If you’re dreaming of a beach vacation with an equal balance of relaxation and adventure, Koh Lanta may just be the perfect place to visit. This Thai island is known for its laidback vibe and stunning beaches
Ko Lanta is a small Muslim-majority island of roughly 20,000, located in the southern part of Krabi and it offers a great alternative destination to Ao Nang for those who are looking to find a more peaceful vibe, much quieter beaches, and one of the best sunset spots in Thailand.
If you are planning to visit Ko Lanta, then this travel guide is for you. Within this guide, I have compiled all the best things to do in Ko Lanta.
Koh Lanta is my favorite part of Southern Thailand as it’s perfect for relaxing but there’s also heaps to do, and if you have more time from Koh Lanta you can easily travel to the Maldives of Thailand, Koh Lipe. But be aware as during Thai and Chinese holidays the Island is full of tourists so better avoid the holidays, especially Chines new year as it will be too full on a small Island.
How To Get To Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta doesn’t have its own airport. So, the only way to get there is via either Krabi or Phuket. And if you are entering Thailand through Bangkok, you’ll need to make your way to Krabi or Phuket.
If you are traveling from Bangkok, you hop on a plane to Krabi or Phuket where transfers are available.
If you are flying into Phuket, there is a minibus transfer to Phuket Pier where you get the ferry directly to Koh Lanta. Ferry and boat transfers go between Phuket, Phi Phi, Ao Nang, and Koh Lanta daily. If you don't like boats you can also go with a shared minivan, prices are also cheaper. You can book your tickets for a minibus or ferry here
Krabi has an international airport you can fly to direct, not only from Bangkok or Phuket but also from international locations. Once at Krabi airport, you can get transfers direct via a public minibus service. You’ll be picked up at the airport along with other passengers. You’re then driven to the Koh Lanta vehicle ferry, taken across to Lanta in your minibus, and dropped at your hotel. The trip can take 2 to 3 hours, depending on where everyone needs to be dropped but is the cheapest option (around 400baht per person). If you want a speedier option, you can arrange a private minibus or car that will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel(around 2300 baht for the whole vehicle). You can book tickets here
Best Time To Visit Koh Lanta
The best time to visit Koh Lanta is from November to May. It’s the dry season, so there’s little chance of rain and the temperatures are between 26C– 32C with a cooling breeze in the afternoon. It’s the perfect weather to make the most of this beautiful island.
Things to do
Hire a Scooter
The best way to get around and explore Koh Lanta is to hire a scooter. Almost everyone, visitors included, is on a scooter. Koh Lanta is relatively small and very easy to explore. There are only a few main roads that will take from North to South to West to East. And the roads are well maintained except for a few potholes that you can easily dodge. The cost of hiring a scooter is about 200-250 Bath or 6 Euro Note: If you are hiring a scooter, make sure your travel insurance covers you and that you have the required license to drive. If you don't have a motorbike license your insurance will not cover you.
Visit Lanta Old Town
Lanta Old Town was once the capital of Lanta, a trade port hub, and a sea gypsy settlement. Today it is a quaint little area with a distinct Chinese influence. And as in Baan Saladan, the timber buildings sit on stilts over the water reminding you of the fishing village it once was. When you walk the main street of Lanta Old Town you can’t but help feel as though you’ve been transported back in time. The buildings are ornately designed and Chinese lanterns decorate the street. Stop into one of the shops where you can buy hand-crafted wares or a souvenir. Or enjoy a bite to eat at one of the restaurants sitting over the water.
4 Island Longboat Tour
One of the most popular things to do while at Koh Lanta is to take a 4 Island Longboat tour and visit the Emerald Cave on Koh Mook. This is a day of Island hopping, swimming, and snorkeling (including lunch, drinking water, and snorkel gear). At Koh Mook, your tour guide swims you through 80 meters cave with the help of a head torch. And as you swim to the end of the darkness it opens up to water that is a stunning emerald color. When you leave the cave, you enter a lagoon surrounded by tall limestone cliffs with a small stretch of beach. There you relax and take in the beauty of this natural wonder. During the trip, you also visit Koh Chuak, Koh Kradan, and Koh Ngai. At these islands, you can snorkel and swim, stopping for a buffet lunch on the beach.
We recommend booking your tours with Viator as in that way you have the option to cancel 24h before in case something happens or the weather is not good. When you book locally you can't cancel during bad weather they just go and no refund.
Sunsets and Cocktails go hand in hand, and Koh Lanta’s west coast is abundant with beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets. So, no matter where you are, you will always be able to find an inviting beach bar or restaurant for sunset drinks and dinner. Stretch out on a bean bag or a sun lounge. Then sip on a fruity cocktail or a local beer while you watch the sun go down.
Visit the lighthouse in Mu Ko Lanta National Park
We were unsure of whether a stop in Mu Ko Lanta National Park would be worth the 200 baht entrance fee per person. We’d read mixed reviews online but were pleasantly surprised with a spectacular beach, few crowds, and a cool little lighthouse you can hike to.
We thought it was a worthwhile stop, but if you’re on a super tight budget, you might want to stick to the (many!) free beaches.
Cost: 200 baht per person (40 baht for Thai nationals) and 20 baht for motorbike parking.
