When we visited in October 2018 the island felt very empty, many places were still closed. First slightly discouraged, we later realized it was a blessing in disguise. The lack of obvious entertainment options allowed us to really relax and spend quality time with each other and for ourselves separately. Although we spent most of the time just relaxing, not for a second did we feel bored during our stay on Koh Lanta. Here below is the list of our personal highlights of things to do during Koh Lanta low season. We're both amazed how much we managed to do while not doing anything 🙂
To help you navigate
Koh Lanta Beaches
You probably can’t go wrong choosing one or the other of Koh Lanta beaches to spend a day sunbathing and swimming. The island’s beaches are long, sandy and really empty during the low season. Relaxing on one of the gorgeous beaches is one of the best (albeit obvious) things to do in Koh Lanta. You can easily find a great spot with a beautiful view just for yourself even if you go to one of the more popular Koh Lanta beaches.
Reading, playing games, listening to music
We felt like winning a lottery when we arrived at Lanta New Beach Bungalows. The place is more than we had ever hoped for considering our budget! Our private bungalow was very modern, clean, fully equipped and with a little terrace where we spent evenings reading, playing dice or having a cold beer.
The bungalow complex has three pools, a direct access to the beach and a restaurant overlooking the sea. Since not many people are visiting Koh Lanta in October, there was hardly anyone else there. We made sure to take full advantage of the situation 😊
Enjoying Koh Lanta sunset
Looking back through our Koh Lanta pictures, we still can’t believe just how beautiful this place is. You could spend every evening watching the sunset from a new spot. Just don’t rush. Take your time, come about half an hour before the show starts, get comfortable and watch closely as the sky changes colors from bright blue through magenta pink to dark purple and eventually pitch black. Traveling as a couple, for us it was one of the most romantic things to do in Koh Lanta.
If you need more action, grab your camera and experiment with settings, props and angles. Get creative using seashells, coconuts, waves or even little crabs running on the beach. You don’t need to be a professional photographer, just try out different things and have fun. The time will pass by without you even noticing.
Walking and listening to podcasts
One of Darja’s favourite things to do on Koh Lanta was walking from Lanta New Beach to Oasis Yoga along the beach, listening to audio books or podcasts, collecting shells and stones.
There is a stretch of approximately 2 km from the New Beach direction Phra Ae Beach where the sandy path finishes and is replaced by cliffs. If you love a bit of adventure and exercise, put on comfy shoes and make your way over the cliffs. They cliffs are not high, but the trip does require a bit of balance and courage. It took Darja a bit over an hour to climb the whole strip. It was one of the more adventurous and fun things to do in Koh Lanta.
David preferred exploring the more inland parts of the island, walking through the forest and dusty roads direction Koh Lanta Secret Beach. Since the island is pretty small, you don’t have to worry about getting lost. Just take off and enjoy the scenery.
Koh Lanta National Park
The Mu Ko Lanta National Park stretches over multiple islands in the archipelago, but there is still plenty to see and do on Koh Lanta Yai – the main island we’re covering in this blog post. Rent a scooter and enjoy exploring caves and waterfalls of the national park.
Koh Lanta Old Town
Koh Lanta Old Town is a small street on the other side of the island. There are a couple of shops and restaurants. If you rent out a scooter (one of the fun things to do in Koh Lanta!) and travel around the island, it is a great stop for lunch. Fresh Restaurant (Sriraya Lanta) has a wooden terrace reaching a couple of metres into the sea. At the very top of the terrace there are swings which we could use for as long as we wanted since there was absolutely no one else. Overwhelmed with joy, we swung until the rain inevitably rushed us under the roof.
Meeting local artisanal artists and making seashell jewellery
Sometimes while walking on the beach Darja met local artisanal artists with whom she spent a couple of hours creating seashell jewellery or simply talking about the absolutely chilled lifestyle the islanders lead on Koh Lanta. Meeting locals while traveling and connecting with them is one of the most memorable things one could do. You don’t need the language, just an open heart – a lot can be understood nonverbally or using a few basic sentences.
