5 things to do in Koh Lanta

When people talk of the Thai Islands I rarely hear anyone mention Koh Lanta, why? I have no idea! The Island was right up there amongst my favourite.

How to get there?

Koh Lanta is an island district in Krabi Province and the way to get there is pretty simple. We went from Koh Samui to Krabi to Koh Lanta via boat and bus which cost a total price of 600-700baht per person. This entirely depends on which company you book your tickets through as they all give different quotes (don’t forget to barter with them!). The trip was comfortable and took around 12 hours in total.

Where to Stay?

There are plentiful options of places to stay here in Lanta. Get yourself there and rock up at a hostel/guesthouse and negotiate a price, you are sure to get a good deal! We stayed in Lanta Sabai Hotel and Bungalows, which is on the Western side of the island, perfect location – close to some beautiful beaches and everything you need on your doorstep! There are some great restaurants right on your doorstep too, at such cheap prices. We ate practically every night in a place right next door to our hotel and the thai food was BEAUTIFUL! I would recommend that you stay on the western side of the island also as there is much more to see here, in my opinion.

5 Thing to do in Koh Lanta…

The island isn’t huge but you definitely need to organise some transportation if you want to get around. You can pay for a tuc tuc or taxi to get you where you want to be, but, again, it is much more expensive that renting a scooter. We rented a scooter from our hotel costing us 200 baht/day.

So what should you do to pack your days full of fun?!

  1. Mu Ko Lanta National Park

The National Park is situated at the Southern end of the island and is a wonderful day out. The park is open daily from 08:00 to 17:00 and to enter you must pay an entry fee of 200 baht per person + 20 baht extra to park your motorbike/scooter.

The park is home to some very cheeky monkeys that you can watch swim and play in the lake (be aware of your belongings – they will take anything!).

There is a beautiful lighthouse which sits on a high rocky peninsular cliff named Ta Noad Cape, you can walk up to and experience some impressive views.

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The park also has two picturesque beaches that stretch out on either side of this peninsular which are perfect for snorkelling, relaxing and swimming. The sand is glorious and its surroundings are breathtaking.

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If you fancy a bit of exercise then make your way to the 2km long nature walk. An easy walk with amazing surroundings, trees and lookouts.

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2. Khlong Chak Waterfall.

Depending on the time of year you visit the waterfall will either be full-bodied or fairly dry. As we visited in February it was very warm with little rainfall so there was not much water, however, at the right time of year this waterfall is said to be magnificent.

Also situated further south on the island it can be easily missed. The maps are not brilliant, but if you head toward the elephant camps the waterfall is along that same road. To avoid paying for parking, park your bike a little further away and walk 5 minutes to the entry of the waterfall track. The walk takes about 20-25 minutes depending on how slow you take it, and the walk itself is not too tasking at all!

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See! No Water! 

3. Lanta Animal Welfare

Whilst in Koh Lanta you MUST visit this animal shelter. It is a non – profitable organisation, however, they do appreciate a donation if you are able to give one. Here, you can spend time playing with or walking the dogs. You can cuddle into the cute kittens and cats and leave feeling so happy! There are so many stray dogs and cats in Thailand, we wanted to take them all home with us, so seeing such an amazing organisation that does some wonderful things for these animals was such a breath of fresh air! The shelter closes at 5pm, so get there in good time!

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Meet ‘Minty’ She was adorable!

4. Four Island Day Trip

You may want to spend the day off of the island and see some of the gorgeous islands surrounding Koh Lanta. Easily booked through your hotel or nearest tourist information shop, you are picked up from your guesthouse and taken to the port where a longtail boat takes you to four different islands.

The day trip includes snorkelling on the reef at Koh Chuek, enjoying a Thai lunch at the beach of Koh Ngai, more snorkelling at Koh Maa and exploring the famous Emerald Cave and lagoon at Koh Mook – now THAT was insane!

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We paid 600 baht each for this trip. *The only downside to this trip was the lack of time we were able to spend in each place. If you can, hire a private longtail boat as you are able to take as much or as little time as you please in each place*.

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Busy Busy Lagoon

5. Beach Hopping.

You are spoilt for choice for which beach to visit here in Koh Lanta, so why not make a day of it and go beach hopping and enjoy each and every one?!

Other than the breathtaking beaches at the National Park, our other favourites were Klong Klong Beach, Klong jark Beach, Bamboo Bay and Kantiang Bay Beach. With so many more to see, these were the closest to our hotel, but spread your wings are venture further and I assure you, you will not be disappointed! many of the beaches host chilled out beach bars where you can watch picturesque sunsets with a cocktail or two in hand, sitting on bean bags and cushions on the glorious sand – it is something that can never be beaten!

Put Koh Lanta on your bucket list for the South Islands AND enjoy! 

