Photo: Who needs deckchairs?

Where to stay in Ko Lanta

Introduction

Ko Lanta has tonnes of places to stay and what follows is our carefully considered selection of places which we think are well worth considering.


Under 600B

Which are some of the best places to stay on Ko Lanta?

#

Most places to stay on Ko Lanta stand on or near the “big four” beaches of Khlong Dao, Haad Phra Ae, Khlong Khong and Khlong Nin. The gorgeous far southern beaches and languid Old Town both offer a different take on the island. So where should you stay?

The busy northwest coast from Saladan to Haad Phra Ae includes some terrific off-the-beach options in Peacock Hostel and Chill Out House for budgeteers, and Freedom Estate for flashpackers after a full kitchen. On the sand, flashpacker to midrange Long Beach Chalet impressed us after a major expansion, while Sanctuary remains a hippie-backpacker mainstay. In the midrange bracket, Lanta Castaway and Relax Bay are top picks for families. All but one of the above are found in Haad Phra Ae, which has a great accommodation scene overall.

Poolside at Long Beach Chalet.

Poolside at Long Beach Chalet. Photo: David Luekens

Rooms tend to be less thrilling up in Khlong Dao, but Costa Lanta has slick villas and we still dig The Asylum for a reggae-themed budget stay. While the main drag through the northwest is not so pretty, it does boast the island’s widest selection of food and drink.

Khlong Khong and Khlong Nin present a less cluttered look and lower-key vibe around the central west coast, even if some of the parties on Khlong Khong do get sloppy. Here stands Bee Bee Bungalows, our favourite backpacker spot on Ko Lanta. Down on the finer sand of Khlong Nin, homely Baan Rim Lay is a great option for families and couples, while Sri Lanta is a more romantic midrange choice.

Beach rustic at Bee Bee Bungalows.

Beach rustic at Bee Bee Bungalows. Photo: David Luekens

We think the far southwestern beaches of Ao Ba Kantiang, Ao Khlong Jak, Ao Maipai and Ao Tanod are the most beautiful on Ko Lanta. With a narrower main road to go with more hills and jungle, expect a remote feel and a longer ride from the ferry pier. Mellow backpacker haunt Last Beach Resort, idyllic flashpacker resort Baan Phu Lae and a pair of good midrangers, Phra Nang Lanta and La Laanta Hideaway, are all solid choices. This vicinity also hosts five-star Pimalai, known for accommodating Thai royalty, as well as the campground overseen by Mu Ko Lanta National Park down at marvellous Ao Tanod.

Over on Lanta’s serene but beach-less east coast, Sweet Life Community Guesthouse does a great job in a corner of the charming Old Town. Also worth a mention are the immersive homestays that double as fish farms in the tranquil Thung Yee Pheng mangrove forest.

Beachfront at  La Laanta Hideaway.

Beachfront at La Laanta Hideaway. Photo: David Luekens

While we’ve not dug into long-stay villas, apartments and that sort of lodging, Ko Lanta has a notably large selection of it ranging from 5,000 to 50,000 baht per month. Those interested are best off coming to Lanta to look around in person, although the listings on Amazing Lanta could also be worth a look.

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Saladan

Ko Lanta’s main pier town hosts one good hostel along with several cheap guesthouses and serviced apartments for dive instructors and long stayers. You’ll find great seafood and some sand to lounge on at north-facing Ao Koh Kwang, whose north-facing sand meets the far end of the village. Head inland, however, and it gets tacky quick.


Baan Saladan (50 m west of the pier), Ko Lanta
Under 600B

Peacock Hostel

# Baan Saladan (50 m west of the pier), Ko Lanta T: (081) 894 7354 https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Hostel/Peacock-Hostel-Koh-Lanta-589842171064621/

The cosy dorms at Peacock Hostel pull in backpackers who want to stay steps away from Ko Lanta’s main ferry and diving piers, be it for a night on the way out or as a cheap base for the duration of their time on the island.

Memorable to say the least.

