Koh Lanta Travel Guide – Short And Sweet!
From the feature image you might begin to understand exactly what Koh Lanta has to offer. Without selling it too short, but the beaches are the major appeal here.
In this Koh Lanta travel guide, we will answer all of the questions that you might have about the place, with a brief history, some maps showing you where it is, and a section explaining how to get there.
To navigate the Koh Lanta travel guide efficiently use the table of contents above. Clicking on the section of the Koh Lanta travel guide that interests you will take you straight there.
As always, if there are any questions or concerns regarding the Koh Lanta travel guide (besides typos, which I try my best to avoid), then feel free to leave a comment.
Let’s go / Allons-y / Vamanos / Yallah!
Koh Lanta Video
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Koh Lanta Travel Guide Part 1 – Things To Know Before You Go
What is a Koh Lanta?
The etymology of the name is not fully understood, but the best guess is that it came from the Javanese word “lantas”, which was a type of grill for fish.
The greater Koh Lanta area actually consists of 52 islands, with the island that is commonly referred to as Koh Lanta actually being called Koh Lanta Yai.
For the purpose of this post Koh Lanta Yai will simply be referred to as Koh Lanta. This is the southern most of the large islands, as we will see below, and it is here that attracts the tourists.
The island was first inhabited over 500 years ago by Indo-Malay sea faring tribes, and has since been influenced by Chinese, specifically in Old Town. Old Town served as a port on the Phuket-Penang-Singapore trade route.
Koh Lanta is a semi recent discovery by tourists, receiving its first consistent visitors in the 1980’s. It has since become more westernised, but much less so than neighbouring islands like Koh Phi Phi and Phuket,
The aim of the game here is to relax, just lie on the pristine white sand and swim in the warm clear waters. This isn’t a party place in the way that neighbouring islands are.
Take full advantage of the beaches before heading to the north of Thailand, you might miss them once you’re in Chiang Mai or Pai up north.
Longest Length Point to Point:
*Referencing Koh Lanta Yai only, not the entire district.
Where is Koh Lanta?
Koh Lanta is a part of the Krabi region in the south of Thailand, on the western coast. It sits in the Andaman sea next to Phuket (70km), Koh Phi Phi (30km) and not too far from Malaysia’s Langkawi (130km).
Above you can see the location of Koh Lanta with reference to some of Southeast Asia. Below is a zoomed in version, as you can see the islands here are separately highlighted.
The largest island to the far south of this group is what is commonly referred to simply as Koh Lanta, and it is the place that will be referenced form here on in.
What’s The Weather Like In Koh Lanta?
Koh Lanta, like all of Southeast Asia, enjoys a warm tropical climate, which goes hand in hand with its main drawcard being the beautiful beaches on the west coast of the island.
For a rough guide of all the months combined;
Average Rainy Days:
February averages the least with 3 days.
October averages the most with 21 days.
Average Water Temp:
How Long Should I Stay in Koh Lanta?
I won’t lie to you, this isn’t the most exciting of places to visit. The mantra here is to chill, to go slow, to lie down and slow down. If that’s not you then maybe skip it for an island with 30% more party.
I’m not saying you can’t have fun here, just that it serves a different purpose on the backpacker trail. It is also quite a family friendly location.
So, I think 3 days in Koh Lanta is enough to recharge your batteries. If you really want to do nothing and just chill with a book at the beach then by all means stay longer.
For the majority though, 3 days will be enough to cruise around and check out a variety of beaches.
All the jetties in Koh Lanta are built so that they come into frame from the right hand side.
(Shot using the DJI Mavic 2 Pro with filters from PolarPro).
How Do I Get To Koh Lanta?
There are no airports in Koh Lanta, the nearest airport is Krabi.
The ferry is a good way to come to Koh Lanta. You can skip all of the traffic that you might be subject to when coming by minivan, as I will discuss below.
Some ferries will only operate in the peak seasons (November – April). If you’re outside of these dates then you will need to go via minivan.
