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Ko Lanta revisited.

  • tezza

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2006
    Posts: 1301
    Total reviews: 61

    Got back to Lanta late November/early December. Stayed at Marina Bungalows on LongBeach plua Ancient Realm Resort and Spa at Kantiang Bay. Here is a bit of info might be useful for people thinking of visiting Lanta:
    Marina is what I class as a superior budget resort at the far southern end of LongBeach (Ao Phrae). It has attractive traditional Andaman sea gypsy style bungalows in a nice lawn/garden setting. Our sea view shack was spacious with a firm but not unbearable king sized bed, a good mozzie net, plenty of hanging space,a quiet fan with a true low speed setting, wi-fi, an okay bathroom with hotwater (a bit low-flow), towels and toilet tissue supplied. A nice spacious patio (note many of the sea view places are set back from beachfront with a limited sea view but this can be an advantage on Saturday nights) with hammock.Staff members were very friendly and efficient. The sea view restaurant hadnice food and drinks towards the lower end of budget bungalow restaurant prices. The restaurant and adjacent sitting cabana were good places to watch the sun set over the sea.
    Ihave one major caveat. Adjacent Korner Bar has managed to secure the Saturday night location for the all-island party (this seems to rotate nightly to otherv enues). As a result there is extremely loud music until 3am and a racket from departing hyped-up ragers and motorcyles until 5am. The access lane to the bar runs directly behind Marina's southern line of bungalows including ours. Weheard no loud music on the Thursday and Friday nights although there was somevery late motorcycle traffic noise, bearable to us. So if your stay includes Saturday night you might ask for a bungalow up the back of the resort, or better, a garden bungalow on the far northern side. But frankly, the average person will be disturbed by the noise all over the southern quarter of the very long Long Beach. On the other hand, if you are a party animal this would be just the place.
    -The beach immediately in front of Marina is not great. Shallow and rocky at low tide, not all that good for swimming at other times. But if you move 400m north past the seaside piers of Moonwalk restaurant you access the main section of the beach which unlike many Lanta beaches has deep water all tides. And very nice sand.
    -I think Long Beach is the best choice of the multi-resort beaches (unless you area budget backpacker where Klong Kong gives a better choice). It is fairly close to the ferry and avoids the time and cost of accessing southern beaches.Despite the large number of resorts, restaurants and bars it is not fully built out with over 800m of forested reserve in the middle of the beach. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and other businesses up on the main road behind the beach and the shopping area of Ban Saladan village is only a few km away.
    - When heading south, turn inland at the intersection at Ban Klong Nin and go 3km up to the viewpoint overlooking the west of Lanta and islands back to the mainland. Food and drink prices are very reasonable here. On the way up there is a right turn into a caves area. Elephant trekking is available near the turnoff.


    Ancient Realm at Kantiang is not beachfront or in a place with good views - it is up a short lane in Ban Kantiang village, 30m from useful shops and a bunch of budget restaurants and only 3 minutes easywalk to the beach. The location is quiet except for the nearby call for prayer–traffic noise doesn’t penetrate. Value s outstanding - it cost little more than a considerably downmarket backpacker bungalow we stayed in the week before which did not t have the inclusive breakfasts and pool of Ancient Realm.
    The friendly western hosts have put a lot of work into the design - the place is more like a Balinese boutique compound than Thai. Both the exterior areas and interiors of rooms and other areas are very attractive. Our room was spacious, comfortable and had all the inclusions you would expect of a midrange place plus some small gifts from the owners. The one downside was too bulky-too firm pillows - fortunately two of the many cushions were okay substitutes. The inclusive breakfast was quite adequate, other food pretty good with prices maybe 10% higher than bottom budget bungalow restaurants. The staff were very friendly and helpful. The small attractive pool was such a plus to cool down after a walk back from theb each. We did not use the adjacent spa, but resort spa facilities are oft-asked for on the travel forums.
    -The small adjacent shopping area has a 7/11 and other general stores, several inexpensive Muslim restaurants, a tailor, other clothing shops, several dive outfits, motorcye hier, travel desks, 2 ATMs and an unofficial money changer withr ates maybe 10% down on official bank rates.
    -The best view of the attractive beach is at the Muslim restaurants beside the main road as it climbs high over the southern headland. Nearly as good is from the restaurant of the budget/flashpacker Lanta Top View Resort situated high at the seaward end of the northern headland - turn right out of Ancient Realm's lane and take the second dirt road to the left less than 100m on).
    -Kantiang Bay beach is a gem and the 3 immediately south, undeveloped Nui Bay, Waterfall Bay and Bamboo Bay are arguably even better - you can walk between each in around 10 minutes either on the main road (some steepish slopes) or around the rock platforms (under half-tide only).
    -The track to the waterfall at Waterfall Bay is indistinct. Taking one of the nearby
    elephant trips to the falls may be the go here.
    -The national park compound 20 minutes walk south of Bamboo Beach is a worthwhile visit now the fee has been dropped to 100baht.
    -Kantiang is a fair distance from the ferry and taxis want 700baht. Ancient Realm management can arrange for the Kantian shuttle to pick you up for 150 each.-The resort hires motorcycles at 300b per day.

