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Overview

A longtime sweetheart with the intrepid backpacking crowd, Ko Lanta is gradually changing, with upscale resorts replacing the cheap bungalows. The carefree, hippiesque backpacker vibe still prevails, for now, although the laid-back atmosphere has been kicked up a notch, and you’ll find plenty of bars blaring the latest hits late into the night, along with a string of Western restaurants showing the newest blockbusters. Travelers pour in daily, ferried by a convoy of air-con minivans, or boats in the high season, from Krabi. Beaches on Lanta's western shores are pleasantly soft, flat and sunny, and in isolated spots there's still some of that ...

A longtime sweetheart with the intrepid backpacking crowd, Ko Lanta is gradually changing, with upscale resorts replacing the cheap bungalows. The carefree, hippiesque backpacker vibe still prevails, for now, although the laid-back atmosphere has been kicked up a notch, and you’ll find plenty of bars blaring the latest hits late into the night, along with a string of Western restaurants showing the newest blockbusters. Travelers pour in daily, ferried by a convoy of air-con minivans, or boats in the high season, from Krabi. Beaches on Lanta's western shores are pleasantly soft, flat and sunny, and in isolated spots there's still some of that get-away-from-it-all atmosphere that started attracting travelers in the first place. With popularity comes possibilities for money making, though, and Lanta holds prime real estate. In the past several years many bungalow operators have either renovated old bungalows or built whole new operations, bringing air-con and round-the-clock electricity. The fact that much of Lanta is still owned by the local population of Muslim Thais and fishermen may save it from the mass development seen on Phuket or Ko Samui, but there are no guarantees – some of the poorer villages have already sold out. Ko Lanta is a district of Krabi Province that consists of 52 islands, of which 12 are inhabited. The geography here is typified by stretches of mangrove interrupted by coral-rimmed beaches, rugged hills and huge umbrella trees. Other than tourism, the main livelihood for the local folk includes the cultivation of rubber, cashews and bananas, along with a little fishing.

Joe Cummings
About the Expert

Joe Cummings has contributed to more than 35 guidebooks, maps, atlases, phrasebooks and photographic works, including his bestselling Lonely Planet Thailand and Buddhist Stupas of Asia: The Shape of Perfection.

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Joe Cummings for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    November to May