There are a lot of ways that you can travel to Koh Lanta, there are a lot of options that link up, I will try to cover the more popular paths that people take, but I can’t cover everything.
I will cover;
- Krabi Town
- Ao Nang / Railay Beach
- Koh Phi Phi
The following are example prices that I have found, every company is different and liable to change. I will list the cheaper options which are generally ferries.
Andaman Wavemaster is an example ferry company, but then there are also speedboat companies that get you there faster, at the expense of comfort and a few extra dollarydoos.
PHUKET – KOH LANTA
($39.50 US, $57.50 AUD, £30 , €35.50).
KOH PHI PHI – KOH LANTA
($14.50 US, $21.50 AUD, £11.50 , €13.50).
KRABI TOWN – KOH LANTA
($13 US, $19 AUD, £10 , €12).
2 hours (not direct).
AO NANG / RAILAY BEACH – KOH LANTA
($15.50 US, $22.50 AUD, £12 , €14).
2 hours and 15 minutes.
LANGKAWI – KOH LANTA (via Koh Lipe)
($95 US, $139 AUD, £72.50 , €86).
5 hours and 30 minutes (not including the stop at Koh Lipe).
The bus is another option that you can take to get to Koh Lanta. The most common route here is definitely from Krabi / Ao Nang, with a distance of only about 100 kilometres.
When coming to Koh Lanta via minivan there is a ferry crossing that the van will need to board. There is a 1km channel of water that still does not have a bridge, and this can create a bottleneck of traffic.
I did the journey myself and we were stuck in traffic for over 2 hours, barely moving, just waiting to board the car ferry. On the way back though there was no issue (early in the morning). I am unsure if I was just unlucky, or if it is like this all the time.
KRABI / AO NANG – KOH LANTA
($11.50 US, $17 AUD, £9 , €10.50).
3 hours and 15 minutes – 5 hours 30 minutes.
There is also the below minivan option from Khao Sok, but this will take you to Krabi and then you will get a ferry from there as far as I can tell, but it is all included in the one price.
KHAO SOK – KOH LANTA
฿700 (includes a ferry ride).
($23 US, $34 AUD, £18 , €21).
3 hours and 45 minutes.
*Price and conversions are done at the time of publishing and are subject to change.
BOOK YOUR TICKET TO KOH LANTA HERE
How Expensive is Koh Lanta?
Koh Lanta is not too bad for prices. For a good hostel you will be looking at just over ฿200/night (about $7 US).
If you look around you will find restaurants that do your typical Thai meals for as little as ฿80, which is very affordable, but can be found for as little as ฿40-60 in bigger cities.
If you choose to eat at one of the many restaurants that sit on the cliffs overlooking the ocean, then you can expect to pay a bit more for the experience.
Scooter hire is the same as anywhere in Thailand, but petrol is much more expensive here, sometimes being double the price of what it would be on the mainland.
What Is The Currency?
As part of Thailand, you will be using the Thai Baht here (฿).
At the time of writing the conversion rate is;
- $0.03 US
- $0.05 AUD
Alternatively, 1 of each of the above currencies respectively will give you;
Water water everywhere, so let’s all have a drink!
(Shot using the Sony A7R III using the Sony FE 16-35mm f/4).
Koh Lanta Travel Guide Part 2 – Things To Know Once You Arrive
How do I get around Koh Lanta?
Once you’re on Koh Lanta, if by minivan, then it will be a door to door service. If you arrive by ferry then check with the provider beforehand whether you have transport at the other end as part of the fee.
If not, there will be taxi drivers and tuk tuk drivers waiting at the pier to take people to their hostels and hotels.
The cost will be between ฿150-400 depending on how far south your accommodation is, with the pier being at the northern end of the island.
Scooter rental is the best way to get around after you have arrived at your accommodation. The roads are not too busy, so it is suitable even for beginner riders.
Scooters will cost between ฿200-250/day depending on the size of the motor and how new the bike is.
Where To Stay in Koh Lanta?
