Koh Lanta is an Island Off the Andaman Coast of Southern Thailand

Koh Lanta is an Island Off the Andaman Coast of Southern Thailand

Koh Lanta Discover Thailand with Thailand Discovery

Ko Lanta (เกาะลันตา) is an island off the Andaman Coast of Southern Thailand. Like many other destinations in Krabi Province, it is known for its diving and long white beaches.

Understand

 Koh Lanta Beach. Long beach koh lanta

Koh Lanta. Ko Lantas’ official guide book, endorsed by the TAT, Lanta Tourism Office and local government is the KOH LANTA POCKET GUIDE

Koh Lanta consists of several islands, the two largest of which are Ko Lanta Noi (เกาะลันตาน้อย, “Small Lanta Island”) and Koh Lanta Yai (เกาะลันตาใหญ่, “Big Lanta Island”). However, Koh Lanta Yai is where all the tourist action is, so this article will refer to it simply as “Koh Lanta”.

Koh Lanta is a large island with 6 km wide and over 30 kms long, 9 beaches lie from north to south along the sunset coast. The island boasts stunning scenery, fantastic white sandy beaches, coastlines dotted with more than 70 small islands and plenty of forest, coral reefs and under water life. The geography of the island is typically mangroves; coral rimmed beaches; and rugged tree covered hills.

Koh Lanta is popular with tourists seeking a holiday away from the parties. It’s popular with a significantly older crowd than nearby Ko Phi Phi: more walking on the beach and watching the sunset than drinking and dancing. However, there are plenty of bars and the longer term stayers are friendly and know how to party! It is also popular with families with young children, and of course, with divers. Ko Lanta can provide a party if you know where to look.

Koh Lanta is a little less well-known than Ko Phi Phi, which has become more commercialised and corporate. The several beaches on the west coast of Koh Lanta Yai are each strung with a line of resorts and bungalows, although the farther down the island you venture, the less this is true. And even when the island is at it fullest, there will be a quiet place for you to relax – the beaches are never full. Don’t expect to find “hidden places”, lonely beaches or a paradise-like place. Wherever you go there will be resorts, restaurants or at least a lot of garbage. The beaches are nice, but compared to other places in southern Thailand nothing special. Koh Lanta is especially popular with Swedish tourists: although the “tourist language” is English as it is in most places in Thailand, and you will find menus and so on are translated into English, expect the poolside language to be Swedish much of the time. However, there are still many English and Irish bars and restaurants to visit. Food is often highly overprice with a simple dish for 80-100 baht, but in general 100+ baht. Sadly it seems like tourist are even paying it. There are a couple of cheaper and by far more tasty places; look out where locals are eating to get authentic Thai food!

Koh Lanta was hit by the tsunami in December 2004, which killed 20 people, but virtually all businesses are now operating normally again.

Orientation

The main island is 6 km wide and over 30 km long, located approximately 70 km from Krabi Town. The island has 9 attractive white sandy beaches, splendid scenery; coastlines have more than 70 small islands and plenty with forest, coral reefs and under water life. The geography of the island is typically mangroves; coral rimmed beaches; and rugged tree covered hills.

A paved road runs along the beaches from the northern part of the island almost all the way to the southern tip. The last 8 kilometers leading to the headquarters of the Mu Ko Lanta National Park in the south are quite hilly. The landscape is dominated by a series of mountains covered with virgin rainforest.

Climate

Weather in the region is tropical and there are two basic monsoons:

During the months of November – April the island experiences the dry monsoon, northeasterly prevailing winds come overland and bring dry air. Temperatures rise during March/April and it get’s quite arid and dusty on the island after many months of no rain.

May – October is the wet monsoon season, where southwesterly winds bring wetter weather from the indian ocean. Around April the season changes and the increase in rain helps revitalise the island to its tropical lushness, everything regrows and the cool wet spells brings relief from the heat of the dry season.

Temperatures during the year average 25ºC to 32ºC (77ºF to 89.6ºF) and the yearly rainfall averages 2569 mm. Unlike in say Europe, the rain in this region comes down heavily and quickly over short periods. The sea stays at a warm 29°C all year round.

