Koh Lanta: What to see and do on this Thai island

The island of Koh Lanta is located in the south of Thailand, in the tourist region of Krabi. Although it is located in one of the most touristic areas of the country, it has known how to resist the overcrowding of other islands such as Phi Phi or Phuket. If you are wondering what to see or do on Koh Lanta, the island offers idyllic beaches with spectacular sunsets and places of great natural and scenic beauty. It is a cheap island, as it is less frequented than the other tourist sites in Krabi. Actually Koh Lanta is divided into 2 islands: Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai.

The island of Koh Lanta Noi is little explored and undeveloped, situated between the mainland and Koh Lanta Yai. It has rural areas and large expanses of wild nature. In April 2016, the bridge that joins the 2 islands was inaugurated, although it is still necessary to use the ferry to cross the small strait that separates it from the mainland. There are few leisure options to do on Koh Lanta Noi.

It is 25 km long, 6 km wide and its main port is Baa Saladan, located in the northwest of the island. This port connects the island of Koh Lanta with other tourist places such as Phuket, Phi Phi or Railay. Although it is one of the quietest islands in Thailand, you have all kinds of services on it. Among the best things to do in Koh Lanta are its beaches, natural parks, and snorkeling and diving.

How to Get to Koh Lanta

How to Get to Koh Lanta
How to Get to Koh Lanta

To get to the island of Koh Lanta, the two best ways to do it are:

Arrive by Plane

Mainly from Bangkok to Krabi airport, or by one of the numerous ferries that connect the island with other points of the sea from Andaman. The small port of Saladan connects the island with other tourist areas in the Krabi region, with Krabi Airport, with Phuket and even with the Phi Phi Islands. This port is the main entrance to the island.

Before deciding how to get to Koh Lanta, we have to take into account several factors :

  • During the rainy season, from April to November, the ferry service does not always run.
  • During the high season the ferry can be delayed several hours, so if the destination is the airport it can cause problems with our flight.
  • The safest bet, although more expensive, are the speedboats that connect the island with the mainland in much less time.
  • To decide how to get to Koh Lanta you will have to consider two factors: Time and money you want to invest.
  • Although it is a less touristic island, little by little it is entering the Thai circuit, offering more and more combinations and options to get there.
  • Most of the hotels have pick-up and drop-off from Saladan port to the hotel included in the room price. Others, as was the case with ours, include the transfer from the airport in a private van.
  • If we are looking for the best value for money to get from Krabi airport to Koh Lanta, the best is the collective minivan. They have capacity for 9 people, they leave every hour (or when the vehicle is full) from the airport or from Krabi Town, they take between 2 and 3 hours and cost about €10 each way.

Koh Lanta can be reached by ferry from the port located just outside of Krabi Town or by road transport from Krabi airport, Krabi town or Aonang Beach.

How to go from Krabi to Koh Lanta

The options to go from Krabi to Koh Lanta are the ferry from Krabi town and by road and ferry in a collective or private van.

In a collective van

The fastest and most comfortable way to go to Koh Lanta all year round is by using the collective vans. They have a capacity for about 9 people and depart from Krabi airport, from the capital Krabi Town and from Aonang.

In high season they leave every hour. Depending on the demand and the time you arrive, they will take you to Krabi capital first and from there it will go to Koh Lanta or they will leave directly from the airport. Although it is only 85 km, you have to go from the mainland to Koh Lanta Noi Island on a ferry. This makes it take a little longer. In total, the journey can take about two and a half or three hours. The minivan will take you to your hotel, if it is not beyond Klon Ning beach. If it is beyond, it will leave you at the Seven Eleven in Klon Ning. And there you will pick up the service from the hotel you hire. The price of this collective minivan from Krabi airport is about 400 Bhats each way (10 Euros).

Things to keep in mind if we choose to go by collective minivan

It may be that in low season it operates a little less frequently and you will have to wait a little longer when you arrive in Krabi until one comes out. In high season it could also happen that when you arrive at Krabi airport the minivans are full and you have to wait for the next one. But it is not usually normal, since they immediately organize to take out more than one. For the return you can book the return journey at the Krabi airport itself. Or, once you are in Koh Lanta, do it in a travel agency there.

If you do not decide to make the transfer in private, my advice is that you take it with philosophy and do not get upset if they make you wait longer than necessary. It is normal for these things to happen in Thailand.

Private Van

Another option to go to Koh Lanta is to book this trip in a private vehicle with a driver. It will cost you around 2600-2700 Bhats per car per way (about 80 euros). You can hire it when you arrive in Krabi or online at a local transport company.

