Koh Lanta is an island in the Andaman Sea and part of Krabi province in Southern Thailand. Koh Lanta is located about 80 kilometers south of Krabi Town and is much more laid-back travel destination than province’s most popular spots Ao Nang, Koh Phi Phi and Railay.
In the past, this large island was used by Javanese sailors who often stopped and roasted fish here for food. Then later, Koh Lanta changed its status to a port where Chinese and Arab traders sailed and traded until finally becoming a bustling community.
Koh Lanta consists of 2 large islands, Koh Lanta Yai and Koh Lanta Noi, with a total area of 472 square kilometers. There are also about 50 small islands in the surrounding waters. Koh Lanta Yai, which is the larger island in the south, is the center of prosperity and business. This island is home of Koh Lanta District Office and tourist port where ferries and other boats depart to various destinations in the Andaman Sea, such as Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, Trang, Koh Rok and Hin Muang - Hin Daeng diving sites.
Most of tourist attractions in Koh Lanta lie on the west coast of Koh Lanta Yai where all the most popular beaches can be found. Most of the beaches on this coast have seen plenty of development and offer various facilities for tourists, including internet shops, minimarts, restaurants and many types of accommodation such as resorts, guesthouses and bungalows. The southern end of Koh Lanta is the place where the office of Mu Ko Lanta National Park is located and the symbol of Koh Lanta with beauty and the tranquility of the beaches that makes tourists fascinated.
Koh Lanta Beaches
Koh Lanta's most popular beaches north to south are listed below.
Kaw Kwang Beach
Kaw Kwang Beach is the beach on the west side of Ban Saladan, around 1 kilometer from the village and the pier. Both sides of it are curved arched bays. The northern side is not a touristy place but the southern bay has a fairly beautiful black sandy beach. From this point, you can enjoy the view overlooking Klong Dao Beach. Few resorts with a pleasant atmosphere are located at Kaw Kwang Beach.
Klong Dao Beach
Klong Dao Beach was the first beach to welcome tourists in Koh Lanta as it has been developed 10 years ago. At present, Klong Dao Beach is the most popular beach of Koh Lanta due to its convenient location near Ban Saladan. There are many hotels and restaurants around the area. Klong Dao Beach is about 3 kilometers long stretch of white sand with water suitable for swimming.
Phra Ae Beach / Long Beach
Phra Ae Beach is commonly called Long Beach. Phra Ae Beach is the next beach south of Klong Dao Beach. With the length of about 4 kilometers, Phra Ae Beach is the longest beach in Koh Lanta. The beach is sloping down to the sea, so a little caution should be taken when swimming in this beach area. The sand of Long Beach is smooth and fine. During the high season, the waves are not very strong.
Klong Khong Beach
Klong Khong Beach is the beach in the middle of Koh Lanta, located next to Phra Ae Beach. Klong Khong Beach is about 3 kilometers long stretch of sand with pandanus and sea pine trees lined up along the beach. This beach is distinctive and unique when the water is at low tide, especially during sunset. Klong Khong Beach has a variety of accommodations with a decently private atmosphere. Most of them are small and medium sized resorts that are operated by families. Some resorts have only few rooms but come with a large swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Along the beach, you can find a number of cool bars for your sunset cocktail on the beach.
Klong Nin Beach
Klong Nin Beach is a small beach with beautiful scenery, clean white sand and blue sea. This beach is good for snorkeling. As the beach there is not very slope, you will often find tourists playing volleyball or football at this beach. There are plenty of restaurants and bars at Klong Nin Beach, just like at any other beach in Koh Lanta. The accommodation here is mostly inexpensive. There is only one 5-star hotel that has just opened.
Klong Hin Beach
Klong Hin Beach is the beach next to Klong Nin Beach. This beach is quiet and clean but the beach area is narrow and small, full of rocks. However, the sea here is filled with marine creatures so this beach is another good point for snorkeling. Klong Hin Beach is suitable for tourists who want to rest in peaceful nature as there are no hotels on this beach.
