Things to do on Koh Lanta

Some ideas for exploring and other activities on the island

There is not a great deal to do on Ko Lanta - and that's the point. Most people come here to relax, read a book, or generally chill out. If you do wish to stray from your hammock, there are a number of things to do, however - and we list a few below.

Driving tours and cave exploring

Rent a vehicle and explore the island

Most people spend one day of their holiday in Ko Lanta driving around the island on a rented motorbike or 4 wheel drive car (4WD is essential as the roads are very steep and rocky towards the south west of the island).

Once you have your vehicle, you can just take a map and go. Being an island, it's fairly hard to get lost - and if you do, this in itself will be an experience! Inland, you'll find lots of small villages that seem completely undisturbed by tourists, beaches used only by fishing boats, lush landscapes of rice paddies and plantations, as well as a great viewpoint on the way to the fascinating Old Town in the south east.

There is also a network of caves at the centre of the island, just past Klong Nin village, going inland. Called Mai Kaew, these caverns are only accessible with a guide from the family who live near the entrance (signposted). The caves are spectacular, but not for the claustrophobic. You will also need a healthy sense of adventure - some of the wooden ladders are fairly precarious and rickety.

National Park and Klong Jak waterfall

Trekking in Koh Lanta

If you enjoy hiking, there are some good routes in the south of the island, particularly around Klong Jak village and within the grounds of the National Park at the southern tip of Lanta. These are essentially jungle paths, so please choose sensible footwear (no flip flops!) and carry adequate food and water. Depending on the speed you can manage, these treks will take an hour to upwards of two hours. Please note that an entrance fee of 200 baht per person applies to the National Park headquarters; this will allow you access to two private beaches at Tanod Cape, as well as the forest. Note also that the "waterfall" at Klong Jak becomes more like a trickle during the dry months of January - April, though the walk itself is nice and cool during that time.

Elephant trekking

Get a different view from the back of a pachyderm

There are two elephant camps in Ko Lanta. Both offer short treks through the countryside - one through the rubber plantations, the other to a cave with a waterfall. You can feed the animals and also ride on their backs, sitting in a chair. This is the best way to experience these amazing, sure-footed creatures, as they powerfully crash their way through the jungle, or delicately balance on stones to cross a river.

With logging now illegal in Thailand, tourism is the only way for these elephants - who have grown up in captivity - to survive. There is simply not enough jungle left in Thailand to release them back into the wild. The trekking is not hard on them and they are generally well taken care of - if you do see any abuse, please report it to your tour agent or resort.

Cookery classes

Learn to reproduce your holiday meals back home

A good rainy day activity, learning to cook Thai food is great fun - but don't expect to become a master chef in one day! There are a couple of schools in Lanta and half and one day courses can be arranged through your resort's tour counter. Teaching is mostly hands-on and practical, so you will be cooking your own food within minutes - and, of course, getting to eat it afterwards.

Basic tuition in ingredients (and their substitutes that can be used at home) and how to balance flavours is also given.

A note on sea gypsies (Chao Leh)

Why it is important not to visit Lanta's Sangka-Ou village

Many websites and guidebooks talk about Ko Lanta's sea gypsies as if they were a tourist attraction. Unfortunately this is not the case. How would you like it if complete strangers peered into your house taking pictures and pointing?

The Chao Leh people have enough problems as it is - eviction from their traditional fishing grounds and resting places; forced settlement; erosion of their culture - without the added impact of western tourism.

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More activities off the island

Explore further afield on island tours and fishing and diving excursions

Unlike mainland Krabi and Ko Phi Phi, there is not much snorkelling to be done locally around the shore in Ko Lanta. Neither are there any local islands easily accessible by longtail boat. This means that all snorkelling must be done on organised tours, usually on a speedboat, as the nearest islands are quite far away.

But this inconvenience seems relatively small when you see your destinations...

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