Thinking of Thailand, we either imagine richly decorated temples, or heavenly islands and islets scattered among the crystal clear waters. Both visions are completely accurate, nonetheless today we'll focus on the second one. More specifically, on the archipelago consisting of dozens of islands, which - despite the increasing popularity, and consequently, the congestion - still offer a quiet and peaceful places. We’re talking of Ko Lanta – the archipelago of 52 beautiful islands in the Andaman Sea. They tempt tourists with clean beaches and forests covering areas located deeper.
Fifteen islands spread over Marine National Park cover an area of 134 km2. The most beautiful include charming Ko Ngai, Ko Rok and Koh Ha - apart from the beaches, tourists are delighted with steep cliffs and lush underwater gardens in the form of coral reefs and hundreds of species of fish living in the local waters. It’s an ideal place for families with children, because shallows, where they can paddle, stretch for many meters from the beach.
Tourists, who want to get to the island from Bangkok, can fly to the airport in Krabi, Phuket or Trang. Then they should take the bus, and at the end the boat that will take them from the harbor to the island.
Two pearls of the archipelago
For tourists it’s easiest to move on the two most popular islands of the archipelago - Ko Lanta Yai and Koh Lanta Noi, the only ones where you can stay for the night. There’s no lack of good roads and visitors won’t have any trouble finding the accommodation or restaurants serving delicious local cuisine. On Koh Lanta Yai, you will find numerous hiking trails, including trails leading to the famous cave of Tham Mai Kaew, localized in the central, mountainous part of the island. The cave consists of seven chambers connected by ropes and ladders. On the other hand, those who want to have the contact with water, surely should come to the north end of the island, where tourist resorts offer diving trips.
There’re hundreds of underwater caves and coral reefs of the amazing forms waiting to be discovered. In the eastern part of Ko Lanta Yai the coast is covered with mangroves, which make it difficult to swim, but attracts fans of canoeing. The island is 2 hour cruise away from the well-known resorts in Koh Phi Phi and Krabi, so if you want to return to the so-called civilization and fling yourself into parties, you can do it at any time.
In turn Ko Lanta Noi is much more intimate - a lot of tourists don’t even pay attention to it, and head straight to her party sister. Or rather, a lot of people see it as a “passage” through which they may enter to more "interesting" places and islands. Wrongly, as Ko Lanta Noi has a lot to offer, but you need to be able to see it. First of all, the island is less crowded – there’re only a few fishing villages and few mosques. You can meet rubber plants from time to time, several quiet beaches which are hiding in intimate coves, while on the horizon you can see the tiny uninhabited islands – you won’t see them from Koh Lanta Yai.
It’s best to discover the island by bike or on a motorcycle. In order to move to the next pearl of the archipelago, just go to Ban Saladan, the tourist center of the island, and take a special water taxi, called the "hang yao”.
Beach, sun and relax under a palm tree
Long, beautiful white sand beaches, no crowds, heavenly bays and the possibility to dive in dozens of underwater caves - it all adds up to a wonderful vacation in an exotic corner of the world. Landscapes, climate and cuisine tempts dozens of tourists from different countries. Most often you will hear of course English, nonetheless Swedish is as well frequent.
The popularity of Ko Lanta increases every year, but even though on every island you will find a place where you could peacefully contemplate the surrounding beauty.