Koh Lanta is about 800 km from Bangkok and is located about 200 km north of the Malaysian border.
The Koh Lanta archipelago is made up of over 50 small islands. However, only three are inhabited and only one of them has a significant tourist infrastructure.
The main island of Koh Lanta actually consists of two separate islands: Koh Lanta Noi, the smaller part in the north, and Ko Lanta Yai, the larger southern part of the island, which caters to tourists.
Koh Lanta is 27 km in length and only 10 km in width at its narrowest point. There are even mountains in the south with an elevation of 500 m.
Koh Lanta actually still has 20 km² of virgin rainforest because a large part – 80% of the island – was declared a national park in 1990. The national park in the south of the island is a great destination for excursions.
The peak travel season on Koh Lanta begins in November and ends in April/May. The rainy season lasts from June to September, and the weather can be highly volatile during this time.
If a few days of overcast and the odd cloudburst don’t phase you and bathing in the sea doesn’t really tickle your fancy anyway, then you should be fine visiting the island during the rainy season. September is the best time to do so because the weather gets better and better towards the end of the rainy season.
The main advantage of the rainy season is that the island is still fairly deserted, you’ll hardly encounter any other tourists, and many accommodations only charge half the normal room rate or even less.
The downside is that the weather is really unpredictable. There may be a few brief and heavy rain showers, or it could stay cloudy and rainy for a whole week. Some might also consider the fact that the tourist season hasn’t started yet more of a bug than a feature. Many hotels are still closed, the beaches aren’t maintained, and you’ll likely have most restaurants to yourself.
We were on the island from September 20 to October 14. The weather in September was a bit patchy – it was cloudy a lot of the time and there were a few torrential rain showers.
It brightened up in October and you could see the island slowly coming to life as more and more restaurants and hotels opened for the season.
Koh Lanta is very popular with families and couples. There are many shallow beaches, which are ideal for children. But you’ll also find quite a few backpackers there who appreciate islands with a more laid-back vibe.
Koh Lanta definitely isn’t a party island and the tourist infrastructure is nowhere near as developed as on Koh Samui or Koh Phi Phi. McDonald’s hasn’t set foot on the island so far, which is a very good gauge of whether an island has turned into a full-blown tourist trap yet.
Most of the beaches are very long, so even during peak season you never have to worry that you’ll be lined up side by side like herrings at the beach. Everything is spread out beautifully, and there are a few deserted stretches of natural beach between the individual resorts and beach bars.
It’s really true: Koh Lanta is a paradise for families and the beaches on Koh Lanta are simply a dream – and not just for children, but for everyone.
If your ideal vacation is less about partying and shopping, and more about languishing on the beach and recharging your batteries, then Koh Lanta is just the place you’ve been looking for.
The island offers a great mix of relaxation, beach, and outings.
And don’t worry if you can’t completely suppress your inner party animal – the nightlife scene on Koh Lanta is small, but a lot of fun.
Koh Lanta is also a prime location for snorkeling and scuba diving. There are some great diving spots for beginners, and some challenging ones for more advanced divers.
Koh Lanta is also a popular destination for digital nomads working from the island. Koh Lanta caters to them with its very own coworking space, KoHub at Long Beach. So if you’re looking for a great place to work in the winter, you can easily spend a month or longer on the island.