Go Beach hopping
One of the larger bays on the south end of Koh Lanta, Kantiang Bay has many beachside restaurants. We liked Why Not Bar for their live music and chill vibe. The beach is very long, but the water is quite rocky so be careful where you step. It's also a good place to stay as it has cheap accommodation in the hills and on the beach but its also home to the only 5-star resort of Koh Lanta
There’s no doubt about it Bamboo Bay is absolutely breathtaking. With white sand, turquoise waters, and lush cliffs rising up on either side of the bay, this was our favorite beach in Koh Lanta. The best part is you won’t have to share this view with lots of people, as many visitors don’t make it this far down the coast.
North of Bamboo Bay is the quaint Nui Bay beach. The sand is just as soft as Bamboo Bay, but the beach itself is a lot smaller. There is a small stand serving drinks but not much else. It’s a perfect spot to get away from the other busy beaches.
Stretching for about 2 km, this sunset beach has pretty good sand and the water is not so rocky. We were lured into the Majestic Bar for sunset because they claimed to have the best mojitos in Koh Lanta. And it is true! They were excellent.
Probably the biggest beach on Koh Lanta, Long Beach has numerous restaurants, bars, and resorts, all with fantastic views for sunset.
However, it does get a little busy because this is where the majority of island travelers stay.
Take a Thai cooking class
Spend half a day immersing yourself in the world of Thai cooking with this Koh Lanta cooking class. Your instructor will teach you how to make four different dishes, from curries to soups to stir-fries. You'll also get to sample your creations and take home any leftovers after your class.
Where to stay
Most people stay in one of the beach resorts of Long Beach which are pretty nice but you also have a lot of budget options here, it's the cheapest area in Southern Thailand to stay for a while.
We stayed in a Fishermen's hut in the old town of Lanta and it cost us about 12 Eur a night. It's basic with no aircon but you always have the breeze from the ocean and a beautiful view. We love it very much here and it's within walking distance of many shops and restaurants. It was the perfect time for me to get some work done on the computer. It had a good wifi connection and we can cook by ourselves with fresh products from the market.
Another great place to stay in Lanta's old town is Verona Lanta resort, luxury bungalows with a swimming pool at walking distance to the old streets and pier of Koh Lanta. Rooms are around 30 Euro a night. Book Now
Pimalay Koh Lanta
If you want to pamper yourself with some luxury Pimalay Koh Lanta is a good option. It's a 5-star resort with beautiful pool villas in the mountains looking out over the ocean and also has beach bungalows. a ‘luxurious island getaway.’ This beachfront resort on Koh Lanta has Thai-styled villas snuggled into a hillside jungle, panoramic views of the Andaman Sea, and a dreamy, secluded vibe. It’s the perfect choice for a luxury getaway
Pimalai is unique in that it’s one of the only luxury resorts on Koh Lanta. It is tucked away on the tree-covered cliffs and overlooks Ba Kantieng Bay near the quiet southwestern end of the island. It has everything you could want in a luxurious island getaway including several incredible restaurants, two infinity pools, and a huge beach practically all to yourself.
The Pimalai has a variety of high-end rooms, suites, and villas for all tastes and budgets of luxury travelers. We stayed in a one-bedroom ocean-view pool villa. It came with our own private pool and outdoor lounge area, which separated the master bedroom and ensuite bathroom from the living room.
The Pimalai has four onsite restaurants: Seven Seas Wine Bar, The Banyan Tree Poolside Cafe, Spice and Rice, and Rak Talay. The dining atmosphere ranges from fine dining to casual beachside eatery. Each restaurant offers its own unique dining options and the menus have a nice selection of both Thai and Western dishes. Book Now
Near Long beach and many other beautiful beaches. New Bungalows for a good price near many shops and restaurants. Rooms are around 18 euros a night. Book Now
Cheap rooms in the south of Koh Lanta, rooms are around 12 Euro a night. The house is between Bamboo beach and Nui beach so it's a great place to discover those beaches and visit the Lighthouse of Koh Lanta. Book Now
You can find more blog posts about Thailand if you click the category Thailand, we did some amazing trips here, or click here to see our 4 week trip in Southern Thailand from Khao Lak to Koh Lanta
Here are some resources to help you get your trip going:
Travel Essentials what's in my bag: To help you get started on packing, here are my essential travel and photography gear
Flights: WayAway to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.
Accommodation: Hostelworld, Booking.com, and Agoda.com are the ultimate go-to platforms to search for amazing hostels and hotels at affordable prices.
Car Rental: DiscoverCars.com is a great and reliable platform to find rental cars all over the world.
Internet: Airalo is the best way to get a sim card and has reliable internet access for your trip. All you need is an Esim-compatible smartphone, install it on your phone prior to your trip, and you are all set.
Day Trips & Tours: Viator, and GetYourGuide, are great platforms to search for activities to do
Tickets & Deals: Tiqets is always my go-to website when I want to find cheaper deals for entrance tickets to tourist attractions
Klook to find the best deals for trips in Asia, somehow they are 30% cheaper than when you buy them at a local agency
Train, buses, and ferries 12Go to find your travel route for local buses, and ferries, we use them all the time as you can easily see the reviews, and the vouchers are everywhere accepted. tickets are sold for more than 5,000 destinations in 100+ countries worldwide.