If you’re unsure about where to stay, then stay near long beach. It is the area where you will find all the hostels, there are good coffee shops, restaurants, and even a gym here.
Otherwise, just pick anywhere along the west coast of the island that appeals to you, it will only take you about 20-30 minutes to do ride anywhere on the island.
All of the best beaches are on the west coast, don’t stay near old town.
The beaches to the south of the island in my opinion were better, but there was less to do, so I recommend staying near long beach for this reason.
I personally stayed at Best Stay at Lanta Hostel and it was good. Read the full review and watch the video tour here.
Long story short – Stay on the west coast, anywhere that you like.
Where to Eat in Koh Lanta?
I think at the end of the day this will come down to where you are staying.
If you’re in the long beach area then try out Kraken Lanta, they specialise in panini sandwiches and they’re delicious. The price ranges from ฿160-190.
If you want cheap Thai food then check out N and N Restaurant.
I Love Coffee More Than Life Itself! Where Should I go!?
If you’re staying in the long beach area, then check out Long Beach Cafe on the road down to the beach. It isn’t the biggest place but it isn’t hard to find either once you know where it is.
The guy there made great coffee (฿50), double shots (฿70), good prices, and a nice enough spot to take a seat for a while.
Where to do Laundry in Koh Lanta?
I was lucky enough to have laundry at my hostel that was only ฿40/kg.
The best part about it is that they will air dry your clothes! Which to me is essential since I have some stuff that is made of wool, or bamboo, or whatever, but the majority of my things can’t go in the dryer.
So check out Best Stay Lanta hostel if you’re nearby and would like to do washing.
Usually it will cost about ฿40-60/kg.
I Need to Lift Weights, Any Good Gyms?
There is one gym in town, the cost for a day price is really bad though. I would only recommend it if you’re going to be there for a week and can get a weekly pass.
It is called WM fitness, and you will recognise it by the large statue/figurine fellow out the front that is pictured below. It is in the longbeach area.
Day pass: ฿250 (a massive rip off in any country).
Weekly Pass: ฿800.
Modelled after me, this guy is the shining light for all those roid heads that need to look good at the beach later in the day.
Things to do in Koh Lanta
I have to be honest, there isn’t a whole lot to do here besides relaxing at the beach. There’s things to do, don’t get me wrong, but none of them are truly unique experiences.
I have written a separate post to highlight some of my favourite beaches and two other activities. It better shows you where they are with show some photos that help capture the sight of them.
I see a lot of blog posts recommending things like “watch the sunset”, “do a cooking class” and “do yoga”, but these are hardly activities worth writing about.
They are generic activities that aren’t unique to Koh Lanta, they don’t need writing about.
With that in mind, here are some of the things that you can do.
- Explore the western coastline for your ideal beach. (Bamboo beach was my personal favourite).
- Visit Old Town for the day.
- Visit the lighthouse in the national park.
- Go on a 4 island tour.
Besides these above activities, which are far more unique to Koh Lanta, there are all the generic things, like Muay Thai, massages, cooking classes, yoga, and even some waterfalls.
I however don’t recommend the waterfalls, they are not worth your time. If you want to see better waterfalls nearby then perhaps check out Khao Sok National Park, or the north of the country around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
This lighthouse was one of my favourite places. It reminds me of a house, for lights.
(Shot using the DJI Mavic 2 Pro with filters from PolarPro).
- Watch out where you are walking and riding your scooter. I saw some very large snakes during my brief stay on the island!
- Ask your hostel for a beach mat, most of them will offer them for free and it stops you from getting all sandy.
- Drones are not allowed to go into the national park, I flew my drone over 2km out to sea to get photos of the lighthouse at sunrise. I am lucky not to have lost the signal. If you want to do something similar, be very careful with the wind direction, your signal, and your remaining battery.
That’s pretty much it for the Koh Lanta travel guide, not many bonus tips here. Keep an eye or two out for those snakes.
Charge your batteries!
Don’t feed the ducks!