Koh Lanta is a large and relatively undeveloped island located in the Krabi province, renowned for its beautiful landscapes, relaxing beaches and laid back lifestyle. When we heard that the…
Koh Lanta is a large and relatively undeveloped island located in the Krabi province, renowned for its beautiful landscapes, relaxing beaches and laid back lifestyle.
When we heard that the island offers a quiet romantic getaway, we were ready to leave the bustling streets of Phi Phi and hop on a ferry! We chose Klong Nin Beach as our base for four nights, situating us in the middle of the west coast which was perfect for exploring the whole island in under an hour.
Klong Nin Beach
Our hotel, Srilanta Resort was a 40-minute drive from Saladan Pier and was excellent value for money. The room was comfortable and luxurious, having everything we needed for a relaxing stay. The three impressive pools were situated on the beach, which was perfect for a romantic stroll in the evening and offered the most amazing sunsets! Most nights, we watched as the sky turned a magnificent orange and the sun lowered behind a faint silhouette of Phi Phi Islands in the distance – a truly beautiful scene!
However, a downside to our location was that the surrounding area was incredibly quiet, with only a handful of shops and restaurants within walking distance. The beach was equally deserted and the most of the bars were closed for low season. We didn’t mind this as we were looking for a peaceful stay, but the tourist area of Long Beach would be the place to stay for wider range of nightlife and restaurant options.
Exploring the Island
To explore the island, we rented a motorbike from our hotel for 250 baht per day. Neither of us had driven one before, but luckily the quiet roads of Koh Lanta were perfect for us to get familiar with the bike fairly quickly. The cost to rent was great value considering the miles we travelled during our short stay!
Our first place to explore was Mu Ko Lanta National Park, located at the southern tip of the island.
The nature trail is a great place to see the wildlife as you trek through the jungle, read our full post here. Next we planned to visit Khlong Chak Waterfall, but we were hit by heavy rainfall on our way and were advised not to attempt the slippery climb.
The following day, we visited Long Beach to see the island’s most popular tourist destination. From Klong Nin, it took around 30 minutes to drive and the beach was clearly signposted from the main road. We arrived expecting to see the area thriving with tourists, but surprisingly large parts of the beach were completely empty! Although we only came across a few other people, we could see why this spot gets popular in the high season. Long Beach has an incredibly relaxed vibe, with soft sand to sunbathe and bars and restaurants to keep you refreshed all day long. The stretch of sand also seemed to go on forever – a place certainly deserving of its name!
We also made sure not to miss a trip to Lanta Old Town during our stay. We headed here after Long Beach which took around 30 minutes to drive over to the east coast. The small town has hardly changed over the years and still remains a fishing village for locals, thriving with culture and history. There are lots of wooden houses, shops and restaurants on stilts over the waterfront and we enjoyed a refreshing drink here after a long day of exploring.
Koh Lanta is a perfect destination for couples and those looking for a relaxing, quiet break. Visit during low season to get excellent deals on high-end resorts and stunning beaches nearly all to yourself!
At the southern tip of Koh Lanta you will find Mu Ko Lanta National Park, a quiet and treasured area of beauty that is well worth visiting whilst on the…
At the southern tip of Koh Lanta you will find Mu Ko Lanta National Park, a quiet and treasured area of beauty that is well worth visiting whilst on the island. The national park is home to a large group of mischievous monkeys and visitors are attracted by its breathtaking views and peaceful nature trail through the jungle.
To get there, simply follow the main costal road south until you see signs for the national park. We rented a motorbike to explore the island and it took us around 30 minutes from Khlong Nin Beach, driving along the smooth scenic roads.
Entrance to Mu Ko is 200 baht and an additional 20 baht for motorbike parking. We spent a couple of hours here, giving us enough time to visit all points of the national park without rushing. Once you have driven down the steep hill at the end, the main entrance can be found opposite the car park.
This area was being patrolled by hungry monkeys when we visited, so make sure you keep any food hidden away and your belongings with you at all times. We witnessed a monkey snatch a woman’s handbag and dash up a tree, but luckily a very large stick was just enough to rescue it back!
