The Beaches and Islands of Koh Lanta
Armed with my new motorbike driving skills, my sister and I set off the explore more beaches around Koh Lanta.
Here are the beaches we visited:
Long Beach: This is where we stayed at the lovely Lanta L.D. Beach Bungalows. Many other resorts and budget accommodation facilities line this beach, and it’s worth it to pay a couple extra baht to be close to the shore. You can find beachfront accommodation for 500 – 700 Baht/night. Restaurants line the sand for the length of the beach, and behind this are usually bungalows or a hotel. The beach is decidedly more crowded, but it’s also very long (obvs), so it’s not too hard to carve out a place on the sand. Mr. Wee’s also has some pretty kickass pizza, believe it or not.
Klong Nin Beach: Not far from Long Beach is Klong Nin. This beach also has it’s share of on-the-sand restaurants and bars, but it’s not as developed as Long Beach. All sunsets in Koh Lanta are stunning, but we got a beauty from Klong Nin after an afternoon of tanning here.
Kantian Bay Beach: This is the farthest south of the western-facing beaches on Koh Lanta, and it’s purely sand, sun, and sea. There isn’t much by way of on-sand refreshment, but you get heaps more privacy and space than Long or Klong Nin beaches. It’s a great place to spend a couple of hours with a book.
Nui Beach: Stop off at a little roadside restaurant/bar, and make your way down several steep wooden staircases to Nui Beach. It’s a small strip of sand nestled in a cove, and the swimming is spectacular. I spent at least an hour floating on my back, watching the clouds drift above me while I started pondering my future when I get back to the States. There’s no better place to do it.
We also took an organized trip called The 4 Islands Tour, which we booked through a travel agency on Long Beach. It cost about 1000 Baht/person and included lunch and snorkel gear.
Here’s are some of the smaller islands we saw off the coast of Koh Lanta:
Koh Cheuk: We went snorkeling here in a protected little cove that had plenty of fish, but also plenty of dead coral. Being a bit of a snorkeling snob after the Great Barrier Reef and Fiji, I was less than impressed by the level of destruction around the seafloor. But we only spent 30 minutes here, which was just enough time to not get bored.
Koh Mook & The Emerald Cave: This was something truly impressive; a huge underwater cave/tunnel that led to an open-air secret hideaway beach at the center of the island. True to it’s name, the water within the tunnel was a vivid green… what we could see between the massive lines of Chinese tourists floating in a line, being pulled by a sole Thai boatman. This is a place to get a longtail out to early early in the morning before the crowds come.
Koh Ngai: We stopped here for a curry lunch and some time to relax on the sand for about an hour. And what sand it was! Bright white next to the turquoise sea, it was the postcard image of Thailand that you see in all the brochures. It was nice to take a break and enjoy the sunshine.
Koh Maa: There was one last snorkel spot that was even less impressive than the first, and we only spent about 15 of our allotted 30 minutes in the water. By this point, we were pretty sun-worn and swim-worn, to the point where my sister didn’t even make it back to Old Town Lanta without falling asleep to the hum of the longtail engine.
Other places worth knowing about in Koh Lanta:
Old Town: This is the original settlement of Koh Lanta and where many of the locals still live. There are countless restaurants on stilts over the water, and it’s worthwhile to stop for lunch at one of them.
Saladan: It’s impossible to miss Saladan, since it’s where the ferry drops you off. Don’t fall into the trap of booking accommodation here either in advance online or from one of the many people who will accost you as you disembark. It’s a decent place to shop if you want, but it’s busy and noisy and not nearly as lovely as the beaches.