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The far stretched beautiful island Koh Lanta has long been a favorite among backpackers and since the upgrade of the Krabi airport to an international airport in 2006 and the development of high end resorts is now one of the top rising destination for a family holiday getaway in South Thailand.
Koh Lanta is years behind Phuket and Koh Samui and for example one could mention that it wasn’t until 1996 as the island was included in the main electric grid! In other words, you come to Koh Lanta to relax, go on lovely tours and enjoy the wonderful sunsets.
Koh Lanta Yai and Koh Lanta Noi are the islands the constitutes Koh Lanta, that is situated 2 hours outside Krabi city on the west side of Thailand. Since tourism is present at the large island (Koh Lanta Yai) this is often referred to as simply Koh Lanta. Koh Lanta Noi is the first island that one passes using the car ferry. Koh Lanta has about 20 000 inhabitants, is 27 km long and 8 km wide. Amongst its population about 80% are Muslims and amongst the rest the majority is Buddhists. The traditional livelihood is fishing, coconut- and rubber planate, rice cropping, prawn farms and fruit gardens. This is today combined with a growing tourist sector.
Koh Lanta belongs to the Krabi province together with 52 other islands and is since 1990 a marine national park, which is preventing a too harsh exploitation of land.
You can fly charter or regular with destination Phuket or Krabi, these are the closest airports.
Transfer from Phuket is about 4-5 hours and from Krabi about 2 hours. Read more under Transfer.
When you arrive on Koh Lanta you will find yourself in Saladan, which is the most populated town on the island. In Saladan you can find most of the things you need like post office, bank, health center, opticians, food and groceries, diving companies, bakery and a fixed market. The town is not exactly big, and is mainly a couple of crossing streets. One tip is to go down to the sea side restaurants for a nice view and good food. Saladan is connected by passenger ferries to e.g. Phuket, Phi Phi and Krabi, you can buy tickets in travel agencies in Saladan and all over the island.
Koh Lanta is an Eldorado if you like to be on the beach. The beaches are situated on the west coast, like a string of pearls, and it is even hard to have time to visit all the different beaches on a regular vacation. Some of the beaches well worth a visit.
The first beach, looking at the map, is a child friendly and beautiful beach that stretches 3 km. It has shallow water and is the most suitable of beaches for running or walking, for the ones interested in exercise.
Also known as Pra-Ae, is right south of Khlong Dao. Long Beach has been appointed as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches and on this, the island longest beach, you will find your own favorite spot.
About 15 minutes by motorbike from Saladan, but is is worth a visit. Some what of our own favorite, this calm and beautiful beach has many nice restaurants close by. The view is exquisite and to spend the day on the beach, to finish of with a grill buffet at Otto’s is almost a perfect day!
Another 5 minutes south you will find Kantiang Bay. A beach close to one of the islands luxury resorts, Pimalai. A very beautiful beach with nice restaurants. A tip is to have a late dinner at one of the hill side restaurants, you will get delicious food and an unbeatable view.
After Kantiang Bay, going south, the paved road ends and you need a 4-wheel-drive, or optionally be a very good bike rider to be able to pass some tricky slopes. However if you can make it you will get your reward, since you will find to wonderful beaches that are sparsely populated even during high season. You will find restaurants here also.
The islands capital is also referred to as Lanta Old Town, and is located on the south east coast. Lanta Old Town holds the main post office, police station, fire brigade and a hospital. By the pier you can rent a long tail boat if you want to reach the islands outside Koh Lanta. The town has a distinct old Chinese mark, fever tourist, and is well worth a visit for its charm and among others its nice restaurants.
On the south of the island is this village that is habitat by the minority group “chao ley” also known as Sea Gypsies. This tribe has its own language and is believed to have Malaysian roots. These people has since time immemorial been sailing in the South East Asia and settle were they felt most at home for the time being. Chao Ley are in many considerations separate from the Thai society and are not unusually illiterate and relatively poor. On Koh Lanta most of them has fishing as livelihood.
You can rent car and motorbike on the island and also the popular tuk-tuk bikes, which are a motorbike with a side wagon attached. The prices vary, don’t forget to haggle!
Koh Lanta offers a wide variety of restaurants from “hole-in-the-wall” to luxury places like Pimalia and Rawi Warin. There are also many places with good European food. Please ask us for guidance.
There are many Internet cafés and it is relatively cheap to surf, however both communications- and electricity has its limitations on the island.
With your own laptop you can surf relatively cheap if you use your own mobile phone.
You can also surf to a fixed week price using your own laptop in many places.