The Only Koh Lanta Travel Guide You Need to Read

Koh Lanta in Thailand is known for quiet, secluded beaches, amazingly clear water, lush rainforest, and laid-back vibes. While it’s the largest island in the region of Krabi, Koh Lanta is way less crowded than other tourist hotspots in Thailand.

I spent three weeks on the island of Koh Lanta and I absolutely loved it. During my holiday, I explored the whole island by motorbike, visited all major beaches, went island hopping, explored the rain- and mangrove forests, and tried out countless restaurants.

In this Koh Lanta travel guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know for your first visit to the island! Let’s dive into it!

Note: Your trust is important to me. Therefore, I’d like to point out that this article contains referral links (also known as affiliate links). This means I get a small commission if you buy a product after clicking on one of the corresponding links marked with a *. There are no extra costs for you, but it helps me keep this blog ad-free. Thank you!

Quick Facts about Koh Lanta Island

Before you start planning your holiday in Koh Lanta, I want to give you a quick overview of what to expect when visiting the island:

  • Geography: The Koh Lanta archipelago comprises over 50 islands and islets. Most of these islands are not inhabited, and many don’t even have an official name. When talking about Koh Lanta most people actually refer to the main island, which is called Koh Lanta Yai. The island is about 30 kilometers long, and it’s where almost all the action happens. From here, you can easily access Koh Lanta Noi as well, as a bridge connects these two islands. Koh Lanta Noi is mainly used for rubber plantations and doesn’t have a lot to offer for tourists, but if you have some spare time, it’s still worth checking out.
  • Religion: Koh Lanta has a very diverse population. Over the last centuries, Chinese traders as well as sea gypsies of Malaysian and Indonesian origin have settled down on the island. The majority of the population in Lanta is Muslim, and when visiting you’ll notice that more women cover up with Hijabs than in other areas of Thailand. Still, there’s also a Buddhist community on the island, and all religions are socially accepted.
  • Capital of the island: Ban Saladan is the capital of Koh Lanta Yai. It’s located in the very north of the island. Although the town is conveniently close to the pier and is home to many restaurants, I wouldn’t recommend staying here. There are many accommodations and restaurants but the town itself is not that beautiful – there are better places to stay during your holiday in Koh Lanta!
  • North vs. south: This brings me to my next point: when visiting Koh Lanta, you should know that the north of the island is much more busy than the south. In the north, you’ll find many accommodations, restaurants, and shops, while the south is quieter but also more beautiful.

The Best Things to Do and See in Koh Lanta

View of beach on a hike in Mu Koh Lanta Nationalpark
View of beach and lighthouse in Mu Koh Lanta Nationalpark

Although Koh Lanta is not necessarily a destination for an action-packed holiday, there are still some great places to visit and things to see. If you’re you’re wondering how to spend your vacation on this relaxed island, you should check out my detailed article about the best things to do in Koh Lanta.

These are some of my top recommendations:

  • Go beach hopping: When visiting Koh Lanta, make sure to check out the different beaches the island has to offer. Swim in the clear water, bathe in the sun, or grab a drink in one of the beach bars!
  • Check out Koh Lanta Old Town: The Old Town is the most preserved town on the entire island. Nowadays, the small town is home to numerous restaurants, cafés, and small souvenir shops. Take an hour or two to stroll around and grab lunch at one of the restaurants overlooking the harbor.
  • Visit Mu Koh Lanta National Park: Located in the very south of the island, Mu Koh Lanta National Park offers an amazing, quiet beach and a short jungle hike, where you can spot different bird species and small wildlife. When visiting, make sure to walk up to the lighthouse, from where you’ll get a fascinating view of the beach. The entrance fee is 200 Baht.
  • Hike to Khlong Chak Waterfall: If you fancy a short hike, you can also check out Khlong Chak Waterfall. The waterfall itself is not too big, but it’s still nice to cool off in the cold water. Along the way, you can also stop at Bat Cave, which got its name due to the countless bats hanging off the cave ceiling to sleep.

Honest opinion: Although the 4 Island Tour is supposed to be one of the highlights in the area, I actually wouldn’t recommend it. In my Koh Lanta 4 Island Tour Review, you’ll find out why!