Our first stop was the beach where we found a slightly more relaxed group of monkeys that were happy to pose for pictures. From here, we made our way to the nature trail which began with brilliant views of Ta Noad Cape and its picturesque lighthouse. The walk through the jungle lasted around 30 minutes and we took it steady, enjoying the peaceful noises of the surrounding wildlife. The path was quite challenging in places and will be slippery if wet, so be extra careful and don’t forget the mosquito spray!
After the nature walk, we headed to the lighthouse which can be found back near the entrance. To reach the top, there is a short climb over some rocks and we would recommend wearing trainers for this one! The lighthouse marks the southernmost point of Koh Lanta and has beautiful panoramic views of the coast. This was possibly our favourite part of the park and we got some beautiful landscape shots looking out over the sea.
Make sure to add Mu Ko Lanta National Park to your list of things to do in Koh Lanta!
Just a short ferry ride from either Phuket or Krabi, the paradise islands of Koh Phi Phi are one of Thailand’s most treasured and picturesque destinations. Phi Phi Don is…
Just a short ferry ride from either Phuket or Krabi, the paradise islands of Koh Phi Phi are one of Thailand’s most treasured and picturesque destinations.
Phi Phi Don is the largest island of the group and attracts hundreds of visitors with its impressive beaches, tropical landscape and late night parties. Phi Phi Leh remains undeveloped and hotel-free, boasting tropical coral reefs and towering cliffs whilst also being home to the famous Maya Bay.
As we arrived at Tonsai Pier, we were surprised to be greeted by a staff member from our hotel who kindly offered to cart our backpacks directly to our room! Speed walking through the town, we got a sense of the island’s chilled out atmosphere – no cars, happy tourists and friendly locals.
On the island, you can either stay right amongst the bars and nightlife, or choose to stay a short walk away in a quieter area for those who like a good nights sleep. We stayed at P.P Casita which was less than a 10-minute walk to Loh Dalum Beach, but a good enough distance from the loud party atmosphere that booms into the early hours. We booked a private bungalow for our three night stay and our cosy little shack certainly did not leave us disappointed! All of the rooms are set in beautiful garden surroundings with wooden paths that connect to the large pool and restaurant area. As the hotel was quiet in early September, we got the pool to ourselves each day. At breakfast, we made friends with the cute resident cat who had a habit of meeting us in the morning and then following us back to our room!
The central area of Phi Phi Don has a wide range of resorts, hotels, guesthouses and hostels that will suit everyones budget. There are also a large variety of restaurants offering everything from Asian favourites to European and South American cuisines, making sure there is something to please everyone! We found the food and drink prices considerably lower here than in Phuket, so what’s not to love?
Things to do in Phi Phi
Loh Dalum Beach – the closest beach to our hotel and the main tourist area on the island. It wasn’t overly busy when we visited, making it a great place to chill for a few hours with a good selection of bars and shops close by. The beach was tidy and the sea was beautifully calm, although not the best for swimming in as there are quite a few boats around and the tide carries debris to shore. If you are planning a visit, try to get there as early as possible because the tide goes out really quickly in the afternoon!
Kayaking – there are a number of spots to paddle out to from Loh Dalum Beach, depending on how strong you’re feeling! Just head to one of the many kayak rental places and decide how long you would like – we hired ours for four hours, costing us 400 baht. Be sure to take suncream and plenty of water as it can be hard work in the heat, especially if you are riding against the waves. We also recommend taking a dry bag to carry your valuable items as lots of water leaked into our boat. Once we found our rhythm, we loved the freedom of sailing in the sea – definitely one of our Phi Phi highlights!
Monkey Beach – be sure to add this to your list of places to see whilst exploring Phi Phi islands! Jump on a longtail boat or kayak and visit the little monkeys that patrol this beautiful hidden gem. Keep your belongings safe as they are not afraid to approach and steal from you! Read our full blog on Monkey Beach here.
