For a truly unique island experience go to Ko Lanta in Low Season. For me it is one of the most memorable island experiences to date. A complete contrast to it’s crowded beaches in high season. In low season the island is deserted – literally. The liveliest beaches empty as restaurants, bungalows and hotels close from the start of May to the end of October. Few arrive as sea excursions and ferry services are cancelled to the island. The only access to Koh Lanta now being from mainland Krabi (via Koh Lanta Noi). There are next to no tourists / travellers on this route as they opt for the more crowded resorts of Krabi and the Andaman during this time of year. Koh Lanta low season is perfect for escape.
Deserted in Low Season?
Low season in Koh Lanta brings rough seas and abnormal tides. Ferry crossings are cancelled and debris washes to the island’s beaches. Don’t expect exciting beach life. Koh Lanta low season is peaceful, tranquil and serene. Even if you want to find crowds you won’t be able to. The sole beach open for business during Koh Lanta low season is the main Klong Dao beach on the northwest of the island. For eating away from hotels expect a trek to the main Saladan Pier or the local street food along the main road of Koh Lanta’s west coast. One of the better hotels to survive Koh Lanta low season is Costa Lanta Hotel on Klong Dao beach. Luxury Sea View cabanas at tiny prices. In fact everything is cheap during Koh Lanta low season. Even the island’s 200 Baht entrance fee is waived.
Romance and Local Life
When tourism leaves what remains is a beautiful, wild, deserted island. An island of our own. During walks along coastal routes we see very few living. The eagle following the route above us. Schools of crabs scattering along wet sands. A local fisherman captures sorry fish from pools abandoned by the tide. An unworldly, desolate landscape is left as a storm approaches the shores. Sure beats the horded beaches of Southern Thailand.
While I generally avoid renting motorbikes it was unavoidable on this trip. Transport can be hard to find during Koh Lanta low season. Getting around there are two sides to the island; split by tall hills, mangroves and rubber tree plantations. The west side is popular for beaches, the east side quiet and culturally diverse. We trek down the east coast towards the sea gypsy village (Chao Leh) only making it as far as the pier at old Lanta Town. It takes 40 minute by motorbike from top to bottom but we stop en route to the inland mangroves where kayaking (or long-tails) explore the rich wildlife between the Koh Lanta’s mangroves.