Welcome to Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta – Overview
Koh Lanta is located on the west coast of the Andaman Sea between Krabi and Phi Phi Island. It is a large-sized island, 6 km wide and over 30 km long and there are 9 beaches from north to south along the sunset coast. This island offers stunning scenery, fantastic white sandy beaches, from the coast there are more than 50 small islands, and plenty of forests, coral reefs, and underwater life. Its geography is typically mangroves, coral rimmed beaches, and rugged wooded hills.
Koh Lantas unique cultural atmosphere comes from the indigenous ethnic groups – a mosaic of Muslim, Chinese and Sea Gypsies (Chao Ley) which retain their traditional customs, but still live in harmony side by side. While some locals live off the tourism industry, the livelihood of many is still based on shrimp farming, fishing, or working in rubber plantations.
This unpretentious tropical island is developed steadily, which means you do not have to survive without ATMs, banks, mini-marts, and quality international restaurants during your visit – these can all be found in the main resort areas, and there is now also a post office in Baansaladan and in Lanta Old Town. Because it is not yet a crazy tourist hub, Lanta is very family friendly and a great destination for people who want to share quality time with their loved ones on their trip to Thailand regardless of age.
In the past, if you mentioned the name “Koh Lanta” there were few tourists who would know the island, unlike Samui, Phuket and Phi Phi islands. Who knew that not far from the Krabi province with little travel time, lies a beautiful island in the Andaman sea? The beautiful sandy beach that we see around the island plus the peaceful atmosphere is what attracts tourists who want to escape from all the confusion, and feel a touch of pure nature and be fascinated by Koh Lanta.
Koh Lanta archipelago consists of 50 small islands, but only three are inhabited: Lanta Yai, Lanta Noi, and Ko Ngai. Lanta Yai is the most attractive for tourists with its stunning beaches and activities for visitors. Approximately 10,000 of the region’s 20,000 inhabitants live on Lanta Yai.
This is where you will find the old Sea Gypsy Village, home of the original settlers of Koh Lanta living in harmony with the sea. Sanga-U Village is located on the southern tip of Koh Lanta in Krabi province. This sea gypsy village has a population of 420 people in 117 households, settled in a small traditional fishing village called “Ban Sangkha-U “. The name “Sangkha-U” means “stingray” in Chao-Le dialect.
The legend has it that there was once a big stingray fish that stranded in AoPrao inlet. The stingray was later turned to stone. From the moment the local villagers saw people walking in that area, as if there was a solution, they thought that these were “Lords of the Sea” and their own ancestors. As stingray is called Sagga-U in Chao Le dialect, they called these people Toh-I Sagga-U, and this is where the name Sanga-U Village came from. The unique lifestyle of the Chao Le (sea gypsy) people on Koh Lanta has been almost completely unaffected by the booming tourism on the island. They still maintain their own unique language, traditions and ceremonies. They earn their living by fishing or catching lobsters and other tasty seafood, and gathering birds’ nests for the Chinese kitchen.
Koh Lanta – Getting there
It is easy and cheap to go to Koh Lanta from Bangkok, Phuket, and Malaysia . Krabi is the most convenient port for Koh Lanta when you arrive from Bangkok. If you go from Phuket you can transit through Krabi or Phi Phi. Trang also serves as a regional transit point for those coming from the south. The island is served by ferries from Krabi or Phi Phi, and car ferries from the mainland. Remember, if your arrival time is late in the day, the local minibus or public passenger ferries to Koh Lanta are not available.
The distance from Bangkok to Krabi is about 814 km or about 12 hours by car.
Daily bus services are available and depart from the Southern Bus Terminal. The trip takes about 12 hours. The distance is 814 km, and the price is around 710 Thai baht.
The trip from Phuket to Krabi takes at least three to four hours. There are buses that depart from Phuket daily.
To and from Krabi province, there are daily boats from Hua-Hin Pier to Saladan Pier. The old Chao Fa Pier in Krabi town is no longer in use. The journey from Krabi to Saladan on the northern tip of Koh Lanta takes about 2 and a half hours.
Koh Lanta is easily accessible all year round, from land and sea, depending on your starting point. Vehicles can access the island through the two car ferries. First cross to Koh LantaNoi where after a short drive you reach a smaller and faster ferry to Koh LantaYai (main island). Ferries sail continuously throughout the day from 6 AM to 10 PM (Green Season from 7 AM to 8:30 PM), the first part of the trip takes 20-30 minutes, and the second about 10 minutes.
On Lanta there is a small network of roads covering most of the island. Two main roads run the length from the east to west coasts and are interconnected by four smaller roads. Motorcycles are easy and cheap to rent on the island, while a small number of jeeps are rented out.