Maya Bay – famously known as the film setting for The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio, this beautiful beach cove is up there on places to visit whilst in Phi Phi Islands! Although the island cannot be directly accessed in low season as we discovered, there are still a number of boats that will take you on a tour around Phi Phi Leh and Maya Bay.
Bamboo Island – easily accessible by longtail boat, this small tropical island is surrounded by stunning white beaches and clear water, a great spot for snorkelling!
Beach Parties – head to Loh Dalum beach at night and enjoy the lively party scene that runs into the early hours! We recommend visiting Slinky Bar, as this is a great starting point for making your way up the row of disco bars along the beach front. Experience live DJs, dance music, cocktail buckets and impressive fire shows – this island definitely knows how to party!
Looking to capture a postcard worthy shot of the island from above? Then look no further than Phi Phi Viewpoint! Follow the signs dotted around town or simply ask one…
Looking to capture a postcard worthy shot of the island from above? Then look no further than Phi Phi Viewpoint!
Follow the signs dotted around town or simply ask one of the locals to point you in the right direction, as the starting point can be quite tricky to find. Once you arrive at a very steep set of steps, you know you’re in the right place! The 10-minute walk to the entrance is challenging and not one for tired legs, so make sure you wear suitable footwear and bring plenty of water.
The fee to enter is 20 baht per person, but the views are certainly worth the small price. There are three separate viewpoints that get higher each time, but the first two are the most accessible and are the ones that we visited.
Take a well deserved rest in the peaceful garden of the first viewpoint and look out towards the stunning scenes of the island. From here, follow the signs towards the second viewpoint which climbs a little higher and gives a clearer view of the impressive landscape that is not to be missed. The path up is much steadier and the views at the top are certainly worth the extra effort. Here you will find a cafe where you can grab a drink and soak up the scenery.
We chilled on the rocks at the top for about half an hour and got plenty of pictures before heading back down. If you fancy trekking even higher, make sure to seek out the third viewpoint but be prepared for a walk through the jungle to reach this hidden spot. We couldn’t see any signs or directions to this viewpoint, so we guess that you just keep walking and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Located on the east side of Phi Phi Don, Monkey Beach is a hidden gem that cannot be missed when visiting the Phi Phi Islands. The name says it all…
Located on the east side of Phi Phi Don, Monkey Beach is a hidden gem that cannot be missed when visiting the Phi Phi Islands. The name says it all – the beach is literally overrun with monkeys waiting to greet you as your boat glides to shore!
The small cove can be accessed by longtail boat, kayak or a challenging trek through the jungle. We visited by kayak as it wasn’t far to paddle from Loh Dalum Beach and were amazed by the number of monkeys running up and down the sand – we only expected to spot a few hiding in the trees! We also couldn’t believe our eyes at the calmness or clear turquoise colour of the sea, paired with beautiful white sand and playful baby monkeys – a true hint of paradise.
Although, there are a few tips that we must share with you to ensure that you do not make the same mistakes as us.
– Do not bring any food with you and especially do not open anything in front of the monkeys. Unfortunately, we had no idea and opened a packet of sweets as soon as we arrived at the beach. A swarm of monkeys ran towards us and snatched for the packet, but luckily we were unharmed. If you do get scratched or bitten by a monkey you must find a doctor immediately and receive a rabies vaccination, followed by more over the next month, even if you have already had vaccinations before travelling.
– Only bring water and save it for the boat. One of the monkeys stole our full bottle of water when he heard it being opened and went to drink it himself. However, we found that they generally don’t enjoy coming into the sea, so maybe save your snacks for the boat ride.
– Use a dry bag and fasten it securely. A dry bag is useful for boat journeys to protect your belongings, especially on a kayak as lots of water tends to leak in. We got ours from Amazon before we left, but there are plenty of shops selling them all over Thailand. Zips are too easy for the monkeys to open, so a dry bag with a buckle fastening provides extra security and can be strapped to the boat. We recommend leaving any handbags at home, as the monkeys find these the most intriguing and we’ve witnessed them being stolen before.
