The Hidden Beaches of Koh Lanta: Where Days Turn Into Weeks
We had been traveling non stop for three months when we arrived in Bangkok. Two months India followed by Laos and Cambodia. We were exhausted by the time we arrived again in one of our favorite cities so we decided to take it easy for a few days and while we love Bangkok, it's not the ideal place for peace and quiet. It's hot and humid, crowded and we just love the food too much so we are constantly investigating and looking for new food and restaurants to try...
“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.” - Mark Black
A week later, we didn't feel like we had rested enough to continue our big journey and we felt in need of some proper being lazy and doing nothing. We decided to book a $25 flight to the South and pick one of the islands to charge our batteries. Koh Phi Phi? Too touristy. Koh Tao? They call it murder island these days and that doesn't sound relaxing. Koh Lipe? Too expensive. We chose Koh Lanta; an island where the balance between local life and tourism is perfect. We booked three nights at Lanta Baan Nok, we ended up staying 10...
Koh Lanta is an amazing place to stay if you need to rest up. There's a relaxed vibe; the locals are friendly and there are beautiful unspoiled beaches. On the other hand, it's large enough to explore with a motorbike because we don't like to go to the same beach day after day. One side of the island is covered with mangrove forest and jungle and the quiet roads make it perfect for a day trip on the motorbike.
The Hidden Beaches of Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta is known for its relaxed vibe and friendly locals but less for the beaches. Most people prefer Koh Phi Phi or Koh Lipe when visiting islands in the Andaman Sea. Well, Lanta is the better option if you want to avoid the crowds and we found some beautiful beaches straight out of a travel magazine. We were there in low season so a few times we even had the beach to ourselves...
Lek and Secret Beach
Often referred to as Secret Beach is not that big of a secret anymore. Somewhere between Long Beach and Khlong Khong Beach, a small sign next to a red dirt road off the main road says: “This way to a beautiful beach.” But the times we went there, there were only a few other people enjoying this awesome place. Secret Beach beach is a beauty. The set up is perfect with a small wooden beach bar under the trees, the surroundings are beautiful and then there's Lek. Lek and his family own the beach bar and the land around it and he's probably the most chilled out guy on the island.
He lived in Denmark once when he was married but it didn't last and he returned to Thailand while the rest of his family stayed in Scandinavia. “My daughter will come to visit soon when she's old enough.”, he said with the biggest smile. He also told us that it's actually his cousin who owns the land and only a while ago they made the beach easier to reach with a dirt road from the main road to the beach.
His cousin wanted to charge 20 baht for visitors but Lek was opposed to this idea. “The beach belongs to everyone.” We couldn't agree more and he explained they want to expand the business with a few huts or a camping ground to make money but access to the beach should stay free for everyone.
When you visit Koh Lanta make sure to check out Secret Beach and have a cold beer at the bar. A great place to chill or talk about anything or nothing at all. I sure hope in the fututre Lek and his family will be able to resist offers from companies that want to built a resort there because they will come.
What about the other beaches on Koh Lanta?
We've visited two other low key beaches worth a visit:
Diamond Cliff Beach
You can't see this beach from the road but it's not hard to miss. You just have to stop at the Diamond Cliff restaurant and go down and through to reach the beach. From the restaurant the view is magnificent. There was only one other guy there when we arrived and swimming is only possible in the middle part where there are no rocks. Even if just for the view, this beach was a great find.
Nui Bay Beach
To explore the beaches you need a motorbike. Nui Bay Beach was all the way in the South and we were staying up North of the island. A 30 minute ride along the coast took us to this small beach tucked in between two cliffs and while it was nice, it wasn't the picture perfect beach we were looking for. There's only one small wooden hut that sells drinks which is a good thing but the whole vibe of the beach didn't feel right for us.
So, what's your favorite beach?