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Oh Koh Lanta! One of Thailand's Most Mysterious Islands

Updated: Apr 29

Koh Lanta is about 85 kilometers south of Krabi, just south of the Andaman Coast. There are 2 main ways to get to this tropical island. One is to take a ferry from neighboring destinations or by vehicle. You can fly to the Krabi airport and rent a car or hire a driver if you want the most direct route from Bangkok.

I was traveling to Koh Lanta from Koh Yao Noi, so I took a ferry to Ao Nang and then rented a driver to take me to my next destination. The ferry cost was less than 10 US dollars and the driver was about 40 USD.

Honestly, I was a little confused about how we would get there by car and was hoping there was a bridge like when you drive to Phuket from mainland Thailand. Nope! Luckily there was a car ferry from Hua Hin Pier to Koh Lanta. This is not a fast journey, but with limited regular ferries running in Thailand due to Covid, it seemed like the best option.

Koh Lanta Arrival

My entry to Koh Lanta was probably one of my most challenging arrivals in the 4 months I traveled solo through Thailand. My driver was super hospitable but did not speak a lick of English.

I had booked my accommodations through Agoda who had not let me down yet. I showed my driver the name and address of the hotel and somehow ended up at a place with a few shacks in the jungle. I tried my best to explain the place was on the beach and shared a map with him. He seemed to understand and brought me to the Lanta Palm Beach Resort, which was very abandoned.

Trying not to panic, I noticed a nearby scuba school called Palm Beach Divers and went in to ask for help. I met the most lovely human, Iwona, who was from Poland and owned the scuba school with her husband, Wlodek. These amazing people would be some of my lifelines on Koh Lanta.

An Ethical Dilemma in Koh Lanta

Iwona informed me that the resort I had booked was closed due to Covid-19, but there was a sister resort nearby. She called the resort and my driver dropped me off at the front desk.

Before my arrival, I knew that about 80% of Koh Lanta's indigenous population was Muslim. The lady at the front desk of the resort was dressed in a full burka, and I quickly realized that this was a Muslim-owned hotel. I have nothing against Islam or any religion, but I like to socialize and drink alcohol, and this place was not the atmosphere I was looking for during my stay.

The woman apologized for the confusion regarding the other resort and showed me to my room. I told her that this was nothing like the resort I had booked on Agoda. It was far from the beach, had no restaurant or bar, and there were about 100 noisy kids in the small pool outside my door. She continued to apologize and offered to move me into the best room the next day, as well as bring me breakfast every morning if I stayed.

I barely slept that night wondering how I could handle the situation gracefully. I knew that I did not want to stay at this accommodation, but I wasn't sure how to not offend the owners and have them get in trouble with Agoda.

The next morning I packed my bags and went and talked to the woman at the front desk. I explained that I was checking out and that she could either refund me the money I paid on Agoda or I would have to make a complaint against her hotel.

The woman called the big boss who was a Muslim male and we negotiated a deal. They would give me cash for the amount I paid on Agoda as if I didn't report them. My caveat was that they had to take down the listing from Agoda immediately so no other solo traveler would have to go through the same ordeal I did to arrive at a resort that was abandoned.

Koh Lanta Accommodation- Lanta Corner Resort

Lanta Corner Resort is a hidden slice of heaven on the main road in Koh Lanta. It was somewhat expensive for Thai standards (around $34 a night) but oh so worth it!

I booked a Seafront Villa that was directly on the beach with amazing sunset views from my bed. To my delight, the private beach is covered in hermit crabs and there is an adorable resident dog whom I fell in love with immediately.

The staff at Lanta Corner Resort is very friendly and helped me rent a motorbike delivered directly to me at the resort. At the time, there was no restaurant open on-site, but they did provide a nice breakfast buffet.

The grounds at Lanta Corner Resort are impeccably well kept with a beautiful pool and plenty of areas to chill comfortably. I highly recommend Lanta Corner Resort which can be booked off of Agoda.

Koh Lanta Scuba Diving

Palm Beach Divers is hands down one of the best dive schools in Koh Lanta. The owners, Iwona and Wlodek are very kind, knowledgeable divers and helped me out tremendously during my solo travel adventures in Koh Lanta.

I had a blast doing my Advanced Dive Certificate with Iwona. With one one-on-one attention, she helped me learn to control my buoyancy and made some challenging dive situations very fun!

Koh Haa Lagoon (Five Island) is located about an hour and a half boat ride from Koh Lanta and is well worth the trip. For more information about this stunning dive site, visit Palm Beach Divers.

Koh Lanta Motorbike Trips

Koh Lanta has 2 main roads and is a wonderful island to explore by motorbike. There are so many beaches, caves and waterfalls to explore and a lot of monkeys!

The west side of the island ends in Mu Ko Lanta National Park. You can hike through the jungle and after cool off in the crystal-clear ocean. Learn from my mistake and wear appropriate shoes for the hiking part, not flip-flops.

Koh Lanta Old Town is a must-see visit on the east side of the island. Cute and quaint, the town has delicious Thai restaurants overlooking the ocean. Be sure to stop in a shop called Malee Malee for coffee and browse their amazing handmade gifts and original design screen printed tees.

If you are especially adventurous, head south from Old Town to Pirate Beach and check out Pirasta Resort. It is the last stop on the road and very awesome. The resort was abandoned when I visited but the owner was gracious enough to give me a tour.

Each accommodation is made out of a Thai-style boat. It's one of those places where you get an out-of-this-world vibe and I will be back to check it out next time I visit Koh Lanta.

Koh Lanta Social Life

There are many incredible places to meet fellow travelers in Koh Lanta. A few of my favorites are Lanta Yoga, Fruit Tree Lodge & Coffee Shop, and Lanta Cinema.

Lanta Cinema has a mix of new release movies, as well as some classics... all outside on the big screen! When I was there the new James Bond movie was playing and there was a fundraiser for the Lanta Animal Welfare shelter. How cool to have a few cold ones, watch a movie, and hang out with a ton of adorable dogs and cats up for adoption? I was in heaven!

Lanta Animal Welfare is a non-profit charity all about animals and a great place to volunteer and meet other socially conscious solo travelers. Check out their volunteer program at Lanta Animal Welfare.

Koh Lanta Day Excursions

One of the most exhilarating places I have been in all of Thailand is the Emerald Cave. It is part of a 4 island excursion with a tour company, but you can also rent a long-tail boat with friends, which is a lot more fun.

All of the islands around Koh Lanta are a bit magical, but the Emerald Cave is just wow! You swim through a dark cave for about 500 feet and emerge in this pristine area with white sand and emerald blue-green waters surrounded by jungle and limestone cliffs.

The feeling you get on the island of the Emerald Cave is almost indescribable. There are zero animals, including no spiders or mosquitoes, but the flora and fauna and the air are so fresh and pure.

Most likely there will be a ton of tourists on the island, but it is possible to find your secluded spot and imagine pirates hiding their treasures here hundreds of years ago.

Oh Koh Lanta Final Thoughts

If you are considering a trip to Koh Lanta, my advice is to DO IT! Koh Lanta is my 3rd favorite island so far in Thailand and there are many wonderful friends to meet and adventures to be had here.

Feel free to contact me about Koh Lanta or any other questions you may have about solo travel to Thailand at I am more than happy to help!

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