A southern slender island, Koh Lanta (Yai) used to be a hotspot for backpackers in Thailand, alongside travelling magnets such as Koh Phi Phi and Koh Phangan. An increase in its popularity with all different types of holidaymakers has led to a substantial amount of development, but remarkably this has not changed the overall character of the island.
The district actually consists of several islands including Koh Lanta Yai (or the big islands), which is where accommodation is situated. Life here is sleepy and proceeds at its own relaxed island pace among the predominantly Muslim inhabitants. It has managed to maintain an admirably laidback and ‘undiscovered’ vibe, though with the advantages of a reasonably well-developed tourist scene. It’s a great place, in our books, for grown-up backpackers with families and those seeking peace and quiet in a beautiful location.
Koh Lanta’s beaches are wide and attractive, with great snorkelling opportunities nearby, laidback bars and restaurants as well as dive schools aplenty. The luxury resorts have blended in discreetly, so well that you really have to search for them! Koh Lanta is a family-friend location, with villages to explore on the east coast and broad beaches on the west. If you’re feeling active, you can cycle or kayak around the island.
Getting to Koh Lanta is made easier by the car ferry connecting it with the mainland, and you can get to the island within two hours from Krabi airport. It is also possible to transfer by ferry from Ao Nang, Phuket, Phi Phi and nearby Koh Ngai. The island largely goes into ‘sleep mode’ during the wet season - May through to October - though there are great deals to be had during this time. For those looking to get away from it all, the hour or two of heavy rain per day on average may not put you off. Speak to our Thailand experts to discuss the best options for your stay on Koh Lanta.