Beaches in Koh Lanta

View of Kantiang Bay
View of Kantiang Bay
Nui Bay Koh Lanta
View of Nui Bay

The best thing about Koh Lanta are the beautiful beaches the island has to offer. While the beaches in the north are more crowded, the southern beaches are some of the best in all of Thailand! Here, I’ll show you a quick overview of what you can expect (the beaches are listed in geographical order from north to south):

  • Long Beach: The longest beach in Koh Lanta is located in the north of the island, not far from the capital Ban Saladan. In this area, you’ll find plenty of accommodations, as it’s one of the most popular places to stay on the island. Long Beach may not be the best place to swim, but it offers many beach restaurants and bars where you can enjoy a meal or a happy hour cocktail!
  • Beautiful Beach: Beautiful Beach is probably the best place to swim in northern Koh Lanta. Just south of Long Beach, you’ll find a quiet beach with clear water!
  • Klong Khong Beach and Klong Nin Beach: I’ll put Klong Khong Beach and Klong Nin Beach in the same category, as they are very similar to each other. Like Long Beach, you can find many restaurants and beach bars along these two beaches and at night, you may be able to watch some fire shows. Still, if you’re looking for the most beautiful beaches in Koh Lanta, you should drive even a little further down south.
  • Nui Bay: Nui Bay on Koh Lanta (not to be confused with Nui Bay on Koh Phi Phi) is my favorite beach on the island! There is no parking lot for cars, so it’s only accessible by motorbike. To get there, you have to go down the stairs on the side of the road, where you’re likely to spot some monkeys. The beach is nestled in a small bay and features crystal-clear water – the perfect place to swim. Also, this beach never gets too crowded, and there’s a small, native beach shack serving Pad Thai and fried rice.
  • Kantiang Bay: Kantiang Bay (also known as Bakantiang Beach) is one kilometer long. With turquoise-blue water, white sand, and a few beach bars (a little bit pricey for Thai standards), it’s the perfect place to chill out.
  • Bamboo Beach: Even further down south, you’ll find Bamboo Beach – another great place to swim and relax! It’s about 800 meters long and is covered in powder-white sand. There are also a few restaurants, beach bars, and accommodations on site.

Nightlife in Koh Lanta

Nightlife in Koh Lanta
The nightlife in Koh Lanta is very casual

The nightlife in Koh Lanta is very laid-back – especially compared to busier places like Phi Phi. So, if you’re hoping to party in Thailand, Koh Lanta is honestly not the best place to go.

Still, the island does offer a low-key nightlife scene and there are plenty of bars, where you can grab casual drinks. On the northern beaches (Long Beach, Klong Khong Beach, and Klong Nin Beach), you’ll find many beach bars that get particularly busy around sunset. During this time, most places offer happy hour drinks, so you can watch the sun disappear in the water while sipping a beer Chang or a refreshing Piña colada.

Tip: Watch out for signs advertising nightly events! Oftentimes, you can watch fire shows on the beach or head to a bar for live music, for example, Rasta Bar.

Restaurants in Koh Lanta

Authentic thai food with crab in curry
Crab in curry in Krua Dan Thai

As a foodie, I tried out plenty of restaurants during my stay in Koh Lanta. These are my favorite places to eat:

1. Krua Dan Thai Restaurant

Krua Dan Thai is probably the most authentic restaurant I’ve ever eaten at in the entire country. Make sure to ask for the Thai menu, on which you’ll find many dishes that you probably won’t find anywhere else.

However, when ordering from the Thai menu, be prepared: The meals are served “as they should” and are not catered to tourists, which means they are INCREDIBLY spicy! Still, the food is absolutely amazing and it’s a real experience eating here. Try their Crab in Curry if you’re looking for something not too spicy, or get the Fish Amok or Red Curry from the Thai menu – if you dare!

2. Diamond Cliff Beach Restaurant

If you’re looking for a romantic place to eat, you should head to Diamond Cliff Restaurant, which is located on the coast and offers an amazing view of the sunset.

The restaurant cooks up fresh seafood every night, but they also have great vegetarian options. My favorite dish here was the Penang Curry, which has a creamy sauce and a nutty flavor mixed with a variety of spices like kaffir lime leaf and ginger.