Bob Marley is much loved on Koh Lanta - for his music, his quotes and the culture he represents. “No woman no cry” is used constantly to signify the absence of pretty much anything. “Yoga?” “Low season, Koh Lanta no yoga no cry”. See? Easy.
Koh Lanta Yoga
Although very scarce, Koh Lanta yoga in low season does exist, despite the discouraging remarks from the local Bob Marley. Darja was ecstatic when she found Oasis Yoga. Located between the Long Beach and the Saladan Pier, Oasis Yoga offers daily Yin, Hatha and Flow classes from Monday to Saturday in their wooden open-air yoga studio. You can find the up-to-date class schedule on the Oasis Yoga website.
Farra, a co-founder and the teacher at Oasis Yoga is not only a great instructor, but also a wonderful and serene human being. Her positive attitude and a calm peace of mind are infectious and made practices very enjoyable. With attendee experience ranging from “my girlfriend dragged me into this” to “I do a headstand when I need to think”, Farra impressively managed to keep the session interesting and beneficial for every single person attending. We all kept coming back.
Yoga is one of the most rejuvenating things to do in Koh Lanta.
Darja enjoyed Oasis yoga practice so much, we moved from Lanta New Beach to Oasis Yoga Bungalows. This accommodation was just as dreamy as the previous one – beautiful bungalows, refreshing pool, awesome staff and admirable commitment to plastic free existence. We couldn’t help but keep on prolonging our stay at Oasis Yoga Bungalow.
Koh Lanta Massage
Although many spas are closed during Koh Lanta low season, you can still easily find a small local place to get a massage. You can either walk on the main street, ask at your hotel or a tuk-tuk driver to take you to the closest Koh Lanta massage place. It won’t be a luxurious air-conditioned saloon, but the massage itself will still be one of the most relaxing things to do in Koh Lanta.
The massage we got made us happy even without the famous Thai massage happy ending. Be respectful and do your research beforehand – not all Koh Lanta massage places would offer happy ending services.
Koh Lanta Cooking Class
One of the best things to do in Koh Lanta in low season is learning cooking Thai. Time for Lime cooking school is not only the first but also remains one of the best on the island. Located at the beach, the Thai cooking class takes place in a very relaxed atmosphere, with a lot of laughter and abundance of delicious Thai food. This was one of our brightest highlights from the stay on Koh Lanta.
As a bonus, during the low season there are less people attending the class and the prices are lower.
Cooking class (incl. transfer, water & other goodies): 1'600 TBH (42€ or 50$).
Having a fresh yummy dinner
There are a couple of great dinner options on the island offering a wide variety of cuisines and budget. Our personal favourites are the following:
Danny restaurant just next to Lanta New Beach Bungalows is an unpretentious yet yummy place to have lunch or dinner. The family running the place is super friendly and will surprise you with the quality of Thai dishes served. The menu is unbelievably huge, but the meals don’t disappoint.
Dinner price for two: 420 TBH (11€ or 13$).
Kindee Restaurant – traveling as a couple, sometimes we treat ourselves to a nice romantic dinner. This place was absolutely perfect for that. The interior design is very fresh and cosy while the food is really high class with excellent presentation. Can highly recommend!
Dinner price for two: 1'100 TBH (29€ or 34$)
The Irish Embassy – a great Irish pub and the sports bar in Koh Lanta. The place is always lively, serves Irish food including a delicious Sunday roast and even draft Guinness. There are pool tables and darts to play with fellow travellers.
Dinner price for two: 420 TBH (11€ or 13$)
Funky Fish Bar has awesome cosy wooden beach beds for two with a table in between. You can be half laying down while enjoying a fresh seafood dinner, sipping a drink and enjoying the Koh Lanta sunset. We loved the grilled red snapper we had there.
