Thailand | Where to Eat & Play on Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta - the island of happiness. The only island that we stayed on during our time in Thailand! If I could pick just one place to return to, this would be it. We spent four amazing days exploring the island, with Oasis Yoga Bungalows as our base. I really wanted to do Koh Lanta justice and capture just how special our time here was, but I'm not sure I can. Maybe that's a good thing - maybe we should keep it secret to stop Lanta becoming over run with tourists! I just can't keep it to myself though...

Ko Lanta is a big island, and much quieter, in comparison to a lot of the popular tourist spots. Hiring a scooter was vital for us to be able to get around easily. We drove the length of the island, from Khlong Dao beach near the Salidan Pier in the north west, across to Lanta Old Town & the sea gypsy villages in the East, all the way down to Koh Lanta National Park at the very Southern tip. These are just some of the places we stopped...

Where to Eat & Drink in Koh Lanta

Easy Bar, Khlong Dao Beach - The very first place we ate. We arrived on the island around 8pm and took a short stroll on the beach in the dark to find it. We'd been told it's owned by a lady called Mama who made amazing food. The cocktails went down a treat, the chicken satay was delicious and the pad Thai was some of the best I've ever eaten! From the restaurant in the sand we could watch the entertainment going on next door at the Indian Bar too.

The Indian Bar, Khlong Dao Beach - This is where we really fell in love with Lanta's laidback vibe. Here we met Pas (the Indian) who was honestly one of the nicest, most down to earth people I've had the pleasure of meeting. Everyone was made welcome here - Pas would pull up a chair, rearrange tables and fetch you a cold Chang right away. He'd remember your name and where you come from, even days later when he spots you at the restaurant next door & pops over to ask about your day! And he makes a mean daiquiri. 

Every night Pas & some young locals put on a show, wow-ing the crowds with their fire spinning and tricks! One evening we made pals with a bunch of travellers - one by one curiosity got the better of them & our game of Dobble got more & more competitive. (Best game ever, look it up!) It ended up with the Germans demanding "Sambuca!" for the loser and the men bromancing over whisky at the bar. It was the same faces every evening, including one English guy who Pas would let keep his belongings behind the bar so he could camp on the beach at night. We came to the Indian Bar for the fire shows, and stayed for the people.

Viewpoint Café - You can't drive across Koh Lanta without stopping at one of the many road side cafes - for the views if not for the food. Although, the food at the Viewpoint was actually really good! He had a delicious green curry while I tucked into yet another chicken satay served with garlic bread. We stopped at another couple of cafes down the east coast - the views are breath taking and the iced smoothies were much needed! 

Remember to take your shoes off before entering shops & restaurants!

Lanta Smile, Khlong Dao Beach - On the other side of the Indian Bar (we didn't venture far in the evenings!) you'll find Lanta Smile. Here we had some epic crispy spring rolls, a sweet and sour chicken dish and a more unusual duck curry which Gordon wolfed down! 

Pure Koh Lanta - A cute little health food café on the junction by Klong Nin beach. They serve raw, vegan cakes and smoothie bowls, and other nutritious snacks. After a day on the beach, an iced mocha or banana and mango smoothie are exactly what you need! If you fancy something a little different from the usual Thai food, this is the place.

Time for Lime, Klong Dao Beach - Without a doubt, the best meal we had on Lanta! The menu changes daily, serving only tapas style dishes & all profits go to the local animal shelter to help stray cats and dogs. They do cooking classes too which looked like a lot of fun! I have a whole lot more to say on this one so look out for a full review soon.

What To Do on Koh Lanta

Visit Lanta Old Town - Drive across the island to the East coast and head South and you can't miss it. The Old Town is exactly what it says on the tin - an authentic, old school Thai village packed with lovely little souvenir shops and waterfront restaurants. You'll find the perfect Instagram spots here - a few of the restaurants have picturesque swings at the end of their piers! Heading further south from here, you'll find the Sea Gypsy Villages, but please bare in mind these are people's homes and not a tourist attraction.

Watch the Sunset - Koh Lanta is famed for it's magical sunsets. Any of the west coast beaches will give you awesome views - we particularly liked sipping margaritas with our feet in the sand, watching the sun go down and the world go by.

Explore Lanta National Park - For a 200THB entry fee you can explore this haven of Thai nature. Soft sandy beaches and clear blue sea, perfect for swimming, surrounded by greenery - and monkeys! Please don't feed the monkeys, it only encourages them to steal from people. We saw one poor family's picnic rudely interrupted by a hungry thief of a monkey!

We have no idea why this monkey is purple...

The National Park is where you'll find that rope swing, and Lanta's best hiking trails. I would have loved to climb up to the viewpoint or the lighthouse but my blistered feet got the better of me that day. A little warning if you're riding a scooter down to the park - the road is bumpy and seriously steep at some points. Gordon had to chuck me off the back to get back up the hill out of the park! I won't take it personally though, we saw a few others having to lighten the load too. Just drive safely, and make sure your helmet is fitted securely!

Volunteer at Lanta Animal Welfare - This was my favourite thing to do in Koh Lanta! Stray cats and dogs are rife in Thailand and LAW is working to change this by treating sick or injured animals and rehoming as many as possible. You can visit the sanctuary for tours, help out by walking the dogs (just turn up before 11am, or after 3pm!), or even volunteer for 1-3 months on a working holiday. We walked a little pup called Ron and fell in love with him and three legged Deng Mia. 

I really can't put into words how special Koh Lanta was to us. There's just something about it - the people, the views, the food, the laidback vibe - it really was the Island of Happiness!

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  1. I absolutely adored Koh Lanta but unfortunately I was struck down with a cold while we were there so didn't get to eexplore as much of it as I wanted too :( Looks like you had an ace time, I wish I'd made it to the Lanta Animal Welfare centre!


    1. ugh no way, that's such a shame! Hope you get the chance to go back :)