Very few destinations in Thailand stand clear of the grandiose parties and fancy retreats, and Koh Lanta, is its prized jewel. A traveller may take a deserted road South from Krabi to the West, leading to the beautiful postcard beaches of Railay and Ao Nang, and reach Koh Lanta venturing through a long-haul flight, a short-haul flight, taxis, car ferries, more taxis and a speed boat ride. This adventure is definitely worth the mellow, culturally rich beach side hamlets that await its visitors.

Koh Lanta’s untouched Thai lifestyle and resistance to corporate takeovers makes it the absolute sell-out in comparison to the rest of the country. It’s warm climate through the vast expanse of rubber plantations and care free mood of its inhabitants give Koh Lanta a calm, rustic vibe.

The Andaman Sea features some of the best waters of the far east, perfect for marine enthusiast; deep sea divers especially. Where the tourist rush to the Phi Phi islands have sucked their originality and depreciated the lush marine life there, Koh Lanta islands, being comparatively unpopular among tourists, are still brimming with a rich intensity of sea life.

Some Highlights

  • The Ko Haa island is the best for amateurs and first timers to experience their first dip owing to its consistent and good visibility, optimum depth of 18-34 meters and high probability of sea turtle sighting. Nestled at the edge of the island is a three chambered cave called ‘the cathedral’ is the highlight of this dive.
  • Hin Daeng is an underwater peak and is considered as the second best diving site in Thailand. Being saturated with lone red coral outcrop in the middle of a vast hollow it is an important feeding station and home to large pelagic fish like whale sharks, manta rays, white sharks and tuna.
  • Being hemmed with thick green jungles and vast sea on all sides, the village of Koh Lanta is barely visible past its near neighborhood. Nature lovers find themselves attracted to the Mu Ko Lanta National Park which spreads across the mainland and a couple of islets of Koh Lanta. Nature lovers are attracted to regions like the Ko Rok Nok island where camping too is permitted with prior permission. Ko Rok Nok along with Ko Rok Noi and Ko Talabeng are the base to various kayaking expeditions around the elegant limestone cliffs that stand along the coast.
  • The southern tip of Ko Lanta Yai, Laem Tanod, offers a magnificent view of the archipelago and can be reached by a steep paved road. It is also a stop along the way to a nature trail in the reserve. A visit to the twin beaches and the gorgeous lighthouse there is an absolute must.

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 center for the island and provided a safe harbor for Arabic and Chinese trading vessels sailing between the larger ports of Phuket, Penang, and Singapore.
Another unique feature of Koh Lanta is its nightlife under star filled skies decorated with placid lanterns, away from the usual Thai cities with dazzling and flashing lights. Their own version of parties that take place along the sandy coasts often have musical nights accompanied by the sweet melodies and blues. It’s highly doubtful that this is an experience one can’t forget easily.

The regular range of exquisite and traditional Thai products may not be found in the markets, unlike those in the other cities. However, they still have some wares that one may feel enticed to buy. Like funky handmade clothes and jewelry. In addition, the local Batik, pineapple paper art, hammocks and parish artworks make excellent take backs.

Koh Lanta is a large, 50 island archipelago with Ko Lanta Noi and Ko Lanta Yai being the only inhabited islands. No other destination in Thailand offers a more adventurous and explorative excursion than Koh Lanta. The lifestype of the occupant sea-gypsies offers a beautiful visual of the exisiting cultural blend of Buddhist, Muslim and Thai-Chinese cultures. While you are there, you will be uncovering the vibrant local food markets, the old wooden colonies and vast stretches of undisturbed beaches. Renting a bike is the most effective means of exploring the serene flatlands of Koh Lanta.

Some Highlights

  • A little outside the village outposts, the presence of the tropical wilds become evident. Various trails of the limestone caves and tunnels can be outreached from the Phi Phi archipelago. Where the Tham Seua tunnels can be reached from the eastern edge of the village, Tham Khao Maikaeo, the rain carved limestone crevices offer a more extensive tour of the tunnels. Often, these feature king size hollows, dripping stalactites and stalagmites, tiny squeeze-through passages and even awe-inspiring subterranean pools.
  • One may easily find himself absorbed in the wild in the Mu Ko Lanta National Park, a marine park housing 16 indigenous islands from the Koh Lanta collection. What’s unique about this park is that it is extremely isolated and while you are there, you may not spot a single soul. Time spent here will be quiet, peaceful and undisturbed among charisma of a typical Andaman sea island with crescent shaped bays backed with cliffs, rich coral life, sparkling beaches and distant limestone cliffs.
  • The beach across the hotel room in Koh Lanta may not offer the best view, but it’s not often you get a tropical beach all for yourself. A leisure walk in the clear sunset on the empty sands with the waves of the sea will leave you completely refreshed and stress-free.
  • Many picturesque are found in the Koh Lanta island group, Ko Rok Noi, Ko Rok Nok and Ko Talabeng being the celebrities of this archipelago. Their breathtaking landscapes give a run for their money, even to the most highly rated beaches of the country.