Ba Kantiang Beach
The white sand beach and emerald sea water makes Ba Kantiang Beach gorgeous. The highlight of the Ba Kantiang Beach is its surroundings as the beach is surrounded by the greenery of National Park. This beach is popular with backpackers and other people looking for a relaxing spot on the beach.
Klong Jak Beach / Namtok Beach
Klong Jak Beach or Namtok (Waterfall) Beach is a small beach located far away from the clutter. Traveling to Klong Jak Beach is quite dangerous for people who are not skilled drivers as the road is rocky along the way. The place is popular with tourists due to its peaceful beach and the beauty of surrounding nature. The national park is nearby and you can see monkeys here quite often. The sandy beach stretches like a crescent curve with its fine powder-like sand reflecting the white light in the sun. Klong Jak Beach has only few resorts and other accommodations.
Laem Tanod / Tanod Cape
Laem Tanod is a triangularly shaped cape. One side of the cape is extending into the sea and is topped by palm trees (Tanod), making it the origin of the name "Laem Tanod". On the other side of the cape there is a steep hill covered with rainforest, beautiful small sandy beach and crystal clear water. The beach also has a variety of unusual rock formations causing the villagers to call it "Pa Hin Ngam". At the end of the cape Koh Mor island is found which is a popular diving spot. Laem Tanod is home to Mu Ko Lanta National Park Office and the white lighthouse that is providing signals to the sailors at night. It is the symbol of Koh Lanta as well. There are no resorts here as it is in the national park area.
Last Beach / Bamboo Bay
Last Beach or Ao Maipai (Bamboo Bay) is the last beach of Koh Lanta before reaching Laem Tanot or Ko Lanta National Park. Last Beach is located far away from all the chaos and is well worth to visit as here you will see the emerald green water, soft sandy beach and high surrounding mountains. The path leading to the beach is a way down from the mountain which requires a bit of careful driving. However, you can enjoy the amazing scenery from a high angle as well making a trip here really worth it. This is a suitable place for people who like the privacy and the simplicity of the sea.
Trips to Nearby Islands
Besides traveling around Koh Lanta, you can also go on a day trip to other islands. The most popular islands to visit on a day trip from Koh Lanta are Koh Rok Nok & Koh Rok Nai, 4 islands in Trang and Koh Phi Phi.
Koh Rok Nok & Koh Rok Nai
Koh Rok Nok and Koh Rok Nai are twin islands not far from Koh Lanta and they can be easily visited on a day trip from there. There are daily speed boat trips that include snorkeling activities, food, guides and transportation. It takes about 45 minutes from Koh Lanta to reach the islands.
4 Islands in Trang
There is also a one day tour to 4 islands offered in Koh Lanta. During this trip you can visit 4 islands in Trang province - Koh Ngai, Koh Chueak, Koh Mar and Koh Kradan. The highlights of the tour are the Emerald Cave at Mook Island and snorkeling at Ko Cheuk and Ko Waen islands.
Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi is one of the most famous islands in Thailand for a long time. There are actually two islands, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley. Koh Phi Phi is famous for diving activities and many scenic spots. Many tourists begin their trip at Koh Lanta and then head to Koh Phi Phi.
How to get there
Traveling to Koh Lanta is not difficult anymore because there are many routes to Koh Lanta and all are comfortable whether you come from Krabi, Trang, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Ao Nang or Bangkok. There are also taxi and minivan services from Krabi Town and the nearby airport to Koh Lanta available for a reasonable price.
The nearest airports are Krabi, Trang and Phuket. Krabi and Trang have direct road and boat connections to Koh Lanta, and are the best options if you're only visiting Koh Lanta.
Krabi Airport (KBV) is only about 30 kilometers from Koh Lanta. Krabi Airport receives daily flights from Bangkok's both airports. Flight from Bangkok to Krabi takes about 1 hour 20 minutes. When you reach Krabi Airport, you can take a minivan directly to Koh Lanta (takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour) or you can take a bus into Krabi Town and get a minivan or boat from there.
