Koh Lanta consists of two adjacent islands: Koh Lanta Yai and Koh Lanta Noi.
Koh Lanta Yai, This island is home to "Chao Le" or sea gypsies who continue to maintain their traditional lifestyle and beliefs, such as setting a boat a drift to drive out evil and bring good luck, which is practiced during the full moon in June and November. In addition, the island provides tourist facilities while Ko Lanta Noi is the location of the district office.
There are nine beautiful beaches running on the west coast side of Ko Lanta, running from north to south for 25 kilometers. The north end of the island, where you find Klong Dao and Phra Ae Beach is the more developed, with the most resorts and services available (although even in the busiest time of the year these beaches are never crowded).
The farther you get south, heading towards the National Park at the end, the beaches become more secluded and are most often empty. There are pockets of basic services - ATM, travel and tour offices -- available in each beach area, but it is generally less developed the farther down the island you get. Ban Saladan, the tourist service center of Koh Lanta, is where you'll most likely arrive on the island, and where you'll find a choice banks, medical center, dive shops and shopping.
Lanta Old Town, across the island on the southeast corner of the island, is where the police station, post office and limited services are available.
For the most part all the beaches on Koh Lanta have white sand and are great for swimming. There is limited snorkeling from the shore at the south end of Phra Ae Beach and at Ao Mai Pai Bay but your best to book a day trip to snorkel at nearby islands.
Koh Lanta Beaches
Ban Saladan, the tourist center of Ko Lanta, is approximately 3 kms from Klong Dao Beach. Facilities include inexpensive and easy to find transport, diving trips, banking and shopping. Klong Dao Beach is the first beach from Ban Saladan heading south. It's an ideal location to start from, if you plan to explore the island.
Klong Dao Beach
Klong Dao Beach is Ko Lanta's most popular white sand beach with the island's highest concentration of resorts and hotels. It's located at the northern most end of island so it's the closest beach to Ban Saladan, the main tourist center. This spectacular 3 km stretch of white powder sand was the first beach on the island to welcome tourists. Its calm waters make it especially safe and enjoyable for children. The beach is famous across Thailand for technicolor sunsets that light the sky every night. Even in high season (November to April), this huge beach never gets crowded, and a short walk will find you a patch without neighbors. Here you will find the best choice of restaurants and bars, and service closest to western or international standards.
Phra Ae Village
Phra Ae Village is the second beach area from Ban Saladan heading south, between Klong Dao Beach and Klong Khong Beach. It's another ideal location if to start from, if you plan to explore the island.
Phra Ae Beach (Long Beach)
Considered by many to be one of the best beaches in all of Thailand, Long Beach is virtually uninhabited even during peak season. Its 3 km length always assures a private stretch of white sand for everyone.
Klong Kong Beach
A little further south after Long Beach, is Klong Kong Beach, another three-kilometer stretch of sand with palm trees and a collection of small resorts. Bungalow prices here are lower than the northern beaches, with a number of small, family-owned and operated establishments of great charm.
Klong Tob Beach
Klong Tob is the next stop, heading south down the island. The beach is very quite and perfect for those seeking escape.
Klong Nin Beach
Klong Nin Beach is a wonderful stretch of white sand with many small family-run resorts. The beach keeps getting more popular as European families discover the virtues of one of Lanta's best beaches and return to the same bungalow every year.
Klong Hin Beach
A few kilometers further south, at the small but beautiful Klong Hin Beach you'll find great swimming and a few small resorts with a secluded feel.
Kan Tiang Beach
Kan Tiang Beach is a spectacular stretch of white sand with clear waters and excellent swimming. There are only a handful of small resorts on this island, who share this amazing beach with the exclusive, 5-star Pimalai Resort and Spa.
Nui Beach is a secluded (mostly deserted) beach that will take some asking to find - but well worth the adventure. Enjoy the popular 'waterfall' walk near Klong Jark Beach, a few kilometers before Ko Lanta's most southern resort beach, Ao Mai Pai, or Bamboo Bay.
Ko Lanta Diving
Koh Lanta's rich waters offer sandy coves, coral reefs, limestone rock outcrops, rock reefs, seamounts and pinnacles, undersea caverns and tunnels and sunken ships. Kolanta water temperature ranges from 27 to 31 degrees - ideal for divers, coral and tropical fish. More than 200 hard corals and 108 reef fish have been catalogues in a study under way, but thousands more organisms abound.
Kohlanta's scuba dive centers offer daytrips on well-fitted boats and take you to at least two dive sites every day, including meals on-board. All provide rental equipment at reasonable prices.