Memorable to say the least. Photo: David Luekens

Cooled by a sea breeze along with several fans, a large mixed gender dorm features privacy curtain, reading lamp, electrical outlet, soft tie-dye linens, firm mattress and silk blanket in each bunk. This room has two-dozen bunks, with an additional four in an air-con room. All guests also get a locker and use cold-water bathrooms.

Up front by the pavement, the attached coffee shop is done up in wooden furniture and art hand painted by a brother of the kind and laid-back, yet attentive, owner, Mr Kin. Driftwood and flip-flop art hangs alongside buoys, hammocks, guitars and vintage objects in this old wooden fisher’s house.

Cosy.

Cosy. Photo: David Luekens

At the rear (or the front if you’re on a boat) is a large common deck with floor cushions, a bar and foosball table. Almost the entire property stands on stilts above the edge of the sea, which splashes underfoot when the tide comes in. Expect to hear boat traffic, especially in mornings and afternoons.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 200—350
Book online: Agoda
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º2'26.51" E, 7º38'55.09" N

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Khlong Dao

Mostly midrange resorts back this three-km beach, which, though lacking jetskiis and banana boats, is as close as Lanta comes to looking like the busiest beaches of Samui and Phuket. Though most of the resorts fail to impress, the gentle drop off is good for small children and we do like the lower-key northern and southern corners of the beach. Off the sand you’ll find heaps of cheap guesthouses, apartments and restaurants.


Northern Haad Khlong Dao, Ko Lanta
1,500B to 4,000B

Costa Lanta

# Northern Haad Khlong Dao, Ko Lanta T: (075) 668 186 booking@costalanta.com http://www.costalanta.com

Thai architect Duangrit Bunnag designed the open-plan concrete cabanas at Costa Lanta, a slick resort with relatively few rooms spread over a large property near the quiet, casuarina-lined north end of Haad Khlong Dao.

Pool by the sea? Oh if you insist.

Pool by the sea? Oh if you insist. Photo: David Luekens

Up front by the beach, comfortable loungers are set a good distance apart along a shaded beachfront, where you’ll find no concrete walls or other nonsense. A sleek dark-tile swimming pool gives you another vantage on the sea. Throw in the impressive restaurant pavilion and you have a heck of a beachfront, though be aware that the sea comes right up to edge of the property at high tide.

The minimalist concept continues in freestanding dark-concrete cabanas with thick, castle-like wooden doors comprising close to a third of total wall space. Each of two doors slides open in dramatic fashion as the heavy sections divide and fold up.

Fall down and relax.

Fall down and relax. Photo: David Luekens

When open these rooms are supremely airy, but privacy may be lacking with doors fully open. Fans would also be nice because the rooms stay cool without switching on air-con and mozzie nets are well thick enough to sleep with doors partially open. You also get a safe and a large bathroom with rainshower, but fridges and desks are missing and designers may have gone too far with the minimalism when it comes to the minimal furnishings. Beds are comfy, and the room design is not quite like any we’d seen before.

Further back on the grounds, the resort’s second room type comes in natural-style cabanas, bamboo from head to toe, with vaulted ceilings and broad windows to prop open. Built around a lawn shaded by coconut trees, these do come with fridges along with bamboo faucets and choice of lounge chair or bench on roofed porches. You do not get a sea view from back here.

Lazy chairs and birdsong.

Lazy chairs and birdsong. Photo: David Luekens

Staffers did an excellent job throughout our visit. Also in this price range is neighbouring Twin Lotus, more of a classic upscale beach resort with Jacuzzi tubs in some of the duplex rooms and pricey beachfront villas. Both Costa Lanta and Twin Lotus are good, the choice down to personal preference.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 2,500—3,700
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º1'39.1" E, 7º38'31.87" N

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Southern Haad Khlong Dao, Ko Lanta
600B to 1,500B

Lanta Bee Garden

# Southern Haad Khlong Dao, Ko Lanta T: (075) 684 227 contact@lantabeegarden.com http://www.lantabeegarden.com/

Lanta Bee Garden’s spacious, clean and functional budget rooms offer direct access to an upmarket beach. Here you can save some money while holding on to extras like air-con, hot water, fridge, TV and WiFi.

