Koh Lanta means ’Dazzling Island’ and its title is more than justified! Just 32 kilometers long and 8 kilometers wide, Koh Lanta has it all neatly packaged! Lush tropical jungle, sensational beaches scattered along its western coastline, an array of Koh Lanta accommodation, superb restaurants offering Thai and International cuisine, beach side bars to sip a cocktail as the sun drops over the Andaman sea and most of all, the cast of Koh Lanta, the people themselves; always there with a greeting, a smile and a desire to please its audience, us the visitor. How well they succeed!
The island was first inhabited about 500 years ago by sea gypsies, originally from Indonesia. By the 19th century people from theMuslim communities of Malaysia and Indonesia arrived as did the Thai’s from the south of the country all settling on Koh Lanta and in the 19th century, Chinese traders, fishermen and tin workers arrived looking for new opportunities in the trade routes of Asia.
By the 1980’s Koh Lanta found its way onto the backpacker trail, closely followed by Scandinavian ‘s looking for a piece of paradise and the rest of the world followed! By the end of the 90’s Koh Lanta’s progression meant the arrival of electricity and the telephone and islanders seized the opportunity to better themselves opening restaurants, bars, shops and other services to meet the needs of their visitors. Koh Lanta soon slotted into the ‘must go’ list of places and even today, continually wins awards as a top destination for its beaches.
There is so many activities to keep you occupied on Koh Lanta from beaches to treks, from cookery schools to thai boxing and water sports to waterfalls. One thing that we are sure you will agree on, that one visit will simply not be enough!
Getting Around Koh Lanta
Island tours are readily available by private car. ‘Song - taows' (shared open taxi) or tuk tuk will also get you around as nowhere on the island is too far. Many people chose to hire a scooter and travel around independently as the roads are very quiet and apart from odd potholes, the roads are pretty good.
Drivers as well are far more considerate and generally drive much slower than on the mainland.
There’s also a few shops that rent bicycles although most rent scooters.
Saladan is the entry point in the north of the island for most visitors. Here you will find the largest concentration of shops, travel agents etc. There is also an abundance of restaurants, many stiilted and sit out over the water on the northern shore, creating a great vibe and great seafood dishes! Many of the dive boats also operate from Saladan with transport provided from Roundhouse. Please enquire for details.
the West Coast of Koh Lanta
All of Koh Lanta’s beach resorts are scattered along the west coast, from Klong Dao, Long Beach, Klong Klong and Klong Nin to often deserted beaches dotted along the roadside down to the National Park, ideal to visit if you are travelling around by scooter. Klong Nin, where Roundhouse is located, retains a unique character and ambience created by its beach batch type buildings that are peppered along the beach. The resort is served by many an excellent restaurants, beach side bars, a varied selection of shops, internet access and travel agencies etc.
Southern Koh Lanta
The southern tip of Koh Lanta has National Park status. Here you can trek along well sign posted hiking trails of the lush tropical forest of the park, visit the lighthouse and the stunning beaches and gardens. One of Thailands most famous residents is the elephant and here on Koh Lanta, there are a couple of elephant camps where you can experience the jungle by elephant. If you can tear yourself away from the beach and are feeling adventurous, eco tour companies will take you on gentle treks to waterfalls, hot springs and caves which are tucked away in the interior of Koh Lanta.
Eastern Koh Lanta
The eastern side of Koh Lanta is often overlooked by visitors as although very scenic, mangroves take the place of beaches. Don’t be quick to dismiss taking a trip here though, for only as far back as 50 years ago, Lanta Old Town was the commercial hub of this island. When Saladan became the main entry point, so Lanta Old Town lost its commercial standing and reverted to a sleep backwater. Its a charming place to wander through, oozing with character. Timber buildings dating back over 100 years line the main street and stretch far enough back to hang over the waters edge on stilts.
Around the Islands of Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta gives its name to 52 islands around the archipelago, some of which are uninhabited, others with communities living on them. Long tail boats can be chartered for snorkeling trips and for exploring around the islands.
LANTA OLD TOWN
As Lanta Old Town was once a stopping off point for Chinese and Arab trading boats, the town has a diverse community, the only Chinese temple on Koh Lanta is here in the town.
Sea gypsies also live here and along the coast, as they have done for centuries taking a meager living from the sea.