If you want to plan a trip to a Thai island that lacks the crowds of Phuket or Koh Phi Phi, you absolutely need to add Koh Lanta to your Thailand itinerary.
From cruising on your motorbike to empty beaches to uncovering the most spectacular viewpoints or island hopping to hidden lagoons, there is no shortage of things to see and do in Koh Lanta!
If you’re wondering what to do in Koh Lanta, worry not! This Koh Lanta travel guide will show you 18 of the most epic things to on this underrated Thai island, including where to stay and how to get there while sticking to a backpacking budget! Keep reading to learn about the top attractions you MUST add to your Koh Lanta itinerary!
18 EPIC THINGS TO DO IN KOH LANTA
TALABENG SEA KAYAKING TOUR
The highlight of my trip to Koh Lanta was kayaking on Koh Talabeng which totally exceeded all my expectations! Talabeng Sea Kayaking is a locally-owned business that offers small group tours around Koh Phee and Koh Talabeng.
The tour starts in Koh Lanta Noi where you will take a boat ride to Koh Phee (Ghost Island) which is made up of several caves. You will actually have to climb over old tires attached together with ropes to get inside. All your efforts will be rewarded with an incredible view of the emerald ocean and neighboring islands!
After you’re done exploring the caves, a buffet lunch will be served with fresh fruits which was one of the best meals I had in Koh Lanta!
Next on the agenda will be swimming at a secluded beach before hopping on your kayaks for about one hour to explore Koh Talabeng. By the end of the tour, you will be served local snacks and juices.
The group was not too big, about 15 people, so I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a less touristy tour. The guide was really funny and friendly and immediately made everyone feel at ease.
A tour with Talabeng Sea Kayaking costs 1,300 baht (US$ 42.20) for adults and 650 baht (US$ 21.10) for children, including transfer to and from your hotel on Koh Lanta Yai. If you’re staying at CAT Bungalow, you can book the tour directly with them to obtain a discount, so you will end up only paying 1,000 baht (US$ 32.45)!
One of the top activities to do in Koh Lanta is beach hopping! The west side of the island is lined with sandy beaches which become even more scenic and less crowded as you move towards the south. Here are some of my favorite beaches in Koh Lanta:
Ba Kantiang Beach
Ba Kantiang is one of the larger beaches in Koh Lanta where you can find a few bungalows and restaurants. The bay isn’t too rocky and the powdery sand makes it perfect for swimming.
Nui Bay is a small picturesque beach located in the south of Koh Lanta. You will have to take a set of stairs until you reach the white sand beach. There isn’t much facility on Nui Bay apart from a small beach bar, so it’s perfect if you are looking for some peace and quiet.
Khlong Hin Beach
You probably haven’t heard of Khlong Hin Beach, but it’s one of my favorite beaches in Koh Lanta thanks to its unique landscape! Although you can really swim due to the rocky shore, there are a few swings and benches where you can sit down and enjoy the view.
BEACH CLEAN-UP WITH TRASH HERO PROJECT
Just like in Koh Lipe, you can participate in the beach clean-up organized by the Trash Hero Project every Sunday (check their Facebook page to know the exact time and location). You can even contribute further by buying their reusable water bottle.
YOGA CLASSES AT OASIS YOGA BUNGALOWS
When I was in Koh Lanta I attended a yoga class at Oasis Yoga Bungalows. I did the Vinyasa Flow which is perfect for beginners and had a meditation session at the end.
Oasis Yoga Bungalows offer classes from Mondays to Saturdays for 400 baht (US$ 13) (you can check their schedule here). They even offer free meditation classes on Tuesday mornings. Just keep in mind that they may not offer classes during the low season from May to October (again check their schedule to make sure).
VISIT THE OLD TOWN
Koh Lanta Old Town is located on the east side of the island. Here, you will find souvenir shops and restaurants where you can have lunch with a view of the ocean. Most houses are built on wooden stilts and look quite similar to the Clan Jetties in Penang.
RENT A MOTORBIKE TO EXPLORE KOH LANTA
Koh Lanta is quite big and since there isn’t much public transportation, the best way to explore the island is by renting a motorbike.
The roads on Koh Lanta are straight and well-paved in most parts until you reach the south where you will meet a few twists and turns.
