Ideally situated in the growing southern Thailand province of Krabi, Koh Lanta has converted from an 80's backpacker haunt into a new hot spots in South East Asia. And while budget travelers still find ample space to cool their heels, Lanta has gone up-market in the past few years with new four and five star resorts dotting its picturesque 40 kilometers of Andaman Sea coastline. The island's proximity to Phuket, Phi Phi, Krabi and even Bangkok, makes it a great holiday alternative to other crowded and commercial tropical island destinations.
Koh Lanta is actually made of two islands; Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai. Koh Lanta Noi is the smaller of the two islands and doesn't have tourist facilities. Visitors traveling by road from the mainland travel across the smaller island on the way to the resorts on Koh Lanta Yai.
Historically, Koh Lanta Yai played a major role as a safe-haven port for traders from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Originally, Si Raya (known today as Lanta Old town) on the east coast, acted as the port and commercial center for the island and provided safe harbor for Arabic and Chinese trading vessels sailing between the larger ports of Phuket, Penang and Singapore. Today, Old Town is a small sleepy village with 100 year-old shacks and shop-houses built on stilts over the water. Nowadays, Ban Saladan on the northern tip of the island is the business and commercial center where most visitors arrive on the island.
Koh Lanta Yai is a long thin island running north-south; approximately 32 kms long by 6 kms wide. It has a very diverse cultural mix with Thai-Muslim, Thai-Chinese and the original Sea Gypsies, all having lived on the island in harmony for hundreds of years. The west coast, where Pimalai is located, faces the Andaman Sea with a string of great white-sand beaches and offers most unforgettable sunsets. The east coast is less developed and offers glimpses of life before tourism. It faces the mainland and has a coastline largely consisting of mangroves and large limestone rock formations functioning as a spectacular natural postcard.
Koh Lanta Yai has something for everyone - families, backpackers and up-scale travelers - each of whom can select their own particular style of island life. It has a beach, a resort and activities to suit all tastes.