Koh Lanta is a fairly undeveloped island off the coast of south Thailand and is easily my favourite place I’ve been to in the country. After spending time on other beaches and islands in the region, I felt like something was still missing and I hadn’t quite seen the piece of Thailand I’d imagined. I was still waiting for those postcard perfect views and unspoilt beaches. Many people told us that Koh Lanta was really chilled out, quiet and not yet hit hard by tourism so we decided to book two nights on the island, which quickly turned into three nights, then four, then five. It was idyllic with a strong hippie vibe and quickly satiated my search for the perfect Thai island. We met some amazing people who made our time on the island so memorable and we had a lot of fun chilling out on the beach, visiting cafes and drinking cocktails, and didn’t really feel obliged to do anything too strenuous.
The Book Shack
On our first day, Ellie and I stumbled upon a cafe down a random side street called The Book Shack. It was run by a really friendly guy and we had the place to ourselves; we sat on the balcony for a good couple of hours, had some iced coffee and played chess. The chilled out, quirky vibe of the cafe and the owner’s hospitality made us come back every day, and we always enjoyed chilling on the balcony with a drink to escape the heat of the midday sun. I don’t know why he doesn’t get more business as its my favourite cafe ever.. possibly due to the slightly off-the-beaten path location.
Lanta Animal Welfare
A girl from the hostel named Paige invited me to visit an animal sanctuary with her, and me being me couldn’t refuse an offer involving animals. The sanctuary is the only home/vet on the island for dogs and cats, and the sanctuary has successfully reduced the amount of strays on the island by 90% since it opened. It was quite a mission to get to the sanctuary (we traipsed through a river and possibly someone’s back garden to get to it) but it was well worth it. Upon arrival, we were given a tour of the sanctuary and got to walk two dogs called Buddy and Noodle. It was a lot of fun and I’m really impressed by the incredible work being done here for the dogs and cats of Koh Lanta.
Mu Ko Lanta National Park
The owner of our hostel kindly drove a group of us to the other side of the island to visit Mu Ko Lanta National Park for a few hours. The scenery here was stunning and we spent time hiking the trails, visiting an old lighthouse and watching the many monkeys who were intent on stealing everyone’s possessions- one grabbed my water bottle and drank the whole thing.
Our hostel was situated a couple of minutes from Long Beach, where we spent a lot of our time. The beach itself was beautiful, with a very relaxed vibe to it, and had a few chilled out restaurants and bars along it. There are also a few places to get massages and other spa treatments; I’m not really a fan of massages, but I had an aloe vera massage one day which was quite nice. I think what made this beach different to other beaches was the lack of boats- most other Thai beaches I went to had loads of boats constantly revving their engines.
Hub of Joys Hostel
Our trip to Koh Lanta was made even better due to our hostel, which was called “Hub of Joys.” The staff were super friendly and went above and beyond to make sure we were having a good time- it was Ellie’s birthday and they bought out a cake for her which was so sweet of them. The hostel was clean, social, perfectly located and came with free breakfast which is always a great plus. I couldn’t recommend it as a place to stay enough.
I can’t wait to come back to this gorgeous island one day- hopefully it will remain quiet and unspolied by tourism.