By Ferry

If you are excited to go by boat, mainly between November and mid-April you can choose to go by ferry. It will cost you about 400 Bhas(12 Euros). You can buy the ticket at the Krabi airport, at the port itself or through a boat ticket sales website.

It leaves from the port near Krabi Town and there are usually two frequencies a day. One that leaves at 10:30 am and the other at 1:30 pm. And on the way back from Koh Lanta to Krabi you have one at 08:30 and another at 13:30.

The journey takes about two hours, as it stops near some small islands along the way, to pick up people. The ship will arrive at the Port of Saladan and from there you will have to take a taxi to the hotel. Taxis are quite cheap. Between 50 Baht for a short journey to 250 for a very long one. To go from Krabi airport to the port you will have to take a taxi that will cost you around 300 Bhats (8 Euros).

So in the end it will cost you twice as much as going by minivan and it will take about an hour longer to get to your hotel. But the walk by the sea is nice and it is a more exotic way to go to Koh Lanta.

How to go from Phi Phi to Koh Lanta

The best and almost only comfortable option to go from Phi Phi to Koh Lanta is the ferry. All year round there is a ferry that leaves from Tonsai port at 09:15 and arrives at Koh lanta at 10 in the morning. And in high season there is usually a second frequency at 11:45 a.m. The price of the ticket ranges between 500 and 750 Bahts (15-20 Euros).

How to get to Koh Lanta from Phuket

As in the case of KohPhi Phi, the only reasonably comfortable way to get from Phuketa to Koh Lanta is by ferry. They leave from the port of Rassada in Phuket. It takes around 1 hour and a half or 2 hours. There is a frequency at 08:30 am and another at 11 am. They usually stop at Koh Phi Phi. The price is about 1500 Bahts (45 Euros).

Both to go from Koh Phi Phi and from Phuket to Koh Lanta you can see schedules, frequencies and prices on this website for selling ferry tickets to Koh Lanta

The weather in Koh Lanta

The weather in Koh Lanta
The weather in Koh Lanta

The climate on Koh Lanta is tropical, with high temperatures all year round. This allows you to enjoy bathing, with water at approximately 30 degrees, for 365 days. We went in August, in the rainy season, and it rained practically every day. It is true that the rest of the day you enjoyed it, but when it rained, it really rained. Being from Cantabria who, luckily or unfortunately, know what rain is, we had never seen it rain as much as one of the nights in Koh Lanta. Even though temperatures are high, the rains stir up the entire sea, turning the water brown and bringing dirt to the beaches. If we had to advise when to travel to Koh Lanta, we would advise against visiting it during the rainy season. This time allows the island to preserve its wonderful green nature, but you may always have to go with an umbrella in hand.

Rainy season: torrential rains from April to November. It is the worst time.

Dry season: the hottest months are March and April. Maximum temperatures of 32 degrees.

Best time: Between the months of December and February is the ideal time to visit Koh Lanta.

What to see and do in Koh Lanta

See the Lanta Old Town

Lanta Old Town
Lanta Old Town

Among the top things to see and do on Koh Lanta is Lanta Old Town. This small fishing village was the first to be built on the island. Today it retains some of its charm and is where the real locals live. The local population stands out for its mixture of cultures, where a strong Islamic presence can be seen. This fusion is very visible in Lanta Old Town, where the arrival of Muslim communities and Chinese merchants made it the reference port of the island. Lanta Old Town is mainly a long street full of restaurants by the sea and a lot of shops where you can buy souvenirs and gifts.. It is the place to see in Koh Lanta with the most historical and cultural roots, a different place from beach tourism and sports activities.

Klong Chak Waterfall

Klong Chak Waterfall
Klong Chak Waterfall

The island is a true natural paradise and one of the most beautiful places to see on Koh Lanta is the Khlong Chak waterfall. To get to this place you have to walk along a path along the river, surrounded by dense vegetation. Throughout the tour and also in the waterfalls you will have the company of numerous monkeys.

Lanta Animal Welfare

Lanta Animal Welfare
Lanta Animal Welfare

It is a non – profit organization that cares for abandoned and sick dogs and cats on the island. They do an excellent job and it is a place that will delight those who respect and love animals. You can collaborate with them in many ways : by making a donation, adopting an animal, buying something in the store, taking a guided tour, being a volunteer or walking one of the furry ones in the center. It is located on the western part of the island, near Relax Bay Beach and Secret Beach. If you like animals, Lanta Animal Welfare is one of your essential places to see in Koh Lanta.