I recommend heading here for an early dinner, so you can enjoy the sunset while you eat and take advantage of 100 Baht happy hour cocktails from 5 to 7 pm.

3. Phu Pha View Restaurant

Another great restaurant that offers an amazing view of Kantiang Bay is Phu Pha View Restaurant – and it’s also budget-friendly!

My favorite dish here is the Tom Ka Coconut Soup (my preference is chicken, but you can also order it vegetarian or with seafood), which is creamy and has a refreshing light flavor. This soup is in general a great option if you don’t like chilies, as it’s usually not spicy! Other than that, you can find the usual Thai dishes here and some great appetizers like Tempura and Spicy Seafood Salad.

Just keep in mind that it’s a Muslim restaurant and they don’t serve alcohol!

4. Viewpoint Restaurant

Viewpoint Restaurant is located on a hill on the East Coast of Koh Lanta, from where you have a spectacular view of the islands in the bay. The menu includes a variety of yummy Thai dishes and cocktails, and they’re also open for breakfast.

If you want to get a view of the East Coast, this is the best place to go!

5. Street Food in Koh Lanta

Last but not least, there are also plenty of street food restaurants in Koh Lanta, which are worth exploring! I’m not going to name any place in particular because many of them are not even on Google. Plus, it’s always fun to pop into random street food restaurants without knowing what to expect. Though you can expect one thing: In Thailand, the street food is almost always good!

Some of the best places I’ve eaten at in Thailand didn’t even have a name. Watch out for food being cooked up on the side of the road and seating areas with tiny plastic chairs, and it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll have a delicious meal in front of you in a matter of minutes.

Seriously, don’t miss out on this – the street food scene is one of my favorite things about Thailand!

Cost of food in Koh Lanta: Street Food in Koh Lanta usually costs around 60 – 100 Baht (appr. 1,80 – 3 USD), depending on what you get. In restaurants, you should expect to pay 80 – 150 Baht (appr. 2,40 – 4,40 USD) per meal. Seafood is typically more expensive than meaty dishes or vegetarian meals.

Where to Stay in Koh Lanta

Tum Mai Kaew Resort Koh Lanta
The pool area in Tum Mai Kaew Resort – incredible value for money!

When planning your holiday in Koh Lanta, you’re probably wondering where to stay on the island. To help you in this regard, I visited plenty of hotels and guest houses and put together an article on my 10 favorite budget-friendly accommodations in Koh Lanta. In this article, I’m also telling you which area is the best to stay in.

As a general rule of thumb, I would recommend choosing a place in the center or south of Koh Lanta. The northern part of the island is more busy, but the towns are not really that aesthetic. The further south you get, the more beautiful the nature becomes.

These are my best hotel tips for Koh Lanta:

All three places offer cozy rooms, an outdoor pool, and great value for money!

Cost of accommodation in Koh Lanta: The cost of accommodation in Koh Lanta highly depends on the type of accommodation you choose. Still, Koh Lanta is one of the best places for getting good value for money when booking a place to stay. Of course, you can also find more expensive luxury resorts, but in my experience, you can find many great accommodations on the island for 1000 Baht or less (appr. 30 USD). Budget rooms cost about 500 Baht (appr. 14 – 15 USD).

Traveling to Koh Lanta

Although a lot of information online about transportation is outdated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s actually very easy to get to Koh Lanta. If you want to book a ticket ahead of time, you should check 12GoAsia*, which offers the best coverage of local transportation in Thailand – sometimes the prices are even cheaper than in local tourist agencies.

