We didn’t stay that long in the beautiful island of Koh Lanta, only a week or so, and didn’t explore that much as we mostly just wanted to go to the beach and chill.
It’s a beautiful and very chilled out island, which is not to say it doesn’t have it’s share of tourists – it does – but still in tolerable amounts – or that it doesn’t have much of a party scene – it has loads of wonderful bars by the beach with everything from live music to body paint parties.
Here’s a short guide to some of the things you can do.
There are wonderful beaches in the whole west coast of the island. From the popular North, with long stretches of sand, loads of hotels and restaurants (and therefore more touristy) to the beautiful, more exclusive South (and therefore slightly more expensive accommodation), Koh Lanta has something for everyone.
Khlong Khong beach
This was the beach we stayed at and it turned out to be our favourite.
It’s a long stretch of sand with loads of cute beach restaurants and bars, and proper chilled environment. Despite having most of the islands ‘party bars’ it’s still a very family-friendly place. The stretch of sand is so long that you don’t have to be in a crowded space (unless you really want to).
It’s lovely at night when all the bars and restaurants turn their lights and lantern on, and there’s music everywhere (not too loud, don’t worry, you’ll be able to have a sound sleep, I promise).
Here’s also home to the islands’ famous ‘Freedom bar’.
Klong Jark beach
A small bay, but not any less beautiful. In fact it’s one of the most beautiful locations on the island, absolutely worth checking out. It’s a great spot for sunbathing and for swimming too. The sea is pretty much a swimming pool here.
It’s also close to the Klong Chak waterfall, so why not check the waterfalls first and then come here for a much deserved rest?
Bamboo bay/ bamboo beach
If Klong Jark is one of the most beautiful, Bamboo bay is probably the most beautiful (scenic wise). This is a must see, for sure. Rent a car/ motorcycle* from wherever you are and drive here for the day. Make sure to stop at the viewing point before actually going down to the beach.
*tip: please know that some roads to the beach are not really accessible by car and are very steep slopes, so watch out on the motorcycle too…
Kantiang bay and Nui bay beach
Also in the South, these are smaller, harder to reach, but nevertheless beautiful beaches
The more popular ones
Klong Dao beach, Long beach (Phra Ae), and Klong Nin beach are the most popular beaches on the island. These are the longer stretches of sand and are also the ones with more accommodation choices, restaurants and shops around. They are beautiful but slightly more crowded (and from my perspective not nearly as impressive).
GO CHASING WATERFALLS (& NATURE)
Khlong Chak waterfalls
Also in the south of the island you’ll find the Khlong Chak trek and waterfalls. While the waterfalls itself aren’t the most spectacular I’ve seen yet, the trek there is fabulous. You’ll basically be hiking through a little piece of rainforest, with great caves and places to explore. In some bits of the path you have to hold on to ropes and skip over little stones to cross the river… it feels like a proper adventure. We loved it. But please notice, it’s a moderate trek in terms of difficulty (particularly if it rained the days before), so wear proper hiking shoes/boots. (Alternatively you can just wear flip flops and do the whole thing by walking in the river).
Koh Lanta National Park and Tanod Cape beach
Located at the very bottom of the island (South) is the headquarters of the national park. Here you’ll find a beautiful sandy beach, a lighthouse and a nature trail. Much to my regret we didn’t get to go (park fees were a bit expensive and we’d already spent loads of money on other trips).
The beach is meant to be extremely beautiful, albeit not that great for swimming. But hey, if you’re around (and haven’t spent all your money in Padthais, like we did) go for it! (And show me the pics please!)
From Koh lanta you can book a day trip to visit other nearby islands, go snorkelling, or even go to the Phi Phi islands for the day.
Koh Rok and Koh Ha
We chose to take a day trip to Koh Rok (also part of the National park) and Koh Ha. While Rok is known for its powdery white sands and crystal clear waters, Ko Ha is known for being scuba divers paradise (and only recently opened to snorkelling too).
Unfortunately when we visited the weather wasn’t very good, the sea was a bit choppy and we couldn’t do all the snorkelling spots we were meant to.
While we could see the beauty of Ko Rok, there wasn’t’ that much powdery sand due to the choppy sea. We did see a few monitor lizards and that was pretty cool.
All in all we had a great day, and would totally advise you to do it, but maybe check the weather forecast before booking.
Four islands tour
You can also book a day trip to visit four nearby islands. Usually it includes Ko Mook, Ko Chueak and Ko Waen, Koh Kraden and Koh Ngai in one trip. It sounds pretty cool, and not only you’ll have the chance to snorkel, you’ll also visit caves (the emerald cave), hidden lagoons and more. I was penniless and couldn’t afford any more tours, but was really sorry I didn’t get to do this one. Especially the Kayak one, as it’s less crowded than a boat (and sounds more fun!)
The only thing I find with these tours is that you never really get that much time to explore the little islands or just relax on the beach as they say.
SHOPPING IN OLD TOWN
On the East side of the island you’ll find a charming little town by the sea, with traditional wooden houses, markets and shops. It’s a little fishing village with a peaceful atmosphere.
A friend of mine and I thought it felt like the old west, you know, a cowboys’ town.
Anyway, it has loads of pretty cool restaurants and it’s ideal to find the perfect souvenir.
(Here’s £15 off on Booking.com when you use this link to book your stay)