Koh Lanta Yai is a long thin island running north through south. The west coast (or sunset coast) faces the Andaman Sea with a string of beautiful white-sand beaches that host the island’s resorts. About halfway down the island the paved road turns from the west and crosses the mountains to the east coast. This beautiful drive takes you through rice paddies, rubber tree plantations and jungle, as well as passing through a number of small Muslim villages.
Colourful local fishing boats can be viewed close-up on many of the beaches. See them in large groups at the southern end of Klong Dao Beach, or next to the paved road between Klong Khong Beach and the National Park turnoff.
The east coast is less developed and offers glimpses of life before tourism. It faces the mainland and has a coastline largely consisting of mangroves with some yellow-sand beaches in the south.
Follow the small stream on an enjoyable, relaxed wald through the jungle to the waterfall near Klong Jark beach in the south. It reduces to a small shower in the dry season but the fresh water pool below remains a great place for a cool dip. the terrain is easy-going and the route takes about 45 minutes. Guids can be hired for a small fee at the cafe where the road fords the stream. Continue your walk back past the road and follow the stream to Klong Jark beach – one of Ko lanta’s prettiest small beaches.
For an escape from the sun, take a hike to the popular Mai Keow Caves. A guide from the family owning the land will walk you up through the rubber tree planation and jungle, over rope bridges to the cave entrance. The caves consist of a series of spectacular chambers with rock stalagmites, stalactites and rock formations. It involves some climbing up and down on rope ladders but is not overly strenuous.
Another choice for an underground adventure is the more recently discovered Tiger Cave. Find it off the national park road, just to the left.
The Koh Lanta National Marine Park is at the southern tip of the island at the end of a spectacular coastal drive. The park offers picnic areas with toilets and showers, a picture-postcard beach, and an interesting one-hour walk through unspoiled jungle, starting at the park’s headquarters. A small light house on the southern point is popular for panoramic shots of the coastline .
Amazing Lanta – Information about transfers, taxis, daytrips, diving and more.
Koh Lanta Pocket Guide – Downloadable PDF guide of the island, with information on businesses and attractions.