Is Koh Lanta worth visiting?
Koh Lanta proudly sits in the Andaman sea on the southwest coast of Thailand alongside its fellow popular islands, Koh Phi Phi and Phuket.
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!
Contrary to popular belief, Koh Lanta isn’t just one island but actually an archipelago of 52 islands, with Koh Lanta Yai and Koh Lanta Noi being the main two islands.
Koh Lanta Yai is the larger of the two and where the majority of accommodation is based. This is the island we’ll be referring to throughout, but it’s still well worth crossing the bridge to Koh Lanta Noi for some exploration.
The number of surrounding islands mean you could spend all day, every day island hopping. We know this sounds like a dream, but there’s so much more to do on Koh Lanta. The diverse landscape made up of mangroves, forests, beaches, waterfalls and National Park means each section of the island feels like you’ve been transported somewhere else entirely.
Where to stay on Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta is a reasonably large island being 80km², about 2.5 times as large as Koh Phi Phi, which is only 28km² in size.
Despite this decent size of the island, the main places to stay seem to cluster along the west coast of the island. This is due to most of us not being able to resist an idyllic sandy beach, and the east coast consists of mainly mangroves.
Location #1: Enjoy the popular resort area of Klong Dao
Only a 10 minute drive from Saladan Village, where most people arrive, you’ll find Klong Dao. The area of Klong Dao is centred around a 3km long beach with a relatively flat topography. This creates perfectly shallow water and an ideal route for a morning run (especially for those amongst us that just despise hills!)
At Klong Dao you’ll find some of the best and safest swimming conditions on the island, generally attracting families to the area. The island has catered to this demand, making Klong Dao quite developed, with the largest choice of hotels and resorts. There are fewer affordable choices for backpackers here, so it’s not the area for those on a budget.
One massive bonus of the area is that it’s home to an actual supermarket, Lanta Marta, and not just 7-11s which are your only options in the other areas.
Location #2: Save the pennies but not the fun in Long Beach
Head slightly south and you’ll come across the Long Beach area, also known as Pra-Ae. Like almost all other countries in Southeast Asia, Koh Lanta just had to follow the trend of naming their longest beaches ‘Long Beach’.
Unsurprisingly, this is the longest beach in Koh Lanta at an impressive 4km of golden, sandy bliss. Despite being the most popular area to stay in Koh Lanta, you would hardly notice this on the beach. The restaurants and accommodation are all hidden within the tree line, giving the beach a beautiful sense of space and peace.
On top of that, something we all love to hear – the place is cheap! Cheap restaurants, cheap drinks and cheap accommodation in the form of bungalows and hostels. Knowing you’re saving money definitely makes things more enjoyable!
Location #3: Relax and explore the island from Klong Nin
The 5th beach area down from Saladan Village on the west coast is Klong Nin. The friendly, hippie-vibe village that boasts those rustic wooden shacks just perfect for lounging in, drink in hand, as you watch the sun end it’s shift for the day.
Klong Nin also puts you in an ideal location to explore most areas of Koh Lanta. Head further south and you’ll find secluded beaches or travel east to the culture-rich Old Town. If you’re looking for some more lively nightlife you can pop along north to the next beach resort area, Khlong Khong.
Like bees to a honey-pot, the hippie-vibe inevitably attracts travellers and backpackers from far and wide. The accommodation here fits its clientele, offering low-medium price places to stay.
How to get around on Koh Lanta
As with most Thai islands, if you crave freedom and independence then hiring a motorbike is probably your best option. They also tend to work out cheaper than exploring everything by tuk-tuk or taxi if you enjoy exploring every crack and crevice of an island. Rentals start at 200 baht per day and gas, available from stalls at the side of the road, will cost about 40 baht per litre.
For those of us who feel safer driving a car rather than a motorbike, you’ll be looking at prices of around 1500 baht for a 4 wheel drive pickup or 1200 baht for a smaller jeep per day. If you’re venturing to the National Park, a jeep will be much more suitable than a motorbike due to the muddy and steep roads.
The roads on Koh Lanta are relatively quiet, safe and paved (although you still have to keep your eye out for the odd pot hole!) As always, we recommend having experience driving your chosen transport before hiring it and having an international driver’s license.