When I was visiting, the roads were being renovated so it will be much easier to drive in the future. Motorbike rentals start from 180 baht (US$ 5.85) per day and gas costs 40 baht (US$ 1.30) per liter. Technically, you will need an international driver’s license but you won’t be asked for it when renting a motorbike. And don’t forget to always wear a helmet!
Driving a motorbike on Koh Lanta will give you the ultimate freedom to explore at your own pace and discover some hidden spots. For instance, when I was driving towards the south of Koh Lanta, I followed a little pathway and ended up at an abandoned villa with an amazing view of the ocean.
WATCH AN EPIC FIRE SHOW ON THE BEACH
I absolutely love the fire shows in Koh Lanta which happen almost every night starting from 8 pm at the many beach bars in Klong Khong Beach. You can also watch fire shows at the Indian Bar on Klong Dao Beach. Typical of Thailand, the fire shows in Koh Lanta are absolutely impressive and totally free to watch.
ENJOY THE SUNSET WHILE LISTENING TO LIVE MUSIC
Sunset watching is a must-do in Koh Lanta! The entire west coast has some crazy views and you can even listen to live music while watching the sunset over the horizon! The bar at Bee Bee Bungalow on Klong Khong Beach has live music almost every day starting from 5.30 pm.
WALK DOGS AT THE KOH LANTA ANIMAL WELFARE
If you’re an animal lover, you can give your time to walking dogs or cuddling with cats at the Koh Lanta Animal Welfare, a non-profit organization that helps rescue stray animals in Koh Lanta.
They also have a café on-site and all of the proceeds go into helping the animals. The Koh Lanta Animal Welfare is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm.
BAMBOO BEACH VIEWPOINT
One of the top things to do in Koh Lanta is heading to the Bamboo Beach viewpoint which is found in the south of the island. Go to Baan Phu Lae restaurant which has an incredible view of the Bay. The restaurant is quite small so you will have to come early or wait a bit to get the best seating spot.
Tip: Don’t forget to try their fried rice with green curry, it’s a bit spicy but sooo good!
GET A MASSAGE ON THE BEACH
Fancy a relaxing massage on the beaches of Koh Lanta? For less than 500 baht (US$ 16.35), you can get a full body massage which is a total bargain! You will find massage parlors on Long Beach, Klong Khong Beach and along Saladan Pier as well.
VISIT THE LIGHTHOUSE AT MU KOH LANTA NATIONAL PARK
If you’re not on a super tight budget, you can explore the Mu Koh Lanta National Park in the south of Koh Lanta. Entrance costs 200 baht (US$ 6.50) with a parking fee of 20 baht (US$ 0.65) for motorbikes and 30 baht (US$ 1) for cars.
At the entrance is a rocky beach leading to a lighthouse on top of the rugged cliffs. As you reach the lighthouse you will be greeted with a breathtaking view of the national park!
On the other side, you’ll find a sandy beach where you can swim but keep an eye out for the mischievous monkeys! Here, you will also find a 1.7 km nature trail that circles around the jungle and ends at the entrance.
FOUR ISLAND TOUR AND EMERALD CAVE
Another popular thing to do in Koh Lanta is taking a four island tour. You will do some snorkeling on the islands of Koh Kradan, Koh Chueak, Koh Ngai and a visit to the Emerald Cave (Koh Mook).
The Emerald Cave is a secret lagoon found in the middle of tall limestone cliffs that can only be accessed during low tide through a pitch-black tunnel. Don’t worry your guide will provide you with flashlights and life-jackets.
Note: The islands are closed from June to September.
The tour costs about 1,700 baht (US$ 55) if you book directly with the travel agents in Koh Lanta and you can haggle for a better deal. But, if you prefer to have everything planned, you can book in advance by clicking the links below:
TAKE A STROLL AROUND SALADAN PIER
Located in the north of Koh Lanta Yai, Saladan Pier is a small harbor where the ferries depart to the neighboring islands of Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lipe, Phuket and more.
You will find lots of souvenir shops and restaurants and you can also get the cheapest exchange rate here. This is the only place in Koh Lanta where I was able to buy a sim card for about 350 baht (US$ 11.30) for two weeks of data.
KOH ROK SNORKELING TOUR
The island of Koh Rok is very popular for snorkeling in Koh Lanta. You will find lots of travel agents selling snorkeling tours everywhere in Koh Lanta. The tour usually includes different stops at Koh Rok Nok, and Koh Rok Nai with some beach time and a buffet lunch on the island.
