Koh Lanta is one of the largest islands in Thailand. Sometimes you forget that you’re on an island, until you visit the beaches and enjoy the calm, chill atmosphere. This makes it an ideal island for families and those seeking tranquility. Koh Lanta was one of my last destinations of my Thailand itinerary in 5 weeks.
The island consists of two parts: Koh Lanta Noi (the northern part where the Thai live) and Koh Lanta Yai (the southern part where most tourists stay). There are plenty of fun things to do on the big island. Read all about Koh Lanta and the best activities down below!
Top 5 activities Koh Lanta
1. Rent a motorbike and visit the beaches of Koh Lanta
Practically, there’s one main road on the island that runs from the northernmost to the southernmost tip. This well passable road is paved in many places, but was extended and paved even more when I visited Koh Lanta.
This makes Koh Lanta ideal for driving around on your rented motorbike. It’s the ideal way to visit the many beaches. On the elongated island there are many beaches on the west coast and mangrove forests on the east coast.
And don’t make the same mistake as me and avoid a flat tire by driving your motorbike down a dirt road with large stones to the beach … Oops.
Koh Lanta Beaches
From north to south, these are the beaches of Koh Lanta:
- Klong Dao Beach: two kilometers long beach in the north of the island near the pier with some nice hostels.
- Long Beach: popular swimming beach of over three kilometers long.
- Relax Bay Beach: relatively small beach accessible by a sand path.
- Klong Khong Beach: long beach with many accommodations and bars.
- Klong Nin Beach: over 2 kilometers long beach located in a town.
- Nui Bay Beach: beach hidden in a bay between rocks without accommodations.
- Klong Hin Beach: quiet beach with large rocks in the water.
- Bamboo Bay: quiet beach less than a kilometer long hidden among the trees.
- Mu Ko Lanta National Park: pebble and sandy beach on both sides of the iconic lighthouse.
2. Mu Ko Lanta National Park
The Mu Ko Lanta National Park is definitely worth a visit. From the rock where the iconic lighthouse is located, you can have a great view over the national park and two beaches. On the left is a pebble beach and on the sandy beach on the right it’s quiet where you can relax in the sun or in the shade of the trees.
You can also have a great view from the viewpoint at the level of the nature trail on the right. When you follow the path up from the sandy beach you soon have a nice view of the beach and the lighthouse. You can choose to walk down the path even further (about half an hour) or to walk back down. If you decide to walk down the path you will arrive at the office where you had to buy your entrance ticket. Choose therefore preferably to drop your scooter at that office on arrival and start the nature trail there, or to end there. If all goes well, parking your scooter there is free.
Actually I didn’t find the nature trail after the viewpoint very interesting. Therefore, if you’re not fond of walking, I recommend that you only visit the viewpoint and then relax on the sandy beach. In that case, park your motorbike down in the parking lot.
From the northern tip of the island it’s about an hour by motorbike to the national park. It’s of course good to combine with a relaxed stopover on one of the many beaches.
Entrance to the Mu Ko National Park is 200 Baht per person.
3. Four islands tour
The four islands tour is a very popular and therefore quite a touristy activity from Koh Lanta. But it’s very beautiful and fun to do. You’ll visit four islands (these islands often differ per tour organization) where you go snorkeling, visit the emerald cave and have lunch on an island. While snorkeling I had a pretty good view and saw some very nice fish. Sometimes they feed the fish from the boat while you swim between them and that looks something like this underwater (see photo below, that’s me..).
This tour is available in different forms at various tour organizations. Never pay more than 1000 Baht per person. You can take the tour by speedboat or by longtail boat. If you opt for a longtail boat, just like me, it will be cheaper. Around 700 Baht. After a good search and a little negotiation, I paid 550 Baht.
4. Lanta Animal welfare
Would you like to pet dogs and cats ánd do a good job at the same time? Then visit Lanta Animal Welfare. Neglected, sick and injured animals are taken cared of at the shelter.
Every day you can get a free tour during your visit where you can learn more about the good tasks that Lanta Animal Welfare do. Play and cuddle in Kitty City with 30 friendly cats while you relax in the cafe with a snack and a drink. In the shop you can buy some nice things, from which the proceeds go to taking care of the animals.
You can also lend a hand by walking dogs or helping with other daily chores. If you would like to help even more, you can also register as a volunteer.
Visiting times are between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM.
5. Fitness & Yoga
Would you like to train off some of the Thai curry-kilos? Then you’re at the right place on Koh Lanta! For the real diehards there are quite a few fitness and yoga schools on the island. I didn’t try it because it was just too hot. Yes, let’s blame it on the weather …
Where to stay on Koh Lanta?
Koh Lanta is a really big island, so there are many places to stay. But Koh Lanta is also becoming increasingly touristy. Because there was a lot of asphalting during my visit and buildings were added, it sometimes felt like I was staying in a construction site. Not very nice. But where is it nice to stay?
On the northern part of the island at Klong Dao Beach there are many (cheap) accommodations and cozy hostels. For example, the Hey Beach Hostel with small swimming pool is a very nice place to stay.
On the beach more to the south: Long Beach, there are also nice accommodations. Such as Blanco Hostels At Lanta with a cozy green garden and the Hub of Joys Hostel with very friendly staff and good location. The Metallic Hostel, which also has double rooms, is also recommended because of its pleasant location and its friendly owners.
Also on Klong Khong Beach there are many cheap accommodations and cozy bars. Many backpackers therefore also stay here.
How to get to Koh Lanta
From Krabi: From from both Krabi Town and Ao Nang (Nopparat Thara Pier), you can easily take the ferry to Koh Lanta. Many people fit on the boat and it sails very slowly. This trip takes about 2 hours. Minibuses also depart all day from Ao Nang, Krabi Town and Krabi Airport to the island (via ferry and bridge between Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai. You can read more about Krabi and its top things to do here.
From Koh Phi Phi: Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta are not very far apart. The boat from Koh Phi Phi takes about 1.5 hours.
From Koh Lipe: In high season you will travel from Koh Lipe in about 6 hours by direct speedboat to Koh Lanta. This costs a hefty 1300 Baht. The cheapest option is 900 Baht for the boat-bus-boat combination via the Pak Bara pier. Read more about the sights in Koh Lipe here.