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Ko Lanta

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* '''Kantiang Bay View Resort''', 9 Moo 5, Ao Kantiang. tel ''+66'' 01 787 5192. Restaurant + "Why not?"-bar directly on the beach. Wooden bungalows with fan (300 baht low season), concrete bungalows with air-con (beachfront 700 baht low season). Not to be confused with the nearby Marine Park View Resort, which is located on the hill!
 
* '''Kantiang Bay View Resort''', 9 Moo 5, Ao Kantiang. tel ''+66'' 01 787 5192. Restaurant + "Why not?"-bar directly on the beach. Wooden bungalows with fan (300 baht low season), concrete bungalows with air-con (beachfront 700 baht low season). Not to be confused with the nearby Marine Park View Resort, which is located on the hill!
  
* '''Marine Park View Resort''', 7 Moo 5, Ao Kantiang - restaurant + Shroom Bar with the best view of the beach. Wooden bungalows with fan (200 baht low season), concrete bungalows with air-con (beach view 600 baht low season). Now under European management.
+
* '''Marine Park View Resort''', 7 Moo 5, Ao Kantiang - restaurant + Shroom Bar with the best view of the beach. Wooden bungalows with fan (200 baht low season), concrete bungalows with air-con (beach view 600 baht low season). Now under European management. [http://www.lantamarine.com/]
  
 
* '''Lanta Sand Resort & Spa''', [http://www.lantasand.com] has 48 bungalows by the sea. From 4,000 baht in the off season.
 
* '''Lanta Sand Resort & Spa''', [http://www.lantasand.com] has 48 bungalows by the sea. From 4,000 baht in the off season.

Revision as of 18:59, 6 November 2006

Ko Lanta (เกาะลันตา, also Koh Lanta) is an island district off the west coast of Thailand. Like many other destinations in Krabi Province it is known for its diving and long white beaches.

Ko Lanta beach

Understand

Ko Lanta is popular with tourists seeking a holiday away from the parties: more walking on the beach and watching the sunset than drinking and dancing. It is also popular with families with young children, and of course, with divers. The two largest islands are Ko Lanta Noi and Ko Lanta Yai. Although Ko Lanta Noi is inhabited, Ko Lanta Yai is the primary tourist destination.

Ko Lanta is a little less well-known than nearby Ko Phi Phi but it is hardly undiscovered: the several beaches on the west coast of Ko Lanta Yai are each strung with an unbroken line of resorts and bungalows. Ko Lanta is especially popular with Swedish tourists: although the "tourist language" is English as it is in most places in Thailand, and you will find menus and so on are translated into English, expect the poolside language to be Swedish much of the time.

Ko Lanta sustained limited tsunami damage in December 2004, but virtually all businesses are now operating normally again.

Get in

The nearest airports are Krabi and Phuket. Krabi has direct road and boat connections to Ko Lanta, and is the best option if you're only visiting Ko Lanta. Flying into Phuket is a better option if you're intending to spend time in Phuket and nearby islands, or, since Phuket has many more international flights, if you don't want to have to organise a domestic flight to Krabi from Bangkok.

By car

Ko Lanta does not have roads connecting it directly to the mainland, but is served by car ferries. Take road 4206 off highway 4 about 20km south-east of Krabi airport. Drive to the end of the road, where there is a car ferry from Baan Hua Hin to Ko Lanta Noi. From the pier here, turn right and follow the "ferry" signs to the second car ferry to Ko Lanta Yai. Ferries operate 07:00-22:00.

There are plenty of car taxi and minivan taxi services from Krabi and the nearby airport. A seat in a ten person minivan from the airport to Ko Lanta costs about 250 baht. These minivans usually don't have much room for luggage (although they can usually find room for one or two large suitcases together with backpacks for the rest of the passengers) so if you're not travelling light you might need to get a private taxi. This is what the divemasters do. A private minivan taxi will usually be quoted as 2500 baht. It's possible to bargain a few hundred baht off this price but not much more or the tolls will consume too much of the price. Car taxis cost about the same.

By boat

Ferry services run from Krabi, Ao Nang and from Phuket via Ko Phi Phi to Ko Lanta Yai's Saladan pier. Ferry services are subject to weather and to demand: many will not run at all during the monsoon season and at a reduced frequency during the low season. Many ferries have limited room for luggage. Often the ferries dock alongside each other, meaning that to get on and off passengers must clamber onto and across other boats with their luggage.

Services from Krabi are run by P.P. Family Co (+66 75 630 165) and depart Krabi pier at 10:30 and 13:30, taking 2 hours to reach Ko Lanta (200 baht including free pickup from Krabi hotels). There's a transit bus from Krabi town center for 10 baht.

