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Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta is an island district off the west coast of Thailand. Like many other destinations in Krabi Province it is known for its diving and long white beaches.

Slogan

The province of coal mines , Fossil shell beach, towering mountains, beautiful streams, an abundance of islands, palm plantations, sandy beaches, wonderful sea world, the Emerald of the Andaman, and heavenly Phi Phi Islands.

* Koh Lanta is in fact a district consisting of several islands. The two largest are Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai. Although Koh Lanta Noi is inhabited, Koh Lanta Yai is the primary tourist destination and this article discusses Koh Lanta Yai.

Koh Lanta is popular with tourists seeking a holiday away from the parties. It's popular with a significantly older crowd than nearby Koh Phi Phi: more walking on the beach and watching the sunset than drinking and dancing. However, there are plenty of bars and the longer term stayers are friendly and know how to party! It is also popular with families with young children, and of course, with divers. You could say that while Phi Phi is chicken barbecues and MeKong buckets, Lanta is chicken flesh and buckets and spades. But you'd be wrong. Koh Lanta can certainly provide a party if you know where to look.

Koh Lanta is a little less well-known than Koh Phi Phi, which has become more commercialised and corporate, but it is hardly undiscovered: the several beaches on the west coast of Koh Lanta Yai are each strung with a line of resorts and bungalows, although the farther down the island you venture, the less this is true. And even when the island is at it fullest, there will be a quiet place for you to relax - the beaches are never full. Koh Lanta is especially popular with Swedish tourists: although the "tourist language" is English as it is in most places in Thailand, and you will find menus and so on are translated into English, expect the poolside language to be Swedish much of the time. However, there are still many English and Irish bars and restaurants to visit.

Koh Lanta sustained limited tsunami damage in December 2004, but virtually all businesses are now operating normally again.Twenty people perished.

Climate

Weather in the region is tropical - there are only two seasons: the hot season from January to April, and the rainy season from May to December. Temperatures during the year average 25ºC to 32ºC (77ºF to 89.6ºF) and the yearly rainfall averages 2568.5mm. Unlike in say Europe, the rain in this region comes down heavily and quickly over short periods.

History

From archaeological discoveries, it is believed that the area was one of the oldest communities in Thailand dating back to the prehistoric period. It is believed that this province may have taken its name after the meaning of Krabi, which means sword. This may have stemmed from a legend that an ancient sword was unearthed prior to the city's founding.


Geography

Koh Lanta, located approximately 70km from Krabi Town is a large island 6km wide and over 30km long. The island has 9 attractive white sandy beaches, splendid scenery; coastlines have more than 70 small islands and plenty with forest, coral reefs and under water life. The geography of the island is typically mangroves; coral rimmed beaches; and rugged tree covered hills.

Administration

Koh Lanta comprises of 5 sub-districts:

  • - Lanta Yai
  • - Lanta Noi
  • - Koh Klang
  • - Khlong Yang
  • - Saladan

Boundary

  • North : Nua Khlong and Khlong Thom districts, Krabi.
  • East : Andaman Sea
  • West : Andaman Sea
  • South : Andaman Sea

Get in

By air

Destination Air Shuttle - direct seaplane transfers from/to Phuket International Airport and other popular Andaman coast destinations

The nearest airports are Krabi, Trang and Phuket. Krabi and Trang have direct road and boat connections to Koh Lanta, and are the best options if you're only visiting Koh Lanta. Flying into Phuket is a better option if you're intending to spend time in Phuket and nearby islands, or, since Phuket has many more international flights, if you don't want to have to organize a domestic flight to Krabi or Trang from BangKok. As an alternative to BangKok, there are daily flights to Krabi directly to and from Singapore.

