Koh Lanta is a beautiful island in the Andaman Sea and a must see in Thailand. There are a lot of reasons why you have to see this quite unknown island and I can say for myself, that I find it to be one of the best islands in Thailand. At least from what I have seen. And there are many, many reasons for it…
Guys, don’t miss out on Koh Lanta! I have never heard of this island before I came to Thailand. And even when I already was in Chiang Mai, I did not know anything about this place. To go to Koh Lanta was more of a spontaneous decision. But it was absolutely the right decision to make, because it is pretty different to all the other wonderful islands in the south of Thailand.
Of course it has all the same attributes and it looks pretty similar in a way, but still something about it was very new to me. And that was the fact, that it is not overloaded at all and not that much of a tourist spot, which is very enjoyable.
Koh Lanta – General information
Koh Lanta is quite a big island in the south of Thailand. If you compare it to Koh Tao or Koh Phi Phi, then it is like the big brother. It has a size of about 27 km and it is a divided island. It has two parts – Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai. Koh Lanta Noi is almost uninhabited where as Koh Lanta Yai has way more inhabitants. In total you will find around 20.000 people on the island. Both parts of Koh Lanta belong to the Mu Ko Lanta National Park.
The prove where you can see, that Loh Lanta is not to touristy, is when you look at the main streams of income. Most money in Loh Lanta is made by fishing, stock farming and rice cultivation. Tourism luckily is not that big yet.
The first people arrived in Koh Lanta about 500 years ago. They are represent one big ethnic group on the island – the Chao Lay people. You also find muslims as well as chinese people, who came to Koh Lanta about 100 years ago. Back in the days, Koh Lanta was the major port in Thailand for traders from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
Nowerdays it is not used as a trading point that much anymore, but it is still an important place in the south of Thailand economically.
How to get there
You feel a little secluded from the rest of Thailand when you come to Koh Lanta, even though it is not far away from the mainland. It already starts with how to get there. It takes a little longer than going to Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and all the other islands. The reasons is that you need to cross the ocean with a car transportation ship first. If you have made it, then you can go on and search for a nice place to sleep on the island.
The ferry is included in the transportation package. It is about 450 Baht (15 $) per person, if you start from Krabi. That’s what most people do and I did that too. It takes about 2-3 hours to get there, depending on the speed of the ferry and the bus driver.
How to get around
Once you have arrived in Koh Lanta, you will have different options to get around. You can either take a taxi, go by “Tuk Tuk” or rent your own scooter. Like always, I highly recommend the scooter. Koh Lanta is not very crowded. This is why it should not be an issue for you to drive around. Usually driving in Southeast Asia is crazy, but in Koh Lanta it is completely all right. No need to be afraid.
And of course, it is just the best way to get around, because you are completely free on when and where to go on the island. Plus, it only costs about 150 Baht (5 $) per day per person.
Climate and temperature
The climate in Koh Lanta is very similar to all the other highlights in Thailand. It lies in the subtropical area. This is why it is very humid all year long. There is a wet and a dry season. The wet season is from June to November. The rest is dry season. Temperature always sets between 23°C – 32°C. The water temperature is also very pleasant (28°C +). So, the conditions are perfect for sunseeking travellers. Just make sure to visit in the dry season. Otherwise you will have to deal with heavy rain sometimes.
Koh Lanta, just like all the other islands, has high and low budget accommodation to offer. Most travellers are poor backpackers, so, they go for the low budget hostels. But in Koh Lanta, everything costs a little more, because, as said, it’s not that much of a tourist place. That increases the prices, because the demand is not that high.
Just like anywhere else in Thailand you can go for hotels, homestays/ guesthouses and various backpacker hostels.
As for high budget accommodation you could try out these three:
Good homestay/ guesthouse options are:
Both of them have a very good reviews and, when I was on the island, I heard from many other travelers, that they suppose to be really nice. Of course you can find various others, but it’s almost always clever idea to listen to fellow travellers.
I don’t give you any suggestions on backpacker hostels, because there are so many and they are all basically the same. If you want stick to a low budget, then search for a backpackers on the internet.
I have been Blue Andaman Resort. A night is about 8 – 10 $ per person, depending on from where you book and how much space they have available. I can recommend this place. The staff is very friendly, the pool area is nice, the rooms are comfortable/ clean and the sunset is absolutely stunning!
