Less than 90 minutes by boat from Krabi, Koh Lanta (technically called Koh Lanta Yai) is the largest of 52 little islands in an archipelago blessed with nature reserves, gorgeous beaches, hiking trails and a scenic lighthouse.
Not far from Koh Lanta are some world-class diving spots. Another 90-minute boat ride will take you to Ko Haa, a collapsed volcanic island with steep drop-offs and dive sites featuring caverns and chambers. If you’re not a diver, other water-based activities on Koh Lanta include fishing, snorkelling and sea kayaking.
Or stay on dry land and visit the fascinating villages of the Sea Gypsies (Chao Leh or ‘people of the sea’) the first settlers of the island. Or head to one of the other islands in the archipeligo: explore the limestone caves at Koh Talabeng on a day trip, or take a longtail boat trip to the mangroves around Koh Lanta Noi.
Same Same But Different and the Why Not bar at Kantiang Beach are cool spots for drinks at sunset. Try the Seven Seas Wine Bar for a special treat – sip wine on a daybed while watching the sun sink over Kantiang Bay.
Take home a locally made hammock from Hammock House, which has the largest selection in Thailand, some hand-woven by indigenous hill tribes.
Best romantic dining
The Cliff at Crown Lanta Resort & Spa has lovely views overlooking the resort’s private beach and bay. For a romantic evening, ask for a private waiter and a cabana down by the water’s edge. Alternatively, head to Rak Talay, the beach side restaurant at Pimalai Resort & Spa where you can enjoy fresh, succulent seafood caught by local fisherman and order it grilled or steamed to your liking.
Pimalai Resort & Spa is one of the most luxurious hotels in this part of Thailand – a five-star retreat built around a lush natural backdrop. The Award-winning Pimalai spa is nestled between the lush greenery of the surrounding jungle and features quant Thai Salas designed to draw upon nature for inspiration with native wood, bamboo and authentic Thai touches. Guests must prebook for a treatment here, but as you are pampered by skilled therapists, the sounds of nature, a soothing breeze, and intoxicating scents will lull you to a state of utter bliss.
Also on Koh Lanta, Linger Longer Spa at Layana Resort & Spa has a unique Salt Room with fibre-optic lighting that has a therapeutic microclimate similar to that in natural salt caves. Recline in a chair, listening to relaxation music and inhale the salt that cleanses lungs of bacteria, irritants and pollution. On the menu are various therapeutic salt massage treatments.
Couples will love
Exploring the island on scooters and riding away from the west coast and the beaches, through the lush interior. The views from the top of the island across the water to numerous uninhabited islets are stunning. Ride slowly and wear a helmet.
A romantic longtail boat journey, exploring the islands in the Koh Lanta group. Protected by the Koh Lanta Marine National Park, they include Koh Rok Nai, which features white sands in a crescent-shaped bay backed by cliffs and Koh Talabeng, with its dramatic limestone caves perfect for sea-kayaking tours.