Ko Lanta – Thailand’s Unknown Island
Have you ever wanted to visit the beautiful country of Thailand but were put off by the many tourists? Thailand is a popular travel destination, but visiting in the off-season as well as staying in locations that are off the tourist-radar can help you avoid this issue. One such place is the island of Ko Lanta, which lies off the west coast of Thailand. Keep reading to learn more about this island and its many opportunities.
What makes Ko Lanta special?
While Ko Lanta is one of Thailand’s less frequented islands, its tourist infrastructure is excellent, allowing visitors to easily navigate the island. Breathtaking beaches and excursions to neighboring islands make the island a wonderful place to spend a vacation!
Ko Lanta’s Natural Scenery
The beautiful natural landscape of the island is one of many compelling reasons to add Ko Lanta to your bucket list. Be it the island’s tropical jungle or the imposing mountains, the scenery will never cease to amaze you. And just wait until you have experienced one of the gorgeous sunsets – so exquisite it is like something out of a fairy tale!
The Local Population
There are significant differences between the people of Ko Lanta and those in the rest of Thailand. Buddhism is the main religion in the country; however, this is not the case in Ko Lanta. This is because a large portion of the island’s population are fishermen from Malaysia ─ which borders Thailand in the south. These individuals brought the Muslim religion to the island, meaning that mosques characterize Ko Lanta’s religious landscape as opposed to Buddhist temples. However, Islamic beliefs and traditions are not as strictly held on the island. While the residents often avoid pork dishes, it is relatively common to celebrate and hang out in bars ─ something that is typically avoided in the Muslim religion. Something else to note is that the principles of Islam strongly encourage hospitality, which is frequently exhibited by the locals who are more than willing to assist travelers in any way they may need help.
Getting to Ko Lanta
Fortunately, Ko Lanta is quite well-connected within Thailand’s infrastructure. This means that travelers don’t have to spend an exorbitant amount of time travelling to reach the island. The simplest way is to catch a bus from Krabi, which takes travelers from the mainland to the island via a ferry.
Alternatively, you can take a plane to Ko Lanta. Several Thai cities, including Bangkok, offer flights to the island. Air Asia and Scoot also offer relatively cheap flights from abroad, for example, from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.
The final option is to reach Ko Lanta by ferry from one of the nearby islands. It is important to note that this is only possible at certain times of the year, seeing as ferries only operate here during the dry season. During monsoon season, you will have to find an alternate means of transportation between the islands.
When is the Best Time to Travel?
The Dry Season
Most tourists visit Ko Lanta during the dry season between November and March. In these months the weather is typically pleasant and warm with little to no rain. If you are looking for the ideal beach vacation, this is the optimal time to visit Ko Lanta. During this time, the sea is wonderfully calm. Once you have taken your first swim in the warm water or have taken a dive to explore the underwater world the trip will already be worth it!
Furthermore, this period is especially ideal if you are looking to visit some of the neighboring islands. For safety reasons, ferries do not run during the rainy season, making it difficult to find transport between the various islands. However, because dry season is the prime travel season, accommodations are significantly more expensive at this time. Particularly over the Christmas holidays prices for guesthouses increase drastically.
Are you traveling on a budget? Then consider visiting Ko Lanta during the rainy season between May and September. While this does mean that activities on the island are somewhat limited, accommodation is up to fifty percent cheaper than during the months of the dry season!
And just because it is rainy season doesn’t mean it’s raining constantly. While the rains are more frequent during monsoon season, there are some weeks without a single drop of rain. While it is also true that it can rain for several days on end, we have found that sometimes it only rains at night, meaning that you are able to escape the rain entirely!
During the rainy season, the beaches are also much emptier, and the sea is noticeably rougher. Unfortunately, this does mean that the sea is less suitable for swimming and diving. The beach is also not likely to appear quite as paradisiacal, seeing as the rough waves often washes up rubbish onto the beach.
Between Dry and Rainy Season
April and October are ideal times for a trip to Ko Lanta. During these months, visitors have almost all the advantages of the dry season but will still enjoy the low prices of the rainy season. The only downside is that the transition from dry to rainy often results in higher temperatures on this southern Thai island.
What to Do on Ko Lanta
Looking to find the perfect spot to sprawl in the sun for a gorgeous tan? Long Beach ─ the longest beach on Ko Lanta, located on the north of the island ─ is the perfect place for your tropical-sandy get away! The sand is of a stunning golden color, and, during the dry season, the water is warm and completely transparent! Swimming or diving is the experience of a lifetime, and your friends and family back home will marvel at the dazzling photos of the sunset on Long Beach.
If you have always dreamed of having the ocean right outside your door, we recommend booking a guest house right by the water. Here, numerous tourist accommodations and restaurants line the beach.
Further south on Long Beach are some smaller but beautiful bays. Relax Bay and Secret Beach steal each visitors’ breath.
Ko Lanta’s Southern Beaches
The beaches in the south of Ko Lanta are rather impressive. We particularly enjoy the coastal strips of Bamboo Bay, Waterfall Bay, and Kantian Bay. The southern side also has several locations that are ideal for hiking tours through the picturesque landscape. However, our favorite hiking trail is the path to Waterfall Bay.
Ko Lanta National Park
Ko Lanta National Park also offers some wonderful hiking tours. The lighthouse and the wide beaches, in particular, are very popular destinations among tourists. The entrance fee to the national park is 200 baht, or $5.53.
However, you should be aware that there are monkeys in the park that are known to steal objects, especially edible things, from the pockets of unsuspecting travelers. For your own safety, you should consider getting a rabies vaccine before travelling to Thailand. If you are not vaccinated and get scratched or bitten by an animal, see a doctor immediately!
Ko Lanta’s Historic City
The “historic city” of Ko Lanta may resemble a small village, but its historic title is fitting. The old town is located on the east coast of Ko Lanta. This idyllic settlement enchants its visitors with bamboo huts, wooden houses, and a breathtaking view of the crystal-clear sea. There are also some restaurants and souvenir shops in town ─ the perfect stop to relax after long and exhausting excursions on Ko Lanta.
While Ko Lanta is a relatively unknown destination, it still offers excellent opportunities for tourists looking to experience Thailand. The island is extremely versatile: explore Ko Lanta National Park, enjoy an unforgettable adventure in the jungle, or just relax on the beach. One thing is for sure – you will have a magical time on Ko Lanta.