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If you are looking for an island that isn’t all about partying but you also want the option to do things besides lounging on the beach all day, head to Koh Lanta. It is a much bigger island than the likes of Koh Phi Phi and perfect for hiring a scooter and going on an adventure. It has a relaxing atmosphere and is high on our list of favourite Thai islands.
HEAD TO THE NATIONAL PARK
Every travel blog we read about Koh Lanta included the National Park, so of course we made our way there too. The entrance fee is 200 baht each and there is a 20 baht motorcycle parking fee, from our hotel near the pier it took about 40 minutes by bike. From the entrance there is a short walk up to the lighthouse, with beautiful views of the bay. We even watched some other tourists walk across the sketchy cliffs in flip flops past the lighthouse to get the perfect photo, we are way too sensible for that!
Make sure you also walk the nature trail! We had assumed from the name that it would be quite an easy walk around the park but remember to take plenty of water, it took us about an hour to walk 1.7km as we kept having to stop and rest as the steps were so steep! By this point we were ready for lunch, but unfortunately the only food the park sold was ice cream because of all the menacing monkeys wandering around. Not that I was complaining of course!
Whilst we didn’t spend any time on the beach there, it looked beautiful and peaceful with only a handful of people on it. But beware of those bloody monkeys!
VISIT THE ANIMALS AT LANTA ANIMAL WELFARE
Even if you aren’t a massive fan of cats and dogs you must visit this welfare as it will warm your heart at what amazing things these volunteers do for the animals! It is a centre that rescues starving and diseased animals on the island, they then treat them and keep them until they are adopted by loving people from all over the world. We went hoping to be able to take some dogs on a walk, but as we arrived late morning we had missed the walking times!
The first stop is Kitty City where you can cuddle and play with the cats they look after there. They run tours every hour for free, all they ask is that you make a donation or buy a drink or snack from their shop. The volunteer running the tour told us how each of the dogs had wound up there and which ones were up for adoption, we just wished we could take them all home with us!
Even if you can’t adopt any animals there were so many other ways that you can help. You can be a flight volunteer and take the animal to it’s new adoption home, you can sponsor an animal through their treatment or even volunteer your time and help out for a few hours.
This really was an amazing Welfare centre and some of my favourite few hours spent in Thailand, we were able to go back and cuddle some of the dogs after our tour! Click here to visit their website.
GET SOME TIE-DYE AT SAYCHON LANTA BATIK
One of our favourite things to do in a new place is to get on the scooter and just drive and stop off when we see something interesting. We decided to drive over the bridge near the pier to the connecting island and see if we could find a secluded beach. We suddenly came upon so many colourful tie dye beach blankets and seeing as though we are both massive tie dye fans we had to stop! There was a little shop with all kinds of different colourways in trousers, t shirts, blankets, it was so hard to pick the one we wanted. We left with a beach blanket, a head band and he even threw in a free bag. The owner was crafting away behind the shop whilst he explained to us how the art was made!
We were so happy to stumble across this gem and it felt so much more memorable than buying something from the night market.
VISIT THE OLD TOWN
It is worth spending a couple of hours wandering around the old town of Koh Lanta. Whilst we didn’t have a meal there, the street was full of cute little restaurants overlooking the sea. And we managed to find a place that sold Oreo cheesecake, so we enjoyed our first cheesecake since travelling! Whilst it is worthwhile seeing the Old Town, there isn’t anything here that you wouldn’t find in the other towns around the island.
RELAX ON THE MANY BEACHES
I think pretty much the whole coast of Koh Lanta is one big beach, when we were driving around on the coastal road we must have seen at least ten! We chose to spend time at Long Beach, and as it was so long we managed to find a really quiet spot away from everyone else. The sea here was so calm and we could have spent the whole day there if we weren’t so worried about getting ridiculously burnt! I think every beach we saw looked pretty much empty, just the way we like it.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay, I would highly recommend Wake Up Hotel. It is about a 15 minute walk from the pier, so maybe get a taxi if you are lugging large backpacks around. It had only been open a few months, the rooms were very large and airy and the staff were extremely helpful! They also include hot drinks and toast at breakfast time! And not forgetting to mention their cute little dog that greets guests as they arrive.
WHAT’S IN MY BACKPACK