Tour the island by motorcycle

One of the best things to do on Koh Lanta is rent a scooter and ride up and down the west coast. Koh Lanta is easy to get around as it does not have too many roads and hardly any traffic. With a scooter you will get to any part of the island, being able to stop when you want and where you want. Motorcycles are rented almost anywhere on the island : in hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, shops, etc. We rented it in one of the restaurants next to the Kantiang Bay beach, for €5 a day. Unless you make the rental at the hotel where you are staying, it is normal for them to ask for your passport (or a copy) as a deposit. Touring the island on a motorcycle, visiting the beaches and towns that you will find along the way, is one of the best experiences to do on Koh Lanta.

See the beaches of Koh Lanta

One of the best things to do on Koh Lanta is to enjoy the spectacular sunsets at Klong Dao Beach and Long Beach. They are the largest beaches on the island, the ideal place for long walks on the sand . On Koh Lanta you can see and enjoy about 12 beaches. Virtually all of them are located on the west coast, in the Andaman Sea. The main beaches, ordered from north to south, are: Khlong Dao, Phra Ae (Long Beach), Khlong Nin, and Kantiang Bay. The busiest, but also the longest and most spacious. Even in high season it is possible to enjoy these beaches without stress or tourist crowds.

Playa Khlong Dao Beach

Playa Khlong Dao
Playa Khlong Dao

Khlong Dao is the first beach you come across in the north of the island, near the port of Saladan. It is one of the favorites for those who travel with the family and one of the longest beaches on Koh Lanta, with 3 kilometers in length. Although in Khlong Dao the water is not exactly crystal clear, this long stretch of sand is perfect for pleasant walks and to enjoy the many bars and restaurants on the shore. The area around this beach concentrates the largest number of hotels and resorts on Koh Lanta.

Playa Phra Ae (Long Beach)

Playa Phra Ae
Playa Phra Ae

With its 5 kilometers long, it is one of the most popular beaches to see on Koh Lanta. The sea of this beach is one of the best on the island, less affected by the tides and some days completely crystal clear. It is the ideal beach to enjoy swimming in Koh Lanta. Phra Ae (Long Beach) is full of restaurants and bars where you can dine or have a drink in a quiet and pleasant atmosphere. Next to the Khlong Dao beach, it is one of the best places to enjoy the wonderful sunsets of Koh Lanta.

Playa Khlong Nin

Playa Khlong Nin
Playa Khlong Nin

Continuing south is Khlong Nin Beach, a beach with a calmer atmosphere. More or less in the center of the island, it is one of the best-known beaches to see on Koh Lanta. Long beach, with quite transparent water, it is perfect for taking a bath. The Nin Beach area is full of restaurants and resorts.

Playa Kantiang Bay

Playa Kantiang Bay
Playa Kantiang Bay

Kantiang Bay is considered one of the most beautiful beaches on Koh Lanta and in all of Thailand. It is about 1 kilometer long and is bathed by transparent waters. The landscape that surrounds the beach, with dense vegetation, contributes to making the environment unique. At the foot of this beach was the hotel where we stayed, the Pimalai Resort & Spa, and we can certify that the place is privileged. In the northern part of the beach there is a small town with hotels, restaurants, a Seven Eleven and some other businesses.

Visit Koh Lanta National Park

Koh Lanta National Park
Koh Lanta National Park

Koh Lanta National Park is located on the southern tip of the island. Access is via the west coast road just past Bamboo Bay. Admission is 200 Baht (€5) and inside the park you can walk along the paths through the dense vegetation and bathe in any of the two beaches inside. Of course, always surrounded by monkeys.

Excursions from Koh Lanta

Koh Rok Excursion

Koh Rok Islands is one of the most popular snorkeling and diving spots in the Krabi region. They are located more than an hour away from Koh Lanta and are a true paradise. The two islands that make up this National Park are surrounded by coral reefs and their beaches of fine white sand are among the most beautiful and spectacular in Thailand. The excursion to Koh Rok is ideal for lovers of the sea who do diving or snorkeling and for those who want to enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand.

The 4 islands

It is the most popular thing to do in the Koh Lanta National Marine Park. In this full day excursion you will visit 4 islands (Koh Chueak, Koh Ngai, Koh Mook, Koh Ngai) where you can go diving and snorkeling. One of the strong points of this excursion is to visit the Emerald Cave, where you can swim in its transparent waters until you reach the lagoon.

