Koh Lanta is one of the family-friendliest beach destinations in Thailand

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Despite its relative isolation, this island is a favourite with young families

Kids splash in the ocean, build in the sand; toddlers splash in shallow hotel pools – it’s an everyday part of holidays on the beach, but here in Koh Lanta the images seem even more familiar, especially on Klong Dao Beach. I’ve explained how the wide sand on this beach, with gradual slope to the water, creates a beach that is especially well suited and safe for children .
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Though Klong Dao is indeed the family favourite here, this Top 10 list shows half of the recommended hotels on other beaches, generally the long sandy ones with fewer rocks; Phra Ae Beach, Klong Nin Beach. Many beachfront hotels not listed here also welcome families, though they might not be as well suited as these. A few resorts among Lanta’s Top 7 Luxury Beachfront Resorts are also well suited to children. 5-star Cha-Da is such a great family resort that we have included it in both lists.
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The major criteria used to compile this selection include these:

  • beach sand (how much sand is left at high tide?)

  • water depth (does the water become deep quickly, or gradually?)

  • rocky or sandy beach (many Lanta beaches are dominated by rocks)

  • swimming pool (it must have a young children’s pool or zone)

  • family rooms (often these are just connecting rooms)

  • shady trees by the beach (the beach gets too hot for kids at midday)

  • play grounds and lawns for children (spacious resorts are better than crowded ones)

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The extra travelling time required to get to Koh Lanta – usually about two hours from Krabi airport or town – is obviously not too big an obstacle for the many families who come here. Price is surely one of the major attractions, along with the low-density use of the beaches. While families of all nationalities are seen here, Scandinavians dominate.

Note that we have other Top 10, or similar lists for Koh Lanta, including Koh Lanta’s Top 6 Boutique Beachfront Resorts plus another on Koh Lanta’s Top 7 Luxury Beachfront Resorts . Then, for those seeking more privacy, there’s Koh Lanta’s Top 6 Hideaway Beachfront Resorts .
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Nakara Long Beach Resort; comfortable bungalows, good pool for the kids

This large, spacious resort with 141 bungalows set into pretty gardens enjoys one of the quietest parts of Phra Ae Beach, with forests of tall casuarina trees its only neighbours. The beach at Nakara Long Beach Resort is wide and sandy, with a few rocks only in the deeper water. The tall trees to the sides of the resort provide shade for those who want to remain on the sand through the hottest hours. The beachfront of Nakara is void of trees, though shade is provided by shelters and a large open-sided restaurant.
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Nakara Long Beach has two swimming pools, one quite a large, with areas for small children. Wooden decking surround most of the pool area, concrete the rest.
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The bungalow rooms come in a variety of configurations and standards, including 5 deluxe family bungalows. Nakara bought out its neighbour, Long Beach Resort, some years ago and today the two are run as one, though both still retain separate entrances with their respective names displayed. The cheaper rooms are on the south, Long Beach Resort side. ‘Long Beach’ refers to the name that some foreigners give to Phra Ae Beach – strangely – for this is far from being the longest beach on Lanta.
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This resort is owner-managed and visitors could thus expect a superior level personalized management.
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Laguna Beach Club, friendly & cosy, a family-managed resort for families

Laguna Beach Club is a cosy little family-run beachfront resort, with the owning family here being a Dutch husband and his Thai wife. Relatively small, this resort is right in the middle of famous Klong Dao Beach. Laguna Beach has a reasonable size swimming pool with rooms facing it on both sides. More rooms run back along one side, facing central lawns and gardens dotted with coconut palms.
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The hotel has about 40 metres of beachfront with a massage hut in one corner and restaurant overlooking the beach. While there are not many shade trees by the beach, the restaurant helps provide an escape during the hottest times.
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Some rooms facing the swimming pool have twin beds, and are spacious enough to accommodate a family with two children – perhaps with an extra bed. Note that this resort does not provide breakfast with the room, nor accept credit cards. 2016 was the first year it opened through the monsoon season (or the Green Season as hoteliers like to call it).
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The advantages of a small, cosy resort managed by an owner who is always on site is obvious – especially for families.
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Southern Lanta Resort, an old favourite where parents relax and kid play

