Ko Lanta is one of the biggest islands of Thailand situated in the south of Thailand. It is famous for beautiful beaches along its west side. Here is a complete Ko Lanta Travel Guide.
How to Reach Ko Lanta:
Ko Lanta is accessible from a lot of places like Krabi, Trang, Phuket, Phi Phi island using many modes of transportation like waterways or road ways. Below is a description of how to reach Ko Lanta from various place.
Krabi to Ko Lanta:
Krabi is one of the nearest airports to Ko Lanta. There are two ways to reach Ko Lanta from Krabi.
- Roadways or,
- By ferry
Reaching Ko Lanta from Krabi by Roadways:
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). The minivan ride takes around 3-4 hours to Ko Lanta as it also picks up and drops off people on the way.
If you get a bus from the Krabi airport to Ko Lanta then it should cost you more than 350 Baht. Alternatively, if you are taking a bus from the Krabi bus stand, it should not cost you more than 250 Baht to Ko Lanta. But the bus ride will be really long.
From Krabi to Ko Lanta by boat ferry:
If you want to come to Ko Lanta by boat from Krabi, you will have to take a bus or a minivan to the main pier in Krabi. The pier is called as Klong Jirad Pier. It is situated at the edge of the town to avoid the traffic. From the airport, it takes around half an hour to arrive on the pier.
One ticket from Airport to Krabi pier would cost you around 50 Baht to 100 Baht depending upon the transport type. The ferry can directly be booked at the airport itself. You can either book a regular ferry or a speed boat for the express transfer.
Tickets can also be booked online or bought at the airport itself. The ferry from Krabi to Ko Lanta takes around 2 hours and you get down at the Saladan pier which is situated at the Northern most point of the island. Most of the hotel guys offer a free pickup at the Saladan pier since the Ko Lanta island is very large in area.
Reaching Ko Lanta from Phi Phi Islands:
Boat takes around 1.5 hours from Phi Phi island to Ko Lanta. It costs on the average 300 Baht. There is a limited connectivity from Phi Phi island to Ko Lanta in terms of boats & ferry. Please make sure one day in advance that you book your ferry beforehand. During high season, ferry might not be available.
Also read: Phi Phi Island Travel Guide
About Ko Lanta:
Ko Lanta is a large island. It is around 30 Kms in length and 6 Kms in width. There are a total of 9 beaches that lie from North to South. Since these beaches lie on the western coast, most of these beaches are famous for the sunset views. Here is the list of beaches with their orientation from North to South:
- Kor Kwang beach
- Klong Dao beach
- Pra Ae or Long Beach
- Relax Beach – Pra Ae beach
- Klong Khong beach
- Klong Nin beach
- Kantiang Bay
- Ao Nui (Nui Bay)
- Bamboo Bay
More About these beaches can be read here: http://wikitravel.org/en/Ko_Lanta#Beaches
What to do in Ko Lanta?
Like other islands of Thailand such as Ko Phi Phi, Ko Samui, Ko Tao etc, Ko Lanta is not filled with so younger crowd. Here mostly people come to relax, watch sunset etc. There would not be so much of fun or party. Although, in the town, you can find such places.
Some of the activities that you can do on the island are boating, trekking, snorkeling, diving, Kayaking, fishing etc. More about it can be found here: http://wikitravel.org/en/Ko_Lanta#Do
Ko Lanta Snorkeling Tour:
Snorkeling tour around Ko Lanta is famous among the tourists. It is claimed that in the far islands you can even see sharks & sea turtles besides some of the amazing natural creations. The snorkeling tour is organized on the long-tail boat. It takes almost an entire day.
If you are in a group of a few people say five or more, you can hire an entire long tail boat. The snorkeling tour will usually start around ten in the morning and you will return by four in the evening. The price includes lunch, snacks, and national park fee.
The advantage of hiring a longtail boat is that it will be more kind of a personalized tour for all. There are four famous islands situated south to the Ko Lanta.