Krabi International Airport (KBV) is about 10 km from the city limits, 15 km from the city centre, 40km from Ao Nang and 23km from Had Yao. Thai Airways operates daily direct flights to/from BangKok, likewise Air Asia from BangKok and Kuala Lumpur. BangKok Airway flies direct to/from Krabi and Koh Samui nearly every day of the week and to/from. Nok Air operates daily flights to Krabi from BangKok (Don Muang). Destination Air Shuttle, Thailand's only Seaplane service also routinely flies in and out of Krabi (Koh Lanta) from Phuket and to the numerous outer islands. For more information, contact:


By car

Koh Lanta does not have roads connecting it directly to the mainland, but is served by car ferries. Take road 4206 off highway 4 about 20km south-east of Krabi airport. Drive to the end of the road, where there is a car ferry from Baan Hua Hin to Koh Lanta Noi. From the pier here, turn right and follow the "ferry" signs to the second car ferry to Koh Lanta Yai. Ferries operate 07:00-22:00

There are plenty of car taxi and minivan taxi services from Krabi and the nearby airport. A seat in a ten person minivan from the airport to Koh Lanta costs about 250 baht. These minivans usually don't have much room for luggage (although they can usually find room for one or two large suitcases together with backpacks for the rest of the passengers) so if you're not traveling light you might need to get a private taxi.

This is what the divemasters do. A private minivan taxi will usually be quoted as 2500 baht. It's possible to bargain a few hundred baht off this price but not much more or the tolls will consume too much of the price. Car taxis cost about the same.

When travelling to/from Koh Lanta in the afternoon by road, allow 2–3 hours for the journey as the queues for the vehicle ferries can be lengthy. The passenger ferry which leaves Koh Lanta pier (high season) at 08:00 and arrives at Krabi pier at 10:00 is quicker.

By boat

From Koh Lanta to other islands

Private companies on Koh Lanta operate boat services to many destinations.

  • Koh Lanta - Koh Phi Phi : 8.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m., 350 baht
  • Koh Lanta - Krabi : 8.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m., 300 baht
  • Koh Lanta - Koh Phi Phi - Phuket : 1.00 p.m. and 2.30 p.m., 700 baht
  • Koh Lanta - Koh Phi Phi - Krabi : 9.00 a.m. and 1.30 p.m., 700 baht

Ferry arrival at Ban Saladan pier

Ferry services run from Krabi, Ao Nang and from Phuket via Koh Phi Phi to Koh Lanta Yai's Saladan pier. Ferry services are subject to weather and to demand: many will not run at all during the monsoon season and at a reduced frequency during the low season. Many ferries have limited room for luggage. Often the ferries dock alongside each other, meaning that to get on and off passengers must clamber onto and across other boats with their luggage.

Services from Krabi are run by P.P. Family Co (+66 75 630 165) and depart Krabi pier at 10:30 and 13:30, taking 2 hours to reach Koh Lanta (200 baht including free pickup from Krabi hotels). There's a transit bus from Krabi town center for 10 baht.

Services from Ao Nang are run by Ao Nang Travel and Tour (+66 75 637 730) and depart at 10:30 (280 baht).

Ferries depart from Koh Phi-Phi at 11:30 and 14:00, and take 1 hour. If travelling from Phuket in a single day, you will need to leave Phuket on the 08:00 ferry to transfer to the 11:30 ferry. Tickets to Koh Lanta are 200 baht from Koh Phi-Phi and 450 baht from Phuket.

Passenger Vans

All the travel agents in Krabi Town can arrange passenger vans to Koh Lanta.

Train

The nearest train station to Koh Lanta is in Trang province just south of Krabi. From there, there are trains to and from BangKok. 'Distances from BangKok The distance from BangKok to Krabi is approx 950 km or about 12 hrs by car.

* Route 1: Phetburi - Prachuabkirikhan - Chumporn - Phang Nga - Krabi = 946 km.

* Route 2: Phetburi - Prachuabkirikhan - Chumporn (Highway No 41) to Chaiya (Suratthani) - Krabi (Viangsra) - Highway No 4035 - Krabi (Ao Luk) and along Highway 4 again = 814 km.


Get around

The main road which loops around the island is recently paved with cement. Some roads are still unpaved dirt. It's worth knowing the names of the resorts near yours: both the pickup trucks and motorcycle taxis will often want to pick you up or drop you at a nearby resort with a better road.

Resorts and some of the major tourist services (like the dive shops) own large pickup trucks and transport tourists around in the tray. Very occasionally, they own minibuses instead. If you come in by ferry your resort will almost certainly meet you at pier with their truck; if you're travelling with very small children who you don't want to cling to while you bump along sitting on the side of the truck you might want to warn them in advance that you'll want to ride in the cab: it's generally assumed to be the private domain of the driver.