Prices for snorkeling tours in Koh Lanta start from 1,700 baht (US$ 55). But, again if you prefer to have everything planned, you can book in advance by clicking the link below:
EAT LOCAL FOOD
From Pad Thai to Green Curry, Koh Lanta has some of the best food I’ve tasted in Thailand! Some of my favorite places to eat in Koh Lanta include Bee Bee Bungalows and Lantasure on Klong Khong, Baan Phu Lae on Bamboo Beach viewpoint and Kan-ent Restaurant on Kantiang Bay.
KHLONG CHAK WATERFALL
Located in the south of Koh Lanta, in close proximity to the Elephant Trekking (which I don’t personally recommend), Khlong Chak Waterfall is only a short 30-minute trek through the jungle. Try to visit the waterfall during the rainy season for the best experience.
EXPLORE THE NIGHT MARKETS
Night markets are very popular in Thailand, while Koh Lanta is a small island, you can find a few night markets with great food at the Saladan Pier and near Klong Khong beach. Just ask with your hotel since the locations of the night market may sometimes change.
HOW TO GET TO KOH LANTA?
You can get to Koh Lanta by either taking the ferry or mini-van. I would recommend that you check out 12go.asia to get an idea of all the different options and schedules available. If you prefer having everything planned in advance, then you can book through 12go.asia. But, if you like going with the flow and want to score the cheapest price, you can just book in person instead.
Koh Lipe to Koh Lanta
I took the high-speed ferry from Koh Lipe to Koh Lanta with Satun Pakbara Speed Boat which costs 1,700 baht (US$ 55.25). There was no way to budge the price, so that was the cheapest I found in Koh Lipe. The journey lasted four hours and unfortunately, the boat ride was very bumpy. Almost everyone was sick and the engine even stopped working a few times in the middle of the ocean!
So, IF you’re prepared to deal with an extremely bumpy boat ride, you may choose this option. If I had to do it again, I would have chosen the longer route; that is, taking a shorter ferry ride and a shared van to Koh Lanta for about 1,200 baht (US$ 39) for a seven-hour journey.
Once you get to Saladan Pier, you will have to take a taxi/tuk-tuk to your accommodation. I paid 300 baht (US$ 9.80) to get from Saladan Pier to my accommodation in Klong Khong.
Ao Nang, Krabi to Koh Lanta
A shared mini-van from Ao Nang, Krabi to Koh Lanta costs about 400 baht (US$ 13) for a three-hour journey. The van will also pick up some passengers at Krabi Town. Ferries are also available from Ao Nang to Koh Lanta.
WHERE TO STAY IN KOH LANTA
CAT Bungalow is definitely the best place to stay in Koh Lanta. Perched on top of the hills in Klong Khong, CAT Bungalow boasts great sunset views and is run by the friendliest hosts (and their cats)! The rooms are clean and spacious and each comes with a king-size bed, private bathroom, mini-fridge and Wi-Fi, all of this for under US$ 12 during low season. Breakfast and snacks throughout the day are also included in the price.
The location is very convenient, only a 10 minutes’ walk to Klong Khong beach, restaurants and 7-eleven. You can rent a motorbike for only 180 baht (US$ 5.90) and the owners will be happy to help if you need a few driving lessons. Check prices and availability for CAT Bungalow here.
Lanta Baan Nok Resort
Another place to stay in Koh Lanta which comes highly recommended is Lanta Baan Nok Resort. Located about a 15 minutes’ walk from Long Beach, the hotel is clean and spacious. Each bungalow even comes with a hammock where you can relax with a view of the garden. Prices start from US$ 23. Check prices and availability for Lanta Baan Nok Resort here.
BEST TIME TO VISIT KOH LANTA
The best time to visit Koh Lanta is between November and April for the best weather. December to February is usually very crowded and prices tend to be higher. May to October is the low season, so you can end up with better hotel deals, but do expect some rainfalls.
Thanks to its laid-back vibes and cheap cost of living, Koh Lanta is slowly becoming a favorite among budget travelers. So, you should definitely take advantage of this and plan a stop to Koh Lanta during your Thailand itinerary. I hope you found this Koh Lanta travel guide helpful and do let me know if you have any questions. Happy planning!
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