I was just informed by the owner of this stunning Ko Lanta beach restaurant that business in Ko Lanta is down thirty percent so far this year, partly because a rumor was started that tourists shouldn’t come to this island “because it is majority Muslim.”
This is RIDICULOUS — not to mention Islamophobic!
I have been traveling for four months around Southeast Asia, now, and Ko Lanta is one of the best places I have been. Nearly all the other tourists I’ve met agree.
If you are planning a Thailand trip in the near future, I highly suggest you add Ko Lanta to the top of your list, especially if you’re a good, kind person (of course you are) who will contribute to the good, kind vibe of this island.
Why? Read on.
Why You Should Vacation on Ko Lanta:
1. Ko Lanta is not overrun with tourists. I don’t feel bad “letting out the secret” about this fantastic island because the business owners I’ve been talking to here genuinely need your business now.
In contrast, right now Ko Phi Phi (just an hour ferry ride away) is completely drowning in tourists, to the extent that housing is either totally overpriced or not available, and infrastructure like sewage disposal and water services is strained to near broken.
2. Ko Lanta is just as convenient to get to as the tourist-swamped destinations of Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, Ko Samui, Ko Phangan, and Ko Tao. Just get yourself South from Bangkok to Krabi (easy and cheap by plane, train, or bus), then take a one hour ferry.
3. The locals are SO kind and friendly, and the island is utterly safe, serene, and beautiful. Of all the places I have been, locals on Ko Lanta have been the friendliest.
There is a nice little expat community living here, and the multicultural mix of Muslims, Buddhists, and Westerners is loving and peaceful.
Anything you read of Muslim discontent or violence in Thailand is on the mainland, quite a bit further South.
4. Because Ko Lanta is so long and skinny, you have an amazing range of accommodation options, from very inexpensive to nice and posh. Right now I’m paying $12 a night for my own bungalow next to a pool next to the beach!
There are over ten different beaches along the long West coast of the island, offering you bay-style swimming, or long white sands, or dramatic rock formations.
None of the beaches is very crowded, even now in high season, and as you head South, the tranquility blossoms still more! We wandered the national park at the Southern tip of the island yesterday and were the only ones in the entire place!
5. Another plus of Ko Lanta’s long West-facing beach: amazing sunsets over the ocean every single night! As you order fresh fish barbecue, prepared right in front of you, watch the flames dance over the coals as the sun turns the sky orange!
6. Because of the established multicultural community on Ko Lanta, a visitor may easily find cosmopolitan food from India, America, Mexico (!), Europe, and (of course, mmm) Thailand. The food here is slightly more expensive than in Mainland Thailand, but still cheaper than other tourist islands here.
Last night we all ate at an increasingly famous restaurant called “Red Snapper” which was started by two Dutch five-star chefs. It was a heavenly culinary experience, for a tenth of the European prices!
7. There is a lovely range of tourist types here: married couples with young children, young backpackers, honeymooners, elderly folks, and more!
This means that you can find a dance floor very easily (or a dance beach!), but you can also lounge in a quiet pool overlooking the ocean and read, should you desire.
If you have kids, you don’t have to worry about your little one being thrown up upon by a drunken frat boy, nor kidnapped by some awful creep. It’s a safe, loving island for all!
8. Ko Lanta has conveniences like free Wi-fi and the occasional 7-Eleven, but it still maintains tons of local charm.
Sweet Thai families play together outside their houses, mothers cook steaming pots of curry for their little ones, and cows much grass serenely below soaring palm trees.
So there you have it: Ko Lanta needs you now, and, trust me, you need Ko Lanta. It’s wonderful!
(For further Ko Lanta tidbits and photos, just click the “Thailand: Ko Lanta” option on the right sidebar of this site. More articles about this island are coming tomorrow!)
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!