Entertainment in Koh Lanta

What happens after dark on the island?

Most people visit Koh Lanta for the beaches, rather than the evening entertainment, which is fairly relaxed. Indeed, on the northern, family-oriented beaches, many tourists are happily tucked up in bed by 11pm.

What little nightlife there is, is generally in keeping with the islands easy-going beach culture. As the sun goes down, prettily-lit, bamboo-shack beach bars come into their own. Here, a few tunes, the sound of the waves and a view of the stars is all there is in the way of entertainment; although some bars will put on fireshows or live music in the peak season. These places usually have plenty of cushions, pavilions and even hammocks to ensure you won't leave in a hurry.

For this reason, most people visiting the islands tend just to go their nearest beach bar. They are all fairly similar, driftwood affairs, placed at regular intervals along the sand and staffed by shirtless Thai "reggae boys" with guitars and bongo drums, so it is not usually worth straying more than a hundred metres away from your bungalow to find anything different.

However, if you would really like to try something else, or feel in the mood for more action, there are a couple of island "hotspots". The first is in Phra Ae village, along the main road behind the resorts. Here you will find the lively Opium Bar, whose funky and fresh music and staff draws a sizeable crowd every night until the early hours. There are other bars along this same stretch as well.

Long Beach's Funky Fish bar is popular with expats and often hosts parties, as does Klong Nin's Otto Bar, a larger than average beach bar, with a pool table, DJs and occasional live music sets. Otto himself is a warm and friendly host. Klong Nin beach has a cluster of "happening" bars, so this is also a destination worth considering if nightlife is your priority.

For entertainment with a local flavour, you can watch some Thai boxing at the Lanta Stadium in Phra Ae. Matches (real combats) are held weekly. Or, you can even venture into the local karaoke joints, though this would be for cultural purposes only - they are unlikely to have any English songs.

At time of writing, Ibark, Koh Lanta's only "nightclub" - an open for events only type place at the top of a hill - has been dormant for a while.