Stone formation on island in Thailand

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Mu Ko Lanta National Park

Ko Lanta

Established in 1990, this marine national park protects 16 islands in the Ko Lanta group, including the southern tip of Ko Lanta Yai. The park is increasingly threatened by the runaway development on west-coast Ko Lanta Yai, though other islands in the group have fared slightly better.

Ko Rok Nai is still very beautiful, with a crescent-shaped bay backed by cliffs, fine coral reefs and a sparkling white-sand beach. Camping is permitted on adjacent Ko Rok Nok with permission from the park headquarters. On the eastern side of Ko Lanta Yai, Ko Talabeng has some dramatic limestone caves that you can visit on sea-kayaking tours (1300B). National park fees apply if you visit any of the islands. Ko Rok Nai, Ko Rok Nok and Ko Haa are off limits to visitors from 16 May to 31 October.

The national park headquarters and visitors centre are at Laem Tanod, on the southern tip of Ko Lanta Yai, reached by a steep paved road. There are some basic hiking trails, two twin beaches and a gorgeously scenic lighthouse, plus camping facilities and bungalows amid wild, natural surroundings.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ko Lanta attractions

1. Laem Tanod

0.16 MILES

The wild, jungled mountainous southern tip of the island has sheer drops and massive views for intrepid motorbikers. The road to the Mu Ko Lanta National…

2. Ao Mai Phai

0.98 MILES

A luscious, nearly forgotten cove at the southwestern curve just before the cape, this is one of Lanta's finest beaches. It's backed by elegant palm…

3. Ao Kantiang

2.49 MILES

This superb southwestern sweep of sand backed by mountains is also its own self-contained village with minimarts, internet cafes, motorbike rental and…

4. Ban Si Raya

4.32 MILES

Located halfway down Lanta's eastern coast, Ban Si Raya was the island's original port and commercial centre, providing a safe harbour for Arab and…

5. Tham Seua

4.35 MILES

Reached via a signposted track heading east off the national park headquarters road, 2km south of Hat Khlong Nin, Tham Seua has interesting tunnels to…

6. Tham Khao Maikaeo

5.09 MILES

Monsoon rains pounding away at limestone crevices for millions of years have created this complex of caverns and tunnels. There are cathedral-size…

7. Hat Khlong Nin

5.85 MILES

Lovely white-sand Hat Khlong Nin has lots of small, flashpacker-type guesthouses at its northern end. It’s easy to get dropped off here, then shop around…

8. Hat Khlong Tob

6.65 MILES

This rocky beach isn't suitable for swimming and is mainly used as a harbour by local fishing boats. It's about 12km south of Ban Sala Dan on Ko Lanta's…