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Koh Lanta consists of two main islands – Koh Lanta Yai and Koh Lanta Noi (yai means big and Noi means small). They are located in Krabi province on the south west coast of Thailand.
Koh Lanta Yai is the island that tourists and travellers head to, and is therefore commonly referred to as Koh Lanta, or just Lanta. Koh Lanta Noi is sparsely populated by locals and makes for a nice day trip on a scooter.
All of Lanta’s white, powdery sand beaches are found on the west coast which means in high season (October – April) the islands mountainous interior protects them from the prevailing wind. They also make a great place to watch the sun go down over the Phi Phi Islands whilst sipping a beer or a cocktail from one of the many beach bars. The further south one goes, the more the beaches are edged with rocky outcrops, making for good snorkelling.
Saladan, situated on the northernmost tip of Lanta is the main “town”, where boats arrive and depart, the post office and health centre are to be found, and where the majority of the dive centres are located.
Lanta is 26km long with bars, restaurants, and lodgings lining the main road most of the way down the west coast. Towards the bottom of the island the tarmac road turns in to a dirt track.
Lanta Old Town, in the south east, used to be the main “town” but is now very quiet, although makes for a nice, alternative day out. It’s also where one finds the hospital. There are many sea-gypsy villages on Lanta, but the most visited is the one near Lanta Old Town.
In April 2016, a new bridge opened linking Lanta Noi and Lanta Yai. The main purpose of the bridge is to allow residents of Lanta Noi to travel more easily to work on Lanta Yai. One of the big benefits of the bridge to tourism that it has reduced the need for one of the two ferry journeys here for those travelling by land. This means the trip from Krabi is reduced by about half an hour. A new bridge connecting Lanta Noi with the mainland has just been announced, although work has yet to begin.