Everyone dreams of visiting Thailand and exploring all their rich culture, delicious foods, amazing temples, but mostly pampering themselves with some serious island hopping. Those kinds of islands we only see in the movies or on postcards. Well, I’ve got some pretty good news for you, Koh Lanta Island is one of them and not only that, it’s a super chilled and not crowded one. It’s a pleasure to be writing about what to do in Koh Lanta and bringing back all the good memories of this incredible island.
Koh Lanta is very laid-back, locals are very friendly and chilled, and yet it has so much to offer you, except for crazy parties, as you won’t really find them on Koh Lanta nightlife. Although the island has been growing and being visited by more and more tourists, it still remains nice and quiet, perhaps because of its size that helps spread people around.
Once on the island, you will come across the best sunsets, loads of options for accommodation, long empty beautiful beaches, a great vibe, green mountains, and yummy restaurants. Making it the perfect island holiday destination for you. So let’s get started?
How long to stay in Koh Lanta, Thailand
If it was possible I would recommend you stay for a couple of weeks on each Thai Island at least and in Lanta it wouldn’t be different. I know this isn’t always possible though, so how about 3 days in Koh Lanta?
Make sure to spare 3 days of your itinerary in order to go over the awesome list of what to do in Koh Lanta I have prepared for you. If you can stay longer, even better, so you can explore all corners of the island and see the best it has to offer
Remember that traveling from one island to another in Thailand requires time and a little bit of patience and you usually lose at least half of your day doing so.
Best time to visit Koh Lanta, Thailand
Koh Lanta is located on the South West coast of Thailand, by the Andaman Sea. It belongs to the province of Krabi and just like Koh Phi Phi, Ao Nang, Railay Beach, or even Koh Lipe, it’s got pretty much 2 seasons along the year.
Koh Lanta weather is either hot and dry or hot and rainy. The dry season is considered the high and busier season and the rainy season would be the low season. The heavier rainfalls are usually from June to October, occasional rains may occur from April to December. During this season many of the shops are closed on the island and making your way there will become harder transportation wise.
So the answer you are looking for is, from December to April is the best time to visit Koh Lanta and have an unforgettable beach holiday. Temperatures will be around a 30ºC average both in the air and water.
How to get to Koh Lanta?
There are many ways to get to Koh Lanta, it all depends on where you are traveling from, so in order to make this easier for you, we have prepared a quick guide on how to travel to Koh Lanta. First thing you need to know is that Lanta is divided into two islands, Koh Lanta Noi (small Koh Lanta) and Koh Lanta Yai (big Koh Lanta) where all the beaches and hotels are.
Getting to Koh Lanta is possible by car or ferry, so depending on your departure point you can travel by road or sea. The ferries and speedboats to Koh Lanta stop at Saladan Pier and from there you can take a taxi or a tuk-tuk to your accommodation. If you are traveling by road (car or van) you will leave Thailand mainland with a car ferry, drive through Lanta Noi, then cross a bridge to Lanta Yai, arriving close to Koh Lanta pier.
When planning your trip to Koh Lanta keep in mind that Krabi is a good hub for travelers coming from different parts of Thailand. You can fly from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and even Koh Samui to Krabi Airport, and from there get a van or a ferry to Koh Lanta. Search for the best flights to Krabi here.
Traveling from Krabi Airport to Koh Lanta is easy, you can do it by van, or by getting a taxi from the airport to the pier followed by a ferry. If you decide to travel from Krabi to Koh Lanta by van it takes 2 hours and the price is around 400 baht. Another option is to get a taxi from the airport to Klong Jirad Pier and from there a ferry to Koh Lanta. The ferry trip takes only 1 hour and can cost up to 1,000 baht.
If you are traveling from Phuket, Koh Phi Phi or Koh Lipe, a speedboat or a ferry to Koh Lanta is the best option. During high season there are a couple of departures per day, even though it’s recommended to book your ferry to Koh Lanta at least one day in advance. If you’ll be traveling from Koh Phangan, Koh Samui or Koh Tao, you will have to combine ferry + van. The good news is that you can buy all the tickets online, or if you prefer, ask at your hotel reception. It’s always good to compare prices, routes and time of travel.
