Thailand is the most popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia. Pristine beaches, amazing foods, rich cultures, and plenty of sunshine, Thailand has it all. As Thailand is extremely popular, it can become crowded. Who does not want to taste a piece of paradise? However, you can find places in Thailand which are beautiful but less touristy. Koh Lanta is one of those gems of a place where you will find some pristine beaches. Those are at par with some of the beaches of Kuta, Lombok in Indonesia (the best I ever been). Here is a list of top things to do on Koh Lanta island for you. I will be focusing on Koh Lanta Yai here and most of the beautiful places and good infrastructures are there.
How to Get to Koh Lanta?
Koh Lanta is in the southern province of Thailand along the Andaman coast. There are two parts of the islands named Koh Lanta Yai and Koh Lanta Noi. The easiest way of reaching there is through the famous Krabi province.
Step by step guide for arriving at Koh Lanta.
- Bangkok to Krabi
Take a flight from Bangkok to Krabi. If you are a budget traveler, take a flight from Don Muang which serves the low-cost carriers. Find flights to Krabi from Bangkok from here.
- Krabi Airport to Koh Lanta
If you do not want to visit Krabi and arrive at Koh Lanta directly, you can take a shared van from the airport. It will take about 2 hours to reach Koh Lanta by road. Book your transfer from Krabi Airport to Koh Lanta from here.
- Krabi to Koh Lanta
There are two ways of reaching Koh Lanta from Krabi. You can take a boat or go by van. If you want to take a boat (ferry), go to Krabi passenger pier. It will take you to Koh Lanta (will stop in Koh Jum on its way). If you are staying in Ao Nang, it will be convenient for you to catch the ferry from Nopparat Thara Pier. If you are already staying in Railay Beach, you don’t need to go to Ao Nang as the ferry will start from Ao Nang and stop at Railay beach.
- Arriving Koh Lanta by Boat
You can reach Koh Lanta via boat from Phuket (2 hours), Ko Muk (2 hours), Ko Lipe (5 hours), Ko Phi Phi (90 minutes), Krabi (2 hours). Ban Sala Dan is the name of the ferry pier in Koh Lanta situated in the northern part of the island.
Book your ticket for Koh Lanta
- Book your ticket from Bangkok to Krabi
- Book your ticket from Krabi Airport to Koh Lanta
- Book your ticket from Phuket to Koh Lanta
- Book your ticket from Krabi Town to Koh Lanta
- Book your ticket from Koh Pha Ngan to Koh Lanta
- Book your ticket from Koh Samui to Koh Lanta
- Book your ticket from Koh Phi Phi Don to Ko Lanta
- Book your private transfer from Krabi airport to Koh Lanta
Beach bumming in Koh Lanta Beaches
If you ask me about just one thing to do on this island, it will be beach bumming! There are so many pristine beaches on the island, you can choose any one of them, take a book with you and relax the entire day.
Long Beach – Best Beach in Koh Lanta
Long beach is the most popular and deemed as the best beach in Koh Lanta. Located on the northwest side of the island, this beach is about 4 kilometers long. Get ready for a long walk and it will continue for eternity. You will find many restaurants and accommodation options on this beach. Long Beach can be comparatively crowded but it’s nothing compared to other beaches in Thailand. Besides, you can always find a place of your own on this long beach.
Kawkwang (or Kaw Kwang) is a huge beach too in the northwest part of the island. This one has pristine sands and turquoise water. The right side of the beach is surrounded by lush green mountains. You will find several beach resorts here. It means you can reach this huge beach within 5 minutes of your walk from your room.
Phra Ae Beach
For me, the most beautiful beach in Koh Lanta was Phra Ae Beach. I visited there during midday. It was a bright and sunny day. The fantastic golden color was adorable and just like powders. I felt like rolling there. Several coconut trees made the beach more beautiful!
The color of the water here was emerald green. I walked into the water and spent some time. There were not many people here and the beach was devoid of any restaurants. However, there were some beach chairs to enjoy the time.
Khlong Chak Beach
Keep going to the south, you will find more secluded and beautiful beaches on your way. One of them is Khlong Chak Beach. This one is also a huge beach. You must be very tired from a long journey to the south. Khlong Chak will give you a chance to satisfy your thirst. You will find some good restaurants with bars. Cool drinks along with the view around will surely please you.
Enjoy Bamboo Bay from Top
When you will be going to the southern part along the west coast, you will discover yourself on top gradually. The road keeps going up. While you drive, you will get a glimpse of the breathtaking sceneries of the ocean. Just keep your eyes open, you will find plenty of viewpoints to enjoy the sublime surroundings. The bamboo bay is the most beautiful of them. Just before arriving at Mu Ko Lanta national park, you will find the bamboo bay. There are some basic restaurants on the cliff to enjoy the view along with a drink. The quality of those is not so great, but, you pay for the view. Even if you don’t wanna spend on anything, you will find a place. As I had been to many beaches, I did not go to the bamboo beach rather enjoyed it from the top. It was awesome!
