Koh Lanta refers to an archipelago of around 52 islands in Krabi province, however, most of the islands are undeveloped or exist as marine refuges. Hordes of island-bound tourists seem to skip over Koh Lanta on their way to neighboring Phuket or Koh Phi Phi and miss out on one of Thailand’s best destinations.
Koh Lanta Beaches
There are plenty of beaches scattered around the west side of Koh Lanta, some with little to no development. Here are the three most popular choices:
- Klong Dao: Klong Dao is the busiest beach on Koh Lanta. The close proximity to Ban Saladan provides a wider range of places to eat and three 7-Eleven minimarts with ATMs are within easy walking distance. Better for families, Klong Dao has a long stretch of sand with shallow water. Most accommodation in Klong Dao caters to midrange and higher budget travelers.
- Long Beach: Officially known as Phra Ae, Long Beach is the next major beach south of Klong Dao. Backpackers and budget travelers prefer the quieter atmosphere and cheaper accommodation in Long Beach. Just as the name implies, Long Beach has the longest stretch of clean sand on the island and slopes gently into deep water with little surf. You won’t find a convenient ATM or 7-Eleven on Long Beach, but you will enjoy some of the best swimming in Thailand.
- Klong Khong: South of Long Beach is Klong Khong. While the swimming isn’t as nice as Long Beach, the small bungalow operations are quiet and friendly — the perfect place to escape from other tourists for a while.
Koh Lanta Bungalows
Regardless of what beach you end up visiting on Koh Lanta, fortunately you will not find high-rise hotels. Even upscale resorts are usually a cluster of bungalows set around a pool or nice landscaping.
Koh Lanta has both rustic bamboo bungalows with mosquito nets and modern, concrete bungalows with TV and air conditioning. Most places will offer you a better price – provided that you negotiate – if you agree to stay at least a week or more. Even the simplest of bungalows often come with free, fast Wi-Fi.
Getting Around Koh Lanta
Sidecar motorcycle taxis will move you up and down the main road for around US $2 each way. If you’re comfortable with doing so, rent a motorbike (US $10 high season / US $5 low season) to explore the island. Getting lost on the few roads is nearly impossible and the drive along the undeveloped east side of the island is both scenic and thrilling.
Getting to Koh Lanta, Thailand
Koh Lanta lacks an airport, however, two daily boats connect the island with the mainland at Krabi between November and April. Daily ferries also run between Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, and Ao Nang. During the low season you can still access the island via minivan and two car ferry hops.
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