Where to stay in Koh Lanta, the relaxing island of Thailand
Koh Lanta is considered somewhat of a hidden gem in Thailand. Although budget travelers and backpackers have been visiting it for years, the island’s popularity with everyday tourists has recently skyrocketed as well. It’s becoming a top destination to visit in Thailand, especially for those coming for their second visit to the country.
Getting around Koh Lanta
When getting to Koh Lanta, chances are you’ll be coming from the Krabi International Airport. From there, you can choose to go to the island by ferry or minibus, which should cost you no more than $10 per person. If you want fast, private transport, taxis around the airport will be willing to take you there as well, although you should expect to pay up to $100.
The island does not have any official public transportation system. Some locals offer a motorbike-taxi service to and from popular tourist spots, although you’ll have to bargain for the price. If you’re staying at a specific resort, you’ll find that most things you’ll be doing will be within walking distance. If you want to go around the island and require reliable transportation, your best bet would be to rent a vehicle. Most resorts, hotels, and tourist information centers will offer this service. Well-known rental companies such as Sixt, Hertz, and Budget Car Rental also operate within the area of the Krabi airport. The typical rental rates are:
|Time||One day||Ten days|
|Car||Around $30||Around $200|
|Motorbikes||Around $20||Around $150|
|Bicycles||Around $15||Around $100|
These are the prices for average vehicles that are more than capable of getting the job done. Within these price ranges, you’ll find all types of cars: coupes, large family cars, SUVs, etc. If you’re willing to bargain at local rental service stations, you may get away with paying even less. However, only official rental companies offer commodities like car insurance.
Where to stay in Koh Lanta: our top three areas
Despite being relatively small compared to similar tourist destinations, Koh Lanta manages to bring a lot to the table. Everyone from budget-conscious tourists, families, backpackers, and even luxury travelers can find something to do around the island. The most populated areas also happen to be the most tourist-friendly, although plenty of nature resorts sit just outside of them. Here are the areas you should consider:
- Holiday Villa (Saladan)
- Klong Khong Beach
- Koh Lanta Old Town
|Where to stay in Koh Lanta|
|Best for first-timers||Holiday Villa (Saladan)||A lively area with plenty of fun activities|
|Best for nightlife||Klong Khong Beach||A paradise for beach-party fans|
|Best on a budget||Koh Lanta Old Town||A small town with affordable prices and exciting history|
Where to stay for first-timers in Koh Lanta—Holiday Villa
This aptly named area happens to be the most popular and tourist-friendly on the island. It’s located just down the road from Saladan Village, where you’ll likely be entering the island, either by sea or land.
What to see and do in Holiday Villa
- Pra-Ae beach
- Visit local food markets
- Fat Monkey Restaurant
The beach offers typical tourist activities. You can swim, snorkel, or even dive. You’ll also find plenty of drink and snack bars with both local and popular foods. But the best reason to visit this beach is the gorgeous view at sunset.
Visit the local food markets
Although there are plenty of grocery stores, with even the famous 7-Eleven present on the island, this neighborhood’s rich food markets will provide you with the best food shopping experience of your life. Douse yourself in the smell and colors of local produce and enjoy bargaining for prices on things like fruit, vegetables, and fish. If you get hungry, try some local food on a stick—the typical way “to-go food” is served on the island. Visit early in the morning to buy fresh products and come back in the evening to enjoy the street food.
Fat Monkey Restaurant
Located in the center of action in the area and ideal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant successfully blends traditional and modern food choices on its menu. You’ll find everything from traditional dishes to world-famous food like pizzas and burgers. They also add unique twists to popular foods by mixing them with Thai cooking. The restaurant is known for a large selection of wines and exquisite cocktail choices, making it a fantastic place to visit for drinks too.
Source: Fat Monkey — Koh Lanta
Where to stay for the nightlife in Koh Lanta—Klong Khong Beach
Koh Lanta island may not be the destination choice for tourists looking to party like there’s no tomorrow. However, Klong Khong Beach should not be underestimated. It has the highest concentration of clubs, bars, and restaurants that work well into the night. You will find everything from chill beach bars to big dancefloors. It’s also the place where you can expect to be surrounded by a younger crowd.
What to see and do in Klong Khong Beach?
- 6ixcret Bar
- Mushroom Bar
- Khow Mhai Hom Restaurant
Just south of Klong Khong, you will find a locally owned beach bar called 6ixcret. Visit throughout the day to enjoy affordable drinks and snacks or come back in the evening to catch the view of the sunset while enjoying a delicious cocktail. The bar also organizes beach parties occasionally. You can find all the info you need on their Facebook page.
Source: 6ixcret Bar
Mushroom Bar is your typical beachside bar until sundown. At night, they host beach parties with unique twists. Every now and then, a fire breathing performance will take place at the beach for visitors to enjoy. The bar is full of crazy colors and encourages its visitors to play along by getting body paint on the spot. Take that, boring everyday clubs.
Khow Mhai Hom Restaurant
Khow Mhai Hom is far from a typical restaurant. It’s a family-owned business that serves local cuisine freshly prepared on the spot. You can even watch as your food is being prepared. The restaurant owners are also environmentally conscious and serve food with natural, reusable materials. If you want to eat authentic, homemade Thai food, this is the place to visit.
Source: Khow Mhai Hom (Ory Baum)
Where to stay in Koh Lanta on a budget—Koh Lanta Old Town
On the eastern side of the area is a local fishing village known simply as Old Town. It’s the ideal area to have a quiet, relaxing vacation away from mass tourism. The area is less popular than the west coast, meaning the prices will be noticeably lower, particularly for items like food and souvenirs. The town also has historical significance that you can learn about at the local history museum.
What to see and do in Old Town, Koh Lanta
- Khlong Chak Waterfall
- Koh Lanta Culture History Museum
Khlong Chak Waterfall
Ask the locals where you can get a bike taxi to the waterfall. If you have your own vehicle, you can use it as well, since the beginning of the trail has parking spaces. While the waterfall itself heavily depends on the rain from previous seasons, the hike through the jungle is also a great experience. It’s definitely the top nature visit on the island.
Koh Lanta Culture History Museum
This small but surprisingly rich museum of local history is the ideal place to visit before you go out exploring the island. The museum is maintained by a retired teacher who has vast knowledge of the island’s history. You’ll get to learn about the different island settlers throughout the years and find out how their coexistence shaped the local culture to become what it is today. Sometimes, live local music events will be held at the museum. The entrance is free to enter but kindly accepts donations.
Old Town may not have fancy tourist beaches, but what it does have is crystal clear water. Find a good place to swim, or ask the locals for directions. Enjoy the clean water and surrounding coral reefs. Pick up snorkeling gear at local shops or check for any diving tours at information centers.