Culture

Krabi and Ko Lanta are a melting pot of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims, and even sea gypsies. The majority of the population in the rural areas is Muslim. The area however, does not suffer from any religious tension and the folk live in peace and harmony. Most of the folk speak with a thick Southern dialect which is difficult for even other Thais to understand.

With this kind of mixture, Krabi is always celebrating something be it part of Thai Buddhist, Thai-Chinese, or Thai-Islamic tradition.

The unique lifestyle of the Chao-Le (sea-gypsy) in Ko Lanta particularly is well-worth a look, a life-style that has been almost completely unaffected by the booming tourism on the island.

Getting there

By plane

The nearest airports are Krabi, Trang and Phuket. Krabi and Trang have direct road and boat connections to Ko Lanta, and are the best options if you’re only visiting Ko Lanta. Flying into Phuket is a better option if you’re intending to spend time in Phuket and nearby islands, or, since Phuket has many more international flights, if you don’t want to have to organize a domestic flight to Krabi or Trang from Bangkok. As an alternative to Bangkok, there are daily flights to Krabi directly to and from Singapore, as well as Kuala Lumpur.

  • Nok Air offers three-daily flight+ferry services from Bangkok to Ko Lanta v.v. by flying with Nok Air from Trang and transferred on a ferry to Ko Phi Phi. This can be booked directly from their website.
  • Air Asia offers three-daily flight+ferry services from Bangkok to Ko Lanta v.v. by flying with Air Asia from Krabi. This can be booked directly from their website.

Airport transfer

Air Asia runs a free transfer van from Krabi Airport to Ao Nang Pier where you can catch the 10:30am Ferry (470 baht). However the Ferry only runs November to April, and might not be running if the weather is bad.

Express transfer

The quickest service from Krabi Airport [2][3] and Phuket Airport [4][5] to Ko Lanta is by using the express transfer which is a combination of minivan and speedboat travel. If you arrive early you will not have to wait for the ferry and if you arrive late at these airports you can still arrive on Ko Lanta the same day.

From Krabi airport a 45 minute air conditioned minivan to the first car ferry port. You then go on board the speedboat which then takes you on a stunning boat ride across the water along the coastline of Ko Lanta. The journey takes around 15 minutes depending on weather and conditions. You will arrive directly in Saladan (alternately written as Sala Dan) on Ko Lanta, where you are then transferred to your hotel by car. That means the total journey time should be 1.5 to 2 hours. This eliminates the waiting time at the car ferry and also if you are going from Ko Lanta to one of these airports allows you more time to enjoy your visit.

By car

Ko Lanta does not have roads connecting it directly to the mainland, but is served by car ferries. Take Rt 4206 off Hwy 4 about 20 km southeast of Krabi airport. Drive to the end of the road, where there is a car ferry from Baan Hua Hin to Ko Lanta Noi. From the pier here, turn right and follow the “ferry” signs to the second car ferry to Ko Lanta Yai. Ferries operate 07:00-22:00.

There are plenty of car taxi and minivan taxi services from Krabi and the nearby airport, as well as Songthaews that costs as little as 50 baht (2016). If you prefer the straightforward but more expensive option then booking a seat on a ten person minivan is the way to go. The cheapest way to book a minivan is directly from the bus terminal in Krabi and should cost you no more than 250 baht. Buses from other locations will be more expensive but even from the airport they should not cost more tban 350 baht. Be aware that in Krabi, as in many places in Thailand, the touring companies are run by a semi-mafia looking to squeeze the most out of tourists. Never take the first offer you get: shop around first and then decide which operator offers the best value, you’ll probably get crammed in the same van as the rest anyway.

If you don’t feel like being squeezed for your money like a farang but would prefer to take the cheapest way to Koh Lanta then you shpuld try taking a blue Songthaew (looks like a roofed pick up with benches in the back). These leave from the 7-eleven at Phetkasem Road close to the freeway. Taking a red or white Songthaew to the northern bus terminal (20-40 baht) puts you in walking distance. Please note that all minivan and Songthaew drivers will deny the existence of a blue Songthaew going to Koh Lanta as they want foreigners to take the more expensive options. Simply keep repeating yourself until you find someone that wants to give you directions should you get lost.

In high season there is the option of taking a high speed feery service from Krabi Pier to Koh Lanta. The ferry leaves twice a day at 10:30 and 13:30 and takes around 2 hours.