Tuk-tuks and taxis in Koh Lanta
Don’t worry if you don’t feel confident enough to drive yourself, tuk tuks are like best friends, they’re always there when you need them!
Unlike with your best friends, they’ll probably quote you a higher first price though. Make sure to practise your top haggling skills and use the range of 25-40 baht per person, per km as a rule-of-thumb.
There is no public transport or regulated taxi service on Koh Lanta, however there will be several samlohs (tuk tuk bicycle) and songthaews buzzing around. Just flag them down from the side of the road and hop on. The 4km journey from Saladan to Long Beach by a Songthaew should cost between 40-90 baht to give you an idea of prices.
Top 8 Things to do on Koh Lanta:
Just like any other Thai island, Koh Lanta offers no shortage of activities like snorkelling, hiking and of course beach bumming.
However, 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.
Here are our top recommendations to occupy your time on Koh Lanta:
#1 Uncover Koh Lanta’s secret beaches
The places we mentioned before; Long Beach, Klong Nin and especially Klong Dao all 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:
Klong Jark Beach
Located in the South of Koh Lanta, Klong Jark 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 aqua blue waves crashing on the powdery white sand.
Or the local monkeys saying hello during their visit to the beach!
Klong Jark beach is the perfect afternoon addition to your itinerary after visiting the nearby Klong Jark waterfall and cave just a jungle hike away.
Kan Tiang Beach
Quoted as one of the most beautiful beaches on Koh Lanta, it’s hard to disagree!
Encompassed by towering headlands, the 2km 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 the beach is slightly rocky so settle around the middle of the beach or towards the south end.
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!
#2 Clean up the beach with Trash Hero
Trash Hero organise weekly beach clean-ups and educate 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.
#3 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 everyday and walk the dogs between 9am-11am and 3pm-5pm in order to avoid the midday heat.
This animal welfare centre is not too far from Long Beach and definitely worth a visit.
#4 Embark on the famous four island tour
Island hopping seems to be an unwritten traveler 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.
A full day tour will cost you around 1600 baht ($50), with pick up and lunch on one of the islands usually included in the price.
Pro tip: Visit 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.
#5 Diving, snorkelling, kayaking…the list of watersport activities goes on
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, snorkeling 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!
#6 Get lost in Mu Koh Lanta National Park
Koh Lanta National Park is much bigger than most people think, 134km² 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.
#7 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!
#8 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.
How To Get To Koh Lanta?
|Leaving from||Duration||Prices from||See details|
|Bangkok||4hrs-22hrs excl. transfer time||930 THB-1,400 THB ($31-$46)||Bangkok to Koh Lanta|
|Phuket||4hrs-7hrs||560 THB-730 THB ($18.50-$24)||Phuket to Koh Lanta|
My favourite places to stay in Koh Lanta
Located in Old Town Lanta, you will get a firsthand experience of life in this small fishing village. You can enjoy the amazing views of the village and surrounding islands from this excellent location.
Owners and staff are known to be extremely friendly and welcoming. The rooms are cozy, light and comfortable rooms and 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
Located just 1 kilometer from Klong Nin Beach, this resort is situated in a wonderful location surrounded by lush greenery and gardens. Enjoying the outdoor swimming pool, barbeque or sun terrace are the perfect way to cool off and relax after a day spent exploring the island.
You can even enjoy a drink at the on-site bar. The rooms are clean and spacious and the staff is known to be extremely friendly and welcoming. A fabulous breakfast is included with your stay.
- Breakfast included
- Swimming pool
- On-site bar
- Great location
Rooms start at $33 per night
Located just 300 meters from Klong Nin Beach and 600 meters from Klong Tob Beach, this resort is ideally located. Siam Lanta Resort provides a shared lounge, free private parking, a garden, and a terrace for guests to enjoy.
The resort also offers a tour desk and ticket service on-site, as well as car and bicycle rentals. The beds are big and comfortable, the rooms are clean and the staff is very friendly offering you a great place to stay.
- Ideal location
- Bicycle and car rentals available
- Garden and terrace area
- Big comfortable beds
Rooms start at $43 per night
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?