After Phi Phi and the havoc it had done to our livers Maddy and I were ready to start the most important part of our trip.
This was relaxing on a beach of course. Growing up about 10 minutes drive from the 90 mile beach Maddy and I absolutely love the sea- we love swimming in it, we love relaxing on a beautiful beach and we love gazing at beautiful sunsets while having drinks and dinner on the beach.
We weren’t going to achieve any of these aims on Ko Phi Phi, so with the assistance and recommendation of a few of the bloggers I follow we hopped on a ferry to the beautiful, undeveloped island of Ko Lanta.
Most of you have probably never heard of it; it actually took us 3 days before we even met someone from an English speaking country.
90% of the tourists that come to this island are Swedish and we met a smattering of French and American tourists while we were here as well.
Despite the development of a few resorts in the past few years, Ko Lanta luckily is still off the main tourist radar.
Ko Lanta was hands down the highlight of my trip and is probably my new favourite place in the whole world.
The whole time we were there I was already formulating plans for my return (at least a month next time) and I don’t think I’ve ever been so heartbroken to leave a place as I was when we had to get on the minibus to Krabi airport.
So what makes Ko Lanta so amazing?
The beach on Ko Lanta is a far cry from the polluted and overcrowded Ton Sai Bay Beach.
This beach was spectacular- the water was clear and deep enough for a great swim, their wasn’t any litter on the beach and even though we were there during the peak of the high season we still had tons of beach to ourselves.
We definitely spent long periods of time in the water!
Even though we had every intention of making Ko Lanta the relaxing part of our trip it just is not in Maddy and I’s nature to spend all day every day on the beach. So we booked two snorkelling trips- one to the beautiful Ko Rok and another called the Four Islands Trip that goes to four small islands near Ko Lanta.
We both couldn’t get over how clear the water was and we spent hours just swimming around the water in awe of all the beautiful fish swimming around us. Both trips were a good balance of swimming and snorkelling with some time also to relax on the beach.
We also had a bit of an adventure on our first trip to Ko Rok as the speedboat broke down halfway back to Ko Lanta and we all had to jump on to another already full speedboat for the trip home.
It was an interesting experience to say the least- Maddy and I both ended up sitting on the very tip of the boat- much to the shock and horror of the French tourists around us.
3. The sunsets
When I read Adventurous Kate’s post on Ko Lanta (one of the recommendations that luckily sent me here) she always raved about the sunsets.
I didn’t realise the full extent of the amazing Ko Lanta sunsets until I myself was sitting on the beach at sunset. They really are the best sunsets I think I’ve ever seen.
4. The food
I’d heard lots of good things about the food options on Ko Lanta so we had definitely left our splurging on food moment for this island. This worked out well because one of the few downsides of Ko Lanta is that there really isn’t enormous amounts of streetfood.
We found we didn’t have to go much further than the restaurant attached to our resort- Banana Garden. Here we got awesome whole fish for around $8. It was beautiful both steamed and grilled and we tried many flavours from ones made with ginger and one with a tomato and onion type sauce on it that Maddy and I loved!
However the highlight would have had to be our night at Red Snapper. Everyone we talked to about Ko Lanta had recommended this restaurant which is run by a couple from Holland. It’s modern food and works best if you order lots of entrees or little meals that you can share.
All of our dishes were so good but the highlights were definitely the goats cheese and fig salad and the meatballs with apricot. Being sweet tooths we also had to have dessert which was also incredible.
5. Getting pampered
Maddy is a beauty therapist so naturally she couldn’t wait to be pampered herself in Thailand. We decided to book a full day at this beautiful spa in Ko Lanta called Serenity Spa.
We were there for a total of 5 hours and our treatments consisted of a foot scrub, a body scrub, an oil and thai massage, a facial, a foot massage and a manicure and pedicure. The scrub was especially painful because we had gone and got ourselves sunburn the day before.
The girls at the spa were so nice and the treatments as well as the spa itself were superb. The highlight would have been relaxing on their deck overlooking Saladan Bay between our treatments while eating pineapple and watermelon. Don’t touch the tea though- it doesn’t like perfume!
6. Get a tattoo?
Maddy and I decided to do something a little crazy and get matching tattoos in Thailand. This was my third but Maddy’s first.
We were at first a little apprehensive about getting a tattoo in Thailand due to the potential health hazards however our doubts were settled from the moment we entered the shop in Saladan.
Everyone was super nice, the guy that did my tattoo was actually from Switzerland and comes over for a month to tattoo in Ko Lanta every year (what a life!).
They also made a point of showing us the unwrapped needle before they put it in the machine.
The great thing is that these days its easier and cheaper to just buy fresh needles and through them out than try to wash them so we really didn’t have anything to worry about.
We also made sure that they poured a new ink pot for us and had good ink because this can also be a risk in terms of cross contamination and substandard ink.
It didn’t take long and we were leaving the store with a permanent souvenir for our trip in Thailand and Ko Lanta!
Ko Lanta is an island not to be missed and I’d recommend it for anyone looking for a more laid back vacation without the hundreds of beach resorts and swarms of obnoxious tourists.
Where Should I Stay in Koh Lanta?
Banana Garden Reception and Restaurant
We stayed at Banana Garden for about $50 a night. The huts are located in a garden but the reception and restaurant is right on the beach so it was less than a minute before we were on the beautiful beach.
It comes with minimal breakfast and the Mosque next door may wake you up with the call to prayer but we absolutely loved it. The staff were amazing!
AirBnB is also a great option if you are on a budget or looking for a bit of space.
For all of your bookings, whether hostel or hotel I always recommend Booking.com, specifically because most of the time you can make a reservation without a deposit and many bookings are fully cancellable and refundable. I love being able to lock in my accomodation early, but then shift things around if my plans change!
Ko Lanta can be reached by ferry from Phuket, Phi Phi and by minibus and ferry from Krabi. There are direct shuttle transfers from and to Krabi airport and this is how we left to return to Bangkok.
We did our snorkelling trips with Opal Speedboat and the Four Islands Cruise; Opal Speedboat was definitely the better of the two.