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Most Thai islands have no more than one cooking school, but it's long been a popular pastime on Lanta and you'll now find three different options.
We haven't tried them out so can't offer an opinion on which is best; they all have individual cooking stations and have received good feedback online.
Time For Lime was Lanta's original cooking school and remains the most popular. Its stylish polished concrete kitchen on southern Khlong Dao beach has a youthful energy and the instructors are known as much for their enthusiasm as their expertise. Different dishes from several regions of Thailand are taught on different days of the week, and students always learn how to pound a curry paste by hand using a mortal and pestle. The founder of Time For Lime also founded Lanta Animal Welfare; profits from the cooking school go straight to aiding the island's stray, sick and abused dogs and cats. Volunteers at the animal centre get a free cooking class.
Northern Haad Khlong Dao
T: (075) 684 590
Price per person: 1,800 baht (discounts offered if taking more than one class)
Time: 4:00 - 21:30, Monday - Saturday
Chiang Mai Roi Thai's cooking classes on Khlong Nin beach are apparently taught by a "master chef" who studied at a Bangkok culinary school and has over 30 years of experience in the kitchen. Though the instructor has roots in Chiang Mai, the dishes taught are mostly Thai classics along with a few lesser known soups and salads. The evening course lasts longer than the lunch course and has the added benefit of preparing a curry paste by hand. Roi Thai is recommended by the Thai Ministry of Interior, if that means anything to you at all.
At Roi Thai Resaurant, Khlong Nin
T: (089) 191 4545 ; (081) 476 0165
Price per person: 1,500 baht for lunch course; 1,800 baht for dinner course
Time: 11:00 - 14:30 and 16:00 - 20:30
Lanta Thai is the island's newest cooking school and seems to offer the best value and highest level of flexibility. Three classes per day are held in a spacious teakwood house just inland from Haad Phra Ae, and many of the vegetables and spices are sourced from an on-site organic garden. Morning, afternoon and evening classes last for four hours. the group chooses four out of 10 dishes together, and the options change for each course. The menus offer a good mix of salads, soups, stir fries, noodle dishes and curries made from hand-made pastes, but don't expect anything too obscure or exotic. All dishes can be made vegetarian.
689 Moo 2 (on the inland road to Lanta Animal Welfare), Haad Phra Ae
T: (086) 821 2755 ; (087) 311 3252
Price per person: 1,300 baht
Time: 8:30 - 12:30 ; 13:30 - 17:30 ; 17:30 - 21:30
By David Luekens
Last updated on 8th June, 2014.