Services from Ao Nang are run by Ao Nang Travel and Tour (+66 75 637 730) and depart at 10:30 (280 baht).

Ferries depart from Ko Phi-Phi at 11:30 and 14:00, and take 2.5 hours. If travelling from Phuket in a single day, you will need to leave Phuket on the 08:00 ferry to transfer to the 11:30 ferry. Tickets to Ko Lanta are 200 baht from Ko Phi-Phi and 450 baht from Phuket.

Get around

The main road which loops around the island is paved with cement. Some roads are unpaved dirt. Most of the unpaved roads are in very bad condition with deep ruts; some would be very difficult to negotiate in an ordinary sedan car. It's worth knowing the names of the resorts near yours: both the pickup trucks and motorcycle taxis will often want to pick you up or drop you at a nearby resort with a better road.

Resorts and some of the major tourist services (like the dive shops) own large pickup trucks and transport tourists around in the tray. Very occasionally, they own minibuses instead. If you come in by ferry your resort will almost certainly meet you at pier with their truck; if you're travelling with very small children who you don't want to cling to while you bump along sitting on the side of the truck you might want to warn them in advance that you'll want to ride in the cab: it's generally assumed to be the private domain of the driver.

You will find the locals almost exclusively ride motorcycles; you can hire these in several places for a few hundred baht a day. You can also hire motorcycle taxis with sidecars. These will happily take you on the unpaved roads but the ride can be as slow as walking. A typical fare for a ride from Saladan to Klong Dao Beach is 40 baht.

Jeeps can be hired for 1200 baht per day. Be sure to check insurance, contract terms and the condition of the vehicle. The "roads" of Ko Lanta combined with the driver operation characteristics of some renters are a serious challenge for any car. The frequently available Suzuki Sporty seems primitive and therefore sturdy, and a replacement should cost around 150000 baht.

See

Do

Learn Thai cooking

  • Time for Lime, 72/2 Moo 3 Klong Dao Beach +66 75 684590 ([email protected]) [1] offers day and evening professional Thai cooking classes right on the beach, plus workshop series.

Sea kayaking

  • Rapu Sea Kayaking, 10/5 Moo 2, Ko Lanta Yai +66 92 871 749 (contact Chutima Junsirikamon) offers guided sea kayak tours of the mangrove areas.

Scuba diving

Ko Lanta has no dive sites, but there are plenty of dive centers offering dive tours and PADI dive courses from beginner upwards. Dive resorts on Ko Lanta run boat trips to many of the major dive sites in Krabi province. Almost all dive resorts offer free pickups from your resort. Prices are fairly consistent at about 2500 baht for a day's boat diving (usually two dives), 10000 baht for a four day PADI Open Water course, and 8000 baht for a two day PADI Advanced Open Water course (five dives). Dive resorts and tour companies on Lanta include:

  • Atlantis Diving, 18 Moo 1, Saladan +66 75 684 081 ([email protected]) [2] - dive sites: Hin Bida; Ko Rok, Ko Haa; Hin Daeng and Hin Muang; Ko Waen. They offer PADI courses.
  • Blue Planet Divers, 3 Moo 1, Saladan. tel: +66 75 684 165 ([email protected]) [3] - dive sites: Ko Bida; Ko Haa; Hin Daeng ad Hin Muang; King Cruiser wreck. They offer PADI courses.
  • Go Dive, 116 Moo 1, Saladan +66 75 684 320 ([email protected]) [4] - dive sites: Hin Daeng and Hin Muang; Ko Haa; Ko Phi Phi. They offer boat pickup from Klong Dao beach, and PADI courses.
  • Ko Lanta Diving Center, 1/3 Moo 1, Saladan +66 75 684 065, ([email protected]) [5] - the first dive shop on Ko Lanta, founded in 1992; dive sites: Ko Haa; Ko Bida and Hin Bida; Ko Phi Phi; Shark Point, Anemone Reef and King Cruiser wreck; Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. They offer two-day trips to Ko Ngai and Hin Daeng, and PADI courses.
  • Laguna Fun Divers, 147 Moo 1, Saladan +66 75 684 528 ([email protected]) [6] - speedboat trips: Hin Daeng; Ko Rok; Ko Haa; Ko Ma; Hin Bida and Ko Bida; Ko Phi Phi. They offer PADI courses.
  • Lanta Discovery Diver +66 75 684 035. [7] - offers speedboat trips to various locations, with boat pickup from all the beaches.
  • Lanta Diver, 197/3 Moo 1, Saladan +66 75 684 208 (fax +66 75 684 057 [email protected]) [8] - founded by a Swedish couple and staffed mainly, but not exclusively, by Scandinavians; dive sites: Ko Haa; Ko Bida and Hin Bida; Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. They offer PADI courses.

