In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know for your trip to Koh Lanta. We will give you a good overview of the island, tell you which sights you should visit, which beach is the most beautiful and much more.
Koh Lanta is a small, very chilled out island on the west coast of Thailand. We spent three whole weeks here and felt very comfortable!
Koh Lanta is the perfect island for us. There is a good infrastructure, beautiful beaches, many bars and restaurants.
However, it is not as touristy as we overrun many other islands in Thailand.
Fortunately, you won’t find any large hotel bunkers here and there is no excessive party tourism on Koh Lanta either.
Even so, it is not completely isolated. There is a lot to see and you can definitely spend some time on Koh Lanta without getting bored.
Helpful tips for travel planning
Where is Koh Lanta located?
The Koh Lanta archipelago is located on the west coast of Thailand on the Andamamen coast and belongs to the Krabi region. Koh Lanta is about 800 km from Bangkok and about 200 km north of the Malaysian border.
The Koh-Lanta archipelago consists of about 50 small islands. However, only three of them are inhabited and one of them is touristy. The main island of Koh Lanta consists of two separate islands: Koh Lanta Noi, the northern smaller part and Ko Lanta Yai, the southern, larger part of the island, which is open to tourists.
Koh Lanta is 27 km long and 10 km wide at the narrowest point. In the south there are even mountains that are up to 500m high.
There is actually still rainforest on Koh Lanta, as a large part – 80% of the island – was declared a national park as early as 1990. The national park in the south of the island also offers some excursion possibilities.
The best time to travel to Koh Lanta
The main season on Koh Lanta starts in November and ends in April/May. The rainy season in the region is from June to September and the weather can be very changeable.
If you don’t feel bad about a few days of clouds and a few rain showers and you don’t necessarily want to go swimming in the sea, you can visit the island in the rainy season. September is particularly suitable for this, as the weather gets better and better towards the end of the rainy season.
The advantage of the rainy season is that the island is still a little deserted, you hardly meet other tourists and in many accommodations you only pay half the room price or even less.
The disadvantage is that the weather can be very mixed. This could be just a few short, heavy showers or it could be cloudy for a week and raining all the time. The fact that the tourist season has not yet started can also be seen as a disadvantage.
Many hotels are still closed, the beaches are not well-kept and you will be the only guest in many restaurants.
We were on the island from September 20th to October 14th, 2020. September was very mixed, which means it was often cloudy and rained heavily a few times.
October became a bit more stable and you could tell how the island was slowly coming back to life and almost every day more restaurants and hotels opened their doors for the season.
Who is Koh Lanta for?
Koh Lanta is very popular with families and couples. There are many beaches that go very shallowly into the sea and are therefore perfect for children. But backpackers who appreciate islands with a relaxed atmosphere also get lost there.
Koh Lanta is definitely not a party island, and the tourism infrastructure cannot be compared with that in Koh Samui or Koh Phi Phi. There is also no McDonalds on the island, which is often a very good sign of whether an island is still worth visiting or not.
The beaches are usually very long, so even in the high season tourists do not lie on the beach like herrings. Everything is spread out wonderfully and there are a few empty, natural spots between the individual resorts and beach bars.
So it’s true: Koh Lanta is really a paradise for families and the beaches on Koh Lanta are not just a dream for children.
On Koh Lanta, everyone who is not looking for partying and shopping, but for relaxation, tranquility and relaxed beach life will get their money’s worth.
The island offers a great mix of relaxation, beach and excursion possibilities .
But if you don’t want to do without partying completely, then we can assure you that there are of course one or the other nice party location on Koh Lanta.
Also divers come to Koh Lanta at their expense. There are some great diving spots for beginners as well as advanced divers.
Koh Lanta is also a popular destination for digital nomads who work from the island. Koh Lanta has a coworking space, the Kohub on Long Beach .
So if you are looking for a nice place to work in winter, you can easily spend a month or more on the island.
How long should you stay in Koh Lanta?
The question is difficult to answer because it depends very much on what you are looking for.
Basically you can easily see the island by scooter in one day. But if you want to go on excursions, e.g. to the waterfall or the caves or if you want to stop at a nice beach, you can easily plan a week for exploring the island.
If you are looking for peace, relaxation and relaxed beach life, you are also right on Koh Lanta, and can just relax for about 10 days and lie down with a good book at the pool or one of the many beautiful beaches.
What do you have to pack?
It definitely doesn’t get cold on Koh Lanta. You should still take thin long pants and a long-sleeved top with you to protect yourself from mosquitoes, especially at dusk and afterwards. But you don’t need them to keep them warm. You don’t really need much else either.
Since the island is mainly inhabited by Muslims, out of respect, one should not walk around openly outside the beach. Therefore, thin T-shirts that cover the shoulders, thin linen trousers and two shorts are suitable.
