Koh Lanta is a 25 km-long island off the Andaman coast of Thailand, south of Phuket and Krabi. Renowned for its long beaches, quiet seclusion, and natural beauty both above and below the water, Koh Lanta is a beach lover’s and scuba diver’s paradise.
Located 70 km south of Krabi, Koh Lanta features a pair of large islands so close to the Thai mainland that it not inconceivable that bridges will someday be built to connect them to each other and to the mainland. It may be many years before this happens however, as Koh Lanta is already a popular Thai beach holiday destination, but its still a long way from the development and popularity of nearby Phuket or Koh Phi Phi.
Technically a group of islands including the two largest, Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai, Koh Lanta is technically the name of an administrative district in Krabi Province, though when referring to Koh Lanta most people mean Koh Lanta Yai, where most of the nicest beaches and tourist attractions are located.
The prime attractions on Koh Lanta are its long beaches, clear water, and laid back atmosphere. Even after a decade of development that has resulted in the construction of a few of the finest beach resorts in Thailand, the sheer size of Koh Lanta’s west coast ensures that there is plenty of space for visitors to enjoy a relaxing holiday even in the height of peak season in late December and early January.
The west coast of Koh Lanta features nine beaches along its 25 km shore, most which are great for swimming and ideal for long, romantic walks and sunset views. It’s a great place for a family vacation or a romantic escape.
The most developed areas of the island are on the northwest shore, particularly the beaches of Klong Dao and Long Beach (Phra Ae). These beaches feature the highest density of resorts and tourist services, though this is still a relative term as they are well distributed along the beach and up on the main road.
Farther south the beaches become more secluded and the road terminates at a national marine park. In fact, beach hopping from north to south, either by rental car, motorbike, or long-tail boat is one of the great attractions of Koh Lanta. The island is also a scuba diver’s paradise as there are many coral reefs, limestone outcrops, seamounts, pinnacles, and undersea caves around Koh Lanta and nearby islands.
The main tourist office on Koh Lanta is located at Baan Saladan, where visitors arriving via car-ferry or boat first arrive. Baan Saladan has the highest concentration of banks, dive shops, markets, medical clinics, and motorbike rental services. Koh Lanta’s post office is located in the east coast of Koh Lanta, in Baan Koh Lanta (Lanta Old Town), which serves as the islands capital.
Koh Lanta is an island province consisting of 52 islands. Koh Lanta Yai, the largest of the islands, is located approximately 70 kilometers from Krabi town and can be visited either by car-ferry from the mainland or boat from Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, or Phuket.
As Koh Lanta lies just south of the Andaman coast’s prime attractions, namely Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, and Phuket, it has maintained its laid-back atmosphere, even as Koh Lanta has slowly developed to include some of Thailand’s finest beach resorts. Still, Koh Lanta remains an amazing beach destination for families, couples, backpackers, and scuba divers: anyone who is looking for a Thai island that has not succumbed to overdevelopment but still has many options in regards to accommodation and activities.
Koh Lanta Yai is 6km wide and over 30km long, featuring nine golden sand beaches and a diverse terrain, including mangroves, waterfalls, and forested hills.
A paved road runs from the north to the south of the island, parallel to the coast, and provides access to the headquarters of the Mu Koh Lanta National Park and the lighthouse on the southern tip.
Just south of Koh Lanta Yai lay the islands of Koh Ngai, Koh Kradan and Koh Muk, all of which offer equally stunning beaches and snorkeling and even greater seclusion.