By boat

Ferry arrival at Ban Saladan pier

From Ko Lanta to other islands

Private companies on Ko Lanta operate boat services to many destinations. Tickets can be booked in advance online here [6]

  • Ko Lanta – Ko Phi Phi: 08:00 and 13:00, 350 baht.
  • Ko Lanta – Krabi: 08:00 and 13:00, 300 baht (apparently, in high season, at least 400 baht)
  • Ko Lanta – Ko Phi Phi – Phuket: 13:00 and 14:30, 700 baht
  • Ko Lanta – Ko Phi Phi – Krabi: 09:00 and 13:30, 700 baht

Ferry services run from Krabi, Ao Nang and from Phuket via Ko Phi Phi to Ko Lanta Yai’s Saladan pier. During high season, there are sometimes direct ferries as well. Ferry services are subject to weather and to demand. Many ferries have limited room for luggage. Often the ferries dock alongside each other, meaning that to get on and off passengers must clamber onto and across other boats with their luggage. However many times boat staff will be there to help you board your bags.

Services from Ao Nang are run by Ao Nang Travel and Tour (+66 75 637 730) and depart at 10:30 (470baht).

Ferries depart from Ko Phi Phi at 11:30 and 14:00, and take 1 hour. If travelling from Phuket in a single day, you will need to leave Phuket on the 08:00 ferry to transfer to the 11:30 ferry. Tickets to Ko Lanta are 200 baht from Ko Phi Phi and 450 baht from Phuket.

Once you arrive, if you have a booking at a hotel/resort, there should be a person at the ferry exit with a sign giving the name of the hotel you have booked.

By passenger van

All the travel agents in Krabi can arrange passenger vans to Ko Lanta. There is no regular, scheduled van service from Krabi Airport, although vans and taxis can be chartered to Ko Lanta for about 2,000 baht per vehicle (2,500 baht if you are going to the south end of Ko Lanta). Taxis (usually vans) are also available at the airport at the same rate. It will pick-up, drop-off at the airport. You should factor in 3 to 4 hours to get from Ko Lanta to the airport, since the mini van will pick-up and drop off other people along the way.

There is a mini van service that runs between Krabi and Ko Lanta. It cost 400 baht (Oct 2014) and leave from Soi 6 (street going down from temple). Expect to pay 400 baht if booking by hotel, “booking office” or “travel agent”. Be aware that if you are coming from other city in Thailand by minivan they will drop you at their station and expect to pay 400 baht. It is wiser to book your travel just until Krabi and say you want drop off at Soi 6, where you can buy ticket by yourself.

If you want to return to Krabi by van rather than by ferry, ask at your hotel/resort and they will book you on the minibus which will take you there (as a group with others from other hotels), for a reasonable price.

It is worth travelling to Lanta one way by boat and the other by road just to see the contrast. The price is not much different.

By train

The nearest train station to Ko Lanta is in Trang province just south of Krabi. From there, there are trains to and from Bangkok.

Distances from Bangkok

The distance from Bangkok to Krabi is approx 950 km or about 12 hrs by car.

  • Route 1: Phetburi → Prachuabkirikhan → Chumphon → Phang Nga → Krabi = 946 km.
  • Route 2: Phetburi → Prachuabkirikhan → Chumphon (Hwy 41) to Chaiya (Surat Thani) → Krabi (Viangsra) → Hwy 4035 → Krabi (Ao Luk) and along Hwy 4 again = 814 km.

Get around

The main roads on the island are well-paved. The road just north of Mu Ko National Park is nowadays also paved. That road ends at the park and so it isn’t possible to drive from that point up the eastern side of the island.

It’s worth knowing the names of the resorts near yours: both the pickup trucks and motorcycle taxis will often want to pick you up or drop you at a nearby resort with a better road.

Resorts and some of the major tourist services (like the dive shops) own large pickup trucks and transport tourists around in the tray. Very occasionally, they own minibuses instead. If you come in by ferry your resort will almost certainly meet you at pier with their truck; if you’re travelling with very small children who you don’t want to cling to while you bump along sitting on the side of the truck you might want to warn them in advance that you’ll want to ride in the cab: it’s generally assumed to be the private domain of the driver.

