Welcome to Koh Lanta
Come, lose yourself in the beautiful beaches and serenity of Thailand’s calmest islands.
Uncontrolled development has ruined many islands in Thailand, but Ko Lanta has remained paradise for a few reasons. Ko Lanta is a gorgeous island where you’ll be certain to find an uncrowded beach. Be it a relaxing massage, delicious seafood, kayaking, exploring beach bars, or just sitting on the sand soaking some sun – whatever it is you’re looking for – Koh Lanta has got you covered.
The sunsets, too, are legendary—watch one over a glass of wine with someone you love.
1 USD = 33 Thai Baht
Currency exchanges available at the banks in Krabi so exchanging your currency should not be a problem.
Time zone is UTC+07:00.
Official language is Thai. Thailand uses metric system (kilograms, centimeters, °C).
KBV – Krabi International Airport
Its facilities are limited & and it takes a 2 hours drive in a minivan to reach Koh Lanta from here.
Dial exit code then 66, then area code and the local number. For local calls within Cambodia, start with the area code (with the initial 0).
Things to do
The caves are located in the heart of Ko Lanta, lower of two cross-island roads, and will require a hike though forests and rubber plantations. Entering the cave will need to be done by squeezing through a small cave opening, followed by ladder climbing and walking across bamboo bridges later on.
The hike will involve walking down steep slippery rocks. The cave itself features plenty of picturesque stalagmites and stalactites and a few parts of the cave is home to colonies of bats who will be hanging on the cave walls.
A visit to the cave is recommended for adventurous travellers and those who love an adrenaline rush.
Located well off the main cross-island road to the west of Khlong Nin and clearly marked by signs. Only guided tours are offered for 300 baht per person. Expect to pothole through tight pinches, climb down bamboo ladders and pull yourself up steep rocks with the help of ropes.
The highlight is a massive cavern with a still pool at its centre, reward yourself with a swim in the cave pool.
It’s best to phone ahead (or book through a travel agent) to make sure a tour will be available when you arrive
Travel Advise -Note that this is not for the faint of heart- even the climb to the cave can be quite demanding. Wear older clothes and comfortable shoes.
The national park in the south, encoroprates a great day out, there is 1-2 hour a jungle treck up and over the park, a beautiful crescent beach and on the other side rocky cliffs and a lighthouse.
A two-kilometre-long hiking trail leads into dense old-growth jungle where you might spot a green imperial pigeon or Chinese egret along with the snakes that have helped to make them endangered. All over the park, fearless monkeys let visitors walk right up to snap portraits of them. You’re not supposed to feed them, but supposedly those who do are thanked with a gracious nod of the head.
The park’s highlights are its twin beaches that stretch out on either side of a high rocky peninsular cliff, known as Ta Noad Cape
One of the “twin beaches” consists mostly of rocks, but the other is an idyllic crescent of silky white sand rimmed by screw palms and umbrella trees. The swimming is excellent. Though most of the area’s coral is dead, snorkellers can still spot an array of tropical fish just off shore. The lighthouse adds a distinctive touch to those beach-paradise photos.
The park is open daily from 8:00 to 17:00 and stays open year round. To get here, simply follow the southeastern coastal road to its end. Admission is 200 baht per person for foreigners, plus another 20 baht if you’re bringing a motorbike.
No railings or fences are found atop the steep white-rock cliff and some of the paths come within inches of a stomach-tingling 50-metre-drop (at least that’s our estimate) down to jagged rocks that get slapped by the surf. Take it slow and keep a tight grip.
Travel Advise – As you have quite a few days on Lanta, save the national park for a clear one.
Lanta Old Town was originally a sea gypsy settlement. Over the decades it transformed into a village influenced by trade. Now you can enjoy many shops, restaurants and homes built on stilts above the sea level. This is great when the tide is in and also overlooks other islands and the mainland allowing breathtaking views.
The Old Town has a distinct Chinese influence and a very slow, laid back feel. Walking around looking at the lanterns gives you a sense of days gone by. While still a fishing village for the locals, much of Old Town’s trade now comes through low-key tourism with gift shops selling local goods like real leather
Thai towns were built by and for the Chinese merchants who completely dominated national commerce for about two centuries. They still do so today, and though most have since become Thai citizens, their underlying Chinese ethos remains. A small Chinese temple operates in one of Old Town’s open-fronted shophouses, while across the road a distinctly Chinese shrines protrudes out over the water. Look carefully and old Chinese motifs and names are to be seen around the town.
Lanta Old Town holds many secrets from the past, a few of which are revealed to the observant eye. The first things to stand out for visitors are the old wooden buildings, a true throw-back to the past, for few wooden towns remain in Thailand.
Fun Fact – One of the coolest shops to visit is Hammock House helping the world relax since 1996. Founded by Butch and Jaeb, two very nice and understandably relaxed owners.
