I have read many travel blogs about Koh Lanta, almost everybody wrote that it is secluded paradise in Thailand, so we decided to give it a try…. We went there after our 4 days in Koh Jum island and once we landed from the ferry I was shocked by noise, crowds of tourists and numbers of touristic funky cafes. Is it really the paradise?…
There are several options how you can get to Ko Lanta:
1. By ferry: there is a daily (around 11.30am everyday) passenger ferry that go from Krabi pier to Koh Lanta. Price per person is 400 Baht. Tickets are available in travel agencies around the Krabi town. Ferry is available only in high season - from November till April.
2. By bus: there are many minibuses going to Koh Lanta from Krabi town. Price is 350 baht, pick up from the hotel. Advantages are that they drive year around and there are several buses per day. Trip takes about 2 hours.
3. By your own vehicle: go to Hua Hin pier (GPS: 7.693900, 99.099554), situated in 77km from Krabi town. Then take two ferries that ply constantly. For two persons and one scooter we paid overall 57 Baht for two ferries.
The cheapest hotels are situated in the northern village of Saladan, where you will be transferred either by ferry or by minibus. Saladan is the biggest village in Koh Lanta, there are many shops, restaurants, hotels and market. But be ready to crowds, noise and no beaches nearby. Price for hotels starts there at 400 Baht, but again be ready to get what you pay for.
There are several villages along the coast on the north part of Koh Lanta. Hotels are of different price - bungalows on the beach start from 40$, while rooms with AC and balcony just on the other side of the road could cost from 650 Baht (18$). Be ready to noise and dust from the road. However, infrastructure is good, there are many places to eat, drink and many 7/11 as well.
On the south of Koh Lanta it is much quieter with the only one 7/11 in a small village (near beach Kan Tiang). There are also several restaurants. We have tried tasty pad thai in the “pad thai rock`n`roll” cafe. Almost all resorts are scattered along the coast, so be prepared to find nothing else in the walking distance around your hotel. Beaches there are better and much less crowdy.
Prices for food are almost the same on the whole island and are big in comparison with usual thai prices. Padthai starts from 70 baht (once we have tried pad thai for 50 baht but it was awful). Curry starts from 90 Baht. Soups starts from 100 baht. Large beers are about 140 Baht.
There are plenty of places where you could rent a scooter (for around 200 Baht per day)
Scooter is the best way of getting around Koh Lanta. Roads are in normal condition, sometimes with huge holes, but just be attentive and everything will be ok.
If you don’t want to rent motorbike - there are many of tuk tuk everywhere along the road willing to get you whenever you want (don’t know the price as we didn’t use them)
The main attraction are of course beaches, but if you want something else from just doing nothing under the sun there are some options:
1. Go to the Old Lanta town
Old Lanta town (GPS: 7.532422, 99.093325) is situated on the east coast of the island. Only 50 years ago this small village was the main town on Koh Lanta and the only way to get to the island was to go there by boat to Koh Lanta Old Town.
There is one “touristic” street full with restaurants (with very “touristy” prices but nice view) and souvenir shops.
2. Take a day tour to 4 islands.
This tour is probably one of the most popular on the island, every travel agency will sell you the ticket. After picking up from your hotel you will be transferred to the old town pier from where either on the longtail boat (not recommended, as it looks like it is inconvenient to sit there and tourists were really packed into the boat) or by speedboat you will hop from one island to another snorkelling in a really incredible places with many fishes and corals.
Tour includes visiting of the Emerald cave - cave inside an island. You should swim for 80 meter in pitch dark tunnel to get there - but it is unforgettable experience. Overall this tour is “must see” thing as for me if you are on Koh Lanta.
3. Visit Mu Ko Lanta National park
Situated on the very south of Koh Lanta. Admission fee is quite high, 200 baht per person. There are two nice beaches and a lighthouse with incredible views over the island.
All the beaches are quite similar. Don’t expect much of the offshore snorkelling there. Water is not crystal blue, but overall atmosphere is lovely and relaxing. We found beaches on the south better that one on the north. There are less people there and we even saw some fishes offshore.
1. Beach of the Lanta RIver Sand Resort. We found it occasionally and liked this small secluded bay. One of the best option for swimming on the north of Koh Lanta.
2. Klong Khong beach with many restaurants just on the beach, bars, parties and fire shows.
3. Klong Dao beach with wide stripe of sand but with less pleasant atmosphere than Klong Khong
4. Nui Bay - the best place to swim in Koh Lanta. This small secluded bay is situated on the south and we even saw some fish there.
5. Kan Tiang beach is a good option only if you are staying in the nearby village. There is a restaurant and bar on the beach with common prices and nice atmosphere.
6. Phra Ae beach has much less restaurants and is not bad option. It gets hard to enter the sea during low tides, however.
Lanta House, Saladan
Price: 400 Baht
Unfortunately, we have quite nasty experience with Lanta House hotel. Pleasant looking owner messed up with bookings and we got room without window instead of that one we booked with window. Room was ugly, brown painted walls, very-very small - 2 meters wide and 2 meters long it makes really depressive feeling (we have been to many-many hotels through our lives, but this one was one of the worst).
We took our scooter and went for searching something else as it was almost impossible to live there, especially for 2 nights. There are plenty of the hotels, but many were already full, others were too expensive for us (we were looking for room with a price around 800 baht = 22$). Finally we found what we were looking for, nice hotel with spacious room, AC, water heater and windows! Price was 800 baht per night. We pay for the room and returned back, took our second backpack and said good buy to the owner.
He didn’t want to return us a money for the second night (we have already paid for agoda). But finally I convinced him that it is totally unfair to us and he returned 400 Baht for the second night. Owner is pleasant man, just we were unlucky to get wrong room and wrong hotel….
Lanta Just Come, Klong Khong beach
Price: 800 baht
Nice spacious clean room with AC, fridge and water heater. The only disadvantage was very-very low water pressure and poor wifi (it vanished all the time - but this is common situation on Koh Lanta). Beach is in 2 minutes across the road. Many cafes and 7/11 are just nearby.
Lom La Lanta Hotel, Phra Ae Beach
Price: 650 Baht
Our best hotel in Koh Lanta. Very light room with nice balcony (with chairs and table!). Everything is new, comfortable bed, fridge. Owners are very nice people. There are free breakfasts every morning (toasts, jam, coffee, tea, fruits), free snorkeling equipment, towels and mats for the beach.
Beach is in 2 minutes across the road. Many cafes and 7/11 are just nearby. Wifi was better than in Lanta Just Come, but still poor. It is a little bit noisy because of the road, but still it is the best value for money on Koh Lanta.
Lanta Coral Beach Resort, south of the Koh Lanta
Price: 800 baht
SItuated in the southern part of Koh Lanta, just on the beach. We lived in bungalow with fan, water heater, it was ok. Territory is nice, with palms and lovely atmosphere. Restaurant is quite good with common prices all over the island. Bungalows are located very close to each other so you will hear all your neighbours. There is nothing else in the walking distance - closest 7/11 and restaurants are in about 3 km away.
Hope you will enjoy your stay in Koh Lanta!