Ko Lanta District
|• Total||339.843 km2 (131.214 sq mi)|
|• Density||81.4/km2 (211/sq mi)|
|Time zone||THA (UTC+7)|
- 1 Slogan
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Administration
- 5 Table of Islands
- 6 Transportation
- 7 Tourism
- 8 Local Culture
- 9 Medical Health Care
- 10 Media/Contact
- 11 References
- 12 External links
- 13 Notes
- 14 References
Based upon Krabi province, it holds the slogan as of the province i.e.:
"The province of coal mines , Fossil shell beach , towering mountains, beautiful streams, an abundance of islands, palm plantations, sandy beaches, wonderful sea world, Emerald of Andaman, and heavenly Phi Phi Islands."
The district was established in December 1901. It comprises these 4 island groups : Mu Ko Lanta (170 km²), Mu Ko Klang (162 km²), Mu Ko Rok (3.5 km²) and Mu Ko Ngai (3.6 km²). Some more island groups are smaller, like Mu Ko Haa. The origin of the name is unclear, but it may originate from the Javanese word lantas, meaning a type of grill for fish. The name of the island was officially changed to "Ko Lanta" in 1917.
From archaeological discoveries, it is believed that the area was one of the oldest communities in Thailand dating back to the prehistoric period. It is believed that this province may have taken its name after the meaning of Krabi, which means sword. This may have stemmed from a legend that an ancient sword was unearthed prior to the city’s founding.
The district, located approximately 70 km from Krabi Town, consists of three major islands. The first, Ko Klang, is separated from the mainland by a small river (Klong) and road bridge, and is often mistakenly thought of as part of the mainland Krabi Province. Of the two remaining larger islands, the largest, more populated Ko Lanta Yai (commonly known as simply Ko Lanta) and the smaller Ko Lanta Noi, together with 50 other smaller islands make up the 52-island Mu Koh Lanta National Park. The largest island (Ko Lanta Yai) has 9 attractive white sandy beaches running down the entire west coast, splendid scenery and plenty of forest, and ancient tropical jungle. The geography of the island is typically mangroves; coral rimmed beaches; and rugged tree covered hills. A popular tourist destination, the islands are known for their long, sandy beaches and scuba diving.
In 2012 construction began on a bridge to link the developing Ko Lanta Yai with the under-developed Ko Lanta Noi, estimated to open in 2014. This it expected to lead to the gradual development of tourist facilities on Ko Lanta Noi in the future.
134 km² of the district belong to the Mu Ko Lanta National Park, which was established in 1990 as the 62nd national park of Thailand.
The district is subdivided into 5 subdistricts (tambon), which are further subdivided into 37 villages (muban). Ko Lanta Yai has township (thesaban tambon) status and covers part of the tambon Ko Lanta Yai.
Table of Islands
|Nr||Island||Capital||Other Cities||Area (km²)||Population[a]|
|1||Ko bu bu||Had Na Koh||Southern Beach, Northern Beach||0.123||5|
|2||Ko Ngai (Lanta)||Ban Ko Hai||Laem Lanang, Ao Tapang, Laem Baewa, Ao muang, Ao ko tong, Laem Daeng, Laem Laya, Ao Nako,||3.586||100|
|3||Ko Klang||Huahin (Lanta)||Pak Khlong, Khlong Yang, Tha Klong,||165.000||13700|
|4||Ko Lanta Noi||Ban Lanta Noi||Langsod, Klong Mak, tha rai, Hua Laem Ngu, klong tanod, thung, Ro Yai, Laem Palm,||75.000||5350|
|5||Ko Lanta Yai||Saladan||Thung Yee Pheng, Ban Lanta Yai, hua laem, Sung Gau, Ao Tanod, Pra-Ae, klong kwang,||80.820||10830|
|6||Ko Mai Ngam||1.950||0|
|7||Ko Pleo||Ko Pleo||0.160||10|
|8||Ko Por||Ko Por||Ao tha kang, Ao nai ban,||1.600||500|
|10||Ko Talabeng||Ao Kua Koh||Ao talay waek, Ao bon,||2.040||2|
|12||Ko Wan Tia||1.440||0|
|13||Mu Ko Rok||Laem thong||ao san chao, hat thalu, ao man sai, hat tarua, Laem Sayam||3.480||5|
|14||Mu Ko Haa||Ko Haa Sam Lagoon||The Chimney Point, Whip Coral Point, Ko Haa Yai coral beach, The Cathedral||0.160||0|
|15||Mu Ko Maa||Ko Maa||0.100||0|
|16||More Islands||Ko Raputang, Ko Kam Yai, Ko Kam Noi, Ko Klaueng||2.000||0|
|Ko Lanta District||Ban Saladan||339.7||30500|
The nearest airports are at Krabi, Trang and Phuket. All three airports have direct road and boat connections. Krabi Airport, the most popular one for travel to Ko Lanta, is approximately 10 km from the provincial town and operates international flights to several foreign destinations.
