The Koh Lanta archipelago lies in Krabi Province, off the Andaman Sea coast, with Koh Lanta Yai the largest of its several islands and a favourite with holidaymakers.
Quieter and more laid-back back from neighbouring Koh Phi Phi, it attracts families and a more mature crowd. The main island boasts nine white-sand beaches, rain forests, rugged hills and mangrove swamps, with the west coast holding the most accommodation, backing its beaches, and offering plenty of choice as regards bars, restaurants and water sports.
The beaches are the main attraction but thereis a good deal more to see, including the ancient Sea Gypsy community, culturally diverse Lanta Old Town and the magnificent Khao Mai Kaew Caves.
Kantiang Bay’s glorious beach was voted one of the world’s 10 best by the Sunday Times and, for complete peace and quiet away from the crowds, the southern beach at Ao Nui on Nui Bay is as good as it gets. Traditional puppet shadow plays are part of the island’s heritage and are frequently performed.
Accommodation on the island is centred around its nine main beaches, and ranges from budget resorts with traditional cottages, conventional hotels and guest houses to Thai-style luxury spas and stilted bungalows built over the sea.
Most are open year-round, and rates in the peak season of late December to late January are half of high season rates either side of the Christmas and New Year period. The low season from May to October sees the biggest reductions. Generally, prices are less expensive than on Phuket.
The closest airports to Koh Lanta are at Krabi, Phuket and Trang, which are all served by domestic flights from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Ferries run from Ao Nang Pier to the island in high season, with the fastest trip from Phuket or Krabi airports via minivan, speedboat and car.
The tropical island has two seasons: hot from January through April at around 34°C and cooler but wet from May through December.