Friday, 18 March 2016

Koh Lanta: Camping on the beach and motorbike adventures

Out of all our travels in the south of Thailand, Koh Lanta quickly became our island of choice. After doing some research on the different islands, what led us to this island initially was the long beaches, the sunsets, and the combination of tourism vs. local authenticity (some places in southern Thailand have exploded with tourism… not really our cup of tea). All of these proved to be true! You may have read about our experience at Lanta Animal Welfare. This was just one experience there that made our visit a great stay.  From exploring the island by motorbike to camping on the beach, we have a lot of good things to say about our stay here!

We journeyed there by ferry from Aonang Beach, which took a few hours. We highly recommend this over a mini bus (the north tip of the island is actually not that far from the mainland). There is something about arriving by boat and being able to take in all the sights along the way that just amazes me. But please wear sun screen! The sun is scary powerful on the water (side note: If I haven't already talked about this, Thai people are the most concerned people we've ever come across when it comes to staying out of the sun. They will be wearing gloves in 35 degree heat just to avoid those “evil” rays. Anyways, Zack and I saw a girl on the deck who appeared to be burning. But of course, there's no way we'd actually say anything to her… leave it to the Thai lady to tap her on the shoulder and then point and *gasp!* at her rosy red shoulders. Lol. Point is: don't be that girl).

Arriving there, you'll initially be bombarded by taxi and tuk tuk drivers, but once you get through that, the beautiful island of Koh Lanta, which is half still untouched by tourism, awaits you. We stayed the first few nights at Chill Out hostel, on the north west side of the island. This side of the island offers the best sunsets and lengthy beaches. Chill Out hostel was a cool place and indeed very chill. Hammocks and tons of places to chill, really nice people, and it almost felt like while you were there, you were a part of their family. We had our own room called the “Sunset Room”, but there are a couple dorm rooms that offers accommodation at really cheap prices. We spent Christmas Eve on the beach, drinking wine that we splurged on. On Christmas morning we were able to skype both our families, which was really nice!

Our room at Chill Out Hostel

Chill Out Hostel.  Basically like a giant tree fort.

The majority of our time on the island was spent either riding around on our rental motorbike or relaxing at the beaches. It is a really fun island to explore, as the west side has a lot of the nice beaches and guest houses, where as the east side is almost untouched by tourism. There is an old town on the east side (which does have tourist shops) that is unique with it's timber built structures and there is even a small “sea gypsy” village on the most south eastern tip that we visited. Here, you'll find locals who live off the land and sea (though it wasn't as “fantasy like” as I thought it sounded. But it was still cool to visit!). There is also a national park and a couple waterfalls you can visit.

Old Town

We found a place in the old town that was owned by a Canadian guy.  His special today was POUTINE!

Looking out at the Old Town

A few days after staying at Chill Out, we moved more south and stayed at a guesthouse called Horizon. It was definitely a step up from the hostel, but at an even more beautiful location! I enjoyed this Christmas display they had at the beach:

Okay, so THIS was the best way to end our time on Koh Lanta. Camping on the beach. For just 8 Canadian dollars a night, we woke up to this view:

Not bad, eh? The sand was a little lumpy to sleep on, but overall this was our favourite accomodations on the island. We basically crawled out of our tent and into the ocean for a morning dip. And other than one other girl, we were the only ones there, out of probably 10 available tents. I don't think this is advertised on the Internet, so basically it's just those who happen to be there and not have accomodations that would stay here. We lucked out by walking past here and it worked out because we had kept our schedule flexible.

 Overall, I would definitely recommend a visit to Koh Lanta if you're looking for relaxation, beautiful sunsets, and a bit of local culture.


  1. Looks so fun! I love the hostels! and waking up on a beach would be heavenly... gotta try that :)

  2. Beautiful photos! Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

    1. Thank you, Linda! Though last time we were in Montreal it definitely wasn't warm... :p

  3. The journey by ferry does sound more exciting. Of course that would be a great option to being on a minibus. Being on the water is not as common an experience. Definitely, arriving by boat to your destination may make you feel a little more like a seasoned traveler. You get a different view of the land from the water.

    Andrea Wilkins @ Getaway Outdoors