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Koh Lanta is possibly the most under rated beach destination in Thailand. Located near the southern end of Krabi province, it is a large island that maintains a very relaxed vibe. Lanta is a very good destination for families to visit for two reasons. (1) It has some the calmest water you will find anywhere in Thailand. Most of the beaches are rock free and have very gradual grades into the water. Swimming is both enjoyable and safe for kids. (2) It maintains a relaxed and conservative atmosphere. While nightlife is certainly present on the island, it is not pervasive as in many destinations. The best beaches hence most of the development is on the west side, while the east side is home to several traditional Thai villages.
Koh Lanta is reachable by vehicle, as there are car ferries that take you across the small inlet that separates the island from the mainland. Visitors will fly into either Krabi or Trang.
As it is located on the Andaman Sea side of Thailand, the weather on Koh Lanta is best between November and March. From April through October is the rainy season and the beaches are sometimes not at their best. During this season, rough seas sometimes interfere with boat trips in the Bay of Phang Nga.
For its size, there are not a large amount of resorts. Koh Lanta is not as developed in terms of hotels and resorts as many other islands, which contributes greatly to its charm. Several of the resorts that are present are superb and considered among the best in all of Thailand.
While Phuket and Krabi visitors often take day trips to Phi Phi and other islands in the bay, Lanta has its own different set of islands available for day trips. These islands, such as Koh Kradan, are very sparsely inhabited, and offer some of the best beaches and water in the entire country. Snorkeling and diving is top notch in these locales. Koh Lanta also has many inland activities including exploring the island’s traditional Thai east side and jungles by bicycle, elephant trekking, and hiking to waterfalls. The town known as Ban Saladan offers plenty of civilization, modern conveniences, and restaurants.
Khlong Dao - This long beach located near the town of Ban Saladan is the most active on the island. The water is excellent for wading and swimming and there are plenty of opportunities for water sports and people watching.
Khlong Jak - Located on the southern part of Lanta’s west coast is this true little gem. The beach and water here are simply beautiful, and this is an ideal place to spend the day sunbathing and swimming.
Khlong Kantiang - home to one of Thailand’s best resorts, this is a superb beach. It was once voted “Thailand’s Best Beach” by a major British newspaper. It has excellent sand, great swimming, and postcard views.