Charming, peaceful and untouched: this tropical haven of an island boasts amazing mountain jungles next to superb dive spots. I’m really fortunate to be able to live here and want to share the reasons I think you should also visit.
Why go now?
It’s still summer on Koh Lanta and temperatures can peak at 34℃ on the southern tip of Krabi Province in Thailand in high season. Koh Lanta means ‘dazzling island’ and it is clear to see why as it is surrounded by sparkling waters.
Scores of dive centres offer day trips and scuba diving courses for all ages and abilities. For a tamer activity, suitable for all the family, then snorkelling is a fantastic way to begin your underwater adventure in Koh Lanta.
Blue Planet are a large dive company that specialise in scuba diving, free diving, snorkelling and course. There are also opportunities to paddle board, hire boats and take day trips to the surrounding islands.
What should I do there?
You will need at least a week to experience the nearby nature reserves inhabited by curious Northern Pig-tailed Macaque monkeys in the mangroves and a chance to lounge in a Sala hut at the beach side bars.
Hire a moped or catch a tuk-tuk to drive to the lighthouse in Mo Koh Lanta National Park, trek to Khlong Chak Waterfall or visit the fishing village of Lanta Old Town for a more cultural experience, at a much slower pace.
There’s lots of fun stuff to do on the island too, like Lanta Parklife – the mini golf park or the Water Park on Koh Lanta Yai
Where to stay
Thai House Beach Resort is a small boutique resort next to Long Beach. Managed by a lovely British couple, each traditional Thai wood house looks out to either the peaceful garden or has views of the Andaman Sea complete with air conditioning. Its facilities include a bar, restaurant, bike rental and Thai massages. Room prices start at a very reasonable £13.50 (600 bahts) per night.
For something more luxurious and a bigger budget, at the south of the island, nestled into the mountains is the impressive five-star Pimalai Resort and Spa (which I’ve written about here) on Kantiang Bay. With an award-winning spa, three restaurants and bars, Thai cooking classes and sports facilities, plus much more, you’ll never want to leave this haven. Room prices start at £275.00 (12,000 baht) in high season and Hillside Pool Villas stretch to over £1,600.00 (72,000 baht).
Where to eat
To start the day right, visit Layana Resort and Spa on a Sunday morning for a champagne breakfast with a stunning view of Long Beach. The endless buffet breakfast and bubbles are excellent.
As well as the several good healthy cafes on the island, which I’ve written about here, there are some superb restaurants to visit of an evening.
Red Snapper is a unique restaurant in a modern setting next to Pra Ae Beach. It serves quality international cuisine and the Dutch chefs changes the menu of dishes every six to eight weeks. Try the selection of great wines or a fruit smoothie to cool you down.
For delicious Western and Thai dishes, both the Fat Monkey (Ling Uan) on Klong Dao and Fat Pig (Moo Uan) in Saladan are a must visit. Their tasty HUGE burgers and chocolate brownies are to die for. Plus they always have a range of creative specials which are perfect when washed down with a Mango Mojitos or Espresso Martini.
The best beach sunsets can be caught at Koala Bar on Klong Dao beach. Serving the coldest beers, refreshing Strawberry Margaritas and famous pizzas, this laid-back sea view bar and restaurant is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Their Khao Soi and Mango Thai Salads are a favourite.
Rock Beach Bar in Kawkwang is also the perfect place to catch a sunset and has some good Thai food. It’s also got two infinity pools to dip into. Bonus!
Flights from London Heathrow, Manchester and Edinburgh to Krabi with Etihad are around £500.00 return. A taxi transfer for maximum 6 people to Koh Lanta from Krabi airport is £60.00 (3000 bahts).
Five key… phrases
Thank you Khuṇ k̄hxbkhuṇ
Which way to the beach? Sụ̀ng wiṭhī thī̀ ca chāyh̄ād?
I would like a Pad Thai C̄hạn t̂xngkār p̄hạd thịy
I will have a beer C̄hạn camī beīyr̒