You will find the locals almost exclusively ride motorbikes; you can hire these in several places for as little as 200 baht a day (many of the guest houses ask 250 baht per day in high season), security deposit is 2,000 baht or your passport (this is not advised as you must keep your passport on you at all times while in Thailand). Gasoline is available from stores at the road for 40 baht per liter. You can also hire motorcycle taxis with sidecars. These will happily take you also on the unpaved roads but the ride can be as slow as walking. A typical fare for a ride from Saladan to Klong Dao Beach is 150 baht per person. Further rides can be much higher, and nighttime rates are also higher. Agree on a price before getting in.

Jeeps can be hired for 1,200 baht per day. Be sure to check insurance, contract terms and the condition of the vehicle. The “roads” of Ko Lanta combined with the driver operation characteristics of some renters are a serious challenge for any car. The frequently available Suzuki Sporty seems primitive and therefore sturdy, and a replacement should cost around 150,000 baht.

See

  • Ban Saladan Ban Saladan, approximately 3 km from Klong Dao Beach, is the tourist centre of Ko Lanta. Facilities include inexpensive and easy to find transport, diving trips, banking, and shopping. Surprisingly, the tour brokers in town offer the cheapest prices on tours (even better than the actual tour operators, in some cases).
  • Khao Mai Kaew Caves Getting away from the beach for the day, tourists can visit the stunning Khao Mai Kaew Caves which are located in the centre of the island, offering a wonder of rocks and caverns and housing spectacular stalactites and stalagmites, some of the caves are just huge and one of them contains a pool. For getting around inside the caves you will need a guide, but one is cheap, around 200 baht per person. You can also take an elephant-ride for around 600 baht per person. Take some good shoes, as the caves are slippery. The caves are located just off the lower of two cross-island roads, down a narrow 1.5 km dirt path through the rubber plantations.

Please remember. Before deciding on an elephant ride, the animals have been ‘broken’ to make them compliant. Your choice, but when you choose the ride you are helping to perpetuate a cruel practice.

  • Ko Lanta Noi. Lanta Noi has no tourist facilities as such but is well worth a visit. Hire a motorbike and catch the ferry or longtail from Saladan Pier, there’s a few circular roads, all well covered that will take you around the island to see the local way of life. There are a few local restaurants along the way so you can stop for some fried rice, pick up a map before you go from one of the tourist offices on Lanta Noi, and drive carefully!  edit
  • Lanta Old Town is a small village on Ko Lanta’s East side. It’s one of the region’s most culturally diverse with Chinese merchants, original Thai fishing families and an ancient Sea Gypsy community. Many years ago, Ko Lanta’s Old Town acted as the port and commercial centre for the island and provided a safe harbour for Arabic and Chinese trading vessels sailing between the larger ports of Phuket, Penang, and Singapore. Today, Old Town is the district capital; it has a post office, Buddhist temple, Chinese temple, and the island’s hospital as well as a long pier. It’s a charming place to visit and boasts many good restaurants and interesting shopping like handmade hammocks and an original batik and art gallery. It’s also a great jumping off point to other islands like Ko Bubu, Ko Talenbeng and Ko Por.
  • Orchid nursery farm This farm is recommended to all those who especially like flowers. The Orchid Nursery Farm is located at Long Beach (Pra Ae Beach) and the entry fee is 50 baht per person. It’s easily accessible by bike or motorbike.
  • Sea-Gypsy Village Known to the Thais as Chao Le, sea gypsies have occupied the area for hundreds of years settling along the coast in stilt-built houses erected between the water level of high and low tide. They are unique in that they mix very little with the general population, speak their language and have their very own supernatural and traditional beliefs and rituals. And example of the latter is the Loy Ruea (floating boat) ceremony where the village men build a symbolic boat and place wooden statues of themselves in it along with nail pairings, hair and popped rice. By performing this ritual, they ask for forgiveness from the sea gods and for any wrongs that may have done to the sea. It is believed that all evil is carried away in the symbolic boat.

