Unlike it’s lively and party-fueled neighbours, Koh Lanta offers a more relaxed atmosphere. It’s the perfect island to unwind whilst still offering some awesome nightlife if you know where to look!
However just like any other Thai island, Koh Lanta offers no shortage of activities like snorkelling, hiking and of course beach bumming.
One of our favourite activities has to be the iconic Four Island Tour Koh Lanta is known for.
It doesn’t stop here. Koh Lanta offers several unique experiences that will convince you alone. Take for example the volunteering opportunity at the Lanta Animal Welfare Centre or practising Muay Thai at one of the highly-rated gyms.
New to Koh Lanta? Our compact Koh Lanta guide shows you the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Koh Lanta!
Here are our top recommendations to ways to spend your time on Koh Lanta:
#1 Uncover Koh Lanta’s secret beaches
In our compact Guide to Koh Lanta, we mentioned the top places to stay; Long Beach, Klong Nin and Klong Dao. All of these locations feature stunning beaches, but the problem is that these beaches tend to be quite busy.
If you’re looking for privacy and seclusion our top 3 beach recommendations are:
Kan Tiang Beach
Quoted as one of the most beautiful beaches on Koh Lanta, it’s hard to disagree!
Encompassed by towering headlands, the 2 km long pristine sandy beach is backed by the rugged mountainous interior of the island, creating a vivid contrast between the lush green and sparkling white.
The encroaching trees provide much needed shade from the glorious sun and offer shelter to the beachside restaurants.
Like most beaches in the south, you’ll be able to soak up the luxury of tranquility and seclusion.
Pro tip: The top end of Kantiang beach is slightly rocky so settle around the middle of the beach or towards the south end.
Khlong Chak Beach
Located in the South of Koh Lanta, Khlong Chak is truly a remote hideaway due to the lack of resorts and therefore other tourists. The only sound breaking your train of thought will be the blue waves crashing on the powdery white sand.
Or the local monkeys saying hello during their visit to the beach!
Khlong Chak Beach is the perfect afternoon addition to your itinerary after visiting the nearby Khlong Chak waterfall and cave just a jungle hike away.
Not to be confused with Nui Beach which is further north, Nui Bay adds a tropical touch to your visit, creating an off the beaten track vibe.
With no accommodation and only one small hippie bar offering homely hammocks and some much appreciated shade. You’ll get to experience peace and seclusion which is fast becoming scarce in this world.
This bay still remains somewhat of a secret, so enjoy it while you can!
A few kilometres south of Nui Bay, near the southern tip of Koh Lanta, you’ll find Bamboo Beach.
Another beautiful white sand beach with crystal clear waters that you likely only share with a few other tourists.
The perfect getaway to escape the crowds for a day!
#2 Embark on the famous Four Island Tour
Island hopping seems to be an unwritten traveller tradition as we do it everywhere but never get bored of them.
You certainly won’t tire of the islands surrounding Koh Lanta, especially the four visited by most island tours – Koh Chuak, Koh Mook, Koh Kradan and Koh Ngai.
Your day will be packed with plenty of snorkelling and swimming whilst immersing yourself in soft colourful coral and a multitude of vibrant fish.
As spectacular as this sounds, that’s not even the highlight of the trip, the star of the show is Emerald Cave on Koh Mook.
After swimming through a pitch-black 80m long passageway, guided by your tour guide’s torch, you’ll think you’ve been transported to Eden.
All around you will be leaning limestone walls, hugging a pristine white sand beach that is gently licked by the emerald green water.
How to book your island adventure
A full-day tour will cost you around 1600 baht ($50) if you book it on the island. Pick up and lunch on one of the islands is usually included in the price.
Alternatively, you could book you Four Island Tour online and pay just 991 baht ($33) instead. This offer still includes both lunch and transfers, a steal if you ask us!
Pro tip: Visit the Emerald cave at midday when the sun is shining directly into the funnel of the cave, lighting up the ocean. It’s a sight you won’t be forgetting about any time soon.
- Four Island Boat Tour for $33
#3 Go diving, snorkelling or kayaking
You can’t stop dreaming of exploring that warm, tropical sea?
Neither can we, and Koh Lanta definitely doesn’t disappoint when it comes to it’s sea-based activities.
Kayaking, diving, snorkelling and SUP are among the most popular activities, with day tours available for all of them.
If you want to take your adventures to new depths, you will find countless diving companies on the island where you can embark on a PADI course. Hitting nearly 5 stars on Google, Dive and Relax is a highly recommended company on the island.
The water around Koh Lanta is teeming with vibrant marine life, meaning you may get the chance to swim with barracuda, turtles, even manta rays and whale sharks if you’re willing to venture a bit further to Hin Daeng!
#4 Get lost in Mu Koh Lanta National Park
Koh Lanta National Park is much bigger than most people think, 134 km² to be precise, and spans across several nearby islands too, including Ko Ngai and Koh Rok Nok which are worth visiting.
Travel down to the southern point of Koh Lanta Yai to traverse the rugged hills covered with rainforest and lots of monkeys! They’re pretty greedy buggers so make sure you keep any food out of sight.
Follow the nature walk and you’ll arrive at the old lighthouse sitting atop the steep cliffs. Standing beside this remnant of the island’s history you’ll be gifted with unparalleled views of the bays and crashing waves.
The entrance fee for Koh Lanta National Park costs 200 baht and you’re free to visit from 8:30am-5pm.
