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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrKo Lanta Yai has undergone a rather amazing transformation in just two, short decades. From beach-bum hangout to sophisticated diving mecca, Koh Lanta (as the island is more commonly known) is the arguable, best, all-rounder isle in all of Thailand. Just one of 52 excessively picturesque islands bobbing along the turquoise waters of the Mu Ko Lanta National Park , Koh Lanta boasts pristine shores, superlative diving and snorkeling, as well as authentic cultural encounters and religious and historic attractions. Add to that a most definite lack of the youngish party shenanigans most often seen on its neighboring isles and you have yourself a very relaxing and enjoyable tropical paradise.
What makes Ko Lanta so DistinctiveKoh Lanta is said to be the most rewarding scuba diving site in all of Thailand thanks to a near infinite collection of reefs and underwater caves brimming with sea life, and the fact that it is devoid of major tourist crowds. This is by far the most enticing combo for serious and quite discerning divers. Nature lovers who like tranquil hiking will love Koh Lanta, and will find plenty of chances to get lost in nature without encountering a single other soul. Accommodation options range from super affordable to super luxe, with the waters off its shores calm enough to attract plenty of travelling families as well.
Koh Lanta is not nearly as popular as Koh Phi Phi but many will argue it is precisely for this reason that it’s the more enticing of the two. For whatever reasons, the party scene never really took off here, making it ideal for those who want to enjoy a Thai vacation without all the usual trimmings. The great thing about Koh Lanta is that there is still plenty of fun and partying to be had, if you know where to go.
With amazing food on offer and a plethora of fun and relaxing things to do, Koh Lanta is the ideal destination for anyone who wants the best of Thailand in one small, easily accessible package.
What there is to See and Do on Koh LantaIf spending days on end on Klong Nin Beach soaking up the rays and frolicking in the divine waters sounds too boring, then rest assured that Koh Lanta has a myriad of fun and interesting things to do. Here is just a glimpse of what this gem has to offer:
Diving & SnorkelingWhether you want to admire the local sea residents from a depth of 98 feet, or from the surface of the sea, Koh Lanta is the perfect place in which to indulge in both. From leopard sharks to manta rays, dolphins, turtles and a near endless list of colorful, tropical fish, the waters off Koh Lanta and its smaller neighbors are absolutely brimming with life. Sites and packages abound and note that all diving will be boat-based.
Day TripsOn an organised day trip you can visit half a dozen islands, snorkel, lunch and visit charming fishing villages. For those short on time this is a great way to taste a little of everything Koh Lanta has to offer.
Channel your inner castawayCharter a private longboat, pack a picnic basket and whisk your beloved to a remote uninhabited island for the day. Enough said.
Lanta Animal WelfareA wonderful non-profit organisation, whose aim is to rescue and rehabilitate the furry four-legged animals living on the island. If you’re an animal lover and have been left jaded by the lack of care of domesticated cats and dogs in Thailand you may find this a worthwhile place to visit. Dedicate an hour of your time to cuddle or walk the animals and know any contribution you make will go to a great cause.
KayakingThe eastern side of Koh Lanta is renowned for its spectacular mangroves, which are incredibly fun to discover by kayak. Rent a kayak from town or go it alone if you’re feeling adventurous.
Lanta Old TownThe historic center of town is a picturesque little place with traditional houses on stilts, great shops and a wide range of seaside eateries. If you need a change from sea-based activities, then this is where you should head for half a day.
LocationKoh Lanta is actually a small archipelago consisting of several islands, with Koh Lanta Yai being the most popular. You’ll find it on the Andaman Sea, just south-east of Phuket and directly south of Krabi, from where road and boat connections are ever so easy to organize. During high season, you’ll find a free transfer bus at Krabi International Airport, which will link you directly with the closest ferry pier.
The island is 30kms long and about 6kms wide, has few roads and even fewer people, making it a delight to discover on scooter or bicycle.
Where to StayName it, and in Koh Lanta you shall find it: from 5-star spa resorts to cheap and cheerful beach bungalows and all that could possibly be offered in between. It is said that Koh Lanta has the best and most varied accommodation choices in all of the Krabi Province and that’s saying a lot. The great majority of all the accommodation is set along one of the island’s many fantastic beaches, and due to the fact that the island is small and compact, it matters not which side you wish to stay on.
Where to DineNot to be outdone, Koh Lanta’s gastronomic scene is also quite extensive, with the islands collectively being home to over 200 dining and drinking establishments. The best aspect, as with choices of accommodation, is the sheer variety of food and options on offer. From luxurious 5-star restaurants to delectable street stalls, you’ll find an abundance of freshly sourced produce cooked to perfection just about everywhere you go.
Koh Lanta is home to a fair amount of permanent expats who prefer a more laid-back Thai life, so the islands also boast a great range of Western food as well as a quite a few places selling ‘real’ coffee.
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Author: Laura Pattara. Last updated: Feb 04, 2015