– Most importantly, do not let the monkeys scare you away from this hidden beauty! If you are prepared and don’t bring any food, the monkeys keep their distance and are not interested in approaching you. You can watch them from afar and enjoy the incredible surroundings and a dip in the pristine water. For your peace of mind, there are also locals on duty to keep an eye on the monkeys and make sure you are not feeding them, so relax and have fun!
Karon and Kata are neighbouring resorts in Phuket that offer a more relaxed atmosphere compared with the bustling streets of Patong. Their beaches, nightlife and attractions are fairly similar to…
Karon and Kata are neighbouring resorts in Phuket that offer a more relaxed atmosphere compared with the bustling streets of Patong. Their beaches, nightlife and attractions are fairly similar to one another, making it extra difficult to choose which one to visit. Luckily, we had the pleasure of staying a few nights in both, so here is our comparison of the two and we hope that it will help narrow down your decision!
Karon Beach – if you are looking for a huge stretch of sand to relax and stroll along then Karon Beach is the place to be.
We visited during low season so the beach was fairly empty compared to Patong, which also meant that very few vendors were around to interrupt our sunbathing. The sea was a little too aggressive to swim in so we didn’t spend as much time here as we would have liked. If you are visiting during peak season, this may not be a problem for you as the water is generally calmer during that time of year – just be aware of which areas along the beach have been declared safe to swim.
We stayed in Grand Sunset Hotel, which was only a two minute walk to the beach. There are many other hotels all within a similar walking distance, so if you are looking to step from your room to the sand fairly easily then we recommend Karon Beach for this.
There are a good selection of bars, restaurants and street food along the main road of the beach, so if you get hungry you will always have plenty of choice.
Kata Beach – with fine white sand and a calmer blue sea, Kata Beach is definitely the most picturesque of the two. It is slightly smaller than Karon and seems to be more sheltered, making it an ideal place to soak up the sun.
However, we found that there are far more locals selling things and it was generally more crowded, making it harder to relax. Despite this, the beach was actually a lot cleaner compared to both Patong and Karon and we enjoyed walking along the shore, not having to worry about stepping on washed-up rubbish.
We stayed at the The Blue Pearl Hotel, which was around an eight minute walk to the beach. When booking our hotel we tried to find one closer to the sea, but realised that only larger resorts are situated along the beach and we decided to opt for a cheaper option instead. The path from our hotel to the beach wouldn’t be the friendliest for wheelchairs or pushchairs, so be aware of this.
If you get hungry on Kata Beach you can purchase food from many of the vendors that walk past the sun beds. There are many shops and restaurants up towards the hotels and the main road, however we found there to be limited options for bars and restaurants along the beach. We decided to walk from one end to the next in search for a good restaurant, yet we only came across a handful of beach bars and none of them really appealed to us.
Both resorts are certainly more relaxed and tolerable in comparison to Patong, offering a break from the lively bars and nightclubs yet still having a good selection of entertainment.
Karon – the north end of Karon Beach is the central hub for most of the restaurants and bars. Thai food and seafood are the most popular dishes as expected, but many restaurants offer larger menus and food options that cater for everyone, such as pasta dishes, pizza and burgers. Once you have eaten, this area is a great place to stick around for a few drinks and visit one of the many cocktail bars offering live music.
Unfortunately, we weren’t particularly blown away by any of the food that we ate during our stay, however this could have been due to the lack of busyness during low season.
Kata – our hotel was more or less on the main road of Kata and here we found a number of restaurants and bars in both directions. Choices were pretty limited again with most places offering Thai food, seafood or Italian, so we would suggest doing some research before you head out to help narrow down restaurants that take your fancy (especially if you are very indecisive like we are, choosing a place to eat can take a while).
If you are looking to get a taste of some authentic Thai food without stretching your budget, we definitely recommend visiting Kata Walking Street Night Market. Here, you can experience real Thai food being cooked right in front of you whilst you wait. At a fraction of the price of the restaurants, it is a great chance to sample a number of dishes from many different stalls. Luckily for us, the market was located right opposite our hotel so we got to visit a few times during our stay!
