Saladan is a new vibrant tourist village, Lanta Old Town the island’s original admin centre
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Check the hotel in that list, then contact them via the e-mail box on each hotel page.
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It's an island of two cities - or little towns - that are very different
Koh Lanta has just two towns – or big villages we might call them. On Lanta’s northern tip there’s Saladan, through which most visitors transit or pass when arriving and leaving the island. It has just two streets of shops and activity. Lanta Old Town, the district administration centre on the central east coast that few people see, has just one – but its street lined with old wooden row houses is especially subdued and quiet.
Lanta Old Town was originally called just Lanta Town. It had no rival as a commercial centre until tourism arrived recently and began a radical transformation of the island. Saladan, a tiny village at the top of the island, lay close to the car ferry terminal. And it had jetties and access to the open ocean. Tourists, and soon everyone else, began arriving the new, fast routes by car and boat, bypassing the traditional, slower route through Lanta Town.
Today Saladan is still a village, but one that bustles with activity and commerce as ferry loads of tourists pour in and out through the day and by evening when visitors come to shop, browse and dine in the stilted, over-water restaurants. New concrete buildings have begun to pop up, and two night markets bring hustle and bustle to the evenings.
Lanta Old Town slumbers through the daylight hours, with a few motorcycles and just an occasional car rolling through its corridor of old wooden facades. Come evening it twinkles briefly as a few visitors shuffle back and forth seeking food and drink in its half dozen eateries, then quickly retreats to its eternal slumber. The old wooden row houses make this one of the few remaining traditional Thai towns in the country. It’s pretty, it’s authentic yet very few visitors to Lanta find their way here.
Even the aerial photos of the two towns carry the mood of the times; Saladan looks brighter, newer and more colourful. Old Town looks just that, old and rusty, with the weight of the ages over its flat dull roofs.