Trang Airport (TST) is located about 90 kilometers away from Koh Lanta. Flight from Bangkok Don Mueang Airport to Trang takes about 1 hour and 25 minutes. From Trang to Koh Lanta you can travel by a van and it can take about 2 hours to get there.
Phuket Airport (HKT) is well connected with both airports in Bangkok by a big number of daily flights between BKK & DMK and Phuket. From Phuket Airport you can reach Koh Lanta by a ferry or minivan. The ferry is operating from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi where you need to board another ferry going to Koh Lanta. Remember that only by taking the morning ferry from Phuket you can reach Koh Lanta on the same day. The fare is about 700 baht. There is also a public van from Phuket Bus Terminal and it takes about 4 hours to get to Koh Lanta. A trip from Phuket to Koh Lanta on a private car can take about 4 hours as well.
Koh Lanta is about 1,000 kilometers from Bangkok. You need to take a bus to Krabi first.
Buses from Bangkok to Krabi depart from Southern (Sai Tai Mai) Bus Terminal. There are many bus companies providing the service. Most buses depart from Bangkok in the evening and arrive at Krabi Bus Station in the morning.
There is a van service from Krabi Bus Terminal to Koh Lanta which is very convenient as the minivan drops you off by the hotel. Minivans depart almost every hour and cost 250 baht.
There are two trains running daily from Bangkok to Trang. You can book train tickets at Hua Lamphong Railway Station in Bangkok, at one of the stations on the way or even online. Booking a ticket in advance is recommended.
From Trang you can take a minivan to Koh Lanta. Tickets for the minivan can be purchased from the tour agent opposite the train station.
Ferry services to Koh Lanta Yai's Saladan pier run from Krabi, Ao Nang and Phuket via Koh Phi Phi. During high season, sometimes there are direct ferries as well. Ferry tickets can be booked in advance online here: Ferry Krabi - Koh Lanta.
By Private Car
Koh Lanta does not have roads connecting it directly to the mainland, but is served by car ferries. Take Rt 4206 off Hwy 4 about 20 km southeast of Krabi Airport. Drive to the end of the road, where there are car ferries from Baan Hua Hin to Koh Lanta Noi.
Back to Krabi Town, Koh Phi Phi or Other Destination
If you want to leave Koh Lanta, the best way is taking minibus. You can ask your hotel to book you a minibus. The service is offered for a reasonable price.
Traveling around Koh Lanta
If you feel confident about driving, the easiest way to get around the island is by motorbike. The rental fee is 150-250 baht per day, depending on the number of rental days. Koh Lanta has only 1 main road running around the island which is in good condition up to Bakantiang Bay.
Taxis, tuk-tuks and songtaews (pickup trucks with 2 rows) can also be used in Koh Lanta.
Weather in Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta has only two seasons - the wet and the dry. Weather conditions are at their best in Koh Lanta and all Krabi province from November to March, when a cooling wind keeps the heat at bay and humidity level is low here. From March to May the temperature rises as the cooling wind departs and the humidity rises.
In April monsoonal weather usually arrives, which is expected to last until October. Peak rainfall levels are usually experienced in September and October. Outside of these months, the rain can often come in a short, heavy shower, usually in the afternoon.
Koh Lanta has similar weather conditions with other West coast destinations throughout the year as they all experience the impact of the Andaman sea. Temperatures and weather conditions in these locations might differ a bit in short term but in long term it's not notable so you can easily combine a visit to Koh Lanta with nearby destinations like Phuket or other islands and beaches in Krabi province.
For the best time to visit Koh Lanta province check our West coast of Southern Thailand weather ratings chart.
You are planning to continue your trip up north or to visit islands on the East Coast after visiting Koh Lanta? Check when is the best time to visit Thailand's other destinations and choose destination with the best possible weather conditions.