It’s taken me a really long time to write this post because I love Ko Lanta so much!! Watch the vlog to hear about my experience and keep reading to find out tons of details about transportation, activities, etc, etc. Enjoy! 🙂
Click the image below to watch the Ko Lanta Vlog!
Low Season or High Season?
We visited Ko Lanta (sometimes spelled Koh Lanta) in the low season and had an amazing time, but there are pros and cons to both options!
Benefits of High Season
- Lower chance of rain/monsoon
- More businesses open
- More people to party with
- More activities going on
- Safer swimming conditions
Benefits of Low Season
- Lower prices
- Less crowded
Speaking Thai will probably get you an even more full experience, but speaking English in Ko Lanta is plenty! We had no language issues and actually saw the Chinese tourists struggling more than us as there were very few local Thai people speaking Chinese (a refreshing turn of events as someone who’s been struggling in China for months).
Overall Vibe Of Lanta
Relaxed, people are on “island time”
Huge Muslim community
Reggae stoner vibes
Developing, dirty, rural
Touristy bars and shops
Swanky spas and resorts
This is where we stayed and we LOVED it! It’s definitely one of the fanciest resorts on the island and it’s got a swanky, eco-friendly vibe to it. I would recommend this to any friend or family member planning to visit Ko Lanta.
This one was recommended to me by a friend who lived on the island for several months. I believe it’s more expensive and swanky than Rawi Warin, so if you’re looking for a top of the line experience, this might be the resort for you.
Another recommendation from a friend who said this is one of the nicest hostels on the island. Great if you’re on a budget but aren’t willing to go full-on dirty backpacker style.
A friend living on Lanta told me this is a super hospitable, social hostel. Looks like a step down from Lemonade in terms of cleanliness and decor, but a step up in socialization.
This was recommended by a blogger who stayed in Ko Lanta with her husband. It’s somewhere between a resort and a hostel because it’s on the more wild side, it’s not swanky, but it’s got a pool and you can get your own little bungalow. Bonus: Freedom Bar is practically next door.
Getting There From Krabi
You have a few different options for public transportation leaving the Krabi airport. This is the part that I’m least sure about, so I’m going to link this super helpful post that gets updated every year which will fully explain your options. Be aware that some options are only available during high season!
Simple – call your hotel and ask for an airport pick-up! Be sure to arrange for your airport drop-off in advance as well. This option ended up being way too expensive going through Rawi Warin – we paid almost $200 for the two of us, round-trip. We were told that the initial $100 we paid was the round-trip fee, but it turned out to be one-way, which we didn’t find out until the day we left.
The other option is to bargain with a cab driver. Be sure that you discuss who will pay any tolls or ferry fees before you take off for the island. You can expect to pay somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 baht ($57-85) each way.
Top Recommendation: Rent a Motorbike
Renting a scooter/moped/motorbike/whatever you want to call it in Ko Lanta is SUPER easy! We were recommended a place called Apple Travel for the best deal, but we ended up just going to a place right across the street from the Rawi Warin Resort and they didn’t even ask if we had driver’s licenses! I’m not sure about an age limit, but I saw kids who looked about 9 or 10 scootering around the island, so it shouldn’t be an issue. They will however ask to hold a piece of government-issued ID as collateral, so if you’re from the US you can give them either your driver’s license or your passport. We gave them one passport for both our bikes and they held it until we brought the scooter back. I think in total the scooter rentals cost us about $80 for 2 days, including gas, and they let us borrow helmets at no extra charge.
The best part of renting a scooter is the freedom to explore the entire island! I LOVED biking around, and especially the jungle-y feeling parts.
The worst part of scootering is that you do get fairly dirty from the developing Lanta roads, and it can feel a little dangerous at times. We saw a few monkeys on the side of the road, and were told that if we stopped and stared, they would run at us and try to steal whatever they could – sunglasses, phones, etc. Basically the monkeys of Lanta are the little gangsters, so stopping on one of the backroads for a cool pic with a jungle background is not a good idea.
I felt like there were only 2 types of experiences trying to catch a tuk tuk in Ko Lanta – either we were being yelled at by 4 different drivers at the same time or we were walking on the side of the road for 20 minutes before seeing a single tuk tuk. The latter is why we ended up renting scooters. The tuk tuks in Lanta are a little more janky than the ones you’ll find in Bangkok. They’re pretty much just regular scooters or motorbikes with a homemade 3-wheel seating attachment. You end up riding kind of on the side of the driver, and it’s definitely not the fastest vehicle on the rocky Lanta roads. My best tip if you plan to catch a tuk tuk is to tell them how much you want to pay as soon as you sit down. Otherwise you might not hear a price until you arrive and they’ll try to rip you off if they know you’re a tourist. The most common places to find tuk tuks are at bars that have been advertising parties and at 7-11 stores.
If you’re unfamiliar, these are the pick-up trucks with the open-back canopies. There aren’t too many songthaews just driving around Ko Lanta, but they seem to be the most common type of vehicle called by bartenders when you ask them to help you catch a ride home. They’re actually the same price as a tuk-tuk (cheap), and personally I think they’re really fun.
I don’t actually think I saw any cabs on the island!