Southern Lanta Resort is one of the original beachfront resorts on this island, and one of the first to cater to families, a tradition it carries on with quite successfully. Being an early bird on the beach allowed its owner to acquire a large plot with a 100 metre beachfront, something that works to the advantage of families today, providing lots of open space and varied areas for different activities. There’s even a conference room to the back.
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The resort has two swimming pools and a Jacuzzi towards the beach, in an area thick with cooling shade trees. There’s a kids playground here, also well shaded. The large restaurant overlooks the beach, providing a cool environment from which parents can watch their little ones playing on sand or in water.
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Rooms are bungalow-style, and again set among gardens and trees that help make this one of the greenest and coolest resorts on Klong Dao. A number of twin-bedroom family units lie to the back, ideal for large families. But most families manage with the standard bungalows closer to the pool and beach. These are spacious enough to easily fit an extra bed.
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Southern Lanta is manager by its owner, a native of Southern Thailand, who spends quite a bit of time on the premises.
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Good Days Lanta Resort; what a great beach for the children!

Good Days Lanta Resort enjoys two exceptional advantages; a great beach location and personalized management. As the aerial photos show, this easy-going resort lies at the estuary of a small tidal inlet that floods on the highest tides. This provides a wider and much more interesting beach – surely the best part of Phra Ae – with more areas, both sandy and wet, for children to play and have fun on.
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The second advantage here is Khun Thamsin, the owner-manager who is always right there to take care of his guests in the most personal manner. Guests definitely feel at home in the friendly atmosphere this dedicated, caring hotelier has created.
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The rooms in this sprawling resort are small in number, but spacious in size. Clean and comfortable, though not luxurious, the rooms have the expected range of three-star comforts. Several rooms have adjoining doors that allow large families to occupy two connected rooms. But for families with one or two children the big standard rooms will suffice, perhaps with an additional bed.
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Lanta Villa, owner-manager resort welcoming families to Klong Dao Beach

Lanta Villa Resort is another of the long-established residents of this beach that belongs to a local family and is owner-managed, giving it a more personal feel. The relaxed atmosphere is enhanced by the natural state of its beachfront, where the native trees remain, providing shade and greenery. There is lots of space for children to play out of the sun. As with all resort towards the north end of Klong Dao Beach , Lanta Villa enjoys a beach that is near-perfect for young children; wide sand that doesn’t disappear at high tide, a slow gradient that leaves a wide stretch of shallow water for little ones to play in.
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The swimming pool here is split into two zones, one for little ones, with a bridge over the division.
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The resort provides families spacious rooms with twin beds large enough to sleep parents plus two, as well as connecting rooms to accommodate the biggest of families. Rooms are modern 3-star, spacious and quite bright and airy.
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For families looking for a friendly, modest resort on an excellent part of Lanta’s best children’s beach, Lanta Villa is a solid choice.
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Cha-Da Beach Resort, huge, luxury resort, pool access rooms, kids’ facilities

For both luxury and family friendliness Cha-Da Beach Resort is tops on Koh Lanta – by a long shot. No other top-end resort comes anywhere near this in meeting the many criteria that make a hotel a little paradise for children. This big resort has so many swimming pools, spaces and facilities for children that it becomes a world within for kids, with their only outside desires readily satisfied right on the beach in front.
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Being at the no-rocks, north end of Klong Dao, Cha-Da also enjoys an unparalleled children’s beach. There’s even some safe exploring awaiting in the forests at the north end of the beach.
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Accommodations come in a wide variety of configurations, with three main divisions; private pool villas close to the beach; two-storey, stand-alone buildings with 4 suites each scattered through the central gardens; large three-story, hotel-style blocks to the back with an extensive adjoining swimming pool.
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Emerald Suites in the two-storey buildings have interconnecting rooms ideal for families with more than one child; double rooms adjoining twin bedrooms. But the rooms the kids will love most are the ground floor Gold Suites in the back blocks, for these give direct access to a huge, T-shaped swimming pool. This incorporates a kids’ pool, water slide, Jacuzzi beds, pool bar and almost endless swimming.
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Cha-Da also offers children’s playgrounds and lots of open space for playing and running.
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Lanta Sand Resort, a little more luxury for all the family on Phra Ae Beach

