Koh Lanta is an archipelago in the Andaman Sea, about 45mi from Krabi. The largest island is Koh Lanta Yai (ca. 6100 citizens). This island is mainly focused on tourism, this is also the island that is meant when Koh Lanta is stated. On Koh Lanta you mostly see families with children and travelers who want to avoid the partying youngsters on other islands. Koh Lanta is just like the other islands in this region with (9) beautiful white sand beaches and dozens of small islands not far from the coast. Koh Lanta is popular with divers because of its location near some of Thailand's best diving spots. In addition, there are plenty of tours and activities available to enjoy yourself.
Sights and Tourist Attractions
Lanta (the old center)
Location: 9mi from the city center - 30 minutes drive | Category: Culture and history
Lanta originated around the 17th century as a stopover on trade routes between Phuket and Malaysia, Indonesia and China. The old harbor and lighthouse which date from that period can still be seen today. Currently Lanta is the capital of the Lanta district. The only hospital of the archipelago is located here. Furthermore, there are many shops, restaurants and a few temples.
Khao Mai Kaew Caves
Location: 6mi from the city center - 15 minutes drive | Price: 200THB (Guide) | Category: Nature
In the middle of the island are the Khao Mai Kaew Caves. The caves vary in size and contain many stalagmites and stalactites. In the caves also spiders and bats can be found. In one of the caves there is a lake where you can take a swim. Some caves are large enough to walk, others are so small that you have to crawl on hands and knees to get through. The use of a guide is thus advisable.
Lanta orchid farm and butterfly garden
Location: 2.5mi from the city center - 8 minutes drive | Price: 30THB (Guide) | Category: Nature
The Lanta Orchid Nursery and butterfly garden is an orchid farm and museum all in one. Everything is told about the Orchid, from the various growth stages of the orchid to the different types. A must see for lovers of Orchids. In addition, there is a butterfly garden. In this tropical garden butterflies live which can be found throughout Thailand.
Hin Daeng and Hin Muang (dive)
Location: 37mi from Koh Lanta | Category: Diving
Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are two of the most popular divesites in Thailand. Hin Daeng is named after the different types of red coral which live underneath the surface. It covers the underwater rocks as an carpet (daeng means red). Besides the beautiful coral and its inhabitants you can also encounter Manta rays and Whale Sharks.
Hin Muang is named after the purple coral which coats the "wall". Because of the depth of this divesite mostly larger fish then at Hin Daeng can be seen here. So you can not only encounter Manta Rays and Whale Sharks but also Gray reef shark and other kinds of shark.
Location: 60mi from Koh Lanta | Category: Sun, sea and beach
The small island of Koh Lipe is only 2mi long and 1mi at its widest. The island is known for its beautiful beaches. There are four beaches located on Koh Lipe, Sunrise beach is by far the most popular. This small island is fully equipped for tourists and offers besides many accommodations and nightlife also many dive schools. Also a couple of hunderd sea gypsies live on Koh Lipe. They can be found on the eastern part of Koh Lipe of which they were given the use rights.
Location: 7mi from Koh Lanta | Category: Sun, sea and beach
One of the more (if not the most) beautiful island in Thailand is the small island of Koh Ngai. This small island of 2.5mi at 1.25mi is best known for its white beaches, clear waters and beautiful corals. From Koh Lanta it is possible to go to Koh Ngai with a snorkel excursion or by an hired longtail boat. If you want to stay on this beautiful island it's possible, but it'll comes with a price. In low season there are some rooms for approx 1.500THB per night, in the main season, the prices are a couple of thousands Thai Baht per night.
Koh Muk / Mook
Location: 15mi from Koh Lanta | Category: Sun, sea and beach
Koh Muk (also written as Mook), is located next to Koh Ngai and is a great alternative. Accommodation prices are much lower here, but you'll notice this in the level of comfort. Accommodations are mostly simple bungalows on the beach, without the luxury of an air conditioner or refrigerator. Prices for a simple bungalow are around 500THB per night.
Location: 14mi from Koh Lanta | Category: Sun, sea and beach
Koh Kradan lies south of Koh Muk and Koh Ngai. With an area of approximately 600 acres it's a fairly small island. The island is known for its beautiful beaches and clear sea. Thanks to the clarity of the water you can easily see the colorful coral and the many fish that live here. It is possible to get married in a unique way on Koh Kradan, namely at a depth of 40ft with a scuba tank on your back.
Location: 1mi from Saladan pier | Category: Sun, sea and beach
Klong Dao has to be the most popular beach on Koh Lanta. This is due to the crystal clear sea and white powdery sand beach. While it's the most popular beach, the crowdiness is not too bad. This is because of its length (over 2mi.) Klong Dao is ideal for tourists who want to stay at a beautiful beach and want to have all the luxury. There are various international restaurants and bars available. Accommodations range from about 600 - 700THB to several thousand Thai Baht per night.
Location: 11mi from Saladan | Category: Sun, sea and beach
Kantiang beach is one of the most beautiful beaches of the island and the sea is ideal for snorkelling. Because there are a limited number of hotels, it's even during the main season never really busy. There are some cheaper bungalows available but in general, the prices here are over 1.000THB per night.
Koh Lanta is located in the Andaman sea and is therefore very suitable for diving. Two divesites around Koh Lanta particulary are worth your while, Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. These are together with the Similan and Andaman islands among the best diving destinations in Thailand. Where Koh Tao is more focused on the novice diver, the divesites around Koh Lanta are even for the most seasoned divers an absolute must see. Diving around Koh Lanta means you have a big change to encounter Manta rays and whale sharks.
Koh Lanta can be very good for snorkeling. The fish population in this region is very good due to the efforts made by the locals. Here you will find lots of coral and reef fish in large schools. The water has a nice temperature and is very clear. Actually, all the islands are well suited for snorkeling and especially the islands of Koh Rok (which are actually two islands, Koh Rok Nai and Koh Rok Nok) and Koh Haa.
Koh Lanta is a beautiful destination to learn the arts of Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) You can go here for a few beginners lessons but also for internships of several months. On Sundays there are Thai Boxing matches held in the Williams Stadium. The price of a single lesson is around 500THB, the longer your stay the cheaper it gets.
Entertainment and Nightlife
Koh Lanta is not the island to be if you like to go out. The islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui are more suited for this. Nevertheless, there are places to go on the island, larger hotels always have bars where you can go for a drink and some entertainment.
How to get there
Koh Lanta has no airport, but the airport Trang and Krabi have a daily connection to Bangkok and are reasonably nearby. From the airport of Trang it is about an hour's drive to the pier at Klong Song, from where you can travel to Koh Lanta in about an hour by speedboat. From Krabi Airport it takes around 2 hours by car (or minibus) to get to Koh Lanta. There is also an alternative option as a car-speedboat from Trang airport which takes about an hour to get to Saladan.
There are several boatservices to and from Koh Lanta. The popular connections are with Phuket, Krabi and Koh Phi Phi. Timetables vary and depend on the (tourist) season and weather. Ferries can be booked online but also through your hotel or the travel agents on the corner of the street.
Koh Lanta has plenty of accommodations in different price ranges. From simple guesthouses to luxury hotels and resorts. The price level is the highest around the beach of Saladan. The further south you go, the cheaper the accommodations get. Simple huts with a fan cost about 300THB per night, if you are looking for more luxury the price start at 1.000 THB. Around December and January lodging are scarce and very pricey. If you want to go during these months it is advisable to make reservations.