This is a travel blog for desktop travelers and other ramblers who want to know the world just a little bit better.

Right now I am living in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala where I'll be settled for a while. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

'Tis the Low Season in Koh Lanta

Now is the low season in Koh Lanta. Some call it the rainy season, and those more optimistic will call it the green season. I am not really worried about rain. I enjoy the respite from the beating sun. There are only two downsides as far as I can see. The first being that the ocean is wavy and terrible for snorkeling and dive shops are asking snorkelers a lot of money to tag along with them for the day. The second is that the Thai boxing arena is closed until high season.

Waiting out the rain in the market
Koh Lanta is a fairly large island. There are quite a lot of resorts for every budget. It is not built up (not yet anyway) as much as other places like Koh Samui or Phuket but there seems to be plenty of construction and plenty of ads geared towards foreigners who may want to buy their own piece of paradise. Beaches are spread out, and there are two small towns on opposite sides of Koh Lanta plus a few villages scattered about. You can visit the whole island in one or two days, but definitely need some form of motorized transportation. The most common being motorbikes.

It is quiet in Koh Lanta now. Really quiet. I love it here. Many places are closed. Restaurants that are open have just one or two tables occupied, if any. Bars will only have one or two customers. Hotels are also sparsely populated. There are great deals to be had too. For example, one new, swanky hotel is offering rooms for 2,500 Thai Baht with stay three and get the fourth free which comes to 1,875 TB. In October the price is 4500 TB per night.
Mika checking out a fancy hotel with no intention of staying there
We book something online for our first two nights and use a motorbike to find our next accommodation. Our second place* is a larger place, also right on the beach. Most of the bungalows are around $40 US, but then they have three cute, fan-only bungalows for 300 Thai Baht (US $10). The fan-only bungalows are much nicer than everything in the same price range that we have seen. Currently there are five bungalows occupied including all three cheap ones. We end up staying here for a week.

Our home for one week
Now settled into life on Koh Lanta we spend our days exploring the island by motorbike. We soon discover our favorite beach. On our first visit to Bakantiang beach there is nobody else. The sand is free of debris which is uncommon on Koh Lanta. The waves are perfect for body surfing. It is our own private beach. I love Koh Lanta during the low season.

One day we hike through a jungle river to visit a cave and waterfall. The man at the entrance tells us during the high season there might be two hundred people a day on the one km trail. We meet six people leaving the waterfall as we get there and pass five others on our way back. We unfortunately do not see any wild animals. Though there was an ornery monkey who bared his fangs and swiped at us when we passed him on our motorbike.
"Don't worry Mika, I will check the scary cave, um  just let me tie my shoe first..."
We  also visit Old Lanta, Sea Gypsy village, beaches galore and, most importantly, find many places to get cheap local food and fruit. We also discover that 7-11 is an incredibly reliable resource for the budget conscious traveler in Koh Lanta. The iconic convenient store has the cheapest beer, snacks, ice-cream, water and coffee (their coffee sucks) in town, fixed prices, a toilet and air-conditioning. We go to 7-11 at least twice a day.

A traditional style home in Old Lanta town

A Sea Gypsy painting his boat

Curry in a bag - buying dinner in Koh Lanta
In the end the weather is perfect. Our first three days we have afternoon showers. Our fourth day is a complete downpour and after that five days of just blue sky. But please do not tell other tourists this because I love Koh Lanta in the low season.
Having a picnic lunch under the shade of a palm tree
*For My Homies: The owner of our hotel is an American from Ohio whose nephew is the second string punter for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team.

View Larger Map


  1. Either you are clairvoyant because we might be headed to a Thai bullfight on Sat., or this is a UT reference. If the latter, too bad they were too wimpy to join the Big 10.