Taxis are plentiful on the island, small tuk-tuks (motorcycles with sidecars) are inexpensive and ideal for short trips. Large white open mini buses are more suitable for longer trips (to the old town, KlongNin, and beyond).
Koh Lanta – Weather
The weather on Koh Lanta is a typical tropical monsoon climate. Monsoon change direction twice a year, it comes from the south-west and north-east. This means that Koh Lanta only has two seasons – the summer season and the rainy season. The tourist season in Koh Lanta runs from October until May, with most visitors from November to March. The temperature on the island does not vary much throughout the year, with a comfortable 32-34 degrees during the day, and 20-25 degrees as night temperature. Sea temperatures also remain at around 28 to 30 degrees all year round.
South-west monsoon brings rain to the island during the low season. Koh Lanta has mountains that block some of the rain and aids in the jungle regrowth on the west side, and it fills the reservoirs.
Koh Lanta – Beaches
Since Koh Lanta possesses both marine life and terrain, there are many interesting attractions and activities waiting for you to explore when visiting. There are beaches, dense rainforest and cultural delights of the sea gypsy village. Most of the best beaches on Koh Lanta are located along the western shore of LantaYai, each with its characteristic beauty, and offer the best sunsets. The east coast is where the mountain and rich tropical rainforest are. Try to get down to the end of the National Park area, there are two curved beaches which are absolutely wonderful.
Kor Kwang: Its aquamarine water with its fine sand gives you the real feeling of relaxation. The beach is known for its beautifully curved shape, and to be deserted.
Klong Dao: It is a spectacular 3 km stretch of white sand and shallow clear water, and is located two kilometers from Saladan Pier. It was the first tourist friendly development on Koh Lanta a little over 5 years ago, and with its spectacular sunsets and white sand landscape it is easy to see why. Great, safe swimming makes this the most popular family beach on Koh Lanta, but even in high season this huge beach is never crowded, and by a short walk you can find a spot with no neighbors. It’s a great place for isolation and relaxation during your trip to Thailand. The beach offers a wide range of up-market and small family-owned resorts with options for all budgets.
Pra Ae or Long Beach: The place south of Klong Dao beach is known as Long Beach. It’s a great crescent of sand about 4 km long, stretching at the northern end of the island. The beach is steeper and the water is not sheltered as on Klong Dao making it spectacular and safe swimming for adults. The resorts are spread out in a great distance from each other, however there is clustering at the north end and the south end. The accommodation is affordable and the food is delicious and plentiful. Most visitors find Long Beach ‘deserted’, even in the high season.
Klong Khong: A little further south is Klong Khong Beach, another 3-kilometer stretch of sand with palm trees and a good collection of resorts famous for their sunsets and laid-back locals. The small beach Klong Khong offers an extremely peaceful and quiet atmosphere, nine kilometers from Ban Saladan. With its small size, the sand is limited, but there are plenty of reefs which provide an excellent opportunity for diving.
KlongNin: Turn right off the paved road (the same as when you go to the National Park) and you will find KlongNin Beach, which is a few kilometers of sandy beach with emerald green water. It is not a place for all water sports, but perfect if you need a really secluded and relaxing paradise. Like almost all beaches on Koh Lanta, KlongNin Beach offers a quiet and peaceful atmosphere, and its sand is white and fine. Bungalows are spread down along the few kilometers long beach, ranging from simple, inexpensive family bungalows to more upscale pool and spa resorts.
Kan Tiang: It is a spectacular stretch of white sand and iridescent aquamarine water, and there are excellent swimming opportunities where you are surrounded by mountains in Koh Lanta National Park. This small beach is only one kilometer long and gives you much privacy. There is good coral to snorkel above. Kan Tiang Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, and it is located 18 kilometers south of Baansaladan. Just a few resorts on the beach make this small beach secluded, with accommodation ranging from a simple local family owned resort to a five star resort.
Far South Beaches: There are also a few beaches on the south coast of Koh Lanta before you come through the National Park area. They are all small beaches with a few hundred meters of sandy beach, AoNui, Ao Mai Pai (Bamboo). The beaches are very secluded and deserted. Around the area is the high mountain covered with tropical rainforest of the National Park area. The distance and conditions of the road results in fewer people coming here, but it is a very natural, quiet and peaceful spot. There are only a few resorts on these beaches, mostly small family owned resorts without stars. If you want a hideaway on your trip to Thailand, look no further.
