Koh Lanta (เกาะลันตา) is a beautiful island off the Andaman Coast in Southern Thailand in the Krabi Province. It has become known for long white sandy beaches, dive sites and more recently an ideal location to take a family vacation.
I decided to visit Koh Lanta’s Old Town whilst here on this beautiful island paradise. I read it was more laid back than the islands West coast where the beaches are situated. We hired a minivan with AC to take us 18km which was about a 30 minute drive along narrow twisting roads down south on the east side of the island.
Lanta Old Town on the East side is a small fishing village community and know culturally as being quite diverse with Chinese merchants, Sea Gypsy community and original Thai fishing families. Ko Lanta’s Old Town acted as the port and commercial centre for the island many decades ago that provided safe harbour for Chinese and Arab trading vessels sailing between the larger ports of Phuket, Penang, and Singapore.
Today, Old Town is the district capital which is home to a fairly large post office, several Buddhist temples, a Chinese temple over the water by the restuarants along the main street, and Koh Lanta island hospital while not forgeting a long pier out to sea where many day trips are now taken by tourists.
Once arriving at Koh Lanta’s Old Town you will see one main strip full of souvenir shops and restaurants, this is the main location and the heart of the Old Town.
We found the weather here to be much cooler than the West side of the island, the food we experienced here also tasted much better than what we found at the West’s beach resorts and restuarants, meals were also noticeably cheaper than the beach lined West Coast of Koh Lanta. Food here is cooked fresh and served by locally owned family restaurants which I believed made a huge difference.
Lanta Old Town is known for its restaurants along the coast built on wooden stilts over the water, there are no beaches in the Old Town don’t forget. You will find many shops selling wooden hand crafted items and hand made hammocks. You will also discover the usual clothing shops selling pants, vest tops and Thai style shirts and dresses among many flip flops and bags. There are several tour booking companies and a few scuba diving stores where you can arrange tours.
Most tourists reach this side of the island by renting scooters and motorbikes, I couldn’t do this as we had baby Rosa with us and I wouldn’t find it safe for her. Dont bw suprised if you see a family of 5 riding a mini scooter at 50mph down the dirt roads, like in most of Thailand this is the norm.
Chilled vibe, family orientated, relaxed, peaceful, fresh fruit juice, local family owned restaurants
Over the last few years more tourists have been heading in this direction for either a day trip for snorkling and scuba diving or to stay a few nights and experience a different, calm, laidback way of life while experiencing authentic homemade family cooked Thai cuiine, a very different side of Thailand in the South.
What to experience whilst visiting Koh Lanta’s Old Town;
- Fresh juice and smoothies – from 40 Baht you can get a whole jug of fresh juice
- Pad Tai – for 100 Baht you can get a large plate of seafood, pork, beef or chicken Pad Thai
- Great Burgers – for 170 Baht we had an amazing beef burger and fries, the best so far in Koh Lanta at Rare View Restaurant
- Thai Roti Pancakes – for 60 Thai Baht you can buy a banana and Nutella roti pancake, we ate ours at Sunee’s Place along the Old Town, it was so delicious I ate two!
- Swings over the water – several restaurants have swings at the end of the decking where you can swing over the water whilst you wait for your food to be served
- Visit a small Buddha temple – about 15 minutes walk from Old Town shops and restaurants is a small Buddha temple
- Longtail and big boat day trips – for about 1,500 Baht per person you can take tours along neighbouring islands for fishing and snorkelling, times are 9am to 4pm weather permitting
Overall I would totally recommend going to Koh Lanta Old Town during your time on Koh Lanta. We stayed for 7 days which was more than enough time to explore and take a day trip with ‘4 Islands Tours’ the trip involved snorkelling and swimming to the Emerald Cave – not to be missed!