Mu Ko Lanta National Park
Most of the people stay in the northern part of the island. Mu Ko Lanta national is in the southernmost part. It means you have to travel about 25 Kilometers to reach here. So, I was confused, if I should be there and eventually decided on it. I am glad I did it, because I could see many other beautiful places on the island that way.
Hiking to the Top of Mu Ko
The top draw for me in this park was the nature trail hike. It’s a 1.7 Kilometers uphill trail. You have to climb stairs first and then have to go through a jungle. If you are lucky, you will see birds and animals. At one point, you will be able to see a panoramic view of the national park from the top. Do not forget to wear a full sleeve shirt during this hike, you will be brushed by trees.
A lighthouse on a far distant island gives an eerie and spooky feeling, especially at night. I was there during the daytime, and the white lighthouse was on top of a small hill. A short hike on a walking trail will take you there. There is nothing much once you reach there, except you can see the surrounding places from a higher place.
Mu Ko Lanta National Park has two joint beaches named rocky beach and sand beach. As the name implies, the rocky beach is full of rocks and presents your views of the crashing wave. The sand beach is a proper and large sandy beach. You will find benches to take rest and surrounding trees work as shadows. If you search for this beach on the internet, it will not come to the top of any list, however, it’s a decent enough beach.
Mangrove forest Tour
A short boat ride from Koh Lanta will take you to the Tung Yee Peng mangrove forest. You have to book the trip early and there will be a group of people sharing the journey with you on a boat. The tour operator will pick you up from the hotel (included with the ticket price). The boat starts from the Tung Yee Peng Pier which is to the eastern side of the island.
For those who don’t know about a mangrove forest, let me try to explain it to them. Mangrove trees can tolerate saltwater. It’s usually found in intertidal coastal areas. There are some places where tides come and go. These types of trees have some kind of special roots which can filter salt and survive in a lower amount of oxygen.
This is usually a half-day trip and will take you through open water along with a mangrove forest. You will see many inhabitant beaches, different kinds of birds like eagles, crabs, and animals like monkeys.
The trip will stop at some nice beaches with swimming facilities. You can get down and relax on the beach. You will also get to see caves and floating fishing villages during your trip. Interestingly, you can opt for homestays in floating villages if you wanna experience something unique.
During your trip, you gotta be careful about the monkeys, there are plenty of them in the trees. All of a sudden without any notice, many of them invaded our boats and took food and belongings from the group. I won’t be surprised if they snatch your camera or mobile.
This trip was pretty similar to the one I took in Langkawi.
As part of the mangrove trip, you can go kayaking in the open ocean. The tour operator will take you to a suitable place for kayaking. You got to choose your boat and partner. It was a lot of fun kayaking there in emerald water surrounded by big limestone karsts.
4 Island day tour
This can be a good alternative to the Mangrove tour. Here, a long tail speed boat will take you to the famous 4 islands of Koh Lanta. The best part of the trip will be a visit to Emerald Cave at Koh Mook Island. A buffet lunch is usually included with the package and it lasts for around 6 hours.
One of the top things to do in Koh Lanta is to eat delicious seafood and fresh fishes. The best and cheapest place to have them is in Saladan pier. There are a series of seafood restaurants there to order your food. The fish are placed outside of the seafood restaurant. They are sold according to their weight. There is a fixed price per 100 grams for a specific type of fish. You pick one, they will tell you the weight of it by measuring it on a scale so that you can calculate the price of it instantly. The restaurant will prepare your food according to your taste, the barbecue is the most popular of them. The only caveat is, you have to order a whole fish!
The Kung restaurant was my favorite in Koh Lanta. It’s in Saladan pier and serves fresh seafood. The restaurant was nothing fancy, but decent enough. The foods were so affordable and delicious, I went there a couple of times. Snapper, sea bass and barracuda are fan’s favorite and worth trying.
This one is one of the most popular seafood restaurants in Koh Lanta. The restaurant is not big but serves delicious fish. It’s also cheap.
This is the best seafood restaurant in Old Krabi. If you visit the old town, this is the place to go to crave your hunger.
Koh Lanta Diving
Within 2 hours of journey by boat from Koh Lanta, you will get two fantastic diving spots named Hin Muang and Hin Daeng. Among them, Hing Daeng is one of the best diving spots in entire Thailand. The corals in the mid-sea work as feeding stations. That’s why you will see fishes like tuna, sharks, and even whale sharks as well as ray fishes if you are lucky.
