70km (43 miles) SE of Krabi
The two islands of Ko Lanta Yai (Big Lanta Island) and Ko Lanta Noi (Small Lanta Island) are a few hours’ car and boat trip from Krabi airport. Ko Lanta Yai is a bohemian alternative to heady Samui or pricey Phuket. But the crowds that love Ko Phi Phi have started to head here, too. However, the island is big enough that, during the high season (Nov–Mar), small pockets of seclusion can be found—especially in the far south and over on the east coast, where Muslim fishing villagers carry on with their traditional economy, ignoring the rolling cement trucks and noise of construction on the upper west coast, where most resorts are located. Despite the island’s growing popularity, the endless white-sand beaches are far from crowded. When the sun goes down, there’s fun nightlife with an island vibe. During March, when the crowds have left, locals head to historic Lanta Old Town for the annual Laanta Lanta Festival—a celebration of street art, performance, cultural shows, music, dance, fun, and games; check www.tourismthailand.org for exact dates. During low season, many hotels and restaurants shut down.