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Destination Ko Lanta in Thailand

Are you the type of person who prefers beach walking to pub crawling? Well then, you’re the type of person who will love peaceable Ko Lanta. A favorite of the older crowd, families traveling with children, divers and serenity seekers, Ko Lanta is actually two adjacent islands sandwiched between Ko Phi Phi and the mainland of southern Thailand in the Andaman Sea. Ko Lanta Yai (Big Lanta Island) is the tourist destination, and its neighbor, Ko Lanta Noi (Little Lanta Island) is the home of the district office. Ko Lanta is quite undeveloped compared with areas like Ko Phi Phi and Phuket, leaving its 9 beautiful sandy beaches, rimmed with coral, largely unspoiled. Beyond the beaches lie tall, rugged hills which are blanketed with verdant natural rain forest – unsurprising since the island gets more rain fall annually even than most other parts of humid, monsoon prone Thailand.

Enjoying the Beaches

While the main beaches are located on the western side of Ko Lanta, there are also a few very secluded beaches at the island’s southernmost tip, inaccessible by paved road. However, adventurous types may want to venture there by either 4 wheel drive vehicle or bicycle, in order to truly feel they have gotten away from it all. Water sports are rather more limited in variety than in the rest of the country’s tourist spots. However, you can join snorkeling or scuba diving excursions and go check out the famous Hin Daeng (Red Rock), so called because under the surface of the sea, it is covered with coral and sea fans in a striking red color. Cave diving and ship wreck diving with a guide may be arranged. You can also enjoy sea kayaking or long boating in order to view the flourishing mangrove forests and the mysterious sea caves. Long tail boats host half or full day – or night time – fishing excursions as well.

Other enjoyable and active ways to fill up your vacation time on Ko Lanta include elephant trekking around the island’s unique landscape, simple and amusing beach hand tennis, gymnasium training in Muay Thai (traditional Thai boxing, a martial art replete with ceremony) or fun Thai cooking lessons which are taught right on the beach.

Meet the Sea Gypsies

An unusual Ko Lanta experience is paying a visit to the ancient Sanga-U Village, home of the Uraklavoy (sea gypsies), whose way of life is rooted in harmony with the sea. They earn a living catching lobster and other seafood and collecting birds’ nests for the Chinese delicacy, birds’ nest soup. These mysterious longtime residents of Ko Lanta have their own special language, as well as legends, ceremonies and customs. Their “Loi Rua” or “Floating Boat” ceremony is believed to get rid of bad luck and is well worth witnessing.

The sea gypsies are just one of a number of peoples living together on Ko Lanta. As you travel about, you can take a guess at the different cultures represented on the island. You will notice Buddhist temples, Muslim mosques, Chinese style buildings and traditional Thai architecture. All these building styles seem to coexist on this small island in harmony, just like the diverse people who built them. In fact, another ceremony, the annual Laanta Lanta Festival, celebrates the community spirit of togetherness so prevalent on Ko Lanta.

Shop and Eat

Shopping on the island, like life in general on Ko Lanta, tends toward the simple side. You will not find any rambling malls or multi story department stores here. If you are in the mood to take your time and look around, however, you may come up with a “one of a kind” treasure, for example a hand strung hammock, to take back home with you. Other hand made items worth a second glance are leather goods, clothing (especially sarongs), tote bags, ceramics and lovely jewelry crafted from local materials.

When you start feeling hungry, the beach restaurants are a fun solution, particularly if you would like to watch the sun set as you enjoy your evening meal. However, it pays to notice where the Thai people choose to eat. They will head to the restaurants on back streets a little inland. Here the prices are low and the quality and authenticity are high. This is Thai food the way it should be – prepared from simple good quality ingredients, spiced with a generous hand and served with love.

While there are a few 5 star luxury resorts on Ko Lanta, most of the hotel accommodation is family run – and both family and budget friendly. Structures are usually constructed from natural local materials, like hard wood and bamboo, for a look that is both authentic and attractive. Beach bungalows, once prevalent all over the country, are still to be found in goodly numbers here, although they have all but died out in more developed tourist areas such as Phuket.

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Thailand Golf Tours
Gringos Retsaurant Koh Samui, Thailand

Partners:

List your Thailand travel business
ThailandGuide24 - travel website