There are only two main roads on Ko Lanta, one in the north-east and another in the south-west, which runs parallel to the beach. On Ko Lanta Noi there is just one main road in the east and a smaller one that links with the ferry pier. On the mainland, Highway 4206 connects with Khlong Thom district, passing Khlong Yang and Koh Klang sub-districts to a public car ferry at Baan Hua Hin.
There are regular daily ferry boats operating between Ko Lanta and Krabi, Phuket and Ko Phi Phi. Ferry Boat of Phetpaily daily departs from Klongdao pier of Koh Lanta to Koh Ngai and Koh Mook.
Tourists enjoy hiring long-tail boats to take them to nearby islands.
These can be either hired or taxied out. The island is full of both motorbike rental places and motorbike-taxi drivers.
Songthaew (public passenger pick-up vehicle)
Songthaews run up and down the main roads and have fixed fares for passengers. This is a very common way of transport for locals.
The nearest train station to Ko Lanta is in Trang province just south of Krabi. From there, there are trains to and from Bangkok.
Tourism on Ko Lanta, like the rest of Krabi province, has exploded only very recently. In the early 1990s only the most adventurous travelers visited the island, staying in only the most basic accommodation costing the likes of 50-100 baht a night. Nowadays, however, the place has turned into one of the major destinations for visitors to Krabi. The development however, is still nothing on a par with the likes of Phuket or Ko Samui.
- Ko Lanta National Park covering a total area of 135 square kilometres, Mu Ko Lanta National Park is located in Amphoe Ko Lanta and consists of many islands. The two major islands are Ko Lanta Yai (เกาะลันตาใหญ่) and Ko Lanta Noi (เกาะลันตาน้อย)
- Lanta Old Town It's one of the region’s most culturally diverse with Chinese merchants, original Thai fishing families and an ancient Sea Gypsy community. Many years ago, Ko Lanta's Old Town acted as the port and commercial center for the island and provided a safe harbor for Arabic and Chinese trading vessels sailing between the larger ports of Phuket, Penang and Singapore.
- Khao Mai Kaew Caves These Caves, located in the centre of the island, house impressive stalactites and stalagmites, some of the caves are just very large and one contains a pool.
- Sea-Gypsy Village Known to the Thais as Chao-Le, sea gypsies have occupied the area for hundreds of years settling along the coast in stilt-built houses erected in the sea. They are unique in that they mix very little with the general population, speak their language and have their very own supernatural and traditional beliefs and rituals.
- Orchid Nursery Farm This farm is for those who like flowers. The Orchid Nursery Farm is located at Long Beach (Pra Ae beach).
The diving surrounding Ko Lanta are considered by many to be among some of the best the country has to offer. There is an enormous variety of fringing reefs, marine life, caves, rocks and islets.
Hin Daeng and Hin Muang near Ko Lanta are perhaps the best dive sites in Thailand (ranking in the world’s top ten) with more than 200 hard corals and 108 reef fish catalogued in a study underway, but thousands more organisms abound. Hin Daeng has the steepest and deepest in the whole of the country with beautiful marine life. Hin Muang next door is completely underwater and it is covered with delicate violet coral. The sites also have one of the world's highest incidences of manta ray sightings, with fairly frequent whale sharks.
The Ko Haa Archipelago which is just across from Ko Lanta in the Andaman Sea offers some of the best conditions for beginner to advanced divers, with stunning visibility and beautiful underwater landscapes, with its underwater caverns and abundance of soft coral.
Snorkeling can be done around the 4 islands, Koh Haa, Koh Bida and Koh Rok which are all accessible from Koh Lanta via speedboat or longtail boat companies.
Fishers usually catch the likes of marlin, sailfish barracuda, red snapper and tuna during a long tail boat trip having a choice of either day fishing or night fishing.
The east side of Ko Lanta with its rich mangroves is the most suitable for kayaking in peace and quiet while admiring the natural surroundings. Kayaking is also the best way to explore caves. Kayaking can also be done in mangrove swam at Baan Tungyeepeng and Ko Talabaeng, the limestone cliff near Ko Lanta.
Ko Lanta’s pristine forests with excellent flora and fauna are suitable for trekking. Elephant riding are usually arranged to take visitors to the top of the hill in Ko Lanta National Park.
There is one small boxing stadium on the island which hosts regular fights. It also holds training camps, which are popular among tourists who wish to learn Thai Boxing.
Thai cooking courses on Ko Lanta offer foreign tourists the chance to learn to cook up all their favourite dishes such as tom yum kung, sweet green curry and chicken with cashew nuts.
Traditional Thai massage, characterized by its holistic approach to health, is aimed at enhancing not only one’s physical and emotional state but also to allow one to grow spiritually. There are many spa places on this island. However, massage on the beach is also possible – you won’t know however, if the person is well-trained (otherwise there could be risks involved)
Even though it is Indonesian in origin, the art of batik has embedded itself within the local culture. There are also a lot of handicrafts such as pineapple paper.
Since it is a small island relatively free of crime and drunkards, the local law-enforcers are more lenient about allowing bars along the beach to stay open until what time they wish, and that is usually when the last customer goes home. Many of the beer bars have hostesses.
