Welcome to Koh Lanta
This is my Koh Lanta Wiki page and will be updated on a regular basis. If you have something to add please comment at the bottom of the page so everyone can benefit.
Koh Lanta (เกาะลันตา) may not be quite as popular as Koh Phi Phi but it seems to be catching up. This island has only become popular in the last decade and this means that it has still been relatively unspoiled. It is a lot cheaper to spend time here than it is on Phi Phi and this is another reason why it is such a popular choice. While there have been several Koh Lanta resorts springing up, they are still cheap relative to the other nearby islands. Koh Lanta is actually made up of two islands Lanta Noi (noi/น้อย means small in Thai) and Lanta Yai (yai/ใหญ่ means big in the Thai language). Tourists tend to stick to Koh Lanta Yai and most tourists will mean this when they are referring to Koh Lanta.
Koh Lanta Arrivals and Departures
There are no commercial flights to Koh Lanta, although if you have the cash you can charter a private plane from Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi or Trang. Commercial flights do fly to both Krabi and Phuket and it is possible to get a ferry, speedboat or bus from either of those locations.
You can take the train to the station in Trang, but it is a long trip yet from Trang to Koh Lanta. Many Thais do take this option, but they seem to have more patience than us Westerners. Unless you have plenty of time I don’t recommend the train option.
Buses and mini vans are available from both Phuket and Krabi although they are no cheaper than the ferry service and take a bit longer too. Still they can be a good alternative if you get sea sick easily or if there is bad weather.
Obviously this is the most taken option for arriving on Koh Lanta. Ferry service is available from Phuket (via Phi Phi), Krabi and Koh Phi Phi. Please note that all ferry service is subject to weather and demand. During the low season the ferry may not run on any day if there are not enough passengers and during the monsoon season they may not run due to weather.
From Krabi the trip takes about 2 hours and costs 400 baht. The ferry is scheduled to leave at 10:30 and 13:30 each day.
From Koh Phi Phi the trip takes 1 hour and ferries leave at 11:30 and 14:00 each day. Please take note that if you are coming from Phuket you will need to leave from Phuket on the 8:00 ferry to make it in time to transfer. Tickets cost 450 baht from Phuket and 200 baht from Koh Phi Phi.
Getting Around Koh Lanta
Rent a Motorbike or Car
The roads on much of Koh Lanta are quite good and there are a number of motorbike taxis that will take you around. If you have experience driving a motorbike you can also rent them and get around yourself. Motorbikes are fine for getting around from beach to beach, but if you plan on traveling to the west coast or north-east of the island a 4 wheel drive vehicle is recommended. You will also want to ask at your hotel for a Koh Lanta map to ensure you don’t get lost. The roads in these areas can be in quite a bit of disrepair with potholes and muddy areas common. Some of the roads are also very steep and if the weather is bad or it is the rainy season I wouldn’t recommend driving these areas yourself.
Where to Go on Koh Lanta
Lanta town is an interesting place and a real mix of different cultures. The local population is made up of people of Chinese decent, as well as sea gypsies – this is also a strong Thai Muslim influence that can be noticed in the town. The town has market areas and many small shops where you can buy provisions as well as some more interesting items. You will find Koh Lanta town on the eastern side of the island.
Most tourists will at least pass through Saladan town when they arrive and depart the island. It is worth a visit though as there are some nice restaurants and bars. Here you will also find the main tour shops and diving schools. The pier in Saladan is where most boats come and go from the island.
Pra Ae is also known as Long Beach; it is about 4 kilometers in length so the name is well deserved. The fact that this is such a long beach means that you will always find a quite spot to enjoy alone; it is more peaceful than Klong Dao beach. There are many resorts and hotels in this area but they are all fairly well spread out. Pra Ae can be found to the north of the island. As well as this beach being a real stunner it is also a great place to go swimming.
Klong Dao Beach
Klong Dao is the most popular beach on Koh Lanta but it remains a nice spot. This is where most visitors stay and there is a wide selection of Koh Lanta hotel here to cater for different budgets – during the low season you can pick up some great deals here. The water here isn’t too deep near the shore and it is nice to just mess around in.
Many visitors claim that Kan Tiang is the most attractive spot in the whole of Koh Lanta. This is only a small beach and it hardly ever gets busy. This is also a good place to go for some snorkeling as there is some good coral nearby. Behind the beach are some picturesque mountain peaks. This is a nice place to visit but you can also find accommodation nearby as well.
What to Do on Koh Lanta
Go On an Elephant Trek
If you want to explore the jungle in Koh Lanta then the ideal way to do this is on the back of an elephant. These treks last about half a day and you will see them advertised in most of the resorts on the island.
Have a Thai Massage
There are a few massage parlors on the island but you will also see people offering it on the beaches. Some resorts can arrange to send a masseuse to your room. As well as being a great way to relax Thai massage is also believe to have many medicinal benefits; in fact it is used locally to cure many ills.
A Night on the Town in Koh Lanta
There is no real main area on Koh Lanta for entertainment; everything is a lot more laid back. You will find plenty of bars though spread around the island. The good news is that most of these will stay open as long as people are spending money. There seems to be less worry on Koh Lanta about closing times that have been enforced in outer tourist areas.
Koh Lanta has some good dive sites nearby and there are a few dive shops that can arrange equipment or courses for people staying on the island. Many of the Koh Lanta resorts and hotels can direct you to a good dive shop.
Off the Beaten Track in Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta Noi
Koh Lanta Noi is the other island that makes up Koh Lanta. This is a nice place to visit even though there is not much here dedicated to the tourist – this is probably part of its charm. You will find a few restaurants on the island and the best way to see it is on the back of a motorbike. You can catch a boat to Koh Lanta Noi from Salandan Town. There is not much in the way of accommodation options here unless you want to go camping.
Emergencies on Koh Lanta
You will find that there is virtually no crime on Koh Lanta making it very safe for visitors. If you do somehow run into problems you simply need to contact the Tourist Police by calling 1155 from any phone (free call). The Thai Tourist Police are specially trained to deal with foreigners who have legal complaints and most of them speak and understand English fairly well.
If you have a small medical complaint there is a small hospital on Koh Lanta, however anything major and you should head back to Krabi, where they have a much better equipped hospital. The phone number for the Koh Lanta hospital is 075-697-017
Highlights of Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta is still relatively undiscovered by tourists so while the major activity on the island is simply relaxing and chilling out, there are still some things not to be missed.
- Go on an elephant trek through the jungle for something really unique and different.
- Enjoy relaxing on the beaches which are still uncrowded and unspoiled.
- Go diving or snorkeling in some of the clearest waters in the world.
Where to Next?
- Head back over to Krabi or Phuket for some real nightlife and partying.
- Leave the beaches behind and take a trip to the very northern reaches of Thailand to see Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son and the Golden Triangle.