Ao Mai Pai or Bamboo Bay: The beach is surrounded by the high mountain from Koh Lanta National Park, which provides privacy and a hideaway from the outside world. It’s a great place for swimming when the tide is not high and there are only small waves. The northern part of this beach is a bit rocky, and you can snorkel to see some small fish. It is the last beach before you pass through the National Park area, a slightly curved beach about 500 meters long with white sand and clear water. An hour’s walk up the hill and you can see a small waterfall and grotto. There are only a few basic resorts scattered along the beach.
Klongjark: This is the southernmost beach on Koh Lanta. The nearby deserted beach Mai Pai is also a nice place. You can get to the waterfall in the surrounding area by elephant trekking or trek yourself. The beach offers solitude and tranquility.
Koh Lanta National Park: There are two beaches in the National Park: Had Hin Ngam (Beautiful Stone Beach) and Tanod Beach (Palm Beach). These two beaches are both located in the National Park area where there are no resorts. The road here from Klong Hin Beach becomes narrower and have some pretty sudden dips and rises, sometimes in sharp curves. The surrounding area is rich in diversity with great tropical scenery, hiking trails, birds and wildlife, and a spectacular view where a lighthouse is located (the symbol of Koh Lanta). Marine Park is at the southern tip of the island at the end of a spectacular drive. The beach here is a great place for a picnic, so do not forget to prepare your own food and drinks.
Koh Lanta – Attractions
Koh Lanta has many interesting things to offer, so if you are here during your trip to Thailand, take a break from the sea and explore the other options Lanta has.
List of tourist attractions in KohLanta:
. National Marine Park
. Khao Mai Kaew Cave
. Sea Gypsy Village
. Cock Fights
. Lanta Old Town
. Orchid plant nursery farm
National Marine Park: As mentioned previously, there are two beaches in the National Park: Had Hin Ngam (Beautiful Stone Beach), and Tanod Beach (Palm Beach). These two beaches are located in the National Park area where there are no resorts. See the section on Hin Ngam and Tanod Beach above.
Khao Mai Kaew Caves: If you want a break from the beach, an excellent option is to take a trip to Khao Mai Kaew Caves which is located in the center of the island. Here is a marvel of caves, cliffs, spectacular stalactites, and stalagmites. The trip to the caves is through a pleasant forest, but the real fun begins when you go down a little blurry hole in the rocks and into the ranges of various caves. Some sections are as large as church halls, others require that you crawl through on your hands and knees. Sights include impressive stalactites and stalagmites, bats, and some sections of the cave even create a cave pool that you can swim in. In order to explore the cave, you really need a guide to find your way around, especially inside the caves, and the service is absolutely worth it. A Muslim family living near the path to the cave offers a guide service for approx. 50 baht per person. The cave is located from the lower of two crossing island roads, down a narrow 1.5 km dirt road through a rubber plantation that ends up in the Muslim home.
Sea Gypsy Village: A visit to this village is an interesting experience. Sea gypsies are called Chao Le or Chao Nam in Thai, and are known as the minority group of “Thai Mai”, which means new Thais. Originally, the sea gypsies of centuries past lived in their boats and were feared as pirates. The large community of sea gypsies settled in the village of Ban Sangkha-Ou at the southern tip of the island. Then, when being eligible for citizenship in Thailand, they began settling along the coast in their stilt-built houses erected between the water level in the high and low tide. Despite the close relationship to other villages, sea gypsies do not integrate with the Thai population. They earn their living by fishing, lobster fishing, and other sea foods, and collect the bird’s nests of Chinese cuisine. Their belief in the supernatural and traditional spiritual worshipping still has influence on their society, as seen in their traditional ceremony “Loy-Rua” (floating boat). The village’s men will build a symbolic boat and place wooden statues of themselves in it along with nail pairings, hair, and popped rice. By performing this ritual they ask for forgiveness from the sea gods for any violations that have been made in the sea. It is believed that all evil is carried away in the symbolic boat. They still retain their own language, traditions and ceremonies.
Cock-fighting arena: Another great experience is the exciting match of the educated fighting cocks. Most Muslim men on the island enjoy cockfighting as their hobby, and gambling is also a part of this hobby. The skilled fighting cock is regarded as the apple of his owner’s eye, and the price for an animal like this is high.
Lanta Old Town: This is a good place to experience the local people’s way of life. Located on the southeast coast of the island, the capital district, known locally as the Old Town, offers a rustic atmosphere. They have a post office, police station, wooden houses, and hospital, and thereby also serves as a center of the island. The buildings look more solid than in Ban Saladan. The village of Ban Sangkha-Ou at Lanta ‘s southern tip is a traditional Muslim fishing village, with a long pier, which can take you to nearby islands such as Bu Bu Island, etc.