Big Buddha – definitely a place to visit whilst in Phuket! Big Buddha is a magnificent statue situated on a mountaintop, offering beautiful panoramic views of the island. There is no fee to enter but donations are kindly appreciated and help towards maintaining the attraction. Women are required to have their shoulders and knees covered to enter, but don’t worry if you aren’t wearing suitable clothing as you can borrow a sarong for free upon entry.
Although the statue is not fully finished yet, you are able to walk around and take a look inside. We spent around an hour enjoying the views and taking as many photographs as we could. It will probably get quite busy during peak season, but the viewing platforms are large and spacious to ensure that you get the perfect selfie!
Big Buddha is accessible from both Karon and Kata. As we were staying in Karon at the time, we booked a return taxi from our hotel which cost us 600 baht and the drive to reach the entrance took around 30 minutes. If you also book a return taxi, make sure that you take a good look at your car before leaving as you will need to know which one to get back into when finished – we couldn’t find our taxi for a good 10 minutes as they all look the same!
If you are planning to visit Big Buddha by motorbike, there are clear signs from the main road to direct you and the stunning views on the ride up will definitely not disappoint! For the even more adventurous there is a walking route to the mountaintop, however this seemed a little too long and strenuous for us, especially as it was a very hot day.
If you have a few hours to spare, combine your trip with Wat Chalong temple and witness a truly amazing piece of Phuket’s culture and history.
Karon Viewpoint – located south of Kata Beach, we recommend visiting this place via tuk tuk or motorbike as it is only a quick 10 minute drive. Soak up the scenery as you travel up the hill, before pulling into the viewpoint to observe the stunning views of the west coast and its magnificent beaches. Take photographs whenever you get the chance as this place can get really busy. We only spent around half an hour here as the sole thing to do is look at the beautiful landscape, but it is definitely worth the trip!
Dino Park Mini Golf – add an hours fun to your day whilst in Karon or Kata and visit Dino Park Mini Golf, situated directly in-between both resorts! We found the 18-hole course brilliantly maintained and equally challenging, you even get to learn the dinosaur species as you go around! Open from 10am – 11pm, the prices are cheap and you can cool off with refreshments afterwards in the impressive Flintstones-themed restaurant. Make sure to wear light clothing, mosquito repellant and bring plenty of water and suncream if visiting during the day.
Kata Beach wins our vote with a beautiful picturesque beach and smaller network of restaurants and bars all within close walking distance. We found our stay here more relaxed and enjoyable, which was exactly what we were looking for!
Freedom Beach is a beautiful hidden gem that lies just south of the popular party resort Patong. If you are looking for a secluded spot to relax in paradise and…
Freedom Beach is a beautiful hidden gem that lies just south of the popular party resort Patong. If you are looking for a secluded spot to relax in paradise and swim in crystal clear waters, here is the place to be!
To reach Freedom Beach, you can easily take a longtail boat if travelling in peak season. The shortest journey will be from the southern end of Patong Beach, but you can also leave from Karon or Kata for a slightly higher price. Longtail boats are not the quickest and will often splash you quite a bit, so make sure your phone and camera are in a waterproof bag and come prepared in your swimwear.
The tricky part of finding this hidden gem only really applies if you are travelling during low season (like us). Unfortunately, longtail boats do not run at this time of year, so Freedom Beach can only be reached via an off-road dirt track and then a steep climb down on foot. If you are comfortable riding a motorbike this may be the cheapest option, however once off the main road the path is extremely bumpy so we would only recommend this if you are an experienced rider. It may also be a good idea to research the route before leaving, as we didn’t see any signs or directions.
We opted for a taxi to travel there and paid 500 baht for the ten minute journey from Patong. Even the 4×4 vehicle struggled up the rocky side road, so make sure that you do not get in a tuk tuk! At the top, you will reach a gate in which we had to pay 200 baht each to enter. However, we have read reviews that mentioned the gate being open and no fee to pay, so we guess it depends on your luck and what time you arrive. We assumed that the money goes towards helping to maintain the path down, but we soon found this was not the case!