There is a cheap laundry service on every street corner and in many accommodations (1kg = 40 baht = 1 euro). It is therefore less worthwhile to pack and give your laundry to be washed. What we have come to appreciate is our Pacsafe , with which we can securely connect our valuables anytime and anywhere.
If you come to Koh Lanta during the rainy season, we advise you to pack a waterproof bag as a daypack.
It can suddenly rain a lot there, so that you are completely soaked within seconds. You can also buy a simple rain poncho for a few cents on every corner.
If you have space in your backpack, pack enough sunscreen – you shouldn’t pack less than SPF 30. Sunscreen is quite expensive on the island. You quickly pay the equivalent of 10 euros for a tube.
Otherwise there is everything you need in mini markets or one of the 7/11 supermarkets. There is also a very well-stocked pharmacy on Long Beach (also called Pra-Ae Beach).
Arrival to Koh Lanta
You have different options to get to Koh Lanta. The nearest airport is Krabi. Unfortunately there are no direct flights from Europe to Krabi yet. But that’s not bad at all, because the island stay is so wonderful with a stopover, e.g. in Bangkok.
From Bangkok to Krabi
By plane: Domestic flights in Thailand are usually quite cheap, e.g. with Air Asia or Bangkok Airways. Flights to Krabi start at around 20 euros. You only fly about an hour.
You can find the best flight price from Bangkok to Krabi on Skyscanner .
By bus: You can also take the bus. Bus tickets are also available from 20 euros. The buses leave Bangkok every evening.
It takes about 12 hours to get to Krabi and you will be more or less rested the next morning.
From Krabi to Koh Lanta
The island is connected to the mainland by a car ferry . In addition, there are also regular ship ferries from Krabi, Koh Phi Phi and Phuket . In the low season from May to the end of October, the island is not approached by the ship ferries, i.e the only way is via the car ferry.
With the ferry
In the high season from November to April there are daily ferries from Krabi to Koh Lanta. You just take a taxi from the airport to the New Pier in Krabi for about 700 baht and take the ferry from there.
Krabi – Koh Lanta
Departure: 11:30 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.
Travel time: 1.5 hours
Cost: 450 baht per person
Note : The ferry times change well and sometimes even within a season. So you should check that again beforehand. The same goes for the prices. If you want to continue to Koh Lanta on the same day, it is worth arriving in Krabi in the morning.
With the minibus over 2 car ferries
You can also take the minibus all year round, which will then take you to Koh Lanta via the two car ferries.
When you have arrived in Krabi, you can organize transport with a minibus at one of the numerous travel agencies and in almost every accommodation. You can also book the minibus online in advance.
The vans leave every hour and cost around 15 euros per person. The best thing to do is to give the name of the accommodation when booking so that the driver knows where to let you out on the island. Otherwise he’ll probably let you out at the ferry station in Saladan.
You then drive about 1 hour to the first car ferry that takes you to the northern part of Koh Lanta Noi. A short time later you have already arrived at the second ferry station. The second car ferry will also bring you to Koh Lanta Yai. After about 2.5 hours you will finally reach your destination.
From Phuket to Koh Lanta
With the ferry
In the high season from November to April, ferries run daily from Rassada Pier on Phuket to various moorings on Koh Lanta. The crossing takes about 1.5 hours by speedboat and costs around 35 to 45 euros. Some online tickets include pick-up by minibus from your accommodation in Phuket.
Note : The ferry times change well and sometimes even within a season. So you should check that again beforehand. The same goes for the prices.
With the minibus
You can also book minibus trips to Koh Lanta at your accommodation in Phuket at any travel agency or ask the accommodation to organize the transport for you.
Travel time: 5 hours
Cost: approx. 500 baht per person
Transportation on Koh Lanta
If you dare to ride a scooter, then you should rent a scooter and explore the island with it. Most accommodations have their own scooters for rent or organize one for you.
We advise you to take a few more euros into your hand and not rent the scooter from the first rental company you can hire. You can get a scooter for around 5-7 euros, i.e. 200-280 Baht a day. If you stay longer, you can certainly negotiate a discount.
Driving a scooter on the island is very pleasant despite left-hand traffic. There is not much traffic and you can’t get lost. There is actually only one road that goes around the island and one that goes right through it. Petrol is available about every 20 meters, either from a pump or from bottles for 40 THB per liter.
But you can also explore the island with a tuk-tuk. The prices are not as cheap as in Bangkok, but not expensive either.
You just wave to the tuk-tuk driver, tell him where you want to go and he will negotiate the price per person with you.
Most of the time it works quite well, only late in the evening the prices are slightly higher or fixed.
So that you can classify the price, simply ask your accommodation which costs are appropriate for which route.
If you change accommodation on the island, the hotels usually offer a free pick-up service.
How much money do you need on Koh Lanta?
Koh Lanta is not a cheap island, but neither is it unaffordable. Accommodation prices in particular fluctuate greatly depending on the season and can be quite high, especially in the main travel season.
