Koh Lanta, Thailand is a beautiful island off of the southwest coast that is home to fisherman, farmers and now tour guides for the tourism business that has taken off here in recent years. Getting there was quite the adventure as we hopped on a speed boat from Koh Lipe. It was packed full of travelers and vacationers that filled the seats and just about every square inch of available space that wasn’t occupied by luggage. The boat maybe should have had thirty people on it, but instead had fifty-two. We were a little apprehensive when we reached the dock in Koh Lanta and saw all of the chaos due to multiple boats docking, people getting off a boat, people trying to get on a boat, taxi drivers trying to get customers. All we heard was “taxi, taxi, you need taxi?” “No, we don’t need a taxi”. “Where you go?” “We don’t need a taxi, our hotel is picking us up”. Twenty seconds later, same guy “Where you stay, you need taxi?” “Nope, I’m pretty sure we don’t need one”. Finally the owner of the hotel where we were staying picked us up and we were off, headed south of the chaotic pier in the back of a pickup with bench seats. We stayed at the Lanta Ilmare Beach Resort which is located about half way down the west coast on quiet Klong Nin Beach. It was a nice place with a friendly staff, pool and was a short walk down the beach from the relaxing beach restaurants. It even had a little beachfront massage hut that we took advantage of. Why not, a one hour massage for nine or ten dollars, ok. Our recommendation is to stay anywhere south of here and to avoid the northern part of the island and the area around the pier.
With our scooter hired from the hotel (300 Baht or $10 USD for 24 hours), we took advantage of the decent roads and went down the coast to the Mo Koh Lanta National Park. If you venture down to the park for trekking, then it might be worth the cost of the 200 Baht ($6 USD) per person entry plus another 20 Baht for the scooter, but we were only going to see the beach and what we thought was the National Park. The map was a little deceiving and after driving only a short distance we were ordered to park the scooter at the parking lot and there wasn’t much to see except a small beach area and a rundown lighthouse. Definitely not worth the cost of entry for us. On our way back to the hotel, we stopped by the Drunken Sailor Restaurant where we heard a vegetarian could get an actual vegetarian meal, no fish sauce, no oyster sauce and no fish. Yes for some reason people think that if you’re a vegetarian you still eat fish. Apparently the memo that says fish is not a vegetable hasn’t reached everyone yet. Anyway, the meal made of very fresh ingredients was delicious and was made even better with the company of three cats enjoying their laid-back island life.
That night we took the scooter over to the east side of the island to Lanta Old Town where the last night of the three-day Laanta Lanta festival was going on. This festival is put on every year in Old Town to bring together people from all ethnic and religious backgrounds to celebrate life and living together in harmony. We didn’t stay for any of the performances but we did enjoy some great street food and people watching before heading back over the hill to the hotel.
Our time on Koh Lanta isn’t done yet. Stay tuned for snorkeling, scuba diving and our first Thai cooking class in the next post.