#5 Clean up the beach with Trash Hero
Trash Hero organises weekly beach clean-ups and educates volunteers on the effects that waste, plastic in particular, is having on our environment.
They tend to meet every Sunday at 4pm at various beaches, but if you’re looking to get involved, they suggest using their Facebook page for updates on upcoming clean-ups.
The work they’ve done already is pretty spectacular! With over 200 clean-ups so far, they’ve managed to collect around 30,000kg of rubbish!
Pro tip: Trash Hero has gone global so make sure to check their website to see where else you can get involved.
#6 Explore the stilt houses and restaurants in Koh Lanta Old Town
It’s slightly unfair that the west coast gets all the love from tourists when the east coast still has much to offer, one thing being Koh Lanta Old Town.
The small village is one of the region’s most culturally diverse, with a fusion of Chinese merchants, Thai fishing families and an ancient sea gypsy community.
Take a wander through the streets, admiring the stilt supported houses, local stalls selling handmade hammocks and a delightful selection of restaurants.
A top choice is Caoutchouc Restaurant, the very last restaurant on the right-hand side of the bay. The place and menu is very simple but the ambience created by the relaxing deck overlooking the bay is almost unbeatable, not to mention the friendly and courteous owner!
#7 Practise the art of traditional Muay Thai fighting
If you have a passion for fitness but want to spice up your normal routine, then be sure to check out Muay Thai on the island. There are numerous training gyms with extremely experienced teachers available to teach you everything you need to know.
If you don’t feel ready to put yourself into the ring, you can also find several matches on Koh Lanta almost any night of the week during the high season.
#8 Look after the animals at Lanta Animal Welfare Centre
Since Lanta Animal Welfare Centre was founded in 2005, they have helped over 15,000 animals, carrying out life saving work and sterilisation.
There’s plenty of ways to get involved such as giving a donation, sponsoring an animal, adoption or helping out with the daily tasks.
The centre welcomes visitors to Kitty City to cuddle with the cats or take one of the dogs for a walk.
Opening hours are from 9am- 5pm every day and walk the dogs between 9am-11am and 3pm-5pm in order to avoid the midday heat.
Lanta Animal Welfare Centre isn’t too far from Long Beach and definitely worth a visit.
Also check out How to get to Koh Lanta from other destinations around Thailand!
Sleep In Lanta Resort - Budget Friendly
Sleep In Lanta Resort is incredible value for money. Rooms start at $13 per night and this place has a swimming pool! The refreshing pool is surrounded by greenery and sunloungers, making it the perfect place to cool off.
The rooms are bright, spacious and surprisingly luxurious considering the price of the resort. It’s only a short walk to Klong Klong Beach and the staff are amazing.
- Swimming pool
- Amazing staff
- Spacious and comfortable rooms
- Onsite restaurant
Private rooms start at $13 per night.
Sweet Life Community Guesthouse - Budget Friendly
Located in Old Town Lanta, staying here will give you a firsthand experience of life in a small fishing village. You can enjoy the amazing views of the village and surrounding islands from this excellent location. We highly recommend spending a little extra and getting a room with a balcony!
The staff are extremely friendly and welcoming. The rooms are cosy, bright and very clean. They also offer beautifully designed community areas with a kitchen, living room and an on-site coffee shop.
- Great location
- Excellent sea and village views
- Comfortable and clean
- Friendly staff
Rooms start at $16 per night.
Green Pepper - Mid Range
Owned by the same family as Sweet Life Guesthouse (one of our budget-friendly accommodations) Green Pepper is a tad more expensive. Those extra few dollars go a long way though. The resort’s design is unbelievably beautiful and the little details put a smile on your face!
There are so many relaxing chill-out areas, and the hosts go above and beyond to ensure you have the perfect stay. That includes the cooking class that they run with charismatic chef, Mon!
- Onsite cooking class
- Stunning design
- Amazing hosts
- Close to Long Beach
Private rooms start at $33 per night.
Lanta Happy Hill - Mid Range
Surrounded by greenery and lush gardens, Lanta Happy Hill is the perfect place to relax on Koh Lanta. A short walk from a local beach and a 5-minute drive from Long Beach, you get a secluded vibe without being too far from civilisation.
Rooms aren’t just rooms here, they’re bungalows with their own balcony. They’re spacious, thoughtfully designed and comfortable. Ying the owner will make sure you have the perfect stay here.
- Cosy bungalows
- Close to the beach
- Surrounded by nature
- Amazing owner
Bungalows start from $31 per night.
The Mantra Navi - Treating Yourself
The Mantra Navi is a brand new and small hotel that offers a comfortable stay on Koh Lanta. The rooms are spacious, ultra-modern and very bright. The floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights in the bathrooms really add a magical touch.
The lush gardens surrounding the hotel are beautiful and perfect to overlook from your private balcony. Staying here puts you only 200m from Long Beach, and the owners are there to help you to get anywhere else.
- Ideal location
- Brand new and modern
- Garden and terrace area
- Big comfortable beds
Rooms start at $80 per night.
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Kate is a writer, (ex)Management Consultant and avid traveller. She recently returned from a 2-year career break exploring the world and decided corporate life wasn’t for her. She’ll soon be testing life as a digital nomad. She’s visited over 40 countries and fell in love with Latin America in particular. Her travelling has inspired a passion for yoga, salsa, hiking and Spanish.
Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.