Sometimes you end up somewhere unexpected, no plan, and it’s exactly what you need.
After 5 days in Bangkok, food poisoning, a cold, a 5 day dive course which included a 3 day liveaboard. Not forgetting a quick flight back to Bangkok for laptop collection, all we really wanted to do was chill out somewhere and sit on a beach. Our original plan had been to move from Krabi town to Ao Nang, the beach area of Krabi.
All aboard the Songthaew bus
We got a Songthaew there, took one look at the Starbucks, and a beach with a concrete wall running around it, and decided to go somewhere else. We went to the nearest agent and booked ourselves on the next minibus leaving to somewhere called Koh Lanta. On the bus we booked 1 night at the Lanta Fa Rung Resort in somewhere called Klong Khong beach and hoped for the best.
We got off the bus at the side of the (one) main road and with the help of phone torches and google maps managed to find our hotel on the 2nd attempt. We were led to a bungalow on stilts, with a deck and a hammock. Having dumped our stuff we checked out the bar, and this is where I nearly cried. In my imagination, Thailand’s islands are full of beach bars, with chill out areas on the beach, and amazing views. This is exactly what we had unwittingly found. It took us over 2 weeks, but we’d finally found the Thailand we had been waiting to see.
Never going to leave
The next morning we excitedly went to ask the owner if we could stay but they were fully booked for the next 2 nights. He did get us a room next door though which was actually a bit nicer and had a pool. Though the staff were not anywhere near as friendly as him and his wife. We arranged to go back for our last planned night in Ko Lanta.
Mopeds & Control Freaks are a bad combination
We also hired a moped which Steve rode. This was a terrifying experience for a control freak like me at first, but it gave us opportunity to see much more of the island. All the good beaches are on the west coast. We stayed on Klong Khong beach on our first visit, and Klong Dao beach on our second. Both were beautiful.
time to chill
The vibe in Koh Lanta is very chilled. There is a beach party somewhere every night but it’s not a mad one with all that mad beach parties tend to have. Rather, the beach bars have live Reggae bands and fire shows, whilst you lie in a beach mat and have a few drinks.
Between our 2 trips to Lanta, we’ve now spent more time there than anywhere else on our travels so far. Its the one place we’ve been so far that we could actually see ourselves living.
Why should everybody go there?
If you are heading to Thailand at any point – don’t miss this place!
The sunsets are stunning. I mean STUNNING. You can sit at a beach bar and watch the Sun go down and no one will hassle you.
The beaches are beautiful, and generally not very busy. They can be a little stony on Klong Khong, but Long Beach and Klong Dao are both stone free mostly. So if you are looking for white sand (with some shells in it) and a calm sea you can float in for hours without a care in the world, this is the place to do it.
The resorts are generally small family run affairs here and are mostly bungalows of varying levels of luxury. For less than £10 a night you can rent a hut made entirely of bamboo. We met a couple who had been living in one quite happily for 2 months. It still has a private bathroom and its cool enough at night. For £20 you can get an AC bungalow and maybe even a fridge in your room. We stayed in 4 bungalows of varying degrees of comfort and they were all absolutely lovely in different ways. in fact I actually can’t believe how little the place we stayed at in Klong Dao cost considering the facilities.
Food on Lanta is also cheaper than many of the other islands (half the price of Phi Phi for example). You easily eat street food for 2 for less than 150 baht (£3.50). It’s also reflected in the cost of drinks where a beer in a beachside bar will set you back 70baht (1.75) versus Phi Phil where it’s nearer 100 baht (£2.50)
Everyone talks about how friendly the Thai people are, but this was the first place I really felt it and when we went back for our second visit it was the same.
How to get there
Flights go from Bangkok to Krabi and cost approximately £50 return with Thai Lion Air. Or you can do an overnight bus from Bangkok for about £25 each. We’ve done both and I think I prefer the overnight bus but then I don’t like flying so airports stress me out. You can book a shared minibus from Krabi town, Ao Nang or the Airport. This will drop you off at your hotel and costs approx £8 each way. Or you can get a ferry in peak season. This is a little more expensive but has the added advantage of not being a sardine tin – personally I still prefer the mini van option though. You can also do private transfers for a lot more if you have the cash.
Where to stay
Lanta Fa Rung Resort
(often fully booked but give it a try). Francisco is the owner and a genuinely friendly guy who will give you lots of advice. He wife cooks the best breakfast we’ve had since Sri Lanka. He’s also one of the few people on the Island who will hire you a moped without trying to keep your passport. He and his wife are also huge animal lovers, and have some very well looked after cats that are basically their children.
Bungalows start at 900 baht a night
Next to Fa Rung, this place has a pool, albeit a small one. Rooms start at 600 baht a night and range from fan cooled to more luxurious AC rooms. Personally we prefer Fa Rungs style but not everyone likes things as rustic as us! Don’t get too upset if the staff are a bit grumpy – they have to deal with some right numpty’s 🙂
Klong Khong Garden
Bamboo huts are just 400baht a night here, though they do have larger bungalows with AC also. This place is near rather than on the beach but the owners are really friendly and helpful. They also have free tea and coffee, a shared kitchen and fridge that you can use which if you are on a budget is really helpful. They also have cats they treat as their children, I trust anyone who loves animals as much as these guys do.
Klong Dao Sunset Villas
I actually couldn’t believe this place was 800 baht a night. It was like a proper hotel room. The bed was amazing, the bathroom was beautiful. It had a fridge, and was about 15 steps from the beautiful beautiful Klong Dao beach. The owner has a great beachside restaurant and he teaches kids how to throw fire about, which makes for an entertaining Friday night. Its still new, which might explain how cheap it is, but it can only succeed with the way its run and the facilities.
All are available on booking.com