While the top end of Phra Ae beach is filled largely by cheaper accommodations, Lanta Sand Resort has upgraded, edging towards 4-star status and making it the top true beachfront resort in this area. It is also quite a good establishment for families seeking more upmarket comforts.
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The sand and water at this northern end of Phra Ae Beach are at their best, with the sand running far out to create a sandy ocean bottom completely free of rocks. It’s thus both a great swimming beach and excellent for children – though it’s a little steeper than its northern neighbour, Klong Dao, bringing deeper water closer to shore.
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Lanta Sand offers a variety of family-friendly accommodations, in both the front villa section and the three-storey hotel block at the back. Families seeking more upmarket accommodations should look to the two luxurious Family Beachfront Villas. More modest are the hotel rooms to the back, with the lower floor rooms offering an all-time favourite of children, direct pool access.
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As the photos show, the beachfront of Lanta Sand is thick with trees that provide deep shade, allowing guests to stay close to the sand throughout the day, while providing children with play areas when the sand is too hot.
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Twin Bay Resort, lots of green space, sand and water; bunks for the kids

Twin Bay Resort is a nice family hotel in an unusual, but interesting location. While it is far out on the Deer’s Neck (Kaw Kwang) after which this peninsula is named, it actually faces the very top end of Klong Dao Beach, in a kind of bay where the beach sand is widest. At very low tides hundreds of metres of sand stretch out in front of this resort, while at high tide the water laps up close. To the back is a road, then another bay – one that is not so attractive. The aerial photo here shows why this resort is called ‘Twin Bay’, and why the locals call the peninsula ‘Deers’ Neck’.
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Twin Bay caters for families with special family rooms that have double bunk beds for the kids (see the photo). With large double beds, a family with three small children could sleep here comfortably. The resort has a long beachfront, with rooms spread along this, many enjoying beach and ocean views.
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The resort has a reasonable size pool, with restaurant beside it. But the highlight here is surely the expansive, shady beachfront of the resort where parents can relax through the day with books, and kids can play in sun or shade. Several hundred metres of empty, forested beach separate this from the other hotels on Klong Dao, giving it a sense of escape and exclusivity.
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Lanta Miami Resort; basic, pleasant rooms; Klong Nin a great swimming beach

Lanta Miami Resort is a mid-range, 3-star hotel and one of the better choices for families on this beach halfway down Lanta’s west coast. The advantages of Klong Nin Beach are covered elsewhere; though briefly, they revolve around an excellent, sandy swimming beach free of rocks plus lots of beachside restaurants and sunset bars.
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Like all beachfront hotels on Klong Nin, Miami is squeezed tight between road and beach. It has three rows of bungalows in front and a small, two-storey hotel block at the back giving a choice of accommodations and prices. This small hotel building effectively blocks all sounds from the road. The rooms are packed tight and somewhat crowded, but the beachfront area is quite spacious, with many pandanus palms providing thick shade, and a large, no-walls restaurant providing a good area for escaping the sun at any time of day.
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The swimming pool is reasonable in size for a small resort, and incorporates a small kids’ section. Distance from pool to beach is about four steps. As mentioned, the beach here is sandy and good for children, with an ocean bottom that is largely sand, broken by a few rocks that need watching only during the lowest of tides.
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Holiday Villa; 2 pools, 2 water slides at the far south of Klong Dao Beach

Holiday Villa is tucked away at the very far south end of Klong Dao Beach, with rooms stepping up the low headland that cuts off the beach. Some offer great views up the entire length of the Klong Dao. This location has its ups and downs, with the latter being the rocky ocean floor in front of the resort that makes swimming near impossible at low tide. The upside is the tranquillity that Holiday Villa enjoys, isolated as it is from the many other hotels on this most popular of beaches.
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To compensate for the rocky swimming conditions the resort has two good-sized pools, both with water slides for the kids. It is also very spacious, with most rooms in bungalows and a few in two-storey buildings to the back. There are gardens throughout, though they are hardly inspiring and poorly maintained.
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Holiday Vila offers large, two-room apartment-style rooms that, with extra beds, could accommodate quite large families. The beachfront rooms are of course in greatest demand, though children will probably choose those opening onto the pool area. A large, open-sided restaurant also overlooks the pools. This resort has its benefits for families, but don’t expect any of the warm management that comes with some of the other family-owned and run hotels on this beach.
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by John Everingham
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