A few numbers for orientation:
Tuk-Tuk : 2 km approx. 50 – 80 baht per person.
Washing & drying laundry : 1kg for 40 Baht.
Food : a seafood curry with rice costs around 200-250 baht on the beaches and around 150 baht in the restaurants on the street.
Accommodation: simple: 10-20 euros, medium: 30-40 euros, high-end: from 50 euros
Withdraw money on the island
You can find ATMs everywhere on Koh Lanta, where you can withdraw baht (40 THB = approx. 1 Euro).
Our tip: We have been using the free credit card from the DKB Bank for over 10 years and can only warmly recommend it. With the card you can pay and withdraw cash free of charge worldwide.
Beaches on Koh Lanta
Most of the beaches are on the west coast of Koh Lanta. The east is rather rougher, has hardly any sandy beaches and, above all, is not suitable for swimming.
The best known and largest beach on Koh Lanta is Long Beach (also called Pra-Ae beach) on the west coast of the island. This is also our favorite beach on Koh Lanta. This map shows you the main beaches on the west coast of the island.
Hotels on Koh Lanta
You can find all kinds of hotels on the island. From simple huts without air conditioning on the beach to luxury resorts. The accommodations on Koh Lanta are a little above the normal average in the main season, but of course they are still cheap by German standards.
In addition, it is best to book your accommodation in advance for the main season, as it is relatively busy during these months. For a direct beach location, however, you always have to calculate about 10 to 20 euros on it. We advise you to first choose a beach and then find suitable accommodation there.
Make sure that the accommodation is not directly on the main road that goes right along the coast in the west of the island. It is actually quite loud there all day.
There are actually three different locations for accommodation. Right on the beach (of course you also pay for the location), between the sea and the main street (approx. 200 meters) and behind the main street (there you pay a little less).
If you are looking for a good mix of relaxation and life, then we can highly recommend accommodation on Long Beach. We felt very comfortable there in our three weeks and after looking at all the other beaches we were very happy with our choice. We definitely liked Long Beach the best.
We found the best selection and the best prices for Koh Lanta on booking.com. We stayed at the Escape Cabins for three weeks and felt very comfortable there. The accommodation belongs to the accommodation category “behind the main street”. We can warmly recommend the Escape Cabins for those who do not need to be close to the beach.
We spent our last two nights on Koh Lanta at the Crown Lanta Spa & Beach Resort . The hotel has its own small bay with a private beach and access to Kawkwang Beach.
You don’t have to worry about any beach that it will be overcrowded – not even in the high season. Basically, however, the further south you drive, the “quieter” it will be. At the same time, this also means that the infrastructure is decreasing.
In the south of the island there are usually no more restaurants on the street, only a hotel restaurant. Most of them offer super delicious food at fair prices.
Our travel guide tip
Even if we are more of the advocates of the printed travel guide, we would like you to read the Fascination Thailand e-book. Recommend useful tips for backpackers and individual tourists.
The author Stefan Diener runs the great travel blog Fascination Southeast Asia and knows Thailand like the back of his hand. If you want to have all the information about Thailand compactly in one e-book, then you should grab it here. The e-book only costs 6.90 euros, so you can’t go wrong with that.
The e-book by Tobi and Marcel is also highly recommended: Same Way But Different: the route guide for your trip to Thailand .
Internet & phone calls on Koh Lanta
The internet connections on Koh Lanta are very fluctuating and nowhere really fast. The Internet is sometimes very slow, especially in the evenings and on weekends. However, it is usually enough to read emails, write blog posts and watch Facebook.
If you need a really fast and reliable line, you have to go to KoHub . We also worked from there during our time on Koh Lanta. A day pass costs THB 380 and a week pass costs THB 1,800. The KoHub is open 24/7. Coffee, water and tea are included in the price. There is also delicious food at reasonable prices.
In Thailand, the best thing to do is to get a Thai SIM card. Then you are independent of WiFi and can go online anywhere.
Just ask on site about the best tariff for you. The best thing to do is to simply tell the sellers what you want: Internet, phone calls or both and how long you are staying.
The best thing to do is to get the card in Bangkok, but you can also do it on Koh Lanta. There is a telephone shop in Saladan where you can get cards from all providers. Make sure you take your passport with you, because you will need it to buy it.
The tariffs are really very cheap. So you can’t go much wrong. If you ask nicely, the seller will set everything up for you. We had a SIM card from AIS.
There is practically no 4G (LTE) on Koh Lanta, even if some providers advertise it. 3G was also rather rare, but the mobile network was faster than most of the wifi on the island.
More Koh Lanta tips?
Have we forgotten anything? Are you missing some important information? Write us a comment and we will be happy to answer your questions. If not, we wish you a lot of fun on Koh Lanta and say hello to the island from us.