Beaches

  • Kor Kwang. This beach, with its attractively curved shaped has lovely sand and clear aquamarine water. Extremely shallow.
  • Klong Dao. Over the years, Klong Dao has developed into the most popular beach on the island with a spectacular 3 km long beach of fine white sand and shallow clear water. Yet, because of its length, it is never really that busy. It is located just 2 km from Saladan Pier. The beach has an abundance of accommodation ranging in cost from just a couple of hundred to a few thousand. It is more than ideal for those who like a quiet beach but prefer to have all the usual tourist mods and cons such as international food, music and bars etc.
  • Pra Ae (Long Beach) This beach, situated in the north of the island, is a stunning crescent of sand about 4 km long. There is a lot of accommodation there but since it is spread out a lot, visitors get the feeling that place is peacefully quiet.
  • Relax Beach – Pra Ae Separate from Long Beach but still part of Pra Ae, Relax Beach is the perfect location to see the spectacular Lanta sunsets. Whilst a dotted rocky reef runs through, it’s a solid swimming location with soft fine white sand and clear water. With a small number of quality options of accommodation and restaurants, this is a perfect location to kick back and watch the sunset with a cocktail.
  • Klong Khong For most of the length of Klong Khong Beach there is a klong (canal) running opposite the beach and an old coconut plantation. Towards the southern end is an area where the local fishermen tie up their boats to the shore. A rocky reef runs along the length of the shore making it difficult for swimming but great for admiring the sunset.
  • Klong Nin This beach is separated by a klong that runs down to the beach at the northern third of the beach dividing it in two. The beach is covered with coconut and pine trees and the back end is tropical rain forest. Like almost all beaches on Ko Lanta, Klong Nin offers a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere and its sand is white and fine.
  • Kantiang Bay A kilometre-long beach on a gently curving shoreline, Kantiang Bay is home to a limited number of hotels and resorts, leaving the pristine beach with an uncrowded feeling even during the busy holidays. There are excellent corals for snorkelling as well. Lying 18 km south of Baan Saladan, Kantiang Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island and was voted one of the “Top Ten Tropical Beaches in The World” .

Far Southern Beaches

There are a few beaches in the south of Ko Lanta. All are the beaches are small, just a few hundred meters long. The beaches are very quiet with little in the way of accommodation – ideal for those who want to ‘get away from it all’. They are:

  • Ao Nui (Nui Bay) — next to Bakantiang. The road leading to Mu Ko Lanta National Park is paved since a couple of years and no longer a dirt road, so it is really no big deal to drive anymore. Recently a lot of waste on it.
  • Ko Lanta National Park — there are two beaches in the national park, such as Had Hin Ngam.

Art

  • Likae Pa (ลิเกป่า) — an adapted play, Likae Pa follows the adventures of an Indian merchant from Calcutta who married a local girl named Yayi. The story is then followed by other plays. Like Pa is accompanied by the music of folk instruments such as various kinds of drums, cymbals, and gongs. The lyrics are a mixture of the traditional Manora and Buranyawa songs. With its long history of popularity in Krabi, Like Pa performers are abundant here. It is believed that the play originated in this province. Many companies are still performing this dramatic art such as Mr. Truek Plodrit who won a cultural award.
  • Shadow Plays (หนังตะลุง) — this is an Indian influence. There are many shadow play or nang talung companies in Krabi.
  • Manora (มโนราห์) — the performance is native to southern Thailand, which truly reflects its traditional culture.
  • Rong Ngeng (รองเง็ง) and Phleng Tanyong (เพลงตันหยง) — a Malaysian adaptation, which is of Portuguese origin, rong ngeng is a traditional folk dance and music customarily performed in noble houses. It was later performed by the locals with Thai lyrics called phleng tanyong.