Orchid plant nursery farm: Another more place to recommend flower lovers, is to go to the Orchid plant nursery farm located in Long Beach (Pra Ae Beach). The entry fee is 30 baht per person, and the farm is easily accessible by bicycle or motorcycle.
Koh Lanta – Shopping
Koh Lanta is charming, rural, quiet, and pristine. The island is beautiful, but it’s certainly not a shopper’s paradise.
Baansaladan is the closest you get to the ‘cosmopolitan’ Lanta. This is the place where you can find the basics, such as medicine, and groceries that you may need during your trip.
If you are a shopaholic, Koh Lanta may not be the best destination, but the city is so small it makes shopping a smaller task, and you can stop and grab a cold shake, if you get too warm. There are many banks here, along with a post office, about 10 opticians, the island’s largest supermarket, T-shirt shops, souvenir shops, and galleries.
Do not expect a great variety of products sold here, but it is the best you will get on the island, and do not forget to haggle – you can just go to the store next door, if you do not like the prices!
A newly established market which sells clothes and souvenirs is on the left as you drive into the city . All the shops are small, but there is a really wide selection of shorts, T-shirts, flip-flops, sarongs, sunglasses, jewelry, and galleries but many sell the same goods. Make sure you shop around for a bargain, and haggling is a must.
The few shops that are on the East Coast are all located in the old town and within 200 meters of each other, making shopping easy.
But like its restaurants, some of these stores have quite a reputation for quality and unique products that extends beyond Koh Lanta, making the old town an excellent place to look for something a little unusual.
It is definitely the most famous shop in the old town and probably one of the main reasons that people jump on a motorcycle to visit the place. There have been sold luxury hammocks here for many years, and now the store has expanded, opening shops in Koh Lipe, Koh Chang, Koh Samui, and Koh Tao, but Koh Lanta is home to the original. All their hammocks are made by the Mlabri tribe in northern Thailand. Their hammocks come in a variety of styles (sitting, parachute, double, travel, and woven) and a wide range of colors and materials. These hammocks are a style statement and are designed to last, so expect to pay a little more than you would elsewhere.
Jun & Ying Shops
These two shops are actually owned by the same family and sell a variety of cloth bags, sarongs, Thai-style clothes and jewelry. Their jewelry consists of earrings, bracelets, and necklaces made of Thai polished stones, shells, and wood. All their products are made in Thailand, mainly in the north, and represents a good value, especially if you bargain!
Despite the name , this store sells not only handmade leather goods (belts, wallets, bags, and shoes), but also clothing and sarongs in a kind of hippie style. Most of the products are manufactured at Koh Lanta.
As previously mentioned, Koh Lanta isn’t a shopper’s paradise, but there are a few small shops selling unique souvenirs and gifts, most of which have been made by the people in the stores.
If you want to find something exclusive on Lanta, be prepared to travel around the island as there are no shopping malls, and these little gems are scattered everywhere.
Mountain Sea Silver and Stone
From the outside this shop looks like a large shed built of driftwood, but upon arrival you will see one of the biggest ‘jewelers’ on the island. Most products are made of specially cut polished stones or seashells, and you can often design your own necklace, earrings, or bracelet from the ranks of the individual stones and shells they sell. If you are keen on design, take your beach finds with you, and they will make jewelry with your specifications.
A new surf shop on the island offers everything from hourly rental to sale of stand-up paddleboards and surf boogie boards from real professionals. Classes and trips are also available.
Fix the Girl
Here they sell a variety of goods, handbags, ladies clothes, and beauty products. Fix the Girl is also a beauty salon and shop, and is located behind Cheeky Monkey Bar, which makes it ideal if you want to leave your husband with a beer while you’re getting a makeover.
Doubling as a bar, this shop sells a range of handmade (mostly by the staff) goods, including belts, jewelry, oil paintings, and clothing. They are best known for their very large leather belts, popular with women, who often have small pockets sewn into them.
If you want to shop in the south, go to the two main beaches, KlongNin and Kantiang Bay. Both have unique shops, where the owners either make the products themselves or know the exact origin of the goods.
Expect to pay a little more, but the quality and styles are definitely worth it.
A Little Handmade Shop
A cute little white store that sells a variety of crafts, including clothing, pottery, handmade teddy bears, and paintings. The owner speaks English well and the popularity of her products has grown so much that now they have made a website where you can buy items online.
An offspring from the hugely popular Drunken Sailors Café, the shop grew from the popularity of the small objects the owner used to sell in her café. With its range of unique, colorful, and eclectic clothing (scarves, fishermen pants, dresses, sarongs, and skirts) and handmade jewelry, you are sure to find something really different here. All items are either handmade by the owner’s family or from the north of Thailand.
