Welcome to Ko Lanta
Charming Lanta remains more calm and real than its brash neighbour Ko Phi-Phi, although – whisper it quietly – the backpacker party scene is growing. Flatter than surrounding islands and with reasonable roads that run 22km from north to south, Lanta is easily toured on a motorbike, revealing a colourful crucible of cultures – fried-chicken stalls sit below slender minarets, stilted villages of chow lair (sea gypsies, also spelt chao leh) cling to the island’s east side, and small Thai wát hide within tangles of curling mangroves.
Ko Lanta is technically called Ko Lanta Yai. Boats pull into dusty Ban Sala Dan, on the northern tip of the island.