What to Eat | Where to Eat | How to Party
This is a southern Thai dish that is Muslim in origin. The dish usually contains coconut milk, roasted peanuts or cashews, potatoes, bay leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon, palm sugar, fish sauce, chili, and tamarind sauce.
This dish is a staple of Thai cuisine, Shaved papaya is tossed in a mortar and pestle with carrots, peanuts, tomatoes, string beans, palm sugar, fish sauce, and a whole lot of chilies. It’s as delicious and amazing as it is fiery.
Pad See Ew
This is a dish of fat rice noodles cooked with eggs, chicken, and bok choy. The noodles are darkened with a soy sauce that adds lots of flavor to the otherwise bland noodles. The noodles are quite sticky.
This is the quintessential Thai dish, it is made with soaked dried rice noodles, which are stir-fried with eggs and chopped firm tofu, and flavoured with tamarind pulp, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic or shallots, red chili pepper and palm sugar, and served with lime wedges and often chopped roast peanuts.
Fried dough filled with bananas and topped with sugar and condensed milk (you can also get it with chocolate), this is a sweet explosion in your mouth. Available readily all the street.
Located not on a corner! but on the right hand on Klong Dao road, marissa runs a pretty restaurant ideal for lunch. offering both thai and european food to a high standard
Try – Massaman Curry
Situated in Saladan, this lovely sea front restaurant serves good Thai and Farang food with vegetarian options, in a beautiful setting.
Try – Falafel wrap
Located at the north end of Long Beach, it is something of an institution on the island. Expect to find both Thais and Farang eating there. If you don’t like your food spicy, let the staff know. This is the only restaurant that stays open late – til 3am in high season.
Try – Red curry
A lovely little restaurant offering great Thai food, burgers and shakes. Has the cheapest beer at only 50 baht for a Leo and some great cheap cocktails.
Try – Massaman curry and Hat Yai Sling
Sole Mare Italian Pizzeria
Pizza is baked to perfection just like authentic pizza found in Italy. Service is great and the homemade pasta is delicious! The staff is very friendly and kind.
Try – Raviolli Pasta with pesto sauce
Pangea Beach Bar
Pangea’s a beach bar is great for a sundowner. They have a party night every Wednesday and Deep Sunset Sessions on Sundays 4pm to 8pm.
Every night there is something going on, highlights include Monday’s ‘Pub Quiz’ and Friday’s ‘Name That Tune’. They have stout and cider on tap, great pub grub, a pool table and darts.
The Ozone Bar
Not too far along the Pra- ae beach is The Ozone Bar. This very popular venue has weekly beach parties every Thursday night.
This is a relaxed bar located on the main road on Klong Dao beach. You can easily find it by it’s bring orange colours. It serves beers and cocktails and has live music. And karaoke every Friday night.
Miss Wong Cocktail Bar
Comfortable, stylish cocktail bar on The Lane, very tastefully decorated in old China chic. Nice selection of well prepared cocktails as well as beers and wines, including some unique choices. Dim sum and snacks. Attention to detail. Good people. Interesting conversation
Four island tour
For a great day out on the water take a speed boat, long tail or cruiser to the ‘Four Islands’. Includes Snorkelling, visiting the Emerald Caves suposedly a former hideaway for pirate treasure.
Thai cooking class
Enjoy and learn how to cook Thai Food.There are many offerings for cooking courses, from an authentic one-n-one experience with a local family cook, to a fully blown four course menu lesson.
Lanta Animal Welfare
An animal rescue, care and re-homing facility run by dedicated full time and casual volunteers. Call in for a visit, buy some of their merchandise, make a donation, pat a puppy or even volunteer to walk a dog!
5-star PADI IDC Centre, a certification which guarantees the highest standards of safety, quality and variety. Programs ranging from single day experiences to dive instructor courses and technical education.
How to get around
Best described as a motorcycle with a side car, remorque-motos, or tuk tuks, can be found on just about every street corner. Short hops around town shouldn’t cost more than a dollar or two depending on the distance. Be prepared to haggle as the drivers usually request at least double the going rate.
Bicycles can be rented from various shops on the island, price varies from $15 – $30 for a monthly rental depending on the quality and condition of the bicycle Also quality mountain bikes available at some shops.
Rent a motorbike for between 200 and 300 baht depending on the bike’s quality. They’re readily available all over the island, including in the far south, Old Town and Saladan. Important note: unless you have previous experience riding a motorbike or scooter, we do not recommend this form of transport, however, as (minor) accidents happen very easily and there is no insurance provided.
Health & Wellness
Travel is incredibly fun but also very random and chaotic. A fitness routine can be the one absolute in your life — a way to maintain structure and consistency and not lose focus, no matter where you are. It’s this structure that actually makes the rest of the travel adventure more fun and rewarding.
