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Ko Lanta 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.
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Points of Interest in Ko Lanta
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 are a few circular roads, all paved, 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!
- 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 and Ko Talenbeng.
- Orchid nursery farm This farm is recommended to all those who like flowers. At Long Beach (Pra Ae Beach) and the entry fee is 30 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 Loi 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.
- 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 amenities such as international food, music and bars, etc.
- Klong Khong For most of the length of Klong Khong Beach there is a klong (small river) running opposite the beach and an old coconut plantation. Towards the south 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. The northern stretch is the best for swimming as it has far fewer rocky paths than the southern part of the beach.
- Kor Kwang. This beach, with its attractively curved shape, has lovely sand and clear aquamarine water.
- 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 snorkeling as well. Lying 18 kilometres south of Baan Saladan, Kantiang beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island and was voted one of the by the Sunday Times of London "Top Ten Tropical Beaches in The World"
- Pra Ae (Long Beach) This beach, 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, visitors get the feeling that place is peacefully quiet.
Far southern beaches
There are a few beaches in the south of Ko Lanta. All are small, just a few hundred metres 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)
- Ko Lanta National Park — there are two beaches in the national park.
- 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.
Popular events in Ko Lanta in the near future
About Ko Lanta
Weather in the region is tropical. There are only two seasons: the hot season from Jan-Apr, and the rainy season from May-Dec. Temperatures during the year average 25°C to 32°C (77°F to 89.6°F) and the yearly rainfall averages 2569 mm. Unlike in, say, Europe, the rain in this region comes down heavily and quickly over short periods.
Weatherwise, the best time to visit Ko Lanta is between the months Nov-Apr when the area’s climate is less hot than usual. During this period the island gets a lot of dry northeasterly winds, giving dry blue skies and starry nights. Then, down on the beaches one can enjoy nice sea breezes. From May-Oct the area gets a lot of rainfall, more on average than the rest of the country. During this period the island gets a lot of moist southwesterly winds, giving a mixture of dry days and wet ones. The sea stays at a warm 29°C year-round.
- Beach hand tennis. . A game with a tennis ball and a net played in front of Hans Restaurant everyday from 16:30. If you have hands, come and play. its great fun.
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 Ko 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.
Wannabe fishers can catch the likes of marlin, sailfish, barracuda, red snapper and tuna. Three different kinds of fishing trip are offered by private long tail boat: half-day, full day and night fishing.
- 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.
- Rapu Sea Kayaking, 10/5 Moo 2, Ko Lanta Yai +66 92 871749 (contact Chutima Junsirikamon) - guided sea kayak tours of the mangrove areas.
- Lanta Longtail / Sun Island Tours, e-mail: email@example.com. 9/1 Moo 1, Lanta Old Town, Ko Lanta Yai. +66 87 8916619 - private charters, island tours, beach camping, and fishing trips.
Massage and Spa
- Lanta Massage A wonderful, humble 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.
- Serenity Massage and Spa, ☎ +66 81 5 699852. 147 Moo 1, Saladan. Open all year from 10:00-22:00. Built entirely on the sea on wooden stilts and enjoys a private pier where you can relax before and after your treatments. Travel into Saladan and turn right at the waters edge.
Ko Haa - this is the best site in Thailand for mixed groups of snorkellers and divers. For divers only, it offers amazing swim-throughs. In recent years Ko Haa has seen a large increase in the number of fish present at the reefs, due to committed conservation policies.
Ko Rok - some of Thailand’s finest snorkeling spots are located off Lanta’s coast. Ko Rok, 47 km south of Lanta, is considered by most to be the pick of the bunch, though other people say they rate Ko Haa’s snorkelling even more highly. Ko Rok actually consists of two islands, Ko Rok Nai and Ko Rok Nok, both graced with powdery white sand beaches and with an extensive bed of coral in between.
This sheltered and shallow channel is an ideal habitat for reef fish, and the place swarms with innumerable shoals of them. Visibility is very good, and many interesting species of reef fish can be found in these waters. Many snorkellers are most amazed by the sheer numbers of fish here, which swirl and swarm around the swimmers.
4 Island Trip - Ko Mook's amazing Emerald Cave is the highlight of this trip. The cave is a window into a lagoon through which safety-vest-clad swimmers are towed by local guides. The swim into the lagoon is fully eighty metres in length and a real adventure.
Elephant rides can be arranged to take visitors to the top of the hill in Ko Lanta National Park.