Where to stay in Koh Lanta – Accommodation for all budgets
There is a wide selection of accommodation in Koh Lanta for you to choose from. From very affordable options to a bit pricier ones, you got it. Most of them are only a few steps away from the beach, which is awesome. I find it very handy to stay around Pra Ae Beach (Long Beach) or Klong Nin Beach area, as the beaches are super nice there, accommodations are mostly within walking distance from the beach and there are many options of restaurants, bars, and shops in general. Klong Nin Beach area is quieter than Pra Ae Beach area.
We prepared a list to help you decide where to stay in Koh Lanta. You will find the best hotels in Koh Lanta, the most luxurious resorts and the coolest hostels listed below, have a look and book your favorite ones.
Best hotels in Koh Lanta for all budgets and travelers
If you are still searching for the best place to stay in Koh Lanta do your research and book via Booking.com or Agoda. They have the best selection and best prices for hotels in Koh Lanta and in Thailand.
What to do in Koh Lanta: beaches, boat tours and more
It’s time for fun guys!!! Yes, now that we’ve got all travel planning sorted, let’s get to the main reasons for coming to this chilled relaxing island. I’ve prepared a list of the best things to do in Koh Lanta and I hope you like it. The island is relatively big and has a lot of activities on offer, mostly out in nature. Sounds good, doesn’t it? So let’s dive right in.
#1 Diving in Koh Lanta
Did I hear scuba diving? Yes!! Diving in Koh Lanta is just great. The island has two amazing world-class dive sites to offer you among many others to choose from. It’s a place where both beginners and more advanced divers will be able to enjoy. I have many friends in Krabi who are dive instructors and when they have time off for fun diving, many choose to go diving in Koh Lanta. For me that says it all.
There is a great chance of coming across the magnificent Manta Rays as well as Whale Sharks, but I play in the Unlucky Team. Hin Muang and Hin Daeng are two names of sites you definitely want to keep in mind if you are an advanced diver visiting Koh Lanta.
#2 Explore the island on Wheels
One of the best things to do in Koh Lanta is exploring the 27km long island on a scooter. The roads on Lanta island are great to drive on and mostly paved, it’s very hard to get lost there and it’s gorgeous to drive around the island. There is hardly any traffic which makes for one of the safest islands to drive, grab a Koh Lanta map and go explore the island, you will be amazed by the number of beaches you will be able to reach.
Just remember it’s never a good idea to rent a scooter in a country that is not your own if you have never driven before. If that’s the case and you don’t feel comfortable driving around you can always take a taxi or a tuk-tuk as you can easily find them around the island, or even rent a bicycle. Koh Lanta beaches are so nice and quiet it’s nice to just cruise around the island on your wheels, enjoying the breeze and the views, hopping from beach to beach.
Don’t forget to buy your Travel Insurance before starting your Koh Lanta holidays!
#3 Koh Lanta Beach Hopping
The previous topic reminded me of how great Koh Lanta beaches are so let’s talk about beach bumming? Please, don’t ask me which is my favorite, I am horrible with that! [LOL] In general the idea is, the further South you go along the West Coast, the more beautiful and less busy beaches are. Don’t get me wrong, they are all beautiful but they tend to get even more down South.
One thing to keep in mind when visiting Koh Lanta, as well as many other places in Thailand, is to avoid the low tides. The bottom of the sea is extremely flat around the coast and when the tide is low, that means not much water to swim in, exposed corals and rocks and very shallow waters is what you will find. Tide times change daily so you should check out tide tables online before heading to the beach. With this in mind, here goes the best beaches in Koh Lanta:
Nui Bay Beach is a very small one with soft sand and a tiny bar at one end. The perfect place to pretend you are the only human being on the island. I never said this before, but I also work for a Thai wedding company and this is usually where we choose to celebrate the envelopment weddings on Koh Lanta.