Rather than the stereotypical Thai shops selling rip-off board shorts, bikinis, and swimsuits, Wing Jeang offers the real thing. The items sold here are of a higher quality and correspondingly more expensive, but the store has a good selection of sizes and styles of beachwear, including Bali, Billabong, Quiksilver, and its female brand Roxy.
Koh Lanta – Restaurants
Restaurants are opening at a rapid pace during the past few years on Koh Lanta which means that there is a nice selection of eateries. Local Thai restaurants have now been joined by pizzerias, a bistro, and specialty seafood restaurants in the main beach areas.
Saladan, themain town on Koh Lanta, is small but has a high concentration of restaurants and cafes all within just 300 meters of each other. Most of the restaurants are located on either side of the main road in Saladan, or are built on stilts stretching out across the channel between the two Lanta islands. The freshest seafood on Koh Lanta is found at the sea view restaurants which offer stunning views and welcome breezes.
At night, Saladan is also the main alternative to beach dining, and there is a wide selection of dishes available to suit all wallets and tastes. Saladan can be very busy at night in the high season, where the well-known restaurants fill up very early in the evening. Be aware that most restaurants do not accept reservations, so get there early to avoid disappointment.
Supplier to many of the local dive shops and hotels that sell this beautiful little café’s bread and cakes to take away or to eat there. A popular choice for breakfast and lunch because of its proximity to the ferries, its cool sea breezes, and reasonable price of coffee, shakes, sandwiches, chocolate croissants, and pancakes makes this a perfect hangout during the day.
Already expanded since opened in 2011, The Black Pearl has magnificent sea views and is very popular with Swedish families as they offer traditional Swedish dishes (their Swedish meatballs are a must), as well as other European (primarily Italian) cuisine and Thai food. Good quality food, but pricey for Lanta, especially the Thai food. However, this restaurant has a good selection of wines to make up for it.
This Danish café, located in the heart of Saladan, is an excellent place to stop for a drink, ice cream, or their specialty, Danish Smørrebrød (a type of open sandwich on rye bread). You can choose to sit outside and watch the world go by or cool down in their air-conditioned café. The menu is simple café food and great coffee which is popular during the afternoon.
In front of this restaurant is a second hand bookstore that sells a variety of books in many languages. Located behind it is a small but beautiful café extending over the sea. ‘Fresh’ is the best way to describe the food here, as everything is freshly cooked, and their falafel, wraps, salads, and shakes are delicious, makes you feel healthy, and are reasonably priced. Perfect for a lunch date.
Located right in the middle of Saladan and extending out to sea, Lanta Pizzeria is a great place to watch the boats sail by. They make freshly baked thin crust pizza baked in their own stone oven near the entrance of this reasonably priced restaurant. There is a wide selection of toppings and alternatives such as salads and Thai food.
This is probably the most famous restaurant on the island, as it is very popular with tourists and locals who often come in large groups to share different dishes. Lanta Seafood restaurant has beautiful views of the canal, but is very simple inside. Do not stay away – they serve tasty but inexpensive Thai food all day and in the evening their seafood BBQ grill (mid-range in price) is lit in front of the restaurant, where you can choose your dish and have it prepared to your liking. Because of its popularity, we recommend getting there before 8 PM in order to secure a table in the high season.
There is a really wide selection of food at this beautiful restaurant, which is completely covered in flowers that give most tables privacy, even when it is very busy during the high season. Papa’s is relatively expensive for Koh Lanta , but the portions are generous, and their pizzas and steak is very tasty.
Saladan food stalls
Trying to eat at food stalls during your trip to Thailand is a must. The street vendors just before the city has seating and the best way to order is to take a sneak peek at what’s in the giant pot or ask for the same thing as someone else gets. Do not be surprised if you get addicted – this is Thai cooking at its best and cheapest. The stalls near the 7-Eleven offer delicious snacks (fruit pancakes, chicken and pork skewers) at very cheap prices, and they are extremely popular at night.
Right in the middle of Saladan, open from early morning when the locals take advantage of their breakfast options, SalaLanta serves well cooked Thai food, and their curries prove to be particularly popular. The Thai food is well presented, tasty and moderately priced, as is their simple international dishes.
From the front of this restaurant, you can only see their extensive wine collection in their custom-built hermetically sealed cellar, but upstairs is a smart restaurant and a beautiful garden out back. As a modern bistro, The Frog caters to Western tastes with high quality but expensive Western food and limited Thai dishes. A must is their tenderloin and gourmet burgers, and it’s one of the few places on the island that serves a wide range of good quality wines at reasonable prices. An excellent choice for a special occasion, but booking in advance is recommended during the high season.