You will find the locals almost exclusively ride motorcycles; you can hire these in several places for a few hundred baht a day. You can also hire motorcycle taxis with sidecars. These will happily take you on the unpaved roads but the ride can be as slow as walking. A typical fare for a ride from Saladan to Klong Dao Beach is 40 baht.

Jeeps can be hired for 1200 baht per day. Be sure to check insurance, contract terms and the condition of the vehicle. The "roads" of Koh Lanta combined with the driver operation characteristics of some renters are a serious challenge for any car. The frequently available Suzuki Sporty seems primitive and therefore sturdy, and a replacement should cost around 150,000 baht.


Tourism

Tourism on Koh Lanta, like the rest of Krabi province, has exploded only very recently. In the early 1990s only the most adventurous travelers visited the island, staying in only the most basic accommodation costing the likes of 50-100baht a night. Nowadays, however, the place has turned into one of the major destinations for visitors to Krabi. The development however, is still nothing on a par with the likes of Phuket or Koh Samui.


Culture

Lifestyle

Krabi and Koh Lanta are a melting pot of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims and even sea gypsies. The majority of the population in the rural areas is Muslim. The area however, does not suffer from any religious tension and the folk live in peace and harmony. Most of the folk speak with a thick Southern dialect which is difficult for even other Thais to understand.

With this kind of mixture, Krabi is always celebrating something be it part of Thai Buddhist, Thai-Chinese or Thai-Islamic tradition.

The unique lifestyle of the Chao-Le (sea-gypsy) in Koh Lanta particularly is well-worth a witness, a life-style that has been almost completely unaffected by the booming tourism on the island.


Events & Festivals

Krabi Berk Fa Andaman Festival This is annually held in November to inaugurate the province's tourist season. Water sports competitions, cultural shows, and good-natured fun are the schedule.

Laanta Lanta Festival The festival is usually held in March every year at the Old Community in Koh Lanta called Ban Sanga-Au, which has a very old history of more than 100 years. Ancient Chinese style houses can still be seen here. In this festival, tourists can see the traditional culture, previously unseen ceremonial demonstrations, Southern local performances, folk games, water sports competitions and enjoy the tastes from various kinds of food booths which are provided by prestigious hotels on the island.

Loi Ruea Chao-Le Festival This old ritualistic tradition takes place on Koh Lanta during the full moon of the sixth and eleventh month in the lunar calendar. This is a religious rite performed by the sea gypsies of Koh Lanta, as well as, from other neighbouring areas, who gather on the beach near Sala Dan Village. They dance their famous "rong ngeng" round the boats of misfortune to be set adrift. Ceremonies feature singing and dancing. This festival is expected to bring prosperity and happiness to the participants.

Sat Duean Sip Festival or Festival of the Tenth Lunar Month This is the southern traditional merit making occasion to honour one's ancestors. Food offerings such as Khanom La, Khanom Chohu, Khanom Phong, Khanom Ba, and Khanom Kohng or Khai Pla, are made offer to Buddhist monks.

Chak Phra Festival The original waterborne procession, where Buddha images are put on elaborately decorated pulpits on boats are pulled along on the river, has been replaced by a land procession. The festival was formerly accompanied with a performance of traditional boat songs. However, the traditional waterborne songs have since disappeared.


Art

Likae Pa An adapted play, Like Pa follows the adventures of an Indian merchant from Calcutta who married a local girl named Yayi. The story is then followed by other plays. Like Pa is accompanied by the music of folk instruments such as various kinds of drums, cymbals, and gongs. The lyrics are a mixture of the traditional Manora and Buranyawa songs. With its long history of popularity in Krabi, Like Pa performers are abundant here. It is believed that the play originated in this province. Many companies are still performing this dramatic art such as Mr. Truek Plodrit who won a cultural award.

Shadow Plays This is an Indian influence. There are many shadow play or nang talung companies in Krabi.

Manora The performance is native to southern Thailand, which truly reflects its traditional culture.

Rong Ngeng and Phleng Tanyong A Malaysian adaptation, which is of Portuguese origin, rong ngeng is a traditional folk dance and music customarily performed in noble houses. It was later performed by the locals with Thai lyrics called phleng tanyong.


Information : www.wikitravel.org

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