Koh Lanta – Highlights and what to do
Koh Lanta is full of incredible things to see. When I was there, I met a guy from Spain and we decided to explore the island by scooter. We started at the westcoast from our hostel and drove around the whole island. This is the first highlight from my point of view and maybe the biggest – the drive itself. What you see on the road is really, really pretty. The landscape looks so dreamish and you find friendly Thai people everywhere. They all seem very relaxed and always had a smile on their faces. It’s the complete opposite to all the other touristic islands where many Thai people only want your money and nothing else (a lot of times).
You will come along various wonderful bays with almost no tourists or any resorts at all. You will see and be able to drive through the jungle, do different types of activities or visit a small but truely beautiful National Park. I just wanna give you the information on what I have done and seen. Like always, this is the only way to make sure, that I can provide real value and personal experiences instead of just pure information, that you can also get anywhere else on the internet.
Mu Koh Lanta National Park
The Mu Koh Lanta National Park is a small national park at the most southern point of the island. There is only one main road on the island. If you follow it all the way to the south, then you will reach this really beautiful national park. It costs 200 Baht (7 $) to get in. It is open from 8 am to 5 pm. You can also visit a really old lighthouse at the end of the park. You can visit some wild monkeys, see some stunning bays with a turquoise water colour, have a look onto the whole area from a cliff with a 50 m drop (be careful!) and hang out at the most remote beaches on the entire island. Very cool!
What I loved about this park, was that it is really secluded and you won’t find a lot of people. A big alternation to the other southern islands in Thailand…
Thung Yee Pheng mangrove forest
This is quite a cool attraction of Koh Lanta. The mangrove forest lies in the north east of the island. You can drive there easily by scooter, but after a certain point you are not allowed to drive further. You can only continue by kajaking, which costs 500 Baht (16 – 17 $) I found that to be quite expensive, but, if you have never seen mangroves, then you should definitely go for it.
The whole landscape looks very unique. You will probably also see some wild monkeys, just like in the national park. You can also stay at a homestay in that remote area. It is about 5.000 Baht per person for 2 nights including everything you want. I would probably not recommend that, but that’s up to you 😉
I really have to mention all the stunning beaches, that we have seen. Why? Because most of them are completely untouched and you won’t find many people on them. I slightly mentioned it above already, but I want to highlight this a little bit more. I can not mention every single beach, because that would just be to much for this post, but to give you some impressions and ideas, have a look at the following:
- Bamboo Beach
- Nui Bay Beach
- Bakantiang Beach
- Long Beach
One is better than the other. I could not choose one to be the best. I leave that up to you 😉
Something you should also not miss, but what I don’t want to highlight that much, because I did not find it to be as cool as the other stuff, are the caves (Tham Mai Kaew Cave or Tiger Cave) and the “Khlong Jak Waterfall”. I don’t say, that I did not like them, but the other highlights are just even better in my opinion. Also check out the “Animal Welfare”.
This is the only thing, which I tell you about where I have not been, but I regret it a little bit nowerdays, because I only heard great things about it. It is basically an institution, which helps sick and homeless animals, which is something quite uncommon in Southeast Asia. This is probably why many people like it. Feel free to donate to them, if you go there.
In terms of activities Koh Lanta has a lot to offer. Just like all the other beautiful islands in Thailand. You can pretty much do the same activities anywhere you go in the south of Thailand. But in Koh Lanta you will find more relaxing things I assume. To name a couple:
- Scuba diving
- Yoga and Meditation
- Thai Massages
- Stand Up Paddle Boarding
It does not really matter what you are in to. There is something there for every single type of personality.
Koh Lanta – What I have learned
Koh Lanta was quite important to me, because it proved me one thing once again. Tourist spots are very nice. There is always a reason why they are a tourist spot and why so many people wanna go to a specific place like Maya Bay for e.g.. And I visit these places too. No doubt about that. But still, the best places, where you will make memories, that you don’t forget that quick are the ones, where not that many tourists go to. They are the once, where you have more time to enjoy, where it is not to crowded and that are even better than the famous ones often times.
Non touristic places are the best ones
The same happened to me with Koh Lanta. It was the perfect match after celebrating on Koh Phangan for a couple days. And Koh Phi Phi, which was the next destination, would not have been the right choice to relax (find out why in the next post). Koh Lanta had everything that I wanted. Hopefully it does not get to overloaded by tourism in the next years.
Want to know more about Koh Phi Phi? Read here