- Ko Ngai called as Ko Hai island
- Ko Muk island
- Ko Kradan island and,
- Ko Ruk island
However, Since Ko Ruk lies far away, there are generally two types of packages for the island trips from Ko Lanta:
- One without Ko Ruk island and,
- Another included Ko Ruk island
It is said that Ko Ruk island is really beautiful and you can see a variety of marine life over there. I do not know how much truth it holds. We did one-day island trip of which included three islands which included all the islands except Ko Ruk.
Ko Kradan island:
Ko Kradan would probably will be your first island that you visit on the island tour. There is a snorkeling place. Though shallow but that was interesting. There was tall white grass-like structure inside the sea. Also, there were some thorny animals.
Ko Muk island:
Ko Muk will be the next destination after Ko Kradan. Ko Muk is famous for the Tham Morakot or Emerald cave or Morakot cave. This cave is a part of the reserve forest. There is a cave of around 100 feet in length. Beyond the cave is an attractive, small, completely enclosed beach formed by a sinkhole.
The Emerald cave is only accessible during the low tide. Carrying a source of light is necessary. You will usually be given the life jacket by the tour guide itself. I would advice you to wear the life jacket because the current will be high and it will be dark inside the cave as well.
Once you swim across the cave, you will reach to a point where the cave opens up into an enclosed beach. You can relax there. As the name suggests, the water color is really emerald over there. Once we came out of the cave, we were served pineapple and watermelon. If you want to make the pineapple tasty, you can just dip that into the seawater and eat that.
Ko Ngai island:
Ko Ngai will be the last island where you will take a break and stop for lunch. Ko Ngai is famous for shallow beaches. The beaches are long and filled with white sand. You can walk on the beach for long hours. The water on the Ko Ngai beach is close to transparent and very shallow for tens of meters. You can really walk for almost tens of feet into the water on the beach and it will mostly be knee deep to a long extent.
Most of the long tail boat serve lunch on Ko Ngai. The lunch would mostly compromise of authentic styles Thai Dishes. While retuning, the weather might turn ugly. It started raining while we were returning. The waves will be higher but the journey was enjoyable.
Where to Stay in Ko Lanta?
Ko Lanta has a series of beaches extending from North to South. I would advice you to stay towards the southern part of the island. Most of the stays will have laundry services, motorbike renting shops nearby, Usually when you board a ferry to Koh Lanta, there will be people from different hotels or stays trying to convince you to take their stays.
There are a plenty of options. Enquire about the stay location and nearby area. The one where we stayed had a free pool table, bar, and even we used their deep freezer to chill our beer super quick. The pool service was free. The beach was also not so far. Watching the sunset was one of our favorite hobbies. When you encounter such guys trying to sell their services enquire about everything. And similarily, you can keep on bargaining.
Best Beaches to stay in Ko Lanta:
Below are some of the best beaches which I have listed out for a memorable stay:
Usually, the first few beaches like Klong Dao beach, Long Beach, and Klong Khong beaches will be crowded in high season. But they also have some of the best bungalows. New ones have also been coming in the southern part of Ko Lanta.
The most preferred stay should be at Nui beach, Kantiang bay, and Nui Bay beach. These are the perfect locations because they are neither too far from the pier and neither they are too far from the Southern part enclosed within reserve forest.
Towards the southern Part of the Ko Lanta island, there are some bay formation, a kind of depressions into the island which makes beautiful beaches. There are also some sunset viewpoints nearby. These locations are, moreover, perfect because you can go for night shopping, drive to the southern part of the island towards lighthouse etc.
Things to do in Ko Lanta:
- Take a long tail boat tour to the four islands
- Watch the sunset from light house in Ko Lanta National park
- Spend another evening at Noon Sunset Viewpoint
- Go to Tiger Cave
- Take Elephant Safari
- Do Kayaking in the mangroves
- Go for Trekking
- Visit Khlong Chak Waterfall
- Visit Old Ko Lanta town