Koh Lanta Island
Koh Lanta is actually a group of 52 islands that form the southernmost district of Krabi Province. The two largest islands, Koh Lanta Yai and Koh Lanta Noi (literally “Big Lanta” and “Little Lanta”) are separated by a narrow strait which also includes the small island of Koh Klang. Fifteen of the islands in this group are included in the Koh Lanta National Marine Park. This has allowed development to be checked to some degree though like elsewhere in Thailand, developers have encroached on protected land. When using the name Koh Lanta most people are only referring to Koh Lanta Yai were all the development is concentrated.
Koh Lanta has only recently been promoted as a tourist destination, therefore much of the infrastructure is not as good as other resort islands. There are few roads which are mostly dirt tracks which lends the island an undeveloped feel. This makes it very attractive for those seeking a beach paradise without the fast food chains and brand name stores.
The two main Lanta islands are quite mountainous and are covered in dense jungle. There is a large variety of wildlife, making it ideal for trekking. The sea surrounding Koh Lanta is dotted with small islands and coral reefs. These provide lots of opportunities for diving or snorkelling.
Although the beaches on Lanta do not compare to other islands in Krabi province, such as Phi Phi, they are beautiful and clean. The best beaches are along the north and south of the Koh Lanta Yai’s west coast. There are two main settlements on the island. Ban Koh Lanta, in the southern part of the island’s east coast, is the administrative centre. It boasts a post office and police station although not much else. The other is Ban Saladan, a village at the northern tip of Lanta Yai. This is where the ferry pier is located and where you will find most of the restaurants, shops, dive shops, banks and tour offices.
Like other areas along Thailand’s Andaman coast the best time to travel to Lanta is between November and April. This is the dry season, although by April there are occasional downpours. The period May to October is the rainy season. The seas become quite rough restricting boat trips and ferries. Diving visibility usually suffers as well. Many of the smaller resorts actually close down during the rainy season due to the lack of guests and re-open in late October, or early November.
As more and more visitors discover Lanta new places are springing up all the time. There is a good selection hotels, resorts and beach bungalows on the island to suit all budgets.
For more information see Koh Lanta accommodation.
Koh Lanta is great if you just want to laze by the beach but its equally good for an active holiday. There is lots on offer, including elephant trekking, 4wd safaris, boat tours to neighbouring islands and fishing trips.
Koh Lanta is close to popular dive sites in Andaman Sea such as Hin Daeng and Hin Muang, which has a very high incident of whale shark sightings. Lanta is a good base for divers that want to spend quality time visiting Southern Thailand’s best dive sites.
There are many dive shops and diving centers on the island which can arrange dive trips. These also provide internationally accredited training.
For more information see scuba diving.
Snorkeling is one of the most popular activities on Koh Lanta. Since the island group comprises many islands, each offering beautiful underwater scenery, there are plenty of day-trips or longer trips for snorkelling around the nearby islands. The most popular destination for snorkelling is Koh Rok, comprising two islands that shelter between them a square kilometer of spectacular coral reef. A snorkelling trip to Koh Rok should be part of every Koh Lanta holiday.
This is a nice way to explore the scenic beauty of the island. Paddling through the mangrove forest, the towering cliffs and exploring the caves. The best place to enjoy kayaking is on Koh Talabeng.
Travelling to Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta Yai is can be reached by a 2 hour passenger ferry from Khlong Jiraj pier in Krabi. The pier is 20 minutes by car from Krabi Town. Ferries depart at 10:00 and 13:30. Krabi Town itself has an airport with daily flights from Bangkok.
Koh Lanta can also be reached from Koh Phi Phi and Railay Bay by express boat.
Alternatively, if you have your own transport, you can drive across the causeway from the mainland to Koh Lanta Noi. There is a small car ferry to Ban Saladan on Koh Lanta Yai at Ban Lang Sawt, at the south-eastern tip of the island. The roads can be pretty bad on Lanta Noi so a 4wd vehicle is recommended.
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