After spending 4 nights in super-touristy, but very charming Ao Nang, we were headed for what had promised to be an island paradise called Koh Lanta. This long and lean island seemed to be popular enough that it was written about in Lonely Planet and on several Travel Blogs that I follow (click here for Nomadic Matt’s account) but, from what I had read, it still retained some of its natural beauty, and hadn’t been overridden by tourism like some of it’s more unfortunate neighbours.
Needless to say, Koh Lanta did not disappoint. In fact, it was my favourite place in all of Southern Thailand. Here’s Why…
We traveled to Koh Lanta by ferry from the Krabi pier. The company we booked with had arranged an air-conditioned van pickup at our hotel in Ao Nang to take us to the Krabi pier as well. Make sure you shop around a little bit to ensure that you’re getting the best price! The journey was about 2 hours in length, and while not comfortable by any means, you couldn’t really complain for the price. Upon arrival to Koh Lanta, there are many (many, many) Tuk-Tuk and Taxi Drivers available for hire. Be advised that this can be quite overwhelming, as in many major ports in SE Asia. We had a driver pre-arranged to take us to our accommodation.
Getting around is very easy on Koh Lanta – there are only 3 main stretches of road. There are Taxis and Tuk-Tuks for hire on every street corner, although I’m sure most people could generally get to anywhere they absolutely needed to go by walking. During our 4 days on the island, we never once hired a Taxi. We did, however, hire a Moped for a day to explore the island on our own terms, and I absolutely recommend doing that – especially on an island as laid-back as Koh Lanta. More to come on that in another post soon.
Where to Stay
Mook Lanta Resort was by far the most wonderful place we stayed throughout our entire time in SE Asia. It’s an intimate little property with separate bungalows all built up on stilts. Right from the beginning, we were welcomed by the warmth and kindness of the owners, Nick & Mellisa, and were made to feel as comfortable as possible. We stayed in an air-conditioned bungalow, after upgrading from a basic fan bungalow. Simply put, it was just too damn hot to be without air conditioning when we were on Lanta, with most days pushing 50 degrees celsius, but we also chose to upgrade simply for the sake of comfort. The air-con bungalows are double the price, but they’re also sealed (no wooden slats for floors exposed to the jungle below), have a mini-fridge and cable TV, and a much larger bathroom with a really cool outdoor shower. For us, it was worth it, but if you’re comfortable in more rustic, modest accommodations, then a fan bungalow would probably be more than comfortable. Mook Lanta has a bar and restaurant on-site, and a delicious breakfast was included daily during our stay. It was only steps to pristine Long Beach, and a 5 minute walk to 7/11 and lots of shops and restaurants. Overall, Mook Lanta was such a pleasant experience, and is highly recommended for anyone looking for a unique, memorable and relaxing stay on Koh Lanta. You can see more on their website here.
Where to Eat
In all honesty, we found the food on Koh Lanta underwhelming at best, but maybe we just didn’t go to the right places. The only place we returned to was Patty’s Secret Garden. Their Panang Curry is wonderful. Please do let me know if you had any other positive culinary experiences on Lanta…I’d love to know…
What to Do (When you’re not a Diver)
1. Sit on the beach and do not move. Swim in uncrowded crystal waters, stroll on flat pristine beaches, watch breathtaking sunsets, snorkel with the fish. Lanta is a beach bum’s paradise.
2. Visit Lanta Old Town. Kill an afternoon strolling through the shops and restaurants. Be sure to visit Lanta Hammock House while you’re there!
3. Rent a moped and explore the island on the freedom of your own two wheels. Just be super careful.
Realistically…I didn’t do much of anything while I was on Koh Lanta. There is much more to do than what’s listed here, especially if you’re into diving, but I went to Koh Lanta looking for serenity, beauty, and peace and quiet…which is exactly what I found. Some attractions that looked interesting (however not quite enough to tear me away from the beach) were Lanta Animal Welfare and Time for Lime Cooking School.
Have you ever been to Koh Lanta? Were you more adventurous than I was? I’d love to hear about your experiences!