Do

  • Beach hand tennis. A game with a tennis ball and a net played in front of Hans restaurant everyday from 4.30pm. If you have hands come and play. its great fun.
  • Lanta Muay Thai Gym, 245 M.2 T.Saladan (Near Phrae Ae beach opposite Relax Bay resort road, a dirt road off main rd to gym), +66(0)897397399, [7]. 8:00-6:00. Lanta Gym is a professional and exciting place to train in Muay Thai. They welcome any ability from beginners and children. They have a range of trainers, some ex and current champion fighters from all over Thailand including Bangkok. The skills and techniques are taught in a personal, approachable style. They also have fights every Sunday at Williams Stadium, and a lot of foreigners that stay in the area and train can have the option to fight. 500 baht lesson.  edit
  • Boat Charter Thailand, +66(0)884907290, [8]. Sailing Yachts, Motor Boats, Bareboat or Crewed, Luxury Charters, Fishing Trips, Traditional Boat Tours.  edit
  • Yingyai Muay Thai @ Koh Lanta Thaiboxing Stadium (YingYai Muay Thai), Koh Lanta, Ban Koh Lanta, Krabi, Thailand 81150 (Opposite Pra-Ae School), 084 678 0176, [9]. 08:00 – 10:00 and 16:00 – 18:00. Yingyai muay thai is a traditional Muay Thai Stadium Gym offering old school Thai Boxing training on the beautiful island setting of Koh Lanta. Train, authentic, old school Muay Thai, twice a day, 6 days a week 500thb.  edit

Massage and Spa

  • Serenity massage and Spa, [10] 147 Moo 1, Saladan +66 0815 699 852. Open all year from 10am till 10pm. Inside Serenity you will find a team of fully trained staff which will all help you on a rejuvenating journey to restore and harmonise your mind, body and soul. Serenity is also a unique Spa as it’s built entirely on the Sea on wooden stilts and enjoys a private pier where you can relax before and after your treatments. Travel in to Saladan Koh Lantas main center and turn right at the waters edge.
  • Lanta Massage A little studio with a wall fully adorned with photos of happy customers. Very relaxing, great technical massage, with care and attention. On Long Beach (Phra Ae Beach), Moo 3 Saladan. Walking towards the water, it’s on your left, near where the road meets the beach. You may have some difficulty finding this place. Open late.
  • Dreamy Spa (ดรีมมี่ สปา) Klong Dao Beach, Saladan, Koh Lanta, Krabi Tel: +6675 684729
  • Layana Spa (ลายาน่า สปา) 272 Mu 3, Long Beach, Koh Lanta, Krabi
  • Pimalai Spa (พิมาลัย สปา) 99 Mu 5, Ba Kan Tiang Beach, Koh Lanta, Krabi
  • Rawiwarin Spa at Langham Place Eco Resort + Rawiwarin
  • Royal Lanta Spa (รอยัล ลันตา สปา) 222 Mu 3, Klong Dao Beach,Koh Lanta, Krabi
  • Sri Lanta Spa (ศรีลันตา สปา) 111 Mu 6, Klong Nin Beach,Koh Lanta, Krabi
  • Twin Lotus Spa (ทวิน โลตัส สปา) 199 Mu 1, Klong Dao Beach,Koh Lanta, Krabi

Longtail boating

Long tail boat

  • Lanta Longtail / Sun Island Tours, 9/1 Moo 1, Lanta Old Town, Ko Lanta Yai +66 087 8916619 ([email protected]) [11] – The LONGTAIL FOR LOVERS TOUR, private charters, island tours, beach camping and fishing trips.

Sea kayaking

  • Rapu Sea Kayaking, 10/5 Moo 2, Ko Lanta Yai +66 92 871 749 (contact Chutima Junsirikamon) – guided sea kayak tours of the mangrove areas.

Diving

There are no scuba diving sites on the island itself, all require a boat trip. However Lanta is the closest island to the famous Hin Daeng, Hin Muang and Koh Haa sites, so it is very popular with divers.

Hin Daeng and Hin Muang near Ko Lanta are perhaps the best dive sites in Thailand (frequently ranking in the world’s top ten) with more than 200 hard corals and 108 reef fish catalogued in a study underway, but thousands more organisms abound. Hin Daeng has the steepest and deepest in the whole of the country with fantastic marine life. Hin Muang next door is completely underwater and it is covered with delicate violet coral. The sites also have one of the world’s highest incidences of whale shark sightings.

For details refer to Diving in Thailand and Diving in Ko Lanta

Snorkeling

Koh Haa – this is the best site in Thailand for mixed groups of snorkelers and divers. For divers only, it offers amazing swim-throughs. In recent years Koh Haa has seen a large increase in the number of fish present at the reefs, due to committed conservation policies.