 

Love Sarah xxx

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Koh Tao Travel Guide

Koh Tao is a small island positioned on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand and wow, is it beautiful! Its neighbouring islands are Koh Phangan and Koh Samui, which we are shortly going to visit! I am super excited to explore Thailand’s stunning islands, but to start off we arrived in Koh Tao!

I visited Koh Tao about 5 years ago and absolutely loved it, so I already knew we were in for an amazing three days! This island offers something for everyone with a mix off cheap to luxurious accomodations, long stretches of white sandy beaches and hidden coves, sensational coral reefs for snorkelling and scuba diving, unbelievable lookout points and funky beach bars to watch the sun set with a cocktail in hand, it is easy to believe why people enjoy this island so much and return year after year!

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In this blog I am going to splurge all about our three jam packed days in Koh Tao and of those things we did, you must do when you visit! We had a BLAST and for sure three days is not enough, but with only 3.5 weeks to spare, we have a lot to see!

The best way around the island is by motobike/scotter, which cost anything from 150-250 baht/day. The island is small but to see everything we did in such a short time, it was a perfect option! There are taxi’s on the island but they charge A LOT!

Our first full day was fairly relaxed, we took a long boat to Nang Yuan island, which is a short 10 minutes away and a must see! The long boat cost 350 baht per person and to access the island you are to pay a further 100 baht per person. Getting there nice and early means you can grab yourself a nice spot on the beach and spend the day there, as the last boat back to Koh Tao is around 5pm. This island is basically two islands, joined together by a bay of sand, with turquoise sea either side; it really is breathtaking. Bring your snorkels along too because this is one of the most visited sites for divers, with plenty of coral close by. There is also a beautiful lookout point on one side, which is definitely worth the visit.

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By night there are so many tasty restaurants to indulge in anything from fish, Western food and Thai delicacies. There is also a small street stall close to Sairee Beach, here does some AMAZING Thai food, the lady who cooks is called MAMA P! Cooked fresh as you order, cheap and always busy!

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You are not short of beach bars to relax in either (with many happy hour deals). The sun sets perfectly along the western side of the island so get there early and set yourself up in the best spot to watch the sun go down. Lotus bar is a popular one and you cannot miss it with its iconic ‘bendy’ palm tree. Every night Thai fire dancers set on stage for a show with booming music and happy travellers dancing away. Be careful of the fire skipping rope though, people get burnt! Fizz bar is another popular bar to watch sunset and although one of the most pricey bars on the island it has such a good vibe there and the food is something else!

Our second day was filled up by scuba diving! Danny and I went on a ‘fun dive’ to Nang Yuan. The scuba company we used was ‘Davey Jones’ Locker’ and they were brilliant. We asked a few places for prices and got a feel for the instructors but here everyone was so warm and welcoming. Koh Tao is renowned for its scuba diving and is the cheapest place to do it and become a certified diver. I already have my PADI and Danny would have loved to get his but unfortunately we did not have enough time! Next time Dan – because we will definitely be back! The only thing I wished was that we had been taken somewhere else on the island as we had visited Nang Yuan the day before; we really wanted to see some reef sharks or even push our luck and swim with whale sharks!!

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Our last day was our favourite. We got up bright and early, jumped on our scooter and spent the whole day exploring the island, discovering the best beaches, snorkelling and relaxing on rocks overlooking the whole island!

Parts of the island are hard to get to on bike or by car, so many people opt for a day trip by long boat to hard – to – reach beaches and coves. However, the cost was approximately 100GBP and we do not have that amount of money per day (budget problems hey..). 

Danny and I were desperate to see some black tip reef sharks, so of course, our first stop was to be Shark Bay, although we took a wrong turn (surprise, surprise) and ended up on the other side of the bay at a stunning beach called Sai Daeng beach resort. This was not a bad mistake to make because the beach was pristine and FREE, yes, some beaches, including Shark Bay charge a fee to enter! We spent so long here in the water looking for sharks, and funnily enough we did not see any! We were told to swim out about 200 meters, but no luck! We did, however, see some of the most beautiful coral and SO MANY fish, it was AMAZING!

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We could have spent all day there but off we went to venture to our next destination, which was Freedom Beach. You are to pay 50 baht per person to get to this beach but, come on, thats nothing and it is sensational! Fairly busy on the beach itself we dumped our bags and headed back for the water to do some more snorkelling; this place was better than the last; so many hypnotic schools of fish, we were in awe! I feel like the whole day was based around snorkelling because we got so lost in time enjoying ourselves we did not manage to visit another beach!

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After leaving Freedom Beach it was the perfect time to hike up to John- Suwan Viewpoint, which is literally next to Freedom beach. This was told to be the best viewpoint on the island and who even said this was not wrong; we were blown away, it was magnificent. We were able to see the whole island, both Easy and West of Koh Tao, so green and pretty. We spent about two hours here watching the world go by before heading to Sairee Beach for sunset and a few drinks to say goodbye to this phenomenal place.

