you can go into the jungle for a short walk or take pictures at the lighthouse, although you’ll also find caves and forests that reach almost to the ocean. Not that it’s a very exotic place, but it always serves to stretch your legs and distract you a bit. It is a national park that includes and protects several islands, where we can find from mammals like tigers and deer to reptiles and birds. Besides, it is the home of the Chao Lay, the sea nomads, who even today still practice their customs and ceremonies in the nights of full moon to keep bad luck away from their boats.
The beauty of the islands, in which the landscape hypnotizes and the green color predominates in every corner, expands underneath its waters. The nearby coral reefs and the variety of aquatic fauna attract snorkelers and diving enthusiasts from all over the world in search of unique pictures, making Koh Lanta a perfect destination for these sports. From there you can go diving in nearby islets (some places are Hin Daeng, Hin Muang or Ko Haa) so they must be real underwater paradises, because we snorkeled a couple of times in shallow places and we were already amazed with the fish you could see.
BAN SRI RAYA
The main city in Koh Lanta Yai, Ban Sri Raya, was one of the most important ports in the Andaman Sea as it connected with Phuket, Trang, Krabi and Penang, among others. From the 1940s, with the construction of a road near the mainland, it stopped receiving so many boats and became a very quiet place. Today it brings together several cultures such as the Muslim, Chinese, Chao Lay people and Thai culture. There are not too many things to see, but if you go a little further down the main street, you will find old wooden houses, small craftsmen’s workshops (if you look beyond the souvenir shops) and restaurants overlooking the sea.
ANIMAL WELFARE LANTA
Lanta Animal Welfare is a shelter for dogs and cats whose main objective is, as defined in its website, “to alleviate the suffering and pain of all animals on the island through care and sterilization”. To this end, it also has a veterinary clinic where, in addition to caring for stray animals, anyone in Ko Lanta or the surrounding area can bring their pet for treatment. If you are an animal lover, how can you help? There are many ways, including volunteering (whether you are a veterinarian or not), making a financial donation, donating materials, adopting, sponsoring and even accompanying the animals on flights.
A very popular activity offered at almost all Ko Lanta accommodation is an excursion with the famous longtail boats to some of the neighbouring islands. The first one we made was the so called “Four islands trip” which includes a couple of stops for snorkeling, the visit to the Emerald Cave in Koh Mook and lunch in Koh Ngai. For over five hours we enjoyed the spectacular scenery, sun, beaches and aquatic wildlife in what was our first time snorkeling. Not to mention the spectacular beach where we stopped to eat and rest on the island of Koh Ngai.
Located on the island of Koh Mook, swimming across the Emerald Cave or Morakot, about 80 meters long, is part of the “price” you have to pay to access a small white sand beach and crystal clear water located within the island. As paradisiacal as it may seem, all that glitters is not gold, and these wonderful places are so crowded with tourists that the entrance to the cave looked like a termite mound with its corresponding termites entering. They made us enter in a line so as not to lose us, since there comes a time when it gets dark, so you can imagine the picture. However, the feeling inside is spectacular.
TOUR TO KOH PHI PHI
After the beautiful experience of the first excursion to the Four Islands, we decided to do the tour to Koh Phi Phi as well. On this occasion we went to Koh Phi Phi Don by ferry and once there we went on a longtail to Koh Phi Phi Leh. An irresistible blue sea sprinkled with huge atolls that turned into turquoise as you approached them. We made a couple of stops to snorkel and saw lots of fish and, although sometimes shark hatchlings or turtles can be seen in that area, we were not so “lucky”.
Exploring the seabed is a fascinating and for many also disturbing activity. Just putting on a pair of diving goggles and looking at what’s underwater reveals a whole new world of colours and unknown life forms. But that world has to be taken care of and respected, so if you are planning a trip that might include the option of snorkeling and you don’t want your presence to have a negative impact on the ecosystem, you might be interested in what I tell you in the previous link, what I have learned about responsible diving (with or without a tank).
Getting around in Koh Lanta
When you arrive at Koh Lanta, if you already have a reservation, your hotel or guesthouse will usually pick you up at the terminal. There are some pickups that make the trips to the main areas of the island, you just have to indicate that they will drop you off at a hotel near your route. Once installed, the best option to move around the islands is to rent a motorbike. It gives us a lot of freedom and so we can visit even places far away from the most touristic areas for a few baht and, besides, most of the roads are in good condition.
Accommodation in Koh Lanta
Below is a list of accommodations by price range (from cheaper to more expensive), so you can choose the one that best fits your pocket.
Where to eat and drink in Koh Lanta
On the main street of Khlong Khong there are a good handful of restaurants with a variety of Thai dishes and at good prices. Khlong Khong’s restaurant is the one we frequent the most, a restaurant run by a Muslim family with an extensive and exquisite menu. But no pork or beer.
Another restaurant was Three Sisters with vegetarian dishes and delicious masaman and another restaurant that had no name in English with typical street cuisine, you can see all the details in the article. At Peak Cafe you can have breakfast or a delicious tea and if you are near Khlong Nin, don’t forget to stop by Rickey bar, a place with a great view of the beach, curries and great shakes.
How to get to Koh Lanta
To get to Koh Lanta you have to go to Krabi or Trang and there are several options:
Plane: to Krabi or Trang airport.
Flight offers to KRABI
Flight offers to TRANG
Bus or minivan: from Krabi or from Trang
Train: to Trang and from there in a minivan that for 250THB can take you directly to Ko Lanta in whose route you have to climb in a couple of ferries. Remember that from Trang train station you have to go to the bus station. With a motorcycle taxi it costs you 40THB, and the minivan leaves from exit 6.