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Koh Lanta consists of a northern and a southern island. The northern, Lanta noi has no beaches and no infrastructure and is covered with a lot of mangrove vegetation. The southern, Lanta yai, however, has very beautiful sandy beaches with a large selection of bungalows and hotels on the west coast. Like pearls, the beaches of Klong Dao, Long Beach (Phra Ae), Klong Khong, Klong Nin, Klong Hin and some other small deserted beach coves in the far south follow the coastline. The main village Ban Saladan at the northern tip of the island has the pier for all the boats to Krabi, Koh Phi Phi. Koh Jum and the Trang islands. In Ban Saladan you can buy food, tickets, souvenirs, exchange and get money or eat in simple, but nice Thai and seafood restaurants. Taxi transportation to all places on the island as well as to the Krabi airport is organised from here.
The beaches of Koh Lanta are quite long, clean and sandy and have great sunsets at the end of many days throughout the year. Big casuarina trees offer shady places and some coconut palms grow to make the place more beautiful. The water at some beaches is very shallow, so they are - particularly at Klong Dao Beach - very well suitable for little children. The Klong Khong Beach is a long, steep slopes with natural growing vegetation, unfortunately, shows many big and edgy rocks in the sea at low tide, what makes swimming difficult and disturb the view. The most beautiful beach is probably the Long Beach (or Phra Ae) with the best sand, lots of beach bars and corresponding beach romance and evening entertainment. The Klong Nin Beach is also beautiful and got lots of good resorts during last years. The northern part of Klong Nin, however, is a bit noisy because of the busy street is passing directly at the beachfront.
The backcountry southern Lanta yai is hilly and mountainous. The mountain range is still covered by tropical rain forest. Elephant trecking is offered at various spots to enter the forests of the national park on the back of the grey and friendly animals. If you are lucky, you can see or hear monkeys, pythons and cobras. The east coast has no beaches and the sea is very shallow, so the Thai people of Lanta grow rice and shrimps here. Another pier at Ban Koh Lanta is located on this side of the island. Its possible to visit the smaller islands, that lay on the eastern shore of Lanta yai. A very small island Koh Booboo has a simple resort to hideaway from everything.
Almost all bungalow resorts offer day trips to several small islands around Lanta or the other nearby islands. Koh Lanta region has the best diving spots in southern Thailand. This, however, only in the winter season from November to April. In the rainy season, Koh Lanta is almost closed down due to heavy rains and the boat transportation is very irregular.
The people of Koh Lanta are almost all Muslims, like in southern Thailand. Accordingly, the daily life is influenced by this religion. Anyone who seeks peace and relaxation, still can find this on Koh Lanta. More and more beach resorts offer wellness and spa programs, and if you enjoy living on the beach from morning till nighttime, having fresh and inexpensive food and entertainment or just tropical beach romance with candle light and fire shows, Koh Lanta might be your place to go.
North of Thong Nai Pan lays Bottle Beach, a very nice place and even more complicated to reach. therefore still lonely and protected from too many people. The road is very steep and so the best way to get there is by boat.
Although Thongsala has developed to a village with all necessary infrastructure for Koh Phangan, it is still a genuine village for travelers with small shops, some restaurants, internet cafes, banks, motorbike rentals and not much nightlife. Everything is still quite cheap and relaxed here.
Fly to Krabi (Airasia or Nokair) and take a minibus for a two hours trip to Ban Saladan for about 450 Baht. The islands are connected with the mainland by ferry boat and bridge. Airasia and Nokair offer combined tickets for flight and bus. The last minibus starts at about 5 p.m. The other option is by boat. The express boat leaves from Jilad Pier in Krabi at 11 a.m. So you must take a very early flight from Bangkok to catch the boat. Buses connect the airport and Krabi town for 90 Baht. Overnight stay in Krabis can be worthwile, when staying in the old center near to the pier.
Many new bungalow resorts have been opened in the last years, family owned and simple or more expensive and luxury ones. There are still very cheap resorts with fan or AC, especially at Klong Khong beach. It is not necessary to book in advance, since you may always find a suitable accommodation. But if you want something special or do not want to start searching at arrival and avoid the many young men, trying to sell you a room at the pier or on the boats, then book online. Decide just for the beach, that you like and find a bungalow of your choice very easily. About 1500-2500 Baht should be calculated for a tidy aircon room, and if you like more comfort and luxury spa-like facilities, prices up to 5000-7000 Baht must be paid. The best hotels are certainly the most luxurious Rawi Warin Resort on Sri Lanta Klong Nin Beach, and Pimalai Resort in the south. Lanta Sands Resort and Layana Resort at Long Beach are a very good choice too.
See detailed beach map of Koh Lanta with mouseover:Klong Dao Beach | Pra Ae Beach | Klong Khong Beach | Klong Nin Beach | Southern Lanta