The east coast offers some great dining experiences, and most restaurants have a view of the southern islands in Koh Lanta National Park.
You can expect really friendly and attentive staff and fresh seafood delivered directly to restaurants, from local long-tail fishing boats. Lunch is definitely a must here during your holiday, but don’t be shy, be sure to take a seat where the best view is – the staff will understand.
No, we haven’t made a typo, this is how they spell it!
Virtually the first restaurant in the old town. This restaurant has a pier that extends beyond the mangroves, and a simply stunning location with spectacular views of the many islands south of Lanta. The restaurant is run by a lovely Muslim family, which means no pork is served. Their Thai food is excellent and delicious, especially their curries. The pier extends very far, and the owner does not mind having to walk far with your food and drinks, so take a seat at the end if possible.
One of the greatest restaurants in the old town with a beautiful jetty extending out toward the southern islands. This restaurant is open for breakfast, but ideal for lunch. ‘Fresh ‘ lives up to its name as it serves fresh seafood in traditional Thai cuisine or BBQ, and additionally they have a good selection of Western food, including burgers. A little expensive, but a good quality restaurant.
A nice, small Thai restaurant that does not look like anything special from the outside but the staff, the food, and the prices are all good. Their specialty is definitely roast duck in either a red or green curry, but they have a wide selection of Thai dishes available, and some western dishes too.
You do not have to go far to the north of the island to find something good to eat. Klong Dao and Phrae Ae has the widest range of eateries found on the island, from a traditional Thai street stall to a top-quality western restaurant.
Generally, Lanta offers high quality restaurants and cafes, but to get the best value and actual quality, try getting out of the resort and the beaches and try the independent on the side of the road. Dining at most restaurants in the north is generally cheaper than elsewhere on the island.
One of the oldest restaurants on Koh Lanta and almost completely rebuilt after the tsunami, Koala Bar is a Thai beach bar with an Australian twist. Serving during the day, either on the beach, at the bar or in their restaurant, their food is definitely good value. The Thai food is always beautifully presented, their pizzas are probably the tastiest on the island, while their baguettes are perfect for lunch. The owner is keen on cricket and rugby, so be sure to go here if you do not want to miss a game.
Do not be fooled by the basic facade of this place which is an authentic Thai restaurant specializing in North Eastern (or Issan) food, and is extremely popular with Thais and Westerners alike. The food is tasty, spicy and cheap. Try their specialties of papaya salad (som tam) and BBQ.
Means Fat Monkey, a seemingly ‘cute’ nickname for the owner’s western boyfriend. This restaurant is perfect for those who cannot agree on what they want to eat. They serve quality burgers, pasta, salads, and Thai cuisine, so you are almost guaranteed to find something that will please your taste buds. The prices are very reasonable for the standard and portion sizes. Ling UANs Thai food has a spicy scale, so you can choose how hot and spicy you want your dish. This restaurant also has a large, popular bar, and cocktails are a real specialty here, but if you don’t see something you like, ask behind the bar for a special order.
Being a German-run bakery, this brightly colored (yellow and green) coffee shop is best known for its German breakfast using their own homemade bread. They also daily bake a number of other breads, cakes, and pastries, and you can even order cakes with your own design for special occasions. This café can be really busy during the high season, and the staff tend to be a little slow, so do not pop in if you are busy but if you plan to enjoy your freshly brewed coffee and breakfast.
If you are looking for a place for a special occasion during your trip to Thailand, look no further than Red Snapper. Their two Dutch chefs serve excellent tapas and high-end Western food in a tropical garden. A selection of good quality wines is also available, but do not expect a cheap evening, although it will definitely be good. At busy times of the year, booking is recommended.
A very beautiful little cafe that offers healthy, home-grown, organic, and freshly cooked Thai food at very low prices. The staff is very friendly and offers free Wi-Fi as long as you wish, even if you only order a bottle of water. Be sure to try the yellow coconut curry and if you want something special, they will cook freshly bought seafood to match your requirements. Most of the fruits, herbs, and honey you are served here is from their own organic garden that surrounds this traditional Thai building.
Time for Lime
Describing itself as a Thai fusion restaurant, Time for Lime has an enviable view of the sea and their modern concrete restaurant fits in well with the surroundings. The sunset here should be experienced at least once, with a large glass of good quality wine. The food and drinks here are of a high standard, so expect a price to match. Every day they offer a tasting menu and have happy hour with some exquisite cocktails between 3 PM and 6:30 PM. All profits from this restaurant goes to Lanta Animal Welfare program on the island.