In general, Southern Thai food is renowned for its spiciness. Much of the cuisine has its origins in Malay, Indonesian and Indian food. Favourite dishes from the south include Indian-style Muslim curry (massaman), rice noodles in fish curry sauce (khanom jeen) and chicken birayani.
As for Ko Lanta, reasonably priced and tasty seafood is obviously what most tourists long for when visiting a coastal province like Krabi. In this connection, the wing shell (หอยชักตีน) is Krabi's famous cuisine. It is eaten with a spicy dip. In addition, stir fried spotted babylon (หอยหวาน), which is found in mangrove forests, with chilies and basil is also famous. This cuisine is common in Ko Lanta's restaurants. The Ko Lanta beach areas have several restaurants with the "catch of the day" displayed on ice outside. One can find all kinds of fish: juicy crabs and langoustines; shellfish, including giant oysters; as well as squid and lobsters.
- Abdul's Pancakes is a crêpe stall run from a motorcycle sidecar. You can most often find him in Moo 1, Saladan, opposite Lanta Diver when the dive boats come back (around 15:00). His chocolate and banana crêpe and his chicken crêpe are especially tasty.
- Baan Laanta Bay View Restaurant (in Kantiang Bay) serves great fresh seafood BBQ. Enormous tiger prawns, fresh squid, snappers galore. All fish & seafood is caught fresh, locally each day, and cooked in any style you like, served with baked potatoes and a free salad bar (with the best dressings you can imagine). The regular menu is also good, with stir frys and curries at 100 baht, only a little more than the 70-80 baht you'd pay on the road. The juices are small, though. The view out over Kantiang Bay is beautiful and you can request a table on the beach if you like. Aqua Bar, the in-house cocktail bar, serves what may be the freshest and most adventurous cocktails on the island, including mango daiquiris and fresh lime margaritas.
- Cook Kai is just across the street from Klong Nin Beach. Wholly built of wood and beautifully decorated, it offers a spacious open dining area and bar. The restaurant, run by the cook and his brothers and sisters, serves bland Thai food at 140 baht for curries and soups.
- Drunken Sailors Coffee Shop, 116 Moo 5, Kantiang Bay, Ko Lanta Yai, Krabi 81150 (on the main road 100 m north of 7-Eleven), ☎ +66 75 665076. 8:30-21:00. Aspires to be nothing more than a laid-back café, but the rave reviews just keep coming. Serving a diverse menu of Western classics such as pasta and burgers as well as Thai dishes and unique fusion creations, this jazzy octagonal pad has become the centre of social life in Kantiang Bay. Locals and tourists alike spend all day chilling in the café’s beanbags and hammocks. Add to the mix the huge selection of real ground espresso drinks and fresh fruit shakes and you can see why it's so popular.
- Kampong, 80 Moo 5, Kantiang Bay, Ko Lanta Yai (on the main road 100 m uphill from 7-Eleven and opposite Drunken Sailors), ☎ +66 89 9085977. 09:00-21:00. Southern Thai restaurant with the best "juices" in town, for size, taste and price. "Juices" are always actually blended, but Kampong gives you a good amount of fruit. 40 baht for most juices, 60 baht for the Kampong juice (nice combo). Breakfast. Also has a travel agent and some simple rooms (300 baht in off season).
- Mary Ann's Bar & Restaurant, Moo 1 Saladan (Near 7-Eleven in Saladan). Fun place to start the evening. Good food and a lively place in the evening (make sure you get a chat with Aiden, if you want to know more about nightlife on Ko Lanta)
- Rio's Kitchen (Kantaiang Bay), ☎ +66 90 6611880, e-mail: RiosKitchenKohLanta@gmail.com. Serving up burritos and quesadillas made with homemade tortillas. Has great daily specials as well as delicious grilled and fresh whole wheat sandwiches using imported cheeses. Vegan and vegetarian friendly, everything is made fresh from scratch. Rio's Kitchen only delivers. Free delivery to Kantiang Bay, delivery available to other locations for a fee. Ring for delivery, the menu is available by emailing.
- River Restaurant is a friendly family operation located on the beach just south of Narima Resort. They have a delicious menu: lots of Thai dishes and a few Western ones as well. The pad Thai is excellent. It is very popular with families and the owner's children often play with tourist kids.