All but a lone beachfront room comes in either a two-floor building or a motel-style single-floor structure, all made of concrete and painted orange on either side of a sandy lane that cuts through from the main drag to the beach. Some of those set closest to the beach feature shocking red-and-pink paintjobs within, but colour schemes are downright dull in most rooms. Available with fan or air-con, each room sports chairs on a porch where you can chat with the neighbour.

Affordable rooms by the sea.

Affordable rooms by the sea. Photo: David Luekens

It’s not a big place, drawing mostly couples and solo travellers of all ages who congregate at the restaurant or chill in one of the beachfront salas. Staff are efficient, though with more of a business-like attitude than at some places. While they jack rates for peak season, it’s good value for shoulder months and we’ve found rates negotiable if walking in to inquire.

Khlong Dao’s runner up in this price range would be the nearby Time For Lime Bungalows, which are set behind the eponymous cooking school, and the less reliable but more artistic rooms at Chaba Bungalows near the centre of the beach. If you don’t care about beach access, no shortage of budget guesthouses are found along the main drag throughout Khlong Dao.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 450—1,800
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º1'56.94" E, 7º37'44.55" N

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Southern Haad Khlong Dao, Ko Lanta
Under 600B

The Asylum

# Southern Haad Khlong Dao, Ko Lanta T: (084) 840 5733 hello@asylumlanta.com http://asylumlanta.com/

A bit of a misfit in the Khlong Dao accommodation pack is The Asylum, a laid-back backpacker haunt where staffers squeeze the limes, clean the rooms and play the reggae music.

Simple fare.

Simple fare. Photo: David Luekens

Live music and jam sessions take place nightly in high season, and by day it becomes a den of hammocks, cushions and laziness within steps of Khlong Dao’s pretty southern end. Stop by to check out the scene before deciding if you want to settle into one of the bare-bones bungalows.

Pieced together with coconut wood and bamboo, the fan-cooled shacks have mozzie nets draped over comfortable beds raised off tile floors, and a window or two to let the breeze in. Attached to the rooms, bathrooms have cold-water showers and Western flush toilets. The place has only four rooms, all built within steps of the beach.

Chill out here.

Chill out here. Photo: David Luekens

The gang behind The Asylum is laid-back yet helpful, whipping up good burritos, Thai food and cocktails. Even if you don’t stay, keep coming back and you’ll likely meet quite a few people.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 500—700

Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º1'57.39" E, 7º37'37.93" N

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Ao Koh Kwang / Northern Haad Khlong Dao, Ko Lanta
1,500B to 4,000B

Twin Bay Resort

# Ao Koh Kwang / Northern Haad Khlong Dao, Ko Lanta T: (075) 668 010 rsvn@twinbaylanta.com https://www.twinbaylanta.com/

Twin Bay Resort’s name comes from its location on Laem Koh Kwang, a narrow isthmus set between two beaches: Ao Koh Kwang to the north and Haad Khlong Dao’s to the south.

Splish splash.

Splish splash. Photo: David Luekens

This is a classic midrange resort in the Lanta archetype—not too big, staffed by locals, rooms that are clean and spacious yet utilitarian in a way that has stood up to decades of sand-covered kids.

Set in a second row of duplexes and freestanding bungalows overlooking Haad Khlong Dao, the concrete rooms come with tile floors, firm beds, air-con, fridges, TVs, safes, kettles, desks, mozzie nets and hot-water showers in clean tiled bathrooms. Beachfront rooms bag you a sea view from bed. A few rooms have an outlook to Ao Koh Kwang, but there’s a lane in between.

Rooms are shady and comfortable.

Rooms are shady and comfortable. Photo: David Luekens

While we’d class the rooms as only okay, Twin Bay delivers in other areas that make this total package stand out from similar options on Khlong Dao. We dig the location within a 10-minute walk of Saladan and the busier part of Khlong Dao, but with an isolated feel on a rare stretch of the beach that has not seen much development. A good-size beachfront infinity pool doesn’t hurt either.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 990—5,000
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º1'27.54" E, 7º38'39.39" N

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Haad Phra Ae (Long Beach)

Lanta’s longest beach offers the widest range of accommodation. Dirt-cheap bungalows and dorms join a hippie-party vibe in the northern traveller village, while older backpackers, flashpackers and families have good choices to the south. The central portion of Haad Phra Ae leans more towards the upper end of the price spectrum thanks to some larger resorts, and out on the main drag you’ll find a bunch of budget guesthouses and hostels.