Lanta southwest coast is one of Thailand’s more quiet shorelines. As home for several top class resorts, it has still retained its rural appeal and visitors can thoroughly relax in the countryside here.
You will soon be able to make friends here, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to dine at one of the friendly, informal, and inexpensive eateries.
There is a really big problem with this little café in the heart of Kantiang Bay, and that is to try to leave it again. With bean bags, hammocks, Wi-Fi, a great staff, and a generally chilled atmosphere enclosed in a mini-jungle, you feel rooted to the spot. The very best is perhaps that the owner is a good cook who delivers tasty food at very low prices for that area. We recommend “Egg Pan” for breakfast, a burger for lunch, and Tom Yam fried rice for dinner. Wash it all down with a fruity shake or a banana pancake with chocolate sauce and you’re addicted!
An unpretentious small Thai café in the center of KlongNin, this friendly little café has no real name but is very popular with local Westerners for their delicious shakes, BBQ chicken, and sticky rice with mango. Great value for money and an excellent place to cool off during lunch.
Noon Café and Restaurant
With outstanding views of Kantiang Bay, this modern wooden diner with a cocktail bar perched over the sea offers a variety of Thai and Western food, all at surprisingly reasonable prices for the quality of food and portions. Most Westerners have their steaks here, and they especially like to wash it down with a pitcher of beer. Most nights they have live music, which they refer to as “jamming sessions”. A great place for dinner or just a cocktail at sunset.
A restaurant originally residing in Chiang Mai many years ago, now moved to KlongNin Beach on Koh Lanta. This restaurant claims that they use absolutely no MSG, GMP, or preservatives. They serve an extensive Thai menu where everything is freshly made, and a reasonable range of Western dishes. This diner has something for everyone. They also offer free Wi-Fi and we recommend the Tom Yam martini for a spicy cocktail.
Same Same But Different
Same Same is a great restaurant located on the beach at the far end of Kantiang Bay. Built in harmony with the surrounding tropical foliage of bamboo and driftwood, this restaurant serves high quality Thai cuisine while your toes are being tickled by the sand. To get the best of this restaurant, order several Thai dishes along with some rice, and then order their delicious cocktails. Expect the bill to be higher than what you would perhaps normally pay in Lanta, but remember you are paying for the great view and location.
Koh Lanta – Nearby
There are several interesting islands near Koh Lanta which are worth visiting for their excellent snorkeling and scuba diving, as Koh Lanta includes more than 50 islands.
Koh Ha: The large pelagic sharks and whale sharks are often spotted here. Koh Ha is under the responsibility of Koh Lanta National Marine Park, which consists of five uninhabited islets. These five islands are visited for their thriving coral reef fish, caves, and swim-through caves, which provide for a good dive.
Koh Rok Nok: Camping is allowed on the island which have corals that are very good for snorkeling. With its crescent-shaped bay, this island offers cliffs, a white powdery sand beach, and a stand of banyan trees. Koh Rok is exceptionally magnificent.
Koh Rok Nai: The island is characterized by steep towering limestone cliffs and white fine beaches on the east side. It is also allowed to camp on the island. Its waters are clear aquamarine so clear that the colorful fish and abundant coral underwater show. The virgin nature at Koh Rok Nai is still intact, and it is one of the most wonderful dive sites in Lanta. The inner area is covered with a dense tropical rain forest, which provides a natural habitat for its flora and faunas. A sub-division of Koh Lanta National Marine Park office is on this island.
Transportation to Koh Rok Nok and Koh Rok Nai can be made from Koh Lanta, both are available in hotels, resorts, and tour agencies on the island. Or you can take a fast boat from Pakmeng Pier in Trang which takes about 3-4 hours.
Koh Lanta – Articles
The Sea Gypsies of Koh Lanta Island
Sang-ga-u Village is located next to the national park headquarters and inhabited by sea gypsies. Originally from the Nicobar or Andaman Islands, the sea gypsies of former centuries were living on their boats and were feared as pirates.
The offshore islands between Phuket and Penang offered numerous hiding-places and the entrance to the Street of Malacca, where Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch traders passed on the way to their colonies, were considered the most dangerous waters in Asia.
With the slow sailing ships substituted by engine-powered vessels, the sea gypsies began to settle along the Andaman Sea Coast in their stilt-built houses erected between the water level of high and low tide. In Thailand, today most sea gypsies have been granted land, surnames and citizenship and their villages are spread throughout the western coast of the Malaysian peninsula with 2 settlements on Koh Lanta Island.
