If there was one thing that we needed after leaving Vietnam, it was a small beach side bungalow on a quiet island with relatively no tourists. Sounds like too much to ask for, right?
Wrong! Luckily enough for us we chose the perfect time to visit Ko Lanta; during low season or what Lanta residents call “green season”.
“From the minute we arrived on Lanta we had a feeling that we were in the right place.”
You know when you finally get to a destination after long hours of traveling and you have this feeling inside you that you’re finally here and you must be here for a reason? That’s exactly how we felt once we stepped foot on to our top rated Klong Dao beach resort.
Due to it being green season in Ko Lanta, we scored a relatively unheard of deal at one of Lanta’s best resorts; Ancient Realm Resort & Spa. They also have a pretty engaging Facebook Fan Page as well.
Our sea side bungalow was just steps from beach as was the on-site restaurant and the swimming pool! Our original plans we to stay 2 or 3 nights at Ancient Realm before moving to another location on the island but that plan was quickly scrapped after spending our first night here. Once we realized the actual value we were getting for our money here at Ancient Realm, we ended up staying for a total of two weeks!
The sunsets on Klong Dao Beach in Ko Lanta were some of the best I’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for that picture perfect island with sunsets that consistently top the previous day, this is where you want to be.
To be honest, there are so many great places to eat on Ko Lanta that it’s hard to list them all so I will just list a few of our favorites.
- German Bakery — The owner and staff here at the German Bakery are top-notch and so aren’t their pastries and sandwiches. Do yourself a favor and order a sandwich on their freshly baked Ciabatta bread. The bread is to die for! Liz recommends the blueberry crumb cake.
- Auntie Mae’s Bakery — With more desserts/pastries on offer than the German Bakery, Auntie Mae’s wins the “Best Bakery” title in Ko Lanta in our opinion. They also serve excellent food here as well. From Pizza to Sandwiches, and more. This place is very clean and the decor is very modern compared to most establishments on the island. Don’t miss out on Auntie Mae’s!
- Red Snapper Restaurant — If you’re looking for a more sophisticated dining experience, look no further than Red Snapper. With a menu that’s constantly changing, deciding on what meal to order will always prove to be a tough decision. The one thing that you can consistently count on is that your meal will consist of some of the best quality food on the island. Extra points: Say Hi to the owner (Joyce) for me and mention that you read about the Red Snapper Restaurant right here on Pause The Moment.
- Krua Nutjawa — Plain and simple, this place cooks up the best garlic chicken with rice on the entire island. Yes, it’s a simple meal but I’ve yet to find a better tasting Thai dish on the island. Especially for the price! If you’re on a budget and you’re looking for some yummy, yet cheap food… Krua Nutjawa is where it’s at!
Tips for Ko Lanta
- Learn to Ride — Test your driving skills on Lanta! If you’re from the U.S. or really any other country who drives on the right hand side of the road feel free to give driving a shot while on Ko Lanta. Why Lanta? Because due to the lack of tourists on this island in comparison to some of the other touristy and over developed Thai islands, there is a lot less traffic here. This will surely make your Thai driving experience a lot less risky. Once you get the hang of it, you may be able to give your newly acquired skills a shot in a city like Chiang Mai.
- Remote Beaches — Explore ALL of the beaches along Ko Lanta’s west coast. Some of our favorites were; Klong Dao Beach, Kan Tiang Bay, Mai Pai Bay, and Bamboo Bay. The further you go south along the west coast the better and more secluded the beaches get. On more than a few occasions we had the entire beach to ourselves. The sea water here stays around 29C/84F all year round. Ahh, (sigh) the memories!
- Thai Cooking Classes — There’s a few places on the island that offer Thai cooking classes and some are better than others. If you’re interested in taking a traditional Thai cooking class be sure to check out Lanta Thai Cookery School. Liz enrolled in a Thai cooking class at Lanta Thai Cookery School during our stay on the island and she had an absolute blast of a time. Another seemingly popular yet more expensive Thai cooking class takes place at an establishment called Time for Lime.
- Diving & Snorkeling — Diving and snorkeling is extremely popular in Lanta. We’re not divers ourselves but we did do a snorkeling trip with one of the most reputable companies on the island called Kon-tiki. The snorkeling trip took us out to Ko Haa where Liz and I were able to catch a glimpse of black tip reef sharks, colorful starfish, moray eels, and many other colorful underwater creatures.
- Visit the Markets — The markets in Saladan should not be missed. Be ready to haggle and never accept the first price. Here’s a great example: I was interested in purchasing a pair of Oakley sunglasses and the guy wanted 750baht. I told him “No, thanks” because I really didn’t need the glasses anyways. As I walked around his store he followed me around asking how much I want to pay and knowing that the glasses are quite obviously knock offs I offered him 150baht for them. “No, no that’s a good deal for you, not good deal for me” he kept saying. By the time I left I had myself a new pair of sunglasses for 150baht. I saved an estimated total of $19.75 USD by haggling lightly and respectfully with the shop owner. Remember, if it’s $0.50 cents that you’re haggling over, then that’s an issue. If it’s $10 USD, then you’re doing the right thing.
We enjoyed every second of our time spent on Ko Lanta and we highly recommend this island to travelers who are looking for a cheap island destination that lacks the crowds of Ko Phi Phi, Ko Samui and other over developed Thai islands.
If you’re looking for a party island, Ko Lanta shouldn’t be your first choice or your second. There are far better islands for nightlife and partying if that’s your thing. Ko Lanta seems to cater to a crowd that enjoys the occasional drink or two, rather than a full scale full moon party if you know what I mean. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or just a quiet weekend away in paradise, Ko Lanta awaits YOU!