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We identify hotels that guarantee, in writing, to discount below the lowest booking service rates for guests who book directly with the hotel. See the list of ‘guarantee’ hotels on this page, then contact the hotel through the e-mail box provided with each hotel.
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See more detailed info and photos of Koh Lanta in these travel guide pages:
Koh Lanta has a long string of tropical beaches, almost 100 true beachfront hotels & resorts
about 10 beaches down Lanta’s west coast
Koh Lanta, Thailand's third largest island, is part of Krabi province but a beach destination in its own right, with about 10 beaches strung down its 25-kilometre long west coast. Lanta’s sandy beaches are lined with coconut palms and casuarina trees, enjoy clean, calm water through the high season and face the sunset over the Andaman Sea.
Klong Dao is the most famous beach in Lanta
This is also the first beach all visitors reach after arriving on Lanta, by car or by boat. It’s the longest beach on the island, with the most resorts. While there are a couple of very upmarket resorts here, the great majority are in the 3-star range. This beach is very family-friendly, and could be considered one of Thailand’s top beaches for families with young children, something I explain in a guide page dedicated to Klong Dao Beach.
Beaches get quieter as you go further down the island
Though none of the beaches on this island could be called busy or crowded, they do get quieter the further south you go down the island. It takes more than half an hour to cover the small, winding 25 kilometre west coast road. The mountainous south has small bays and short beaches with a number of unseen beach hideaways. By the time you get to Bamboo and Klong Jark beaches things are distinctly quiet. The down side to that is a lack of restaurants, shops or community centres – but that suits some visitors. Those seeking a tranquil hideaway might like our page on Koh Lanta’s Top 7 Hideaway and Escape Beach Resorts.
sunsets are the main form of entertainment on Lanta
There is no real nightlife or entertainment on Lanta, save the small beach bars facing beautiful sunsets and offering music in varied styles. These beach bars often provide mats, cushions and low tables right on the sand for sunset celebrants to lie back and luxuriate on. Live music is occasionally put on by the larger resorts, while fire shows often seen on the sand by night.
Level of development of Lanta’s beaches
Koh Lanta is far from being a ‘developed’ beach destination like Phuket or Koh Samui. However it is no longer the lost paradise that backpackers found in the 1980s and 90s. As our maps show, the long, northern beaches are almost completely lined with low rise hotels, the great majority of which consist of small concrete air-con bungalows in coconut gardens.
For many people, the low-level of Lanta’s current development is just fine – it offers some facilities like shops, restaurants and a few activities and tours without being crowded or overly urbanized.
Choose your beach carefully in Lanta
For reasons mentioned above, research your beach carefully before thinking about finding a hotel. There are big differences between the beaches, and the things you can and cannot do at each. This site offers a guide page for each beach, with detailed info and photos of each, and also offers a comparison of Koh Lanta’s top 8 beaches.
Lanta offers hotels from backpacker style to 5-star luxury, but most 3-star
Once a backpacker island, Lanta is now undergoing substantial redevelopment with the beach accommodations moving up-market. Today 3-star resorts and family beach hotels dominate among the 90 plus true beachfront establishments. Most are quite spacious, with bungalow or beach cottage-style accommodations around a central swimming pool. At the top end we find a few luxury spa resorts, some trendy boutique beach hotels and one ultra-luxurious, 5-star resort with beautiful tropical gardens. That’s the famous Pimalai Resort at the bottom end of the island. If looking for luxury you might find this page helpful: Koh Lanta’s Top 7 Luxury Beachfront Resorts.
Local community, Muslim villages in Lanta
All of the major beaches down as far as Khlong Khong Beach has its own local village set back behind the beach. Thais have never liked beaches and in the past rarely ever built close to the beach, a happy circumstance for the beachfront hotels that now claim all beachfront land. Each of the villages is strung out along the main road, offering 7-Eleven convenience stores, some basic shopping and of course restaurants. Virtually all of the island’s original population is Muslim, with each villages having its mosque. Many Buddhist Thais have come in recent years to join the growing tourism industry here.
Lanta has just two towns
These two ‘towns’ are a bit like over-grown villages. Lanta Old Town on the east coast is the original administrative centre, though it is now something of a backwater while the west coast thrives on tourism.
Saladan is the main entry point and market town at the top end of the island. The local port for boats arriving from Krabi, Koh Phi Phi and islands to the south is located along the river at the heart of this bustling, colourful little community. Saladan is a mix of old and new, with modern attributes like a 7-Eleven and other convenience stores, a bank or two with ATMs, a bakery and a couple of coffee shops. But it’s most famous for the atmospheric restaurants on stilts that protrude out over the river. It’s quite an interesting little town and definitely worth visiting in the cool of evening.
Who is Koh Lanta for – families, couples?
The number of families with young children on Lanta – especially on northern Khlong Dao Beach – suggests that Lanta may be Thailand's most family-friendly beach destination. While many hotels on this and other beaches target the family market, there are many options well suited for couples looking for quiet time together, or a tranquil beach chill out. Those with a family might find this page helpful; Koh Lanta’s Top 10 Family Friendly Beach Hotels.