In case you didn’t already know, there are a lot of Thai islands to choose from and picking one to visit proved to be an audacious task. Luckily we are the tenacious types and were up to the challenge. Honestly, choosing an island felt a lot like trying to pick a shade of white to paint a room; there are literally hundreds of options but they all look the same. I mean, how different is Eggshell White from Water Chestnut or Tibetan Jasmine? And don’t get me started on Simply White, Ultra White, Extra White, or my personal favorite, Macaroon Cream. And no, I don’t know paint names off the top of my head so I may or may not have Googled “shades of white paint names” for assistance (Sidenote: How do I apply to be a paint namer? Sounds like a fabulous career path.)
Like 50 shades of
gray white, there is such a vast amount of islands to choose from and they seemed to only differ slightly depending on your tastes. You’ve got Ko Phi Phi for the party animals, Ko Tao for the divers of the world, Phuket is the big kahuna, Ko Chang if you need to stay close to the mainland, Ko Lipe for those with fatter wallets than myself, Ko Samui is just fun to say, and on and on and on. After becoming thoroughly overwhelmed with choices, we finally opted for a calmer island with a chill atmosphere. May I introduce our winner, Ko Lanta!
We stayed at the Hub of Joys which, as the name suggests, is a hub of immense joyousness ($10/ night). They had comfy beds, the sweetest staff, solid breakfast, snacks all day (my goodness how I love snacks), and is only a few minutes from the beach. We also ate at our hostel for just about every meal because eating on Ko Lanta proved to be a serious struggle. Maybe we can blame it on low season, but so many places were closed and the ones that were open were expensive. Also, if there were supposed to be a ton of tourists on the island, they hide very well.
The bulk of our time on Ko Lanta was spent perfecting the art of beach bumming, which I’m proud to say I’ve almost mastered, though every now and then we exerted some form of energy and did other things. Here’s the lowdown on what we were up to…
This is the most popular beach of them all and the one we frequented since it was so close to the ever-so-lovely Hub of Joys.
As always, scootering around gets you to the good spots, which in the case of Ko Lanta, are down south where the calmer beaches can be found. The national park is also at the southern tip of the island, though we read that the monkeys are evil little monsters over there so we opted out. I mean, why pay 200 baht to be harassed by tiny biting devils? Hard pass. On the east side of the island is Old Town, a shanty little piece of not too much that I could have easily lived without seeing. Up north is the more populated town and where we watched the sunset.
LANTA ANIMAL WELFARE
There is a dog and cat shelter on the island, and seeing as I can’t stay away from furry little balls of love with four legs, we spent some time here. Lanta Animal Welfare is manned by international volunteers and they help care for the island’s many strays, which are all are up for adoption. Amazingly, a great number are adopted, mostly by foreigners, which is really incredible. I don’t think my cat, Luna, would approve of a new family member (she’s a cat of the pickier variety), and since she’s obviously the boss, I refrained from bringing home a little bundle of fuzzy joy. You’re welcome, Luna.
4 ISLAND TOUR
This is easily the most popular activity around the islands. You take a boat (I suggest the speed boat) around to, you guessed it, four islands. Some tours go to different places so you can be a little choosy, and for 1,000 baht ($30) we had an awesome and fruit-filled day island hopping.
Our first stop was the Emerald Cave where you swim through a dark cave and pop out into a little lagoon on the other side. Most tours have you swim in a line by holding on to the person in front of you with the tour guide leading the way with a light. Apparently our tour guide deemed our group as strong swimmers and let us loose on our own. At first we kind of awkwardly bobbed around as half of China’s population swam past us in a neat line, and then realized we were on our own. Luckily the cave isn’t that dark and we made it though following the exctied yells of Chinese tourists.
Next stop was for snorkeling where there were so many fish! Also, if your guide tells you the jellyfish don’t sting they are dirty liars. Okay, so these ones don’t intensely sting you but they do give a little love bite that still isn’t that fun and I ninja karate chopped the water in a desperate frenzy whenever one of these pink menaces got near me, which was often.
Our third island was Ko Kradan, which boasts white sand beaches and clear water galore.
The last stop was for a bit more snorkelin and also to see a ton of bats hanging out on the limestone cliffs, which was both odd and oddly interesting.
And that was our little trip to Ko Lanta in a nutshell!
PIN FOR LATER: