A smattering of green diamonds strewn upon those unmistakeable azure waters; Koh Lanta refers to the archipelago of over fifty islands that stretches across the Andaman Sea.
Despite covering 180 square kilometres, most of which is water, the majority of Koh Lanta's islands are uninhabited, and protected by the National Marine Park so as to preserve the area’s unspoiled nature.
The islands are magnificent to behold. Sheer limestone cliffs pierce the skies above white stretches of sand and curling mangrove forests. A dive around the islands will grant you access to a mesmerising haven of coral reefs, and the stunning visibility provides the perfect spot to check out the vast array of marine life.
Koh Lanta Yai is the largest of the islands, and its west coast’s parade of perfect peach sands is what draws in the vast majority of Koh Lanta’s tourism. The island’s flat landscape makes it ideal to navigate by motorbike, and a two-wheeled adventure with your loved one could be the best way to explore those seductive beaches.
All visitors to Koh Lanta will arrive via the dusty two-street town of Saladan. As you approach, you’ll be greeted by a row of wooden houses and restaurants built on stilts above the sea. This unusual village may only be tiny, but it has all the charisma of the larger towns, and offers its guests a fantastic selection of shops, bars and restaurants. After sunset, Saladan comes alive, and during summer the police stop all vehicles from entering the town, creating a pedestrian paradise that’s perfect for exploring the busy markets.
South of Saladan lies the extensive sands of Long Beach. The four kilometre stretch is lined with plenty of hotels, bars and restaurants, without feeling overcrowded or built up. The soft, powdery beach is the ideal spot for sun-worshippers, and becomes quieter the further south you travel.
On the opposite coast lies Ban Ko Lanta, the Old Town. The original port of the island still retains many of its original buildings, including well-maintained stilt houses that are over 100 years old. There’s a distinct Chinese influence here, epitomised by the Chinese shrine midway down the main street.
One of the island’s must-sees is the National Marine Park. Perched on Lanta’s southern-most tip, the spectacular environment plays host to a huge range of wildlife, from monkeys and lemurs through to exotic birds. The park’s iconic lighthouse sits atop a cliff, and offers its visitors some of the most dramatic views in the whole of Thailand.
GMT +7 hours
14 hours 25 minutes
Best Time To Go
December to March
Koh Lanta enjoys a tropical climate, with the temperature rarely falling below 27°C year round. There are two main seasons: hot and dry from November to April, and 'cool' and wet from May to October. The tourist seasons follow suit, with most visitors preferring to visit during the hotter, drier months. The hottest month on average is March, where the maximum temperature is as high as 36°C. Temperatures can fall to around 20°C during a big storm, and as the temperature falls during the night it can be advisable to pack a light sweater. The monsoon season in Koh Lanta is unpredictable due to the changeable winds, but in general the wettest months are July through October.