Sea-gypsies are called “Chao’Lay” in Thai language that means people of the sea and are known as the minority group “Thai Mai” which means new Thai people. On Koh Lanta Island they earn their living on fishing or catching lobster, other tasty shellfish and collecting bird’s nests for the Chinese cuisine. When walking through one of their villages on Koh Lanta Island, it is obvious, that most have striking dark skin, curly hair with a slight red touch and bushy eyebrows.
Being a matriarchal society, women can be seen wielding much power in the daily village life of the sea gypsies and working side by side in the fishing boats with the men. The sea gypsies are separated into three different groups: the Moken in the North, from Tavoy and Matthews islands in Myanmar, Koh Surin Islands and Koh Ra Islands in Thailand to Rawai Village at the southern tip of Koh Phuket Island. The Moklen inhabit the central region with Koh Phra Thong Island and the coastal villages of Thai Muang and Laem Lar at the northern tip of Koh Phuket Island.
The Urak Lawoi Sea Gypsies are the biggest group, with the inhabited area stretching from Koh Sireh Island at Phuket’s eastern coast to Koh Hay Island, Koh Phi Phi Islands, Koh Lanta Islands, Koh Pu Island, Koh Libong Island, Koh Li-peh and as far as the Malaysian Pulau Langkawi Island.
The sea gypsies keep close relations to other sea gypsy villages but do not integrate into the Thai population. They still retain their own language, that belongs to the Malay-Indonesian language family, has no writing but is still found in many geographical names. The name “Pulau” means island and “Piapi” is the name of a tree growing in the mangrove swamps. During the centuries, the name “Pulau Piapi” changed to today’s Phi Phi.
Sea Gypsies are people that strongly depend on the nature, therefore, their belief in the supernatural and traditional spiritual worship is strong in the community and colours many of their ceremonies. The bi-annual event of the sea-gypsies is “Floating Boats” (Loy-Rua), when the village men jointly build a symbolic boat and place wooden statues of themselves in it, along with nail pairings, hair and popped rice.
A medium chants sacred words over the boat and its occupants are cast off. By performing this ritual the sea-gypsies ask for forgiveness from the sea gods for any offences they have made to the Andaman Sea and believe that all evil is carried away in the vessel. The event is a joyful occasion for the whole sea gypsy village.
During a cremation a coconut is planted, with the wish, that the children of the deceased should live long and in good health.
100 Years Koh Lanta Island
Koh Lanta Island was known long ago as “Pulau Satak”, a name of Malayan origin meaning Long Beach Island.
Koh Lanta Island’s name of today is most probably a corrupted form of the Javanese word “lantas”, that means a fish grill, which is built of wood with a square grill on top where the fishes are set in a circle. This finally gave the island the name “Koh Lantas”. In 1917, the name was changed to today’s “Koh Lanta” and the two main islands together with 51 smaller isles became a district of Krabi Province.
Koh Lanta Island was of some importance during this time, as the trade ships between Kantang and Phuket passed the island regularly. With the construction of road No 4 from Krabi southwards to Trang and Hatyai, goods transportation changed to the road.
In the late Eighties, the first bungalows opened up Koh Lanta Island to tourists. Resorts like Kaw Kwang, Lanta Villa, Lanta Sea House, Relax Bay Tropicana, Dream Team and Waterfall Bay Resort date back to this time.
Koh Lanta Island is connected to the electric power supply of the mainland since 1996 and can be reached by car ferry. The number of cars, that was around 15 pick-up trucks before the car ferries started their operation, increased rapidly through the easier access to the Koh Lanta Island.
Until 1998, the district office was located in Si Raya Village (Lanta Old Town), the former capital of Koh Lanta Island. With the boats from Krabi arriving to Saladan village, the new building of the district office was erected on Lanta Noi Island, opposite Saladan Village.
The main street from Saladan to Lanta Old Town and Sang Ga-U village on the east coast of Koh Lanta Island was paved in late 1998, today nearly all roads on Koh Lanta Island have an all-weather surface of changing quality.
In January 2001 the Koh Lanta Island received the first telephone lines from the mainland, the antenna for the mobile phones followed immediately. GSM phones are now working at most beaches along the west coast and in Si Raya Village on the east coast of Koh Lanta Island.
In December 2001, the district of Koh Lanta turned 100 years, an event, that was celebrated with a street procession of decorated cars and trucks from Saladan Village to Si Raya Village, releasing of prawns into the Andaman Sea, a sumptuous gala dinner attended by many high-ranking officials of Koh Lanta Island and Krabi province, with different performances on the stage and nightly fireworks.
Demonstrations of local customs, like mat weaving and shadow play were shown, while sport competitions were running during the following days with participants coming from Koh Lanta Island and neighbouring provinces.