Kantiang Bay in the South of the island is a bit larger beach, rarely crowded, with a variety of beach side restaurants and bars. This is a very stunning and picturesque place. Order a cocktail at Why Not Bar which is very chilled and has live music going, you can’t go wrong with that.
Klong Nin Beach is just below Long beach, it’s in the center of the west coast of Koh Lanta. Perfect location for an amazing sunset and swimming. The sand is super nice and there are not so many rocks. Fancy a mojito? Give Majestic Bar a try. Not only a great place to enjoy the beach and sunsets, consider choosing your accommodation in Koh Lanta over there.
Long Beach is the biggest and liveliest beach in Koh Lanta. It’s also a great place for watching the sunset. It’s a very beautiful and pleasant beach.
Bamboo Beach is stunning. Its sand is quite white and the water quite blue, the perfect combination for amazing shots, not to mention the cliffy landscape around it. Over there you might end up being all by yourself. Can’t complain. This bay is also beautiful from the road, just before getting there, coming from the North, you will end up willing to stop and take a picture of it. It’s nice to order a drink or have a meal at the restaurants there.
Klong Dao Beach is very similar to Long Beach, there are many options of accommodation over there, so if you are looking for a more chilled version of Long Beach, that’s a good option too.
Klong Kong Beach has got a long stretch of sand, it’s a nice and relaxing beach. This is also where most parties happen on the Island. Go there to check out Koh Lanta nightlife.
Twin Bay Beach is at the North West coast of the island and I particularly like this not very spoken about beach. I think it’s a very good looking beach, with a very long and wide stretch of white sand. I love to watch people walking up and down, getting some exercise down over there and I also love to see many locals just laying under the shade of the beautiful pine trees at its Northern end. We also celebrate weddings there.
#4 Visit Koh Lanta National Park
If you fancy nature, hikes, greenery, wildlife, monkeys and an extra dose of beach, this is where you want to go. At the southernmost end of Koh Lanta is the National Park and you will have to pay a 200 THB entrance fee there plus 20 THB for parking your scooter. Prepare yourself for a beautiful and quite long nature trail, trees, amazing landscape, a cute lighthouse, little monkeys [please don’t feed them, avoid having food in your hands and keep your bags shut], empty beaches and coconut trees. Visiting the National Park is must thing to do in Koh Lanta
#5 Koh Lanta Mangrove
Looking for a break from the beach? How about a boat cruise or kayak trip through the mangroves of Koh Lanta on the East side of the island? All you have to do is head to Tung Yee Peng Pier. There will be locals with longtail boats and kayaks, you can choose either or. If you choose to paddle a kayak you will need to hire a guide as well as you could get lost in the forest. This is definitely a different activity to do on the island and you don’t see many people talking about the mangrove experience to their list of what to do in Koh Lanta.
It’s so nice to go through the calm streams surrounded by some crazy looking, very exotic and beautiful roots of the mangrove trees, spotting different birds, marine life, monkeys and much more. It’s a great way to support the local community as well. Fancy a mangrove boat trip followed by a visit to a coconut farm and a traditional Thai meal? Have a look at this local experience offered by GetYourGuide (click here) and discover a different side of the island.
But if you don’t want to spend your bucks for whatever reason, you can just stroll around the wooden walkway and walk partially into the forest, it’s also a nice way to see it.
#6 Explore Koh Lanta Old Town
Many people end up exploring only the West coast of Koh Lanta, where all the gorgeous beaches are, from North to the very South. But the East coast has some nice spots to offer. After you are done visiting the Mangrove forest, I recommend you stop at Lanta Old Town and by doing so the full loop around the island will be completed.
Lanta Old Town is a very historic site, it’s actually a village built over teak stilt. It’s very charming, quiet and filled with good food. It’s also very small, so it doesn’t take too long to see it all. Expect to see colorful buildings, souvenir shops and restaurants.
