Things To Do in Koh Lanta
If you follow the route I’ve suggested and go from Koh Phi Phi to Koh Lanta then really honestly when you get to Koh Lanta the main thing you’ll want to do may very well be just sleep, chill and eat a lot of healthy food for a while. Phi Phi is hectic.
I went to Koh Lanta wanting to do exactly that and yet managed to end up being convinced to go back to Koh Phi Phi for Songkran on my first night! Yes strong will power I have.
And actually as well as chilling I went on one of the best boat tours I’ve been on in Asia while there too.
Long Beach Koh Lanta
Long Beach is actually just beautiful to chill on. All the restaurants and bars along it have futons on the floor you can recline on or comfy seats to curl up in while reading a book or sipping a drink in the sunshine.
If I was going to chill somewhere to get some reading or writing done for a while Koh Lanta would be up there in my top picks exactly because of the set up of the beach restaurants. They’re perfect for lazy afternoons.
The beach is also pretty uncrowded and not one of those places where you’ll be hassled to buy something every two seconds.
I’d highly recommend basing yourself near there.
You can easily find more secluded beaches in Koh Lanta too.
Island Tours and Snorkeling in Koh Lanta
As I mentioned Koh Lanta is one of the places where I went on one of the best boat tours I’ve ever been on in South East Asia. And that’s saying a lot as I’ve been on a LOT. There are some travel routes I’ve found myself on at times where that’s just what you do at every beach location you get to in that country so they can become pretty underwhelming very quickly. But this one is well worth it.
For the island tours and snorkeling in Koh Lanta you’ll be picked up early form your hostel for the day trip and go round a number of different spots to snorkel and see other beaches during the day.
The highlight is by far a cave they take you to at Koh Mook. Make sure you tour includes it.
Our guide wasn’t exactly the best at explaining what was going on so we all swam into this cave not really sure what was going/when we should turn around and go back. This was a cave that had some light at the start but then goes completely pitch black as you get further on and we literally had no idea what was going on. We hadn’t been told a thing. I almost turned back so many times.
It turns out though that the cave goes all the way through to open up into a beautiful big lagoon and it is completely worth the slight discomfort of swimming through the dark cave.
Our return trip was worse actually as the cave had gotten a lot busier by then and most guides had the sensible idea of forming trains (like the crocodiles teachers make you form on school outings to stay together) to help their customers make it out through the pitch black. The trains would consist of the guide at the front and then everyone else from their group following along behind holding a rope with one hand and the person in front of them with the other.
Ours wasn’t so smart so we formed our own train but it mean we weren’t quite as organised in our path through the cave and so kept ending up in other people’s trains. It’s worth going on the tour just to see this cave. Even if you’re fed up of snorkeling by this point I’d recommend going for the cave and to see the beautiful lagoon the other-side.
Exploring Koh Lanta
Friends of mine, by which I mean people I met there and am still friends with till this day, hired scotoers and just went and drove around Koh Lanta to explore. This was before I’d learnt to drive a scooter and was actually quite scared of doing so as I’d heard so many horror stories of people driving them, injuring themselves and then not being able to carry on with their journeys. Much better to learn to drive a scooter properly before you leave home and get your actual license so you can take part in these activities worry free. It’s something that will come up a lot if you’re traveling Asia for a while as that is the by far the most popular and cost effective modes of transport in a lot of Asia. In Bali it costs about $3.50 a day to rent a scooter and petrol (gas) is about $1.50 for a full tank.
I therefore opted out of that bike exploration but the friends that explored by bike loved it and discovered some beaches they could play volleyball on and just saw some incredible scenery in general from what they said. If it’s anything like the scenery I saw on the way from my hostel to the boat tour that sounds like an extremely accurate description of what you’d see spending a day just driving round there by bike.
Night Life in Koh Lanta
Since Koh Lanta is a small sleepy island, there isn’t a lot going on in the evening but there are some parties. They rotate round the different bars on different nights, much like in Hikkaduwa in Sri Lanka where on a set day of the week it will be one bar that has the night everyone goes to and another day another bar. If you go to any other bar but the one designated for that day of the week it will be dead.
We went to one such party but even though it was the designated night for that bar it really wasn’t that lively a party. If you want to party, Koh Lanta is not the place for it. It’s a place to chill out, enjoy the beaches, surrounding nature and maybe have a few beers in the evening at most.
Where to stay in Ko Lanta
I stayed at Chill Out House which I loved but I don’t think it will be for everyone. The hostel has a very relaxed, homely kind of almost commune like feel to it with honours systems in pace for things like coffee.
The atmosphere is great and it has a really large common area which is perfect for chilling out in during the day or for sitting and having a drink in when it turns into a bar in the evening. All the staff at the hostel are really friendly and are all fellow backpackers like you. They volunteer in exchange for free board (if that’s something you’re looking for it would really be worth checking this place out, the owner is lovely too).
The only reason I say it might not be for everyone is because it is essentially a giant tree house and the accommodation reflects that. Beds in the dorm rooms are mattresses on the floor with a mosquito net thrown over. There are no solid walls and the “windows” are constantly open since they are formed just from where the bamboo hasn’t been put all the way up the wall. See the photo at the start of this page.
It’s a really cute place but it may not be to everyone’s taste since it is very basic and exposed to the elements. I even struggled a little bit to sleep properly on some of my nights there due to the heat and a thunderstorm which become pretty loud on the corrugated roof but I’d still stay again as I loved everything else about the hostel.
How Long To Stay in Koh Lanta
Two to Three nights is enough to feel like you’ve had enough time to explore the island and to do a boat trip however you may want to stay longer just to relax on the beach, do some yoga and lounge about in hammocks away from the crazy parties on islands like Koh Phi Phi.
Moving On: How to Get from Koh Lanta to Krabi
You can book a boat and bus ticket through your hostel or one of the many places on the beach for this. I booked through my hostel who do the journey via the car ferry. The bus therefore picks you up from your accommodation, you drive to the harbor to what looks essentially like a floating slab of concrete and then are ferried across still in the van. It’s a really short crossing though so most of the time is spent in a coach on dry land anyway.