- Spices and Herbs, Moo 5, Kantiang Bay, Ko Lanta Yai (on the main road a few metres uphill from 7-Eleven (almost opposite)). 09:00-21:00. Excellent food at a modest price (80 baht for a standard dish). Includes Western options like hamburgers, pizza and pasta. Also offers cooking classes, or 100 baht extra to help cook your meal.
- Sunset Restaurant is a very small restaurant on Klong Dao beach close to D.R. Lanta Resort beside Mooks bar. The Thai food is arguably the best on Klong Dao Beach and cheap too. Real Thai-style eating with the tables directly on the sand and no decorations at all but a nice view and cool breeze from the sea.
- Thai Cuisine is a long-established favourite. It is in Phra Ae just south of the Opium night club. The menu features a wide selection of wonderful Thai dishes and Chinese as well. The "special" spring roll is excellent. There is bar service and a small artisan boutique. Say hello to the chef/owner, Somkuan. He's a great guy.
- Time for Lime Restaurant, Bar, Bungalows, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. open all year. Well-known professional Thai and fusion cooking school, it also has a beach and tree-top restaurant where you can relish the sunset and breeze while peeking at what the cooking “students” are creating down below. More and more people are checking out the great food, atmosphere and mojitos. They offer a filling 6-course tasting menu for 495 baht, year-round. Personal and friendly place with 8 cosy fan-cooled bungalows. Free Wi-Fi. You will love the food and you must love dogs also, as the Norwegian owner is the organiser of Lanta Animal Welfare. Bungalows from 750 baht.
There's not much in the way of party nightlife, which, for many, is part of Ko Lanta's appeal. But there is always something going on if you ask around. There are a few restaurant/bars at the harbour, beaches and most hotels. Since it is a small island free of crime and drunkards, the local police are lenient about allowing bars to stay open until the last customer goes home.
- Charlee Barleys - A friendly bar/restaurant/bungalow in the centre of Klong Nin Beach. This is a great place to meet other mellow travellers from every demographic. Relaxed sunset Happy Hours every night. Sometimes live-music from international guests.
- Irie Bar, north Phrae Ae Beach (on the main road, beach side as you enter Phrae Ae from Klong Dao, next to Mr. Green Restaurant and Chill House). Local guy named Arms plays here with his band "Lantana".
- Korner Bar, Long Beach (south end of Long Beach, before Relax Bay). Bar on the beach/rocks that often has cheap drink offers on and sometimes guest DJs. Nice atmosphere and open late - axe pillow seating outside and covered seating inside.
- Layana Resort & Spa-Tides Restaurant, 272 Moo 3 Saladan. 11:30 to 18::00, Dinner-19:00-22:30. This is an upmarket resort in Ko Lanta. The restaurant setting is beach front and beautiful. The staff are friendly and attentive but not intrusive. Delicious menu and good wine list. Although more expensive than other eateries, it still is not that expensive compared to Australian prices and the food is divine.
- Mooks bar - on Klong Dao beach between Sun Fun & Sea Bungalows and Han's Beach Restaurant and a good spot to relaxing with a drink on the beach, listen to some reggae, and maybe watch sports on TV. Mook himself is a person worth meeting.
- Ting Tong Bar / Klong Khong Bay Bungalows, 24 Moo 2, Klong Khong Beach (south end of Klong Khong Beach. Coming from the main road, turn right after the gasoline station after 7-Eleven). Are you ting tong enough?! (;
- Where Else / Feeling Bar. Indian & Thai food, in a clean, friendly, quiet, and above all relaxed atmosphere.
- Drunken Tailors, Kantiang Bay (behind the Drunken Sailors Coffee shop). 10:00-21:00. A colourfully funky collection of men's and women's clothing and jewelry with an emphasis on unique, hand-made items. Great location to shop for vibrant lady's evening wear as well as one-of-a-kind gifts for folks back home.
- Hammock House, 35 Moo 2, Lanta Old Town, Ko Lanta Yai, ☎ +66 75 697098, e-mail: email@example.com. Unique hammocks. Handwoven in Thailand by the Mlabri tribe. Largest selection of quality hammocks on the island.
- A Little Handmade Shop, 2 Moo 5, BaKantiang Village, Ko Lanta Yai (100 m past 7-Eleven), ☎ +66 84 9489688, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. All about handmade inspiration, creating original items for you and your home. Goods such as clothing, toys, ceramics, jewellery, and art.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Ko Lanta on Wikivoyage.