    #1 Posted: 1/1/2013 - 01:17

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  • BrumbyJack

    Joined Travelfish
    7th October, 2012
    Posts: 19

    Thanks for the update Tezza!!!

    Did you see Coco Lanta??? Thinking of staying there, it's only new.

    Am I crazy to think I can hire a mountain bike a ride around the island??? Probably spending 3 or 4 nights on Lanta I hope...

    #2 Posted: 5/1/2013 - 05:15

  • tezza

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2006
    Posts: 1301
    Total reviews: 61

    Oops, sorry for the delayed reply.
    Didn't see Coco Lanta (well I definitely walked past it when doing one of my beach tours without noticing the name) but I just checked travelfish's associated Agoda booking site - it's on Klong Khong which is a pretty good beach and the resort gets very good user reviews. I reckon you could do a lot worse.

    I have checked most of the island on mountain bike. Surfaces and slopes pretty good in most places - there are some steep sections on return from the east coast and in the southern 20% of the main west coast road from Kantiang Bay to the National Park.

    #3 Posted: 9/1/2013 - 16:30

  • BrumbyJack

    Joined Travelfish
    7th October, 2012
    Posts: 19

    Thanks Tezza!

    Heading off in 2 weeks, I will report on my return!!

    Glad you rode around, makes me feel better :)

    #4 Posted: 9/1/2013 - 16:41

  • stoneman

    Joined Travelfish
    8th May, 2010
    Location Australia
    Posts: 100
    Total reviews: 9

    Tezza,

    Thanks for your latest insight. I've read everything on your website. I've visited Ao Nang on 2 occasions but never ventured further south. I've researched an itinerary through all the islands from Krabi to Langkawi through to Kuala Lumpur for a future trip but I want to enact my VN itinerary first. Will have a few questions (mainly regarding longtail connections between islands as my plan is during low/green season) but will have to wait until I'm able to commit. I'm hoping to enact my VN itinerary next year so maybe the year after.

    I had 'pencilled' in Ancient Realm for my first 2 nights & rent a bike from them. Then relocate to Lalaanta Hideway Resort at Bamboo Bay for 2 nights then return the bike to Ancient Realm. Then take your advice re Kantian shuttle back to the ferry.

    I regard the info you provide invaluable. I wish others provided detailed info like yours on the ground. Thanks again. Cheers

    #5 Posted: 10/1/2013 - 07:21

  • altmtl

    Click here to learn more about altmtl
    Joined Travelfish
    18th May, 2009
    Location Earth
    Posts: 826
    Total reviews: 5

    I'm on Lanta right now, staying at Chill Out House on Long beach, very basic bungalow for 300 baht, noisy at night due to the people who live here - there are dorms for under 200 a night. Does not bother now maybe will by next week, unless I join them :)

    #6 Posted: 10/1/2013 - 10:54

  • DSawyer

    Joined Travelfish
    9th January, 2013
    Posts: 48

    Tezza I'm super happy to see you here...I'm done with LP's TT forum so seeing you here is refreshing

    #7 Posted: 10/1/2013 - 13:48

  • DSawyer

    Joined Travelfish
    9th January, 2013
    Posts: 48

    Tezza I'm super happy to see you here...I'm done with LP's TT forum so seeing you here is refreshing

    #8 Posted: 10/1/2013 - 13:50

  • tezza

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2006
    Posts: 1301
    Total reviews: 61

    Brumby - looking forward to your stuff.

    s'man
    - that idea Kantiang and them Bamboo Bay sounds pretty good to me. Would be great if you can report back to us when you finally get around to it - I've never read anything from people who have stayed at Bamboo.

    altml - hang in there, and by all means, if you can't beat 'em ............

    DS - good to see other TT refugees. Thing is, I've been on travelfish for quite a few years - but yeah, for the time being more than the old days.
    I came back from a trip a few months back and found my account on TT had been zapped. Not sure why - the dudes there are currently making a big deal about how they always PM people who upset them. Well maybe they did (just prior to departure I posted one of my satirical efforts aimed at poking a bit of fun at certain travellers - hey the BBC doesn't support send-ups?), but how do I check my PMs when I can't log in?

    Anyway I'm not worried - I feel the BBC has lost the Wheelers' ideal of giving prospective travellers the best detailed info possible and are more worried about anyone diverting readers from their commercial efforts. I'd prefer to contribute to travelfish becoming the go-to site for proper info rather than the gushing "it was fabulous" stuff from first-time returnees. Not that there is no place for these people but a balanced site doesn't spurn its frequent travelling long-term contributors.
    Maybe later when I have more time and get a bit bored I'll get back on TT - I gotta admit that every now and then I sneak back there under a reserve handle I have when I see some poor bastard hasn't got an answer for something I know about, or has been given misleading or incomplete info. I don't burn the incomplete or misleading advice giver btw - gotta be nice.

    #9 Posted: 11/1/2013 - 04:08

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