10 Best Things to Do in Koh Lanta Old Town
You can’t miss Koh Lanta Old Town whilst here on this beautiful paradise island which is why I’ve put together the best things to do in Koh Lanta Old Town.
Koh Lanta is separated into two very different experiences; The west coast with all the beaches and the east coast home to the Historic Old Town of Koh Lanta. If you want to know more about the west coast then read my Ultimate Koh Lanta Travel Guide.
The Old Town is even more laid back than the islands west coast with a more traditional and homely feel. Rustic and charming, steeped in history with wooden stilted houses towering over the Andaman sea. Here are the 10 best things to do in Koh Lanta Old Town.
How to get to the Historic Old Town
Koh Lantas Old Town is 18km from Saladan Pier and takes about 30 minutes by scooter or 25 minutes in a car. One main road serves the route. Most tourists reach this side of the island by renting scooters and motorbikes. Don’t be suprised if you see a family of 5 riding a scooter at 50mph down the dirt roads, like in most of Thailand this is the norm. Taking a scooter is fun and thrilling!
I hired a minivan with AC to take me on the scenic drive along narrow twisting roads down south on the east side of the island, I had loads of luggage and 2 kids so taking a van was the safest options for us.
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 as well as a pier out to sea where day trips are operated from. For more information on getting to Koh Lanta from other islands and the mainland read my Ultimate Koh Lanta Travel Guide here.
Why is the Old Town Different?
Koh Lantas Old Town is very different from the beachy west coast which you can read here in my Ultimate Koh Lanta Guide, it’s a small fishing village community and known culturally as being quite diverse with Chinese merchants, sea gypsy community and original Thai fishing families that all reside here. You will also find the weather to be much cooler in Old Town than the west side of the island.
Koh 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 towering over the water alongside the restaurants on 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.
10 Best Things to Do in Koh Lanta’s Historic Old Town
1) Try the Old Town Cuisine
One of the best things to do in Koh Lanta old town is the cuisine, known for its restaurants along the coast built on wooden stilts over the water. Food here tasted much nicer this is probably due to it being cooked fresh and served by locally owned family restaurants which I believed made a huge difference. Meals are also noticeably cheaper than the beach lined West Coast of Koh Lanta.
Pad Tai – for 100 baht you can get a large plate of seafood, pork, beef or chicken Pad Thai
Great Burgers – for 170 baht I had an amazing beef burger and fries, the best so far in Koh Lanta at the Rare View Restaurant
Thai Roti Pancakes – for 60 baht you can buy a banana and Nutella roti pancake, I ate mine daily from Sunee’s Place along the Old Town
For more information and advice on eating on Koh Lanta head over to my Koh Lanta Ultimate Guide here.
2) Go Shopping for Local Crafts and Clothing
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. Clothes bought in the Old Town were the cheapest location I’ve found clothes in Thailand for tourists, the quality was also really good.
There were loads of shops with huge ranges and sizes available. One of the best things to do in Koh Lanta old town is get your souvenirs and clothing while here beacuse you will save a lot of money and they also love the haggle on pricing.
3) Meet the Locals of Old Town
The locals are so warm and friendly, you could take a walk any time of day and you’ll have locals waving and smiling at you. Head into a restaurant or smoothie bar and be assured you’ll be met with the warmest hospitality one could hope for during their travels.
If you have children then the care and warmth extends to them ten-fold which is what happened to my daughter, at only 4 months old everyone wanted a cuddle and a smile from her.
4) Visit an Ancient Chinese Buddha Temple Over the Sea
5) Book a 4 Islands Tour
There are several tour booking companies and a few scuba diving stores where you can arrange tours from the Old Town. The 4 Islands Tour will take you to the emerald cave, Kyaking and snorkelling around several islands and limestone cliffs in the Andaman sea. If you want a great price head to Sunee’s Place (a smoothie bar and restaurant) and ask for her brother who operates 4 Island Tours, I took my second trip with them and in comparison to my first it was really fun and entertaining and one of the best things to do in Koh Lanta old town.
Tip: Prices are much cheaper if you book and get picked up from the Old Town.
6) Swing Over the Sea
You can’t visit the Old Town without using the swings. You will have loads of fun swinging over the sea at one of the many restaurants that have the swings at the end of their decking. Have fun and swing to your hearts content over the sea whilst you wait for your food to be served. Read more in my Ultimate Guide to Koh Lanta.
My favourite swing was at the Rare View restaurant where they served the best beef burgers on the whole island.
7) Try the Best Fruit Smoothies on Koh Lanta at Sunee’s Place
Fresh juice and smoothies – from 40 baht you can get a whole jug of fresh juice at Sunee’s Place. My favourite go to place for fresh fruit smoothies and lassi, located just along the main strip of restaurants. Look at how mouth-watering they are, not to mention the huge size jugs with so many flavours and combinations to choose from, my favourite was dragon fruit and then pineapple.
Tip: Sunee’s Place – Ko Lanta Yai, Ko Lanta District, Krabi 81150, Thailand
8) Try the Old Town Favourite – 3 Flavours Fish
3 flavours fish on white snapper is an authentic Thai fish recipe, the 3 flavour sauce consists of sweet, sour and spicy seasoning, it’s appropriately named the 3 flavours fish directly translated from the Thai “Par-Sam-Rot” pronounced as “Par Sam Lot”.
As you can see the fish has its head still in tact including its eyes! Have you tried it? Was it one of your best things to do in Koh Lanta old town?
9) Hike Through The Jungle to Khlong Jark Waterful and Bat Cave
Walking through the jungle gives a feeling of being somewhere really remote, it’s difficult to get lost so don’t worry. You will pass a clear running stream and wonder through banyan trees, there are caves and vines to explore too. After 30 minutes or so you will arrive and while the waterfall isn’t hugely impressive during the dry season, the hike through the lush jungle makes this visit a worthwhile one.
Entry is free, but you will need to pay for parking, 20 baht for motorbike and 40 baht for a car. The waterfall is situated south of the island in the middle, it makes for a great day trip whilst in Koh Lanta Old Town.
Tip: You will probably notice a company selling elephant riding tours just off the main road, I would highly advise not to ride any elephant in Thailand.
10) Take a Ride Around Town
Number 10 on my 10 Best things to do in Koh Lanta Old Town is taking a peaceful ride around town which comes as no surprise, you’ll pass Koh Lanta’s Post Office, Hospital, multiple shrines and Buddha temples but watch out for the bulls walking across the roads! If you want more information on Koh Lanta read my Ultimate Koh Lanta Guide Here.
That’s my guide to the 10 best things to do in Koh Lanta Old Town, I hope you found the information and photos helpful!
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