You will walk through a small jungle which is steep and slippery underfoot, with no real path in parts and only a worn-down rope to keep you upright. Our main tip for this journey is to wear suitable footwear, unlike Lewis who wore flip flops! Make sure you have plenty of mosquito spray on and pack more water than you think you will need, as the climb back up is challenging and we actually ran out before half-way!
After a tough ten minute walk, the stunning turquoise sea begins to appear through the palm trees and all your exercise is made worth while. We were amazed by how quiet this little cove was and the soft white sand is unbelievable! Unfortunately, we did find quite a lot of rubbish washed up which was a real shame, but hopefully this will be cleaned up in time for peak season. We also didn’t find any bars or shops open on the beach, so make sure you bring snacks if exploring at the same time of year as us.
Despite the small negatives and the tough trek, Freedom Beach really is a thing of beauty and well worth seeking out. The sea is amazingly clear making it brilliant for a swim and the tranquil backdrop is perfect for photographs.
Recognised as the most famous beach resort on Phuket island, Patong is a vibrant town with an impressive party atmosphere. Packed with tourists from all around the globe, it is…
Recognised as the most famous beach resort on Phuket island, Patong is a vibrant town with an impressive party atmosphere. Packed with tourists from all around the globe, it is overwhelmed with bars, restaurants and clubs which are centred around the go-to street of Bangla Road. Here, the loud music, neon lights and cheap drinks flow endlessly into the night… so make sure you are ready to hit the dance floor!
During the day, the beach is the place to be and is very popular with tourists, however we found it a little too busy for us, even in the low season! Overcrowded with vendors trying to sell you anything from coconuts to coffee tables, we found it difficult to sit back and unwind which was quite disappointing. Despite this, the chaos seemed to calm down in the evening and we would definitely recommend heading back to the beach to catch the beautiful sunsets Patong has to offer. Here, we discovered the beach at its finest!
Patong is a perfect location if you are looking to experience the bustling streets and busy atmosphere of the island, but this could become a little overwhelming after more than a few days, especially in the peak season (November to April). If a relaxing beach holiday is more suitable for you, we would suggest visiting one of the beaches further south of the island instead, such as Kata Beach. However, as this is our first time visiting Thailand, Patong provided a great place to immerse ourselves in the fast-paced culture before seeking out some of the country’s more tranquil locations.
Here are some of our recommendations whilst staying in Patong:
1. Watch a sunset – head to the beach during the evening for a calmer experience and watch the sun go down with a cold beer.
2. Street food – sample a tasty Thai dish at one of the many street food markets situated around every corner.
3. Tuk Tuk–take a ride in a tuk tuk at night and be dazzled by the loud music and neon lights!
4. Bangla Road – take a walk down Bangla Road and become immersed in the incredible party atmosphere.
5. Shopping – enjoy some retail therapy along the busy shopping streets. We recommend visiting the largest shopping mall on the island, Jungceylon. With a wide selection of well-known brands under one roof, the mall is perfect for a rainy day or to escape the heat.
6. Freedom Beach – take a day trip to Freedom Beach if the hustle and bustle becomes too much. We loved visiting this private little cove and the sea was an incredible shade of blue! See our blog post for Freedom Beach here.
7. Water sports – have a go at water sports along the beach, or try Surfhouse if you don’t fancy riding waves in the sea.
8. Thai Boxing – if boxing is your thing, grab a ticket to Bangla Boxing Stadium to experience a professional Thai fight. Don’t worry about missing one of the events, they are advertised loudly from locals driving up and down the streets daily.
9. Massage – relax and unwind from the party atmosphere by visiting a massage parlour. There are plenty on every street and the locals aren’t afraid to try and sell you one every five minutes.
10. Two Chefs Restaurant – enjoy a candle-lit dinner at one of the many restaurants in Patong. We highly recommend visiting Two Chefs on one of their all you can eat special nights! We visited on a Wednesday which is ‘Surf and Turf Night’ and enjoyed a selection of rib eye steak, prawns and chicken with salad and potatoes. You get a generous portion and once you have finished you can order more, all for only 495 baht (price accurate September 2018). There is even a live band to entertain whilst you fill up on delicious food!