Excursion to the Phi Phi Islands

Another of the excursions that can be made from Koh Lanta is to the popular Phi Phi Islands. During the high season it is possible to do this excursion by speedboat, but in the low season (from April to November) it is only possible to do it by ferry, going in the morning and returning in the afternoon/evening. We did this excursion during our stay in Ao Nang, but it is also possible to do it from Koh Lanta, since the distance is more or less similar.

Where to sleep on Koh Lanta

  • As in the rest of the Krabi region, the island has many options to sleep, from small hotels and hostels to some of the most luxurious hotels in Thailand.
  • The price of the rooms varies, being able to sleep from €10 a night to doing it for more than €600 a night.
  • The northwest area of the island is the most developed and lively, where most tourist services are concentrated.
  • Saladan Harbor is the starting point for most excursions. Keep this in mind when making your hotel reservation.
  • The south of the island is wilder, where accommodation and tourist services decrease. In return you will enjoy more tranquility surrounded by nature.
  • I would rule out the option of sleeping in Old Town and surroundings.
  • If you want to move around the island using a motorcycle, any hotel you choose on the west coast, from north to south, is a good option.
  • Pimalai Resort & Spa Koh Lanta. It was our vacation treat. A private pool villa overlooking the beautiful Kantiang Bay. It is possibly the best hotel on the island and surely the best hotel we have ever been to.

Tips for visiting Koh Lanta

  1. The best way to get to know the island is to rent a motorbike (€5 per day).
  2. Avoid the rainy season.
  3. Interact with the local people. They are charming and always willing to help.
  4. The great charm of the island is its nature, respect it.
  5. Watch out for monkeys and frogs, they are everywhere!
  6. Avoid taking taxis, they are expensive and infrequent. In small towns they have vehicles that can take you somewhere if necessary.
  7. Although there are few buildings on the island, you will always find a Seven Eleven nearby.
  8. Enjoy the wonderful sunsets on the beaches.

Is Koh Lanta cheap?

In general, the Thai islands are always a bit more expensive than the mainland. Compared to other Thai islands, Koh Lanta was a bit cheaper. You can find decent hostels for good prices, decent Thai dishes, or expensive Western meals.

How many days do you need on Koh Lanta?

Honestly, I recommend spending about 3 days on Koh Lanta. It is the perfect paradise to slow down and enjoy the beautiful beaches. Of course there are better beaches in Thailand. Although it will be very likely that they will be full of tourists.

Should I go to Koh Lanta?

Koh Lanta is the perfect Thai island for us. It is not overly developed or crowded, but has enough facilities to live comfortably. We love the laid-back vibe, long empty beaches, jungle-covered mountains, and spectacular sunsets.

How do you approach Koh Lanta?

With no public transportation on Koh Lanta, the two main options for getting around are: scooter/bike, by far the most convenient way to get around Koh Lanta is to rent a scooter/bike. This gives you the freedom to explore all the island has to offer, without having to pay for multiple tuk tuk rides.

Is Koh Lanta quiet?

It is the quietest and most peaceful area of Ko Lanta, with only a few hotels, shops and resorts and services.

Is Koh Lanta Touristy?

As Koh Lanta is still a little explored tourist, it is easy to discover unknown places and deserted beaches.

What is the best beach on Koh Lanta?

– Klong Dao Beach. For me personally the most beautiful beach on Koh Lanta.
– Phra Ae Beach (Long Beach) This is the longest beach on Koh Lanta and in the north along with Klong Dao Beach.
– Klong Nin Beach.
– Ba Kan Tiang Beach.
– Klong Jark Beach.
– Mu Ko Lanta National Park.

Is Koh Lanta open to tourists?

Koh Lanta is still open in February 2022 despite the lack of business, there are still some Koh Lanta hotels and restaurants that remain open.

How long does it take from Koh Lanta to Phi Phi?

Traveling by ferry or boat from Koh Lanta to Koh Phi Phi takes about 30 minutes, 1 hour or 2.5 hours.

How do you get from Koh Lanta to Phi Phi?

From Koh Lanta to Koh Phi Phi you have to travel by ferry/boat. The travel distance from Koh Lanta to Koh Phi Phi is only 35km by boat/ferry and the boat ride takes about 1 hour.

Is there a bridge to Koh Lanta?

The two main islands of Koh Lanta (Ko Lanta Noi and Ko Lanta Yai) are connected by the Siri Lanta Bridge (sometimes called the Koh Lanta Bridge). This bridge was completed in April 2016. The new Koh Lanta Bridge would allow vehicles to travel from the mainland to the popular tourist areas of Ko Lanta Yai.

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