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There are so many beaches, coves and lookout points to discover here and we wished we had longer, but I guess we will say that in each island we visit! The guidebooks are brilliant here to gather together a few places you would like to visit and speaking with the locals is also a great way of learning of hidden places. What we managed to see made our stay there better than I could imagine, so get yourself there and visit these wonderful places!!

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Next Stop Koh Phangan!…

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and please share with me your thoughts and if you have visited Koh Tao, where did you love? I would love to know for our next visit! 

Love Sarah xxx

Chaing Mai Elephant Sanctuary…

Chaing Mai is known in Thailand for its stunning‘Old City’, picturesque temples and exciting trekking experiences. However, the main reason Danny and I went was to spend a day with our favourite animals; the beautiful elephants.

I wanted to write a blog post solely on our day at the sanctuary because it was honestly one of the best days of my life! I could have cried with happiness all day!

We researched carefully into which elephant sanctuary to visit because we know that there are many con sanctuaries in Thailand. When I say this, I mean that many of the owners have realised that tourists are more ethical and educated about elephant cruelty these days and will advertise their camps as being a sanctuary, when really, the elephants are still treat badly, chained and neglected.

I don’t like to preach too much, as there is still so much I do not know myself. But I do know that elephants are not meant to be ridden, their spine is not designed for huge amounts of weight. All day every day elephants made to walk in circles with tourists on their backs, on wooden chairs. It breaks my hearts that they look so sad. Please, please, look into true sanctuaries and avoid riding elephants. I assure you, your day will be so much more fulfilling and animal-friendly if you see these animals happy, in a natural habitat, with NO cruelty.

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This was my face all day long – a permanent smile!

We booked our trip through ‘Elephant Jungle Sanctuary’ online. You could book it in the office if you preferred, which is situated in Chiang Mai. The cost for two people for a whole day was 4,800BHT (www.xe.com). And it was worth every penny! The Karen tribe are responsible for rescuing the elephants we met from riding camps. Many others are rescued from circuses and cages. We met 7 elephants, however, over a few camps they have many more elephants.

We were collected from our hostel at 08:30am and in the back of a pick-up truck with 6 other people, off we went. I won’t lie .. the majority of the ride was fine, but the last 30 minutes were pretty scary! You cannot expect much from a country with limited health and safety, but we sped through the dirt tracks up and down a mountain and finally got to our destination. Wow, stunning! Green, open and mountainous.

After being given our tribal top, we spent a short amount of time learning about the elephants, how they were saved, how to feed them and what to expect from the day. We then spent a couple of hours getting to know the elephants; feeding them, cuddling them and playing! I had the hugest smile plastered all over my face the whole day. They are huge! Even the babies are ginormous, but so gentle and friendly.

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“give me my banana”

After this we had a beautiful lunch of traditional Thai foods and reflected on how amazing our experience with the elephants was! I couldn’t stop watching them! After lunch we made an elephant ‘delicacy’ of rice, banana and twigs! Sounds odd, but a small amount of rice helps with their digestion and the banana gives it the sweet taste. We squished it all into tennis sized balls and walked down to feed them again. Then watched as they one by one walked into the mud pit, where we splashed and rubbed mud all over their trunks. They looked so happy!

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The guides are brilliant. They are very clued-up on what they are doing, as I watched them. They are so gentle with the elephants and constantly watched what we were doing to make sure we did not stand behind them and ensured we were safe at all times. They knew the elephants well and could predict what they were going to do. They were not only clued-up, but so lovely to everyone all day and you could tell they loved being there and helping these animals.

The elephants had bells around their necks so that in the mornings, once the guides wake up, they wander the land and listen for the elephants bells so that can get them and bring them to the camp. It was so nice to hear that they are able to roam the land safely and freely. Each elephant had one guide, it seemed, so at all times we felt safe.

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Another thing I liked to see was that once the elephants had had enough of being in the mud or the water, they just left. There was no order to make them stay in the water for our benefit, they were free to do as they pleased, and that was such a lovely thing to know.

Once the mud mess had finished, we walked over to the river and washed them down. They played games with us when we were not looking; spraying water all over our faces. It was such an incredible day. There was one baby elephants called Peta, who was apparently a little terror and hated leaving the water, so it was hilarious to watch as he fell about in the water having the time of his life as all the others left.

They all dried themselves with the dry dirt in the fields afterwards and made their way back to the hill top to laze in the sun.

We left the day by drinking some thai tea and relaxing in the sun, watching the elephants in the distance. I could have watched them all day, I did not want to leave!

I am totally aware of how cheesy this blog post is, but I couldn’t have written it any other way. It breaks my heart seeing these beautiful giants unhappy and to see what they can have makes it slightly harder to see those who are still in captivity. I hope you read this and I inspire you to take the non-cruelty route when seeing these lovely animals. I will 100% be visiting the Karen Tribe in Chiang Mai again!

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Love Sarah xxx

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