Eat

Ko Lanta has a wide variety of restaurants, the kind that most visitors travel to Thailand for: beach-front locations serving delicious and inexpensive Thai and seafood dishes. Eateries line the beaches in front of the bungalows and no visitor to Lanta will starve from lack of variety or interesting places to dine.

  • Sunset Restaurant is a very small restaurant on Klong Dao beach close to D.R. Lanta Resort beside Mooks bar. The Thai food is the best on Klong Dao beach and cheap too. Real Thai style eating with the tables directly on the sand and no decorations at all but a nice view and cool breeze from the sea. And the food... mmm.
  • Abdul's Pancakes is a crêpe stall run from a motorcycle sidecar. You can most often find him in Moo 1, Saladan, opposite Lanta Diver when the boat divers come back (around 15:00). His chocolate and banana crêpe and his chicken crêpe are especially recommended.
  • Cook Kai is just across the street from Klong Nin Beach. Wholly built of wood and lovely decorated, it offers a spacious open dining area and bar. Run by the cook and his brothers and sisters, their Thai food, which has a bit of an extraordinary note, is probably the best you can get in the area and beyond. Go for the daily specials announced on the board at the entrance! Cook Kai also offers thai cooking classes.

Drink

There's not much in the way of nightlife on Ko Lanta, which, for many is part of the appeal. There are a few restaurant/bars at the harbor and most hotels.

  • Oscar's Bar - driftwood terrace on the beach.
  • Mooks bar - on Klong Dao beach between D.R. Lanta Bay Resort and Sun Fun & Sea Bungalows, and a good spot to relaxing with a drink on the beach, listen to some reggae, and maybe watch sports on TV. Mook himself is a person worth meeting.
  • Where's Else - Indian & Thai food, in a clean, friendly, quiet, and above all relaxed atmosphere.

Sleep

Ko Lanta has three tourist seasons: low, high and peak. Visiting in the low season (May to October) is likely to be very quiet indeed: so quiet in fact that you'll have difficulty getting accommodation as many of the resorts shut down. The resorts open for the high season in November and close in May. The peak season is from mid-December to the end of January and at Songkran in April; per-night prices may increase by as much as 600 baht. Getting accommodation at a day or two's notice during the high season is usually not a problem, but may be difficult during the peak period.

Usually, however, you'll find touts more than happy to help you find somehere to stay, from Krabi pier onwards. The places further away offer free transport and are much cheaper (100 baht for a spotless beach hut with bathroom), but the beach may not be so attractive.

  • Andalanta Resort (formerly the Waterfall Bay Resort) 79 Khlong Jak +66 28 995 919 (fax +66 24 157 436 [email protected]) [9] is a luxury bungalow resort without room service with telephones that don't function, satellite TV and Internet access for guests. Open during the low season. Rooms from 2000 baht, bungalows from 3000 baht, overpriced.
  • Kantiang Bay View Resort, 9 Moo 5, Ao Kantiang. tel +66 01 787 5192. Restaurant + "Why not?"-bar directly on the beach. Wooden bungalows with fan (300 baht low season), concrete bungalows with air-con (beachfront 700 baht low season). Not to be confused with the nearby Marine Park View Resort, which is located on the hill!
  • Marine Park View Resort, 7 Moo 5, Ao Kantiang - restaurant + Shroom Bar with the best view of the beach. Wooden bungalows with fan (200 baht low season), concrete bungalows with air-con (beach view 600 baht low season). Now under European management. [10]
  • Lanta Sand Resort & Spa, [11] has 48 bungalows by the sea. From 4,000 baht in the off season.
  • Lanta Summer House, 208 Klong Dao Beach +66 75 684 099 ([email protected]) is a typical beach-side bungalow resort with three bed air-conditioned bungalows. The restaurant is in the lower price range but the offerings, while extensive, are very watered down: they don't do spicy. Poolside bungalows from 800 baht per night. Nice and friendly staff.
  • Madame Lauren's Lanta Long Beach Resort, Long Beach +66 75 684 217 ([email protected]) is described by travellers as one of the more friendly places to stay on Ko Lanta. Unlikely many other resorts, it attracts backpackers rather than families and is a good place to meet (and drink with) new people. They recommend not asking the owner about why there's a similarly named resort next door though. Open during the low season. Beds from 150 baht.
  • The Narima Bungalow Resort, 98 Moo 5, Klong Nin Beach +66 75 618 081 ([email protected]) [12] is set down on the small, private, Klong Nin Beach. The emphasis is on a touch of beachside luxury with open air beach views and wooden floors.
  • Relax Bay Resort, 111 Moo 2, Phra Ae +66 75 684 194 (fax +66 75 684 196 [email protected]) [13] has its own 1km long beach. Fan bungalows from 700 baht, air-con from 1000 baht.



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