Dive trips leave Ko Lanta around 8 am and return between 4 pm and 6 pm depending on sites visited. Many dive sites offer good snorkeling, with friends and family welcome to join trips and snorkel at reduced rates. Speedboat diving is a good option for those wanting to get first to sites and back to beach life quicker.
All centers operate to PADI scuba dive standards and the island has an excellent safety record. It has never been easier or safer to become a scuba diver. New technology has made scuba equipment extremely safe, and modern teaching methods make learning to dive safe and fun.
If you've ever dreamed of exploring the underwater depths why not do it now? Koh Lanta's waters offer you one of the world's best varieties of underwater sights and experiences. A four-day open water dive course includes two days of real diving with instructors and you get an internationally accepted dive certificate. There are a maximum of four people per course. Courses are available in ten languages.
The twin peaks of Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are rated in almost the world top 10 lists of dive sites.Situated just 20 km from Ko Rok, the pinnacles offer steep walls covered with pink, purple & red coral and house an incredible variety of marine life. Being the lone coral outcrop in deep open sea, the site attracts large numbers of pelagics, and very large Jacks, Fusiliers, Tuna and Barracuda can be seen. Schools of Grey Reef Sharks can be curious and will often approach divers for a closer look. The sight has one of the world's highest incidences of whale shark sightings.
Koh Lanta Snorkeling
Kolanta has several world-class snorkeling sites serviced by tour companies located mostly in Ban Saladan. Many dive sites also have good snorkeling and friends and family are welcome to join dive trips and snorkel at reduced rates.
Speedboat snorkeling tours are recommended as the sites are spread out. Trips leave Kohlanta around 8 am and return between 2 and 4 pm and should include equipment, food and pick up and drop off service.
The most famous site is the amazing coral reef of Ko Rok with its famous square kilometer of colored coral. Other packaged trips include a 3-island tour taking in Ko Muk, Ko Cheuk and Ko Ngai. Sites at Ko Kradan and those near Phi Phi Island are also popular. Getting to Ko Lanta is easy for even a first time visitor. Click on the links at the bottom of this page for detailed information, maps, schedules and prices.
Hire a car, rent a bike, or better still go with a local guide. Tours are available (small minibus) giving you an insight into the local area, stopping at rubber plantations, taking a short kayaking tour through the mangroves and visiting local sea gypsy villages.
A traditional symbol of Royal power and an essential feature of Buddhist art and architecture, elephants are part of Thailand. Although not indigenous to Ko Lanta, the island provides a perfect habitat for them and a wonderful way for visitors to view the island. You can find elephant trekking at close to Phra Ae Beach and at Nui Beach.
Daily paddle trips through the fascinating world of the mangrove forest and local caves are available. The mangroves are seen as especially important as due to their biodiversity and ecological significance. Trips are also available to other areas of the province and Phang Nga Bay's limestone seascape.
Every island is different with its own character. Some inhabited, others just provide anchorage for fishing boats. Some are rocky inaccessible outcrops with an exciting undersea world beneath, other islands have beautiful beaches, mountains, waterfalls and mangroves. Take your pick...
Go Island Hopping on a day trip. Going with a snorkeling or dive trip is an excellent way to see some of the islands above and below. If you want to plan a more ambitious itinerary, take the regular ferries that run between Ko Lanta, the mainland and the neighbouring Phi Phi Islands
The fastest way onto Ko Lanta is a direct, private air-conditioned minibus (or private speedboat) once you get to airports in Krabi, Trang and Phuket.
Flights from all over the world will bring you into Thailand usually landing at the Bangkok or Phuket International Airport. If you're flying into Bangkok try to get a connecting flight to Krabi, the closest airport to Ko Lanta. Second choice is Trang and third choice is Phuket.
Your journey onto Ko Lanta Yai -the larger of the two Lanta islands -will eventually take you through one of Ko Lanta's local transit cities in Krabi, Trang or Phuket depending on your entry point into Thailand.
The most inexpensive way between Ko Lanta, Krabi, Phi Phi Island and Phuket is the public passenger ferry that runs November to May. No ferry service is available from Trang but direct public minibuses leave daily from mid morning through mid afternoon. Public minibus service is also available between Krabi, Phuket and Ko Lanta if you miss the passenger ferry or its low season.
If you're arriving after noon at Krabi Airport you'll be unable to make the last public ferry to Ko Lanta. Your options are then, booking a private shuttle or staying overnight in Krabi town and catching the ferry the next morning.
Once you're in one of these transit cities you'll either arrive on Ko Lanta by the:
Road (across two car ferries) in a private car, pubic or private minibus transport service.
Sea, on a public ferry or private boat.