Krabi’s beach buddy, Koh Lanta, was the only deserted beach I made it to in Thailand. I only wish I would have gone there last, so I would have appreciated it more! With stunning views along the Andaman coast, the almost empty guesthouse we chose was perfect to relax and recharge. Had I known what was in store on the other more crowded islands, I would have stayed here a little longer.
Where I stayed
We stayed at Lanta New Coconut, which was beautiful. Whenever you read a guidebook about Thailand it says under the budget rooms quotes like, “not much to the place, but cheap!” or “pretty simple, but didn’t cost much!” It’s so ridiculous, because these places are gorgeous! Yes, the roof is made from leaves, but that’s the beauty of staying in these beach huts. I love my luxuries, but I will always want to stay in a private room like this than a hotel, and definitely not a hostel! Our huts were right on the beach, lined up, and surrounded by gorgeous flora. The place had a swimming pool with lawn chairs, wi-fi, little kitchen and overpriced shop, and nice owners. The showers were cold like every other beach hut, but we did have A/C. This one cost me 8 USD/night.
We booked an overnight bus on Khaosan Road, where we stayed in Bangkok, for 800 baht to Surat Thani. We had to drive across southern Thailand to Krabi’s Khlong Chilat pier, where we caught our 1.5 hour ferry on to Koh Lanta. We ended up paying another 300 to complete the trip. You can go straight from Bangkok to Krabi, but that was booked for us at the time. It is possible to go on to over-hyped Koh Phi Phi from Koh Lanta, which is what we did at the end of our stay on the island.
Partying & Food on Koh Lanta
Our guesthouse was just down a path from the main road. We got lunches and dinner at a local Thai place up the street. There was an art gallery nearby and a 7-11 as there always is. The island offers a Marine National park, but we chose to read by the beach and recover from our Bangkok nights. The hotel offered “The Four Islands Boat Tour” around the island to caves, but we were informed by another group that is was uneventful so we decided to save that money for future excursions.
We had one non-thai dinner at the Greek Taverna. As far as Greek food goes, it wasn’t amazing, but if you’re looking for a break from the same food every day, it’s good enough to go for lunch and get a gyro.
Partying on Koh Lanta was pretty dead while we were there. The island isn’t walkable, it’s the largest of 15 islands in the krabi area) so you have to get tuk tuks, which don’t run as late here as other places. The main party spot is Phra Ae/Long Beach to Galaxy Bar, Funky Monkey, Opium Bar, and Ozone Bar. We were in a pretty chill mood while on the island and instead of searching out for buckets, we went to a nearby beach bar.
We obviously still ended up drinking buckets. This island is known for being more laid-back and also doesn’t have the sex tourism scene that you’ll see elsewhere. It surprised me how many Thai are Muslim, and Koh Lanta was the place in Thailand I saw more Islamic culture in dress, and people speaking arabic.
early in the day, while the tide is in, you still can’t hardly swim because the rocks are right under
While the water had these hidden we tried to swim out and got scraped up! ouch!
Tips for Koh Lanta
Rent a scooter! Be braver than me! The land is very hilly in some areas, but the roads are wide and paved, the perfect place to learn. Always remember to take time-stamped photos of the bike before and let the renter know of any previous scratches so you don’t get scammed.
The hospital on the island is not equipped for emergencies, so don’t go overdosing on drugs or anything else stupid!
The west coast is where most tourists stay, on the beach, but the east coast is the lush location of Old Town
If you do take the Four Islands Tour, make sure you include snorkling the Emerald Cave, I’ve heard from other travelers it’s the real deal, and a shame I missed it.
November to April is High Season here (no rain). I went in September, so that’s why it was so quiet, luckily the rains were pretty much over.
Sea gypsies have lived on Koh Lanta for hundreds of years, having come from Indonesia, and they should not be seen as a tourist attraction.
If you’re on a super tight time frame and are interested in partying, skipping Koh Lanta might work for you.
Did you go to Koh lanta? Was it a relaxed break for you as well?
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Rachel Jones is an American who left a career in nursing to live on the beaches on Goa, India two years ago where she is now a Thai masseuse, candle-maker, and travel writer. Her award winning website gives advice on the other 28 countries she's been to but has become the go-to site on India travel, focusing on off beat places & “glamorous travel”. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE magazine & was voted by Flipkey as one of the top 25 female bloggers to follow this year. You can follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google plus.