Best Scuba Diving Operators in Koh Lanta
- Lanta Diver (+66 87 891 4141)
- Scubafish (+66 83 175 3077, opens between 8AM to 8PM)
- Go Dive (+66 81 892 8321)
Take a Bike and Explore the Island
Taking a bike and exploring the island is one of the best things to do in Koh Lanta! Koh Lanta is 27 Kilometers from north to south. If you drive for 2 hours without any break, you can reach another side of the island. Most of the beautiful beaches are on the western side of the island. So, you can skip the eastern side, take a bike, and explore. There is only one main road going along the coast. Whenever, you see a symbol of a beach, stop and visit that beach. You need to take a right turn for most of the time and take a bumpy road for reaching a beach.
Lanta Animal Welfare
If you are a dog or cat lover, you would love to visit this animal sanctuary in Koh Lanta. This center takes care of about 60 cats and 30 dogs. You are allowed to play with them on an hourly tour. Should you seek a long-term voluntary opportunity, you can get in touch with them. This is located on the western side of the island.
Exploring Koh Lanta Old Town
Most of the people visit Koh Lanta to enjoy the beautiful beaches. Most of the beaches lie in the western part of the island. So, people don’t bother to visit the eastern part. However, if you wanna explore that part, you can visit the old town. It’s quiet as there are hardly any tourists there surrounded by lush green mountains. There is not much to explore though, however, it might be a good change from the beaches. Besides, you will know the history of the island and understand how this island was before the tourists came.
Koh Lanta Hotels
Twin Lotus Koh Lanta
I could have used photos of beautiful rooms, but the photo above made more sense to me. Twin Lotus Koh Lanta is located on a huge property (12 acres!) in a natural setting. You will hear the birds chirp, see the reptiles pass by. The 3 Kilometers long Kawkwang beach is right at the edge of the property. The buffet breakfast has a handsome amount of options to choose from. It’s located in the northern part of the island.
Crown Lanta Resort and Spa
It’s a fantastic boutique resort to the northern part of the island and not far from Twin Lotus. They have spacious and sparkling clean rooms. The hotel is surrounded by jungles. You can relax in 2 big swimming pools in the hotel.
Lanta Miami Resort
This three-star hotel is located right on a beach with plenty of greeneries. It’s halfway between the north and south of the island. You can enjoy a fire show at the bar at night. Lanta Miami resort has two sections, try to grab a room near the beach because you might find the other part a bit distant.
Lanta Sand Resort and Spa
It’s an astoundingly beautiful resort located on a pristine beach in the northern part of Koh Lanta. The rooms are big and well equipped. If you seek tranquillity, this is a good place as the surroundings are quiet. It also has a small gym, spa facilities and a swimming pool. Some reported that the resort is a bit dated.
Coco Lanta Resort
This is also a highly rated hotel in Koh Lanta right on the beach. Pra-Ae beach is only a short distance. It’s 1/4 the between north and south leaning towards the south. The staff of this eco-friendly resort is welcoming and well behaved. The beach in front is not great for swimming.
Lanta Pearl Beach Resort
This hotel is located in the middle of a long beach and a good value for the money. This bungalow resort is one of the oldest in Koh Lanta but still holds its reputation high. The rooms are lovely with good bathrooms and the staff is friendly. If you want to stay in Long Beach, this is a fantastic option!
Pimalai Resort and Spa
This 5 star hotel is definitely one of the top three most popular resorts in Koh Lanta. If you can afford it, look no further and book your stay in Pimalai. It’s located in a tropical forest and has direct access to a 1 Kilometer long beach. You will get all the amenities you could ever imagine from here! They have an outstanding amount of food collection for breakfast.
Layana Resort and Spa
Most of the hotels mentioned above are located in the northern part of the island. What about a fantastic option in the southern part? Yes, that’s Layana Resort and Spa for you. It’s nestled in the Mu Koh Lanta National Park. The resort offers beachfront views, the rooms are sparkling clean, and offers many amenities like Yoga. The only downside is, it’s about an hour from the Saladan Pier. However, this is a fantastic place to relax and explore the pristine southern beaches nearby.
Koh Lanta Airbnb
If you do not want to stay in a hotel and wanna experience staying with locals, Airbnb is a great option. If you do not have an Airbnb account open on using this link, you will get US$50 credit! In many places, my Airbnb experience exceeded far and those were much better than staying in a hotel. Below are the links to the top 5 Airbnb in Koh Lanta which I curated by going through their reviews. You can book any of them, I hope, you won’t regret it!
- Deepspace Villa on a quiet Beach
- Baan San Sabai private garden pool villa
- Wooda House – Gorgeous wooden villa on the sea
- Malee Beach Pool Villa
- 4Fish Waterfront Pool House
Best Bars in Koh Lanta
- Why not Bar
- Majestic Bar Koh Lanta
- Cheeky monkey bar
Important Facts about Koh Lanta
The diving season runs from November to April.
It’s 81 km², 25 Kilometers long and 6 Kilometers wide.
Yes, it’s Mu Ko Lanta National Park.