  1. Krabi Town to Koh Lanta: When traveling from Krabi, you can either take a bus from Krabi Town or take a taxi from Krabi Airport (this includes a car ferry ride). From the bus terminal in Krabi Town, you can grab a bus at 2:30 pm, which arrives in Koh Lanta at 5 pm. The ticket costs 350 Baht (appr. 10,30 USD). Alternatively, you might be able to book a van which picks you up at your hotel as well.
  2. Krabi Airport to Koh Lanta: If you fly into Krabi and want to head directly to Koh Lanta, you should not buy a ticket ahead of time, as you can just get one when you arrive at the airport. The ticket costs 380 Baht (appr. 11 USD). Taxis are leaving regularly, and they even drop you off directly at your hotel.
  3. Koh Phi Phi to Koh Lanta: From Phi Phi, you can either take a ferry to Koh Lanta or rent a speedboat. The ferry departs daily at 11:30 from Tonsai Pier and takes one hour to get to Koh Lanta. Tickets cost 500 Baht (appr. 14,70 USD). The speedboat departs more often and only takes 30 minutes, but it’s a bit more pricey and costs about 700 Baht (appr. 20,50 USD).
  4. Phuket to Koh Lanta: From Phuket, you can either take a bus, ferry, or speedboat to get to Koh Lanta. The bus is the cheapest but also the longest option. It costs 550 Baht (appr. 16 USD) and takes six hours, whereas the ferry only takes around four hours (for 850 Baht) and the speedboat gets you there in less than two hours (for 1,310 Baht/ appr. 38,50 USD).
  5. Bangkok to Koh Lanta: For about 1,300 (appr. 38,20 USD) Baht, you can take a night bus from Bangkok to Koh Lanta. If you want to shorten your trip, you can also fly to Krabi and take a bus from there.

Note: The prices for transportation and departure times listed in this post may change without my knowledge. So, make sure to double-check this information yourself on 12GoAsia or ask a local tourism agency!

How to Get Around Koh Lanta

Men at Beautiful Beach on Koh Lanta Island
Renting a motorbike is the best way to get around Koh Lanta Island

Renting a motorbike: The best way to get around Koh Lanta is by motorbike, as it’s the cheapest and most convenient way. When renting directly from a hotel, the price might be higher (200 – 250 Baht/ appr. 5,90 – 7,40 USD) but you can find shops that are renting out bikes for 150 Baht (appr. 4,40 USD) per day.

However, the price also depends on the season and bikes could be more expensive during high season. Still, if you rent the bike for several days at a time, you can often lower the price. Don’t be shy to negotiate, it’s customary in Thailand!

Tuk Tuks: Alternatively, you can also use Tuk Tuks to get around Koh Lanta. This option could be more expensive, as the cost for Tuk Tuk rides does add up if it’s your only way of transportation. Also, in some areas, it might be difficult to find one. Maybe you can negotiate a good price if you rent the Tuk Tuk for a whole day, but I haven’t tried this myself.

Koh Lanta tips for safety on the road: When driving yourself, watch out for potholes in the north of the island. Especially in the dark, they’re not easy to see. In the south, the roads are much better. Still, always be prepared for monkeys or dogs who might be blocking the road!

Best Time to Visit Koh Lanta Island

The best time to visit Koh Lanta is during the dry season between January and April. Although you should always be prepared for casual showers when traveling to Thailand, these months are usually the driest.

A lot of people travel to Koh Lanta for Christmas and New Year, so if you plan a holiday around this time, you should make sure to book accommodation in advance!

If you’re traveling Southeast Asia on a budget, you should also consider traveling in the shoulder season (November-December, May-June) when prices are lower. If you’re on a long trip, you can also visit during the rainy season, as the rainy season doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily raining all day, every day. However, if you’re planning a short holiday in Koh Lanta, you probably don’t want to take any risks, and you should stick to the dry months of the year.

Is Koh Lanta Safe to Visit?

Monkey family
Don’t get too close to the monkeys!

Yes, Koh Lanta is a safe place to visit for tourists! The locals are friendly and welcoming and crime rates are low. Still, there are a few things, you should be aware of:

  • Natural disasters: Personally, natural disasters wouldn’t keep me from visiting the tropics, but you should be aware that islands in Thailand can get hit by Tsunamis – especially during the rainy season. Since a devastating Tsunami hit in 2004, Thailand is much better prepared, and you’ll see signs for evacuation routes throughout the island.
  • Bad road conditions: Honestly, driving a motorbike probably poses your biggest safety threat. Especially in the north of the island, the roads are in very bad condition and covered in potholes. Also, make sure to always keep left and watch your surroundings. Lastly, don’t be a stupid tourist and wear a helmet! 😉
  • Monkeys: Koh Lanta is home to many monkeys, and you’ll probably encounter them at least once during your vacation. They’re known to hang out around Nui Bay, but often you can also spot them on the road or even in town. Although they look cute, don’t get too close, don’t feed them, and hide food and drinks if you see them. Monkeys can be aggressive and if you get bit, you need to get a rabies shot immediately (, which is expensive!).