Dinner price for two: 800 TBH (21€ or 25$)
Koh Lanta Night Life
Koh Lanta night life is nothing in comparison to the neighbouring Phi Phi nor Phuket, which is why we’d chosen to come to this island. Don’t expect to find pub streets or one night club next to another – there’s nothing of this sort on the island. You do, however, still have a couple of options when it comes to late night activities and group fun. Here are some we’d recommend:
Funky Monkey is a huge place on the island’s main road. Although you can get food here, most people come here to play pool, beer pong, darts and sing karaoke. In absence of brave intoxicated visitors, one of the pub’s staff takes the stage and shames anyone else’s previous attempts at singing. Even though we’ve spent a couple of nice chilled evenings here, we can imagine this place getting noisy and slightly out of control during the high season.
Cocktail price: 180 TBH (4.7€ or 5.6$).
Pangea Beach Bar – besides being a nice laidback beach bar, the place also organizes beach football with locals. Make sure to stop by and ask for the next game.
Beer price: 100 TBH (60 during happy hour)
Freedom Bar is a great place if you feel like meeting new people and joining them for a beach party at the reggae themed bar. The prices are higher than elsewhere, but the atmosphere is fun. The place seems to attract the few low season visitors from across the Koh Lanta beaches and bungalows.
Cocktail price: 160 TBH (4.2€ or 5$).
Karaoke places along the main road are where mostly the locals meet to show off their vocal talents. Although you can’t necessarily join in with the singing since most of the songs sung are Thai, it is entertaining to watch while having a beer. Make friends with the locals and see where the evening takes you. Beware, Thais can party really hard!
Island hopping from Koh Lanta
To be honest, we didn't do it. After Koh Lanta we moved to Krabi mainland and did a couple of trips from there. Our time on Koh Lanta was dedicated to chilling and the island. If you're looking for exploring further, here are a couple of options to consider.
Weather in Koh Lanta in October
The average temperature in Koh Lanta in October ranges from 24°C to 31°C (or 75.2 to 87.8 F). Since the season on the Andaman coast only starts in November, there is still a possibility of rain on Koh Lanta in October.
The first 10 days we spent on the island we didn’t see a single drop of rain. In the second half of the vacation most of the days it rained for an hour or so, but it felt very refreshing. One day a thunderstorm hit the island, it was raining heavily the entire night. We ran and jumped in the rain and then slept like kids to the calming sounds of the rain hitting the roof.
Is Koh Lanta for you?
Koh Lanta is for you if you’re looking for the less touristy places in Thailand, not tailored for mass tourism nor party backpackers in their 20s. You will enjoy the island if "inhale, exhale, relax" sounds like your vacation motto. If you like quieter places and can entertain yourself - Koh Lanta is the place to be (especially in low season).
Where is Koh Lanta?
Koh Lanta is located on the Andaman coast in the south of Thailand, part of the Krabi region famous for its islands, velvet beaches and impossibly blue sea. Despite the common misconception, Koh Lanta is not an island but rather an archipelago consisting of 52 islands. The main and the biggest one is called Koh Lanta Yai. This is the island the majority of people are referring to when saying “Koh Lanta”.
How to get to Koh Lanta
Arriving to Phuket International Airport, you have two options of getting to Koh Lanta – by ferry through Koh Phi Phi (3-4h) or by minivan through Krabi Town (5H). The former is faster and more scenic whereas the latter is cheaper. We took the ferry and enjoyed slowly sinking into the island vacation mode while admiring the views. There are multiple tuk-tuks and open vans offering shuttles across the island. We paid 150 TBH per person, although our host suggested it’s possible to get a transfer for 50 TBH less.
Beware that during the low season the ferry schedule going to Koh Lanta is limited to once a day (typically 08:00 AM). You are advised to buy a ticket at least a day before or show up to the pier well in advance. This is something we learned the hard way after having to spend an unplanned extra day in Phuket waiting for the next ferry.
From Krabi Town
There are multiple companies offering minivan transportation between Koh Lanta and Krabi Town. The minivans are rather comfortable, air-conditioned, albeit rather packed with luggage and backpacks since every single free space on the bus is sold out.
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