The friends we made on the island worked for a dive company and told us amazing stories about some of the things they saw on their diving adventures, especially the sharks they encountered. The company they worked for has a variety of options for diving trips. Be aware you’ll need to earn a diving certification prior to your trip if you haven’t already.
This is a wonderfully unavoidable attraction on the island, and there are a ton of options. Notable northern beaches include Klong Dao, Long Beach and Kaw Kwang; central is Klong Khong and Klong Nin; and Southern includes Klong Jak and Ba-Kantiang. Personally I don’t see the point in seeking out beaches, the beaches will find you 🙂
Let me paint you a picture: You’re surrounded by beaches on all sides, sitting on a cushion on a wooden platform, drink in hand, flower in your hair, listening to the waves of the sea go back and forth over the rocky beach. Behind you is a pool, in front of you is an endless stretch of water. This is Rock Bar. If you’re looking for the perfect place to watch the sunset, this is it!
I’m a terrible tourist… I never went to the National Park. Besides the jungle and beach setting found elsewhere on the island, you can find caves and waterfalls here. I believe you’ll be charged 200 THB ($5.70 USD) for entrance and an extra 20 THB ($0.57 USD) if you’re parking a motorbike.
Most of these trips involve riding an elephant, which personally I find inhumane, but some are simply guided treks to visit local caves, waterfalls, and wildlife. However, I have yet to find a company that does the latter and does not also support elephant riding. What I’m trying to say is that if you participate in a jungle trek, you’re likely still supporting a company that exploits elephants. It looks like an amazing experience, though, which is why I’ve included it in this post.
The view from Diamond Cliff resort and restaurant is UNREAL!! It’s absolutely worth the price of a drink to see the cliff view and have access to the steps down to the rocky beach below.
Lanta Old Town is a really cool collection of restaurants and gift shops housed in stilted teak wood buildings. The views are awesome and the whole thing actually feels relaxing because of waves lapping up on the stilts of the buildings. Be aware this place is very touristy, so be ready to part with some money – haha.
Island Hopping Boat Tour
Next time I’m in Lanta, we’re doing this!! We originally planned on booking an island hopping tour, but found Lanta to be so perfect and relaxing that we didn’t bother leaving. There are plenty of companies to go through, but many of them do not operate in the low season because of the possibility of monsoons.
Volunteer at the Lanta Animal Welfare Shelter
I got this idea from one of the few Ko Lanta blog posts I’ve seen! A woman and her husband volunteered at the Lanta animal shelter and spent a few hours playing with and walking shelter dogs. Such a fun idea and a great way to give back without having to go spend precious vacation time at a training course.
Get a Bamboo Tattoo
If you’re adventurous and a fan of tattoos, a bamboo tattoo is something you need to experience, and I think Lanta is a great place to do it. For some video on how it’s done, and the details about my experience, click here to watch my Ko Lanta vlog! My husband and I got our tattoos done by the artists at Freedom Bar.
Bobby’s is super close to Rawi Warin, and it ended up being our favorite restaurant on the island anyways! We went on 3 separate occasions because the Thai food was tasty, the mojitos were perfection, and the hospitality was off the charts. Bonus: if you ask nicely, Bobby might let you spend some time hanging out with his dogs 🙂 Oh, also he’s got a Chinese menu available! Be sure to bring some bug spray, because this hand-built restaurant is completely open to the elements.
I still think about the breakfast I ate at this German restaurant, and the deliciously rich coffee. Fellow lactose intolerant folk, beware that pretty much everything here has some form of butter and/or cheese… but it’s worth it. On top of the selection of hot breakfast and lunch items like omelettes, french toast (all bread here is made in-house!!), and sandwiches, they’ve got delicious looking baked pastries, cookies, cakes. My husband and I split a farmer’s breakfast, which is a massive potato/veggie/egg/cheese combo.
This restaurant and the 3 below it were recommended to me by an American guy who lived on Lanta for a few months. This place serves a combination of Western, Thai and Middle Eastern food, and caters well to vegetarians.
Here’s another Western, Thai, Asian fusion combo restaurant option which was also recommended by a friend/former local. Bonus: they’ve got an awesome mix of music!
We were recommended this place by multiple locals as a place to grab a hearty Irish meal, stay for the nightly party, and feel super welcomed.
I know you think I’m joking, but I’m not. The Thai food available for them to heat up right there for you is on par with food from a decent American Thai restaurant, and 7-11 is all over the main roads of the island. On a budget? 7-11. Hangry? 7-11. Need takeout fast? 7-11. Sorted!
I talk at length about this magical place in my video, so I’ll link that again right here, but here’s some extra adjectives to describe it: chill, reggae, beachy, rustic, local, social. The most awesome thing about it is that it’s right on the beach!
Not gonna lie, this bar is a little divey, but it seems like a great place to party. They do jungle parties even in the low season complete with a DJ, trees decked out with tons of colorful lights, and a freakin’ duck.
I hope this post helped you or satisfied curiosity in some way! If you’re headed to Lanta soon, first of all please make room in your backpack for me, and second of all, comment below and let me know why you chose Lanta! I’m happy to answer any questions you may have or reach out to my friends who used to live in the island 🙂
Thanks for reading! Talk to you soon,