FAQ

How many days do you need in Koh Lanta?

To explore the whole island, you should plan to stay at least 2-3 days in Koh Lanta. However, if you want to explore the island thoroughly and relax at the same time, you can easily spend a week here (or even longer).

Is Koh Lanta or Phi Phi better?

Koh Phi Phi is one of the most beautiful places in Thailand with stunning beaches, blue water, and breathtaking limestone formations. It’s also a great place for young backpackers who want to party. However, you’re looking for a quiet and less crowded island in Thailand, Koh Lanta is a better choice. The nature may not be as impressive as on the neighboring island Phi Phi, but it has a more laid-back vibe.

Which part of Koh Lanta is the nicest?

The nicest part of Koh Lanta is the south, where you’ll find the most beautiful beaches the island has to offer. The north of the island is more busy and filled with restaurants and shops, while the south is less crowded and more untouched.

Is Koh Lanta touristy?

While Koh Lanta receives many tourists every year, it’s still not as touristy as other islands in Thailand like Phi Phi or Phuket. Most people who are coming to Koh Lanta are looking to get away from the crowds and just want to relax at quiet beaches.

Can you snorkel in Koh Lanta?

Yes, you can snorkel in Koh Lanta. Although the snorkeling is not that good on the main island of Koh Lanta Yai, you can organize a boat to take you to Koh Haa and Koh Rok. These two islands are known for good snorkeling spots with supposedly amazing corals.

Conclusion: Is Koh Lanta Worth Visiting?

Coast with beaches on Koh Lanta Island
Coast in Koh Lanta

If you’re looking for a less crowded island, Koh Lanta is definitely worth visiting! While there may not be as many things to do, it’s a great place to chill out for a few days and fully unwind.

The island is home to gorgeous beaches, there are many great places to eat, and if you want to get active, you can go on short jungle hikes, or go on boat trips to the surrounding islands.

Are you looking for more islands to visit in Thailand? If you liked Koh Lanta, you may also like Koh Yao Noi. Check out my Koh Yao Noi travel guide for more information!

Helpful Travel Resources for Your Trip

Do you still need to book your trip? Here, I’ll show you what resources I use:

TRANSPORTATION

  • Skyscanner*: I book (almost) all my flights through Skyscanner. This site scans the web for the best deals within the blink of an eye. Plus, it shows you prices for the whole month, which makes it easy to find the cheapest day to fly!
  • 12GoAsia*: This site specializes in providing cheap tickets for planes, buses, and trains all over Asia!

ACCOMMODATION

  • Agoda*: Agoda usually has the best prices for accommodation and offers unbeatable 24-hour flash deals!
  • Booking*: Alternatively, you can also find good deals and a wide selection of hotels and guest houses on Booking.com.
  • Hostelworld*: If you’re looking specifically for a hostel, you’ll be amazed by the variety of options Hostelworld has to offer!

You are reading: The Only Koh Lanta Travel Guide You Need to Read

6 comments

  1. Hi Lena, thanks for this amazing guide! We are travelling to Koh Lanta for 7 days this weekend, how much Baht would you advise we bring per person, please? Thanks!

    1. Hi Katie,

      Thank you for the feedback! This is really difficult to answer, as I don’t know what your travel style is, how many activities you want to do, whether you prefer to eat at local places or touristic restaurants, etc.

      As an estimate, I would say if you have paid for accommodation already an extra 500 to 1000 Baht per person per day would be good.

      There are also multiple ATMs on the island, so you can also start with a little less money and take out more if needed. I hope I could help!

      Enjoy Koh Lanta 🙂

  2. Great guide Lena!!! Loads of useful info in one place. SO looking forward to basing myself in Koh Lanta in Feb’ 24 then hopping to Phi Phi etc. Thanks Lena, safe travels to You !!!!! Chris.

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