Koh Lanta is situated
at the Andaman Sea, off the west coast of Thailand and is about
70 kms south of the province of Krabi. It’s considered the
main jewel among the islands in the Koh Lanta archipelago, which
alone has more than 50 islands. Koh Lanta Yai has an area of 152
sq kms and measures 30 kms along the north-south axis and less
than 6 kms from east to west. Being on Koh Lanta means encountering
beautiful landscapes, unspoilt beaches, tropical forests and unique
Koh Lanta Yai is divided into two parts. The west coast overlooks
the Andaman Sea with picturesque beaches adjacent to warm, clear
and emerald green water. All the resorts are concentrated on this
side of the island. The east coast is more low-key and reflects
the traditional way of life where several local villages are found.
To get to the east coast, visitors need to cross the mountain
from the west coast. The main attractions along the way are forests,
rubber plantations and rice paddies.
average temperature is 27-33 degrees Celsius or 81-91 degrees
Fahrenheit year round. From May to October, the monsoon occasionally
brings heavy rains, but days are sunny and the rain starts and
stops alternately. From November to April, the humidity is low,
and the breeze can be quite cool in the evening. These periods
are commonly called green season and high season respectively.
population is 20,000, the majority of which are Muslims. The Sea
Gypsies (Chao Lay in Thai) and Thai-Chinese people also blend
into the total population living on Koh Lanta. Despite their difference,
the three groups of people have managed to live happily together
for several centuries. The steadily increasing population of people
other than Muslims come from other parts of the country because
of the development of tourism. During the high season, it must
be said that the tourists are more visible than the local residents.
people live in Koh Lanta Noi, which is Koh Lanta’s administrative
center while Koh Lanta Yai has recently become a melting pot of
people of all cultures. The Sea Gypsies are still making a living
fishing. Others take care of their rubber or coconut plantations.
The local, younger generation have begun to seek work in the new
professions offered within the island: tourism. Seasonal residents
are foreigners, mostly Europeans, who spend six months of the
year in Koh Lanta running small businesses such as bars and restaurants.
They temporarily close during the low-season and head home.
at the north end of Koh Lanta Yai, the Saladan Village in
Tambol Saladan is the central district of the island where
banks, diving schools, travel agencies, mini-marts and restaurants
are scattered about. Incoming visitors from Krabi arrive
at Saladan Car Ferry which is located a few minutes away
from the village. During the green season, 70 percent of
the establishments close down—the village looks lonely
but somehow decent restaurants and all-year-round necessities
such as banks remain open. It is quite refreshing if you
are a loner and seeking tranquility.
Old Town Village
Old Town Village, which is located between the police station
and Koh Lanta Hospital on the east coast, used to be the administrative
center of Koh Lanta but nowadays, it is a charming little fishing
village. Lanta Old Town Village’s pier serves as private
pier for some high-end resorts that take their guests on a speedboat
transfer. Boats also park around at the pier so it’s possible
to negotiate your trip directly without having to book it through
your resort or excursion tour agents. The view on this side of
the island includes various islands such as Koh Po, Koh Bu Bu
and Koh Kham. There are practically no restaurant open during
the green season but there are shop houses that offer food and
noodles, made the local way.