#7 Koh Lanta Night Market
Night markets in Koh Lanta? Of course! It isn’t Thailand if there isn’t a night market or two around. Koh Lanta hosts some night markets in different locations throughout the week, there is even a Sunday morning market at Lanta Old Town, but by far the best night market on the island is the night market in Baan Saladan on Wednesday evenings, from about 4 pm to 11 pm. Enjoy a combination of clothing, souvenirs, food, drinks, and also alcoholic fruit shakes stalls. You can’t go wrong with some Thai street food and snacks, I absolutely love them.
#8 Watch the Sunset
I shouldn’t even have to talk about this subject as watching the sunset on an island is obviously a must-do and in Koh Lanta it’s not to be missed either. The island is actually a great island for that as most of the best beaches face West. There are plenty of beach bars available all over them with great happy hour specials and delicious cocktails. After dark, many offer fire shows that will get you excited.
Klong Dao, Long Beach, Klong Nin are all amazing places to watch the sunset in Koh Lanta but I must say the North West part of the Island was a great surprise. Watching the sun go down from both Rock Beach Bar and Crown Reggae Bar was very special. They are both very cozy bars with great decoration and stunning views, all you need after a long day at the beach. Keep in mind they are a bit pricier than other bars in Koh Lanta, but during happy hours they have good specials going on and everyone deserves a treat once in a while, right? By the way, they also offer a fire show at night.
#9 Island Hopping and Snorkeling in Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta isn’t the best island for snorkeling just off the shore but it’s near some great snorkeling sites. There are many super cool islands around Koh Lanta that are accessible on a day trip and believe me, you don’t want to leave them out of your list of what to do in Koh Lanta. There are several day trips from Koh Lanta that you can purchase at any travel agency on the Island, or if you prefer you can book them in advance and be ready for fun when arriving there.
You will be able to visit amazing Koh Lanta snorkeling sites, go kayaking and hop some incredible islands. Not to mention visiting Emerald Cave, which is an experience like no other you have ever had. Swimming through a cave of Emerald water in the dark to find on the other end a secret white sandy beach surrounded by limestone cliffs and some jungle is something you only see in the movies. Totally worth it!
The best tours are ‘4 Island Tour Koh Lanta’, the one that includes Emerald Cave, and ‘Koh Rok’ which is an amazing island, actually two islands that are absolutely stunning and amazing for snorkeling. I was personally very lucky to go to both destinations on my friend’s sailboat during a 5 day sailing trip we did around some Thai islands, so we had Emerald Cave entirely to ourselves, as well as Koh Rok, but you will find many tour companies that will take you there.
#10 Help Lanta Animal Welfare
Feeling kind and need a break from the beaches? Is it raining out and you don’t know what to do in Koh Lanta? Have you been traveling for a while and you miss your pet very much? Run to Lanta Animal Welfare! This non-profit rescued animal center is doing a great job. Besides helping them by making a donation, you can simply take a dog for a walk at certain times of the day [after going through an informative tour]. You can also enjoy a nice cuppa or cupcake at their Kitty City Cafe, which is vegan. The shelter is located in the South end of Long Beach, a bit into the island and it closes around 5pm.
I will end my list of places to visit in Koh Lanta here, but believe me there is much more. You can do so many activities in Koh Lanta that I keep dreaming of returning to this stunning island. Need more inspiration? Check out Koh Lanta cooking classes, massages, Muay Thai classes, Yoga, Meditation, waterfall, caves and Trash Hero sessions.
I wish Lanta Island treats you very well just like it did to me. Enjoy your time there and if you need more travel tips, drop us a message below!
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Author: Franci Kohler is a traveler stuck in Thailand. Founder of VOA TOUR, a travel consulting company specialized in weddings, tours and transportation for Brazilians in Krabi, Thailand. Fascinated by the body, mind and soul, whenever not working, you will find her doing some yoga, meditating, petting dogs, trekking, diving, beach bumming, or having some wine over good conversations. She will find beauty in pretty much anything! Check out her Instagram @francikohler.