Koh Rok – Koh Rok, 47 km south of Lanta, actually consists of two islands: Koh Rok Nai and Koh Rok Nok, both graced with powdery white sand beaches and ringing coral. Snorkeling here is above average for Southeast Asia (better than Phuket or Phi Phi, though not to be compared with Okinawa or Hawaii). Speedboat trips here cost 1500 baht, including buffet lunch and shore pick-up from anywhere on (the west coast of) Lanta; longtail trips cost ~700 baht.

Four Island Tour – Actually, you’ll see way more than four islands, but there will be four stops including snorkeling, beaches, scenic coves, and Koh Mook’s amazing Emerald Cave. The cave itself is a pitch black, 80-meter-long passageway that you swim through guided by the flashlights of your tour guides. There are lots of twists and turns (and opportunities to bang your head on the cave walls) so don’t get lost! The tunnel opens into a hidden lagoon that’s ringed on all sides by steep mountain walls. Large boat trips (such as by the Four Islands Tour Group, www.thefourislands.com) cost 1100 to 1200 baht, including buffet lunch and hotel transfer to Old Town from anywhere on Lanta; longtail trips (as usual) cost about 700 baht. There will be at least 40-70 other people on other boats, so don’t expect to be alone. The reef at the snorkeling stops are more dead than alive but you will see a few little fish swimming around. Quality of snorkeling equipment varies but is in a rather bad condition. Some companies have fins, other don’t. You will be sitting on the boat a lot and have 15-30 minutes at each stop.

Trekking

Elephant rides can be arranged to take visitors to the top of the hill in Ko Lanta National Park.

  • Sumate Koh Lanta Yai Safari
  • Erawan Lanta Safari  : Klong Dao Beach : 66 08 2286 1996 , 08 4632 2334.

Be aware of the ethical issues around elephant riding. Read reviews of your trek before you go. Do not ride elephants that are kept chained or that are rocking back and forth (stereotyping) – this is a typical sign of stress. Avoid places where the elephants are made to do “tricks”.

Kayaking

The east side of Ko Lanta with its rich mangrove forests and caves is a great option for off-the-beaten-path kayaking. Kayaking can also be done on Ko Talabaeng, the limestone cliff near Ko Lanta.

Fishing

Wannabe fishers can catch the likes of marlin, sailfish, barracuda, red snapper, and tuna. Three different kinds of fishing trip are offered by private longtail boat: half-day, full-day, and night fishing.

Events & Festivals

Krabi Berk Fa Andaman Festival (งานกระบี่เบิกฟ้าอันดามัน) This is annually held in November to inaugurate the province’s tourist season. Water sports competitions, cultural shows, and good-natured fun are the schedule.

Laanta Lanta Festival (เทศกาลลานตา ลันตา) The festival is usually held in March every year at the Old Community in Koh Lanta called Ban Sanga-Au, which has a very old history of more than 100 years. Ancient Chinese style houses can still be seen here. In this festival, tourists can see the traditional culture, previously unseen ceremonial demonstrations, Southern local performances, folk games, water sports competitions and enjoy the tastes from various kinds of food booths which are provided by prestigious hotels on the island.

Loi Ruea Chao-Le Festival (ประเพณีลอยเรือชาวเล) This old ritualistic tradition takes place on Ko Lanta during the full moon of the sixth and eleventh month in the lunar calendar. This is a religious rite performed by the sea gypsies of Ko Lanta, as well as, from other neighbouring areas, who gather on the beach near Sala Dan Village. They dance their famous “rong ngeng” round the boats of misfortune to be set adrift. Ceremonies feature singing and dancing. This festival is expected to bring prosperity and happiness to the participants.

Sat Duean Sip Festival or Festival of the Tenth Lunar Month (งานประเพณีสารทเดือนสิบ) This is the southern traditional merit making occasion to honour one’s ancestors. Food offerings such as Khanom La, Khanom Chohu, Khanom Phong, Khanom Ba, and Khanom Kong or Khai Pla, are made offer to Buddhist monks.

Chak Phra Festival (งานประเพณีชักพระ) The original waterborne procession, where Buddha images are put on elaborately decorated pulpits on boats are pulled along on the river, has been replaced by a land procession. The festival was formerly accompanied with a performance of traditional boat songs. However, the traditional waterborne songs have since disappeared.

Koh Lanta

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