Krabi and Ko Lanta are a melting pot of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims and even sea gypsies. The majority of the population in the rural areas is Muslim. The area, however, has no religious tension and the people live in peace and harmony. Most of them speak with a thick Southern dialect that is difficult for even other Thais to understand.
Under this kind of multiculturalism, Krabi is always celebrating something, be it Thai Buddhist, Thai-Chinese or Thai-Islamic tradition.
The unique lifestyle of the Chao-Le (sea-gypsy) in Ko Lanta particularly is well worth a look, a lifestyle that has been almost completely unaffected by the booming tourism on the island.
Events & Festivals
- Krabi Boek Fa Andaman Festival (งานกระบี่เบิกฟ้าอันดามัน) This is annually held in November to inaugurate the province’s tourist season. Water sports competitions, cultural shows, and good-natured fun are the schedule.
- Laanta Lanta Festival (เทศกาลลานตา ลันตา) The festival is usually held in March every year at the Old Community in Ko Lanta called Lanta Old Town, which has a very old history of more than 100 years. Ancient Chinese style houses can still be seen here. In this festival, tourists can see the traditional culture, previously unseen ceremonial demonstrations, Southern local performances, folk games, water sports competitions and enjoy the tastes from various kinds of food booths which are provided by prestigious hotels on the island.
- Loi Ruea Chao-Le Festival (ประเพณีลอยเรือชาวเล) This old ritualistic tradition takes place on Ko Lanta during the full moon of the sixth and eleventh month in the lunar calendar. This is a religious rite performed by the sea gypsies of Ko Lanta, as well as, from other neighbouring areas, who gather on the beach near Sala Dan Village. They dance their famous "rong ngeng" round the boats of misfortune to be set adrift. Ceremonies feature singing and dancing. This festival is expected to bring prosperity and happiness to the participants.
- Sat Duean Sip Festival or Festival of the Tenth Lunar Month (งานประเพณีสารทเดือนสิบ) This is the southern traditional merit making occasion to honour one's ancestors. Food offerings such as Khanom La, Khanom Chohu, Khanom Phong, Khanom Ba, and Khanom Kong or Khai Pla, are made offer to Buddhist monks.
- Chak Phra Festival (งานประเพณีชักพระ) The original waterborne procession, where Buddha images are put on elaborately decorated pulpits on boats are pulled along on the river, has been replaced by a land procession. The festival was formerly accompanied with a performance of traditional boat songs. However, the traditional waterborne songs have since disappeared.
- Likae Pa (ลิเกป่า) An adapted play, Like Pa follows the adventures of an Indian merchant from Calcutta who married a local girl named Yayi. The story is then followed by other plays. Like Pa is accompanied by the music of folk instruments such as various kinds of drums, cymbals, and gongs. The lyrics are a mixture of the traditional Manora and Buranyawa songs. With its long history of popularity in Krabi, Like Pa performers are abundant here. It is believed that the play originated in this province. Many companies are still performing this dramatic art such as Mr. Truek Plodrit who won a cultural award.
- Shadow Plays (หนังตะลุง)This is an Indian influence. There are many shadow play or nang talung companies in Krabi.
- Manora (มโนราห์) This is a dance performance, native to southern Thailand, which truly reflects its traditional culture.
- Rong Ngeng (รองเง็ง) and Phleng Tanyong (เพลงตันหยง) A Malaysian adaptation, which is of Portuguese origin, rong ngeng is a traditional folk dance and music customarily performed in noble houses. It was later performed by the locals with Thai lyrics called phleng tanyong.
In general, Southern Thai food is renowned for its spiciness. Much of the cuisine has its origins in Malay, Indonesian and Indian food. Favourite dishes from the south include Indian-style Muslim curry (massaman), rice noodles in fish curry sauce (Khanom chin) and Khao mok kai (chicken biryani).
As for Ko Lanta, reasonable priced and tasty seafood is obviously what most tourists long for when visiting a coastal province like Krabi. In this connection, the dog conch or wing shell (หอยชักตีน) is famous in Krabi's cuisine. In addition, stir fried Spotted Babylon (หอยหวาน), a snail which is found in mangrove forests, with chilies and basil is also famous. This cuisine is common in Ko Lanta’s restaurants. Another great Krabi taste is, of course, seafood. The Ko Lanta beach areas have several restaurants with the 'catch of the day' displayed on ice outside. One can find all kinds of fish; juicy crabs and langoustines; shellfish, including giant oysters; as well as squid and lobsters.
Medical Health Care
The major medical facility providers are:
1. Ban Saladan Clinic in Saladan to the north of the island. 2. Ko Lanta Hospital, just south of Lanta Old Town on the south east of the island. 3. Dr. Salarin Clinic, the island's main English-speaking private doctor based in Phra Ae village. 4. Siam International Clinic also based in Phra Ae village (open only Nov - Apr).
Nationwide television, cable TVs, local cable TV channels are available on Ko Lanta especially in tourist spots. International newspapers and magazines are available at some bookstores.
Landline telephones, satellite phones, all mobile phone systems, high-speed internet (ADSL) are available. There is also a post office with parcel services.
- Ko Lanta District travel guide from Wikivoyage
- The Islands area and population data retrieved from the 2012 census