Things to do in Ko Lanta, Thailand.
Ko Lanta, or Lanta for short, is one of the larger of the Thai islands making it easily accessible from Krabi you can get a minibus which includes the ferry ride for ฿300 and they pick you up from your hostel. Journey time depends on the ferry, roughly 3-4 hours.
Ko Lanta is actually made up of two islands, Noi a predominantly farming island and Yai, where all the tourism is. The minibus will drive through Noi on the way to the main tourist spots in Yai so you’ll get to see the rural side of the island as you drive through. On my last visit here our minibus actually dropped us all at our various accommodation, making it a very convenient journey.
Getting around the island isn’t easy by public transport, however it’s one of the best islands to rent a car or drive a motorbike. The roads are wide and nearly always paved to a decent standard, not being able to rely on public transport and not wanting to fork out a huge amount of money on TukTuk’s or taxi’s I’d always recommend renting a motorbike for as little as ฿100 for 24 hours to give you the freedom to explore as much of the island as you can.
The island is massive, there are dozens of beautiful beaches to choose from, loads of small towns to eat and drink in and an array of affordable guesthouses and bungalows. As a backpacker on a budget I’d say there are three main areas to choose from:
Haad Phra Ae (Long Beach)
As you may guess from the name this is a very long beach and the longest stretch of sand on Lanta. The far south and north of the beach both have a decent selection of budget accommodation, and as you work your towards the middle there are more resort style accommodations. There’s a great selection of eateries along the beach, as well as happening bars, clubs and live music.
Haad Khlong Khong
This was the beach I spent most of my time on and I really loved it. It’s a chilled out hippie style beach with a plethora of reggae bars to spend your days listening to live music while lounging back in a hammock enjoying the ocean breeze. This beach is a backpackers favorite with a huge selection of beach bungalows for as little as ฿500 a night. There’s lively beach parties but also quiet and relaxing stretches of beach, giving a good mix for everyone and everyone’s tastes.
Haad Khlong Nin
Haad Khlong Nin is further south of Khong Beach as you drive down the west coast of the island; it is not as remote as the southern beaches but nowhere near as busy as Long Beach. This beach has everything you could ever need or want within walking distance and tends to be a slightly quieter spot at nighttime.
Where to stay?
Bee Bees Bungalows – Khlong Khong Beach
I couldn’t recommend this place highly enough, yes it’s rustic, there’s no flushing water or hot water to shower with but the atmosphere is amazing and the people are really friendly. A bungalow on the beach, with a cozy patio area and a couple of hammocks is ฿500 a night, and you’ll wake up in the morning to the sound of the tide coming in and fall asleep at night under the stars after low tide. Bee Bees Bungalows will also provide breakfast for a very reasonable price and it’s just south enough of all the live music bars that you get a good night sleep. You can’t book this place online, so you’ll have to call them in advance or turn up and hope that they have space!
Angel Lanta Bungalows
Angela Lanta Bungalows is probably the most reasonably priced bungalow close to the beach in the South of Long Beach. Angel Lanta’s garden setting is beautiful and it’s only a 3 minute walk down to the beach. The bungalows are spacious, have air conditioning, and include a fridge and hot water showers all for ฿600 a night. The staff are incredibly friendly and organized all of our travel out of Lanta for a reasonable price and nothing was ever too much of an effort for them. This is one of the best budget options in the South of Long Beach, with plenty of decent restaurants and bars nearby.
Recommended Things to Do
Lanta Animal Welfare
One of the main draws of Lanta is the animal welfare center that was setup to look after and re-home many of the stray cats and dogs on the island. I’d suggest you spend an afternoon doing some volunteering and taking one of the dogs on a walk along the beach, or just go and play with the dogs at the center, donations all go to supporting the center and providing dogs and cats with a safe home.
Kayak around the Mangrove Forest – Tung Yee Peng
The Eastern side of Lanta is covered in a dense mangrove forest, where for ฿500 you can hire a Kayak for 3 hours to explore the mangrove forest in search of wildlife, as with most places you are guaranteed to see monkeys and will probably be able to find some exotic birds as well.
Koh Lanta Old Town
In the Southeast of the island you’ll find the Koh Lanta Old Town with its traditional Thai wooden houses built on stilts and a relaxed colonial feel when walking through the streets. The town is located right on the waterfront with some nice restaurants and plenty of shopping and it’s a great place to spend an afternoon.
As you’re on an island there are plenty to do in the way of water sports, from hiring jet ski’s to having a leisurely kayak around the coast or going on organized tours of some amazing snorkeling spots around the smaller islands surrounding Lanta.
Ko Lanta does experience some tropical weather, so if it rains one day why not go for a traditional Thai cooking class? The islands original cooking school Time for Lime remains the most popular, but you will find many other advertisements for cooking classes as you walk the streets of this town.