After bobbing around the Andaman Sea for nearly 2 hours on a long tail boat and inter-island ferry, we finally docked at Saladan Pier, Koh Lanta. We were nauseated and eager to see our air conditioned hotel room. It did not disappoint! It was big, comfortable, had air-con, hot water and a balcony. We were stoked! We looked at each other immediately when we arrived, asking the same question, “how much did we pay for this room”? The answer, 18 USD per night! Seriously, if you find yourself in Koh Lanta on a budget, the Lanta Intanin Resort is a killer deal!
After we settled into our room the search began. What do we do here? Where do we eat? Which beach is the nicest? We soon found a place that would be an hour walk away… Well, what else did we have going on? We walked south down the island to find ourselves at a delicious seafood restaurant. We ordered the dry curried crabs. They were spectacular! One of the best things we ate on the island. Check out Kantiang Restaurant just south of Khling Hin beach.
The next day we set out to find a motorbike. The rule of thumb is to pay 5USD for a motorbike. Across Southeast Asia, this is more or less the standard. The exception is when you find towns or islands colluding on prices. Which is what you will find here. Every shop we popped into was asking a little over 8USD per day. Nope. We walked to the end of our touristy road and found our gal. We negotiated for our desired rate of 5USD a day for 3 days. She happily agreed.
🏍Tip: for the best rates always go to the mom and pop shops at the edge of towns or area. They are almost always willing to haggle a price. Your resort/hotel will not negotiate and will charge you a lot more.
Now that we had our trusty steed, we rode to the opposite side of the island to check out ‘old town’. Here you can find some souvenir shops and overpriced restaurants. But it is a really cute area and worth stopping by for a meal and/or drink.
We also made it our mission over the next couple days to explore the southern beaches on the island. We had an afternoon at Secret beach aka Beautiful beach, Klong Nin beach and Klong Chak beach. We also dropped by Nui Bay beach and Bamboo beach. In our opinion, Klong Chak was the most beautiful and had the least amount of people.
Koh Lanta is a quaint island. It is bigger than some of the others which provides a lot more option in terms of cuisine and accommodation. It also has some beautiful beaches. But don’t expect crystal clear waters and loads of snorkeling. This island is better for sunbathers and swimmers.
When booking your ticket out of Koh Lanta follow our advice from before. Find the little guy on the edge of town and haggle the price you want. We found a little shop about 20 meters south of the Lanta Intanin Hotel and bought two sets of tickets. The first were our tickets to Koh Mook. We bought them for 500 baht/ 15USD per person. The second were our tickets from Koh Mook to Koh Lipe, which we got for 1100 baht/ 34USD per person. Was this a good deal? Yes! Everywhere else we asked was trying to get 650 baht to Koh Mook and at least 1450 baht to Koh Lipe. So if you need ferry tickets make your way to this shop.
Now, you might be asking yourself why did you guys book so far ahead for the Mook to Lipe ferry? Why not just book that ticket on Mook? Well, write this down if you are planning an island hopping adventure through Thailand.
April 30th is the absolute LAST day the ferries and speedboats run before monsoon season. If you would like to island hop on May 1st or after you will need to take a small boat to the mainland, drive for a couple hours to the nearest dock and take a different boat to your other island. A ball ache, right?
So how did we get around this without going back and forth to the mainland?
We made sure to take the last ferry to Koh Lipe on April 30th. Once you are on Koh Lipe there are consistent ferries to and from the mainland (Pakbara) and Langkawi, Malaysia. This is also why we booked our ticket early. We wanted to make sure we got a good price and a seat.
Tip: Don’t pre-book your ferries online unless you enjoy paying more. Find the small shops when you arrive and haggle for a good price.
Ok, so now we had our last couple tickets and were ready to head to Koh Mook.
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