For us, fitness is super important. We prioritise it and make it part of our daily schedule.
Here’s how you can implement it during our travels.
Crossfit at Box 245
Monday to Saturday: 08.00, 10.00, 16.00 and 17.00 Everybody can take part of this fantastic training. Everything is scalable and you always train on your own level!
Muay Thai Boxing
What better way to get fit fit fit then to throw yourself into some Muay Thai training. Owned and managed by a former world champion Muay Thai boxer.
If you want to do some weights and cardio on machines, then the Lanta Gym’s Fitness Centre on the road at the northern end of Long Beach is the place to go.
Oasis Yoga Centre
Of course your own practice on the beach or garden outside your bungalow is a great option, but if you want to join a class Oasis Yoga is the only dedicated yoga centre on the island.
Know Koh Lanta
- Koh Lanta was originally the home of a seafaring Indo-Malay tribe also known as the Sea Gypsies, their tribal culture boasts of more than a thousand year history.
- Used to be a major ‘safe-haven’ port for Malaysian, Singapore and Indonesian traders.
- Koh Lanta’s name originally was ‘Janub Lanta’, janub meaning the Malay term, ‘south’.
- Even though the actual origin is yet to be found, Lanta in ‘Koh Lanta’ comes from the Javanese word that is used to describe a sieve used for drying fish – ‘Lantus’.
- Merchants from China and Arabia used to use Koh Lanta as a place to stop off on long journeys. Because the east coast is very sheltered all year round, the spot we know as Koh Lanta Old Town was used as a trading port.
- Until about 50 years ago it was the main town of Koh Lanta, and the only way to access the island was by boat to Old Town.
- Shortly after, it was deemed more convenient for tourist and car ferries to arrive in Ban Saladan, so that area grew and became the capital.
- You can still see the original wooden Chinese shophouses (similar to the ones found in other Chinese dominated areas of Thailand and Malaysia).
- It has remained what it was back then – a fishing village where Thai life goes on the way it has done for years. It has an amazingly peaceful atmosphere.
- Koh Lanta’s population are mixed race Muslim-Chinese decent, and Malay Urak Lawoi, the largest of three groups of the Chao Leh.
- Their religious practices are moderate. And there reside a large number of modern yogis in Koh Lanta, as well as international expats.
- There is much diversity as Hindu-Buddhist traditions coexist with the Muslim ones.
- The population of Thai-Chinese, Thai-Muslim and Sea Gypsies live side by side harmoniously, as they have done for years.
Few things to keep in mind
- For anyone going from a city to Koh Lanta, be wary that the locals are not familiar with the culture you are used to or how things are done. Respect their cultural practices.
- Not everyone is fluent in English here so take your time to be friendly and communicate with the locals.
- Thailand is a modest country where they are used to under-dressed foreigners but dressing modestly isn’t a bad idea, nevertheless as a sign of respect.
- Always respect the religious monuments and ceremonies even if you don’t follow that religion yourself.
- Remove your shoes before entering a temple, someone’s house or even some shops.
- Keep calm because provocation isn’t appreciated in Thailand.
- Lower your body, slightly, when passing in between or in front of people.
- Smile as much as you can, it looks friendly.
- Don’t touch anyone without their consent.
- Don’t touch a Thai’s person’s head or hair; not even children.
- Don’t put your feet on the table. And don’t touch anyone with your feet.
Language – Thai
mai pen rai
Unfortunately, Thai to English transliterations are hopelessly inaccurate, and most phrasebooks, this one included, make the same mistake.
Phuket is actually pronounced Pooget, Krabi – Grabee, Patong – Bpaatawng,
Koh (as in Samui etc) – Gau – the “au” as in “caught” but shorter.
Much of this has to do with the fact that Thai is a language of syllables which form words.Even though there are 44 consonants in Thai, a syllable can only end in 8 of these; namely k, m, n, p, t, w, y, ng.
If another consonant is used to end a syllable, it must revert to one of these eg. g is pronounced k, d pronounced t, l pronounced n, b pronounced p etc etc.
This would appear to be the main reason why there is so much confusion about the pronunciation of ก (as an example).The correct pronunciation is g, as in English, but it is usually written k. Now if it is used at the end of a syllable, it actually is pronounced k, as above.
So for example: กัก (gag) is pronounced gak.
Thai is a tonal language with five tones: Mid, Low, Falling, High, and Rising. Meanings change based on the tone, but Thais are fairly used to hearing foreigners mangle their language and can often work out the correct tone based on context.The benefit of having a written form for each vowel sound is that once one knows a particular vowel it will always be pronounced exactly the same unlike in English where cat, cake and car are all written with the same vowel, but spoken with a different sound.
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