Koh Lanta Beach Guide

Lanta beaches: with more than a dozen to choose from along the west coast of Ko Lanta Yai, there's enough place for everyone. But do you prefer wide crescents of white sand, or more rugged and wild shores? Read our guide to the beaches of Ko Lanta and find out which one is for you.

All the beaches in Ko Lanta are on the west coast - perfect for watching the sunset. Even during the peak season they are never crowded, which can come as a pleasant surprise when arriving from the far busier beaches of Ao Nang, Ko Phi Phi or Phuket. For a map of Ko Lanta, click the image on the left.

Ko Lanta - northern beaches

The most popular - and populous - part of the island

The northern beaches - Kaw Kwang, Klong Dao, and Phra Ae (Long Beach) - are all long, unblemished stretches of white sand and turquoise water, with the best conditions for swimming. As they are the closest to Saladan, the main entry point to the island, they also have the best (most developed) facilities, with a large choice of shops, dive schools, restaurants, bakeries and bars.

Kaw Kwang and Klong Dao have very gently sloping sand and are thus popular with families - especially those with small children, though Kaw Kwang is so shallow that at low tide you have to walk quite far out to get to the water. In general all the beaches on Ko Lanta are very tidal, meaning the water recedes quite far out during low tide (twice every 24 hours) and can cover up all but a few metres of sand at high tide (also twice every 24 hours).

Most of the resorts on these beaches have swimming pools, which also makes them attractive to the package holiday tourists. As you approach the southern tip of Klong Dao, around Holiday Villa, the beach gets narrower and quite rocky.

Phra Ae (also known as Long Beach) is Ko Lanta's 'trendy' beach, with a mix of boutique resorts and basic bungalows and is more popular with young people - who also like its lively nightlife scene. The beach itself is long and fairly characterless, but it is good for swimming.

Ko Lanta - beaches in the middle of the island

The best value bungalows on the island

The beaches in the middle of Ko Lanta - Klong Kong, the rocky Klong Tob and Klong Nin - are less spectacular in terms of length and quality of sand, but are nonetheless nice places to relax and swim.

Klong Kong is probably the best value beach on the island, with a large concentration of cheap bungalows - although for some reason it does not enjoy the same party vibe of Klong Nin further south. There are several small and friendly beach bars along its length, but not much off the beach, on the main road. The beach here is sloping white sand, though there are several rocky patches in the sea which make swimming at low tide difficult.

Klong Tob is largely undeveloped, as it is one of the few parts of the island where the main road runs along the waterfront, cutting off direct beach access (until the end of the beach near the river and Moonlight Bay Resort). It is a mainly shingle beach with some sand and large rocks. The main part of this beach is used as a harbour by local fisherman.

Klong Nin is a long, steeply shelving sandy beach (the sand was pushed even higher by the tsunami) with rocks at either end and backed by Koh Lanta's famous umbrella trees (bai toey). The waves can be quite high, which is good for splashing around, but it is not advised to swim far out unless you are a strong swimmer. It has the highest concentration of 'backpacker' style bungalows and bars, all accessible on foot along the beach. There is also a small village centre, with a supermarket, cafes etc. within walking distance on the main road.

Ko Lanta - southern beaches

The perfect place to play Robinson Crusoe

South of Klong Nin beach, the landscape takes on a more rugged character and the stunning Ba-Kantiang Bay, Klong Jak, Ao Nui and Bamboo Bay are highly recommended for those who like their beaches on the wild side. All are relatively small (compared with the north of the island), and crescent-shaped, backed by jungle and large rocks.

If you stay on these beaches, it almost feels like a different island. You will be much more more isolated - the package crowds do not tend to venture down here. Unless you are staying in one of the handful of luxury resorts, there will not be much in the way of choice of food and drink, although every bungalow operation will have its own restaurant and beach bar close by.

Of the southern beaches, Kantiang Bay is the most popular and thus the busiest (by Ko Lanta standards!). It offers the best choice of accommodation - from backpacker huts to the five-star Pimalai Resort - and food and drink. The paved road ends at this beach: to continue south it is an occasionally hazardous journey along steep dirt roads (4 wheel drive recommended), meaning Klong Jak and Bamboo Bay are deserted all year round.

If you're looking for real isolation, you can even stay on the beaches in the far south of the island, in the National Park grounds at Cape Tanod. Visit the National Marine Park website for more details of how to book.