157 Moo 2 (off inland side of main drag), Southern Haad Phra Ae, Ko Lanta
600B to 1,500B

Freedom Estate

# 157 Moo 2 (off inland side of main drag), Southern Haad Phra Ae, Ko Lanta T: (075) 684 258 info@lanta-servicedapartments.com https://www.lanta-servicedapartments.com

Set on a flower-studded hill that affords guests a lovely sea view, Freedom Estate opened in 2004 and has kept its place as one of our top flashpacker picks on Ko Lanta ever since the first time we saw it.

What an outlook.

What an outlook. Photo: David Luekens

Three brick duplexes are set between forest and a rubber grove, facing the hill that a resident gardener deserves a metal for keeping up so beautifully. We adore the porches with divider walls for privacy and roundtables and chairs for having breakfast with a sea view. Guests make it a point to come back to their rooms for sunset.

Full kitchens in each room go beyond the usual microwave and kettle to include food processor, blender, coffee maker, two different kinds of toasters, propane stove and large fridge with ice trays. Frozen margaritas anyone? You also get a bunch of pots, pans, dishes and kitchen utensils—stop by Lanta Mart up in Saladan for fresh ingredients and you could cook up a storm.

Did someone say home away from home?

Did someone say home away from home? Photo: David Luekens

Each room also has air-con, fan, safe, TV with loads of English channels, DVD player, WiFi that worked great for us, a second table for dining or working and comfortable queen bed backed by a calming forest scene papered to the wall. Windows are screened to allow a breeze in without the mozzies, and the air-con in our room really cranked. Tiled hot-water bathrooms are small and basic, the only thing that’s not so fabulous about these rooms.

A personable Swiss/Thai couple run the place out of their house set a little further up the hill. To reach the southern end of Haad Phra Ae you’ll take a 10-minute stroll that passes a bunch of good restaurants and bars on the main drag, including Cozy and Patty’s Secret Garden.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 1,100—1,600
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º2'18.67" E, 7º35'56.56" N

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Central Haad Phra Ae, Ko Lanta
1,500B to 4,000B

Long Beach Chalet

# Central Haad Phra Ae, Ko Lanta T: (075) 684 805 longbeachchalet@gmail.com http://www.longbeachchalet.net/

Long Beach Chalet expanded in a major way since our last visit—you now have a choice of the original stilted garden cabanas and newly built plush villas overlooking nearly 200 metres of casuarina-lined beachfront.

The original stilted air-con cabanas (“standard garden lofts”) are just big enough for double beds, mozzie nets, wardrobes and tables containing the TV, fridge and kettle. High ceilings and large windows keep them from feeling too cramped, and there is additional space both on the upper-floor porch and the patio with cushioned platforms down below. Bamboo-walled bathrooms are set on the other side of the exterior staircase in most of the budget cabanas, though a few have them attached directly to bedrooms.

Hobbits welcome.

Hobbits welcome. Photo: David Luekens

Also set in the garden zone are a few concrete-walled “superior garden lofts” offering a lot more space and porches overlooking a small but attractive swimming pool, the first of two found on the property. We like all of these original rooms for flashpacking couples and families.

Last time we inspected Long Beach Chalet, the entire resort consisted of only this relatively small garden zone and there was no direct beach access. Since then it expanded to the beachfront and an area in between where guests walk through a tunnel of trumpet flower bushes. This makes the property feel like two separate resorts, but guests staying in the cheaper cabanas are welcome to use the larger beachfront pool. Along the sand you’ll also find a bar, massage and lounge chairs, with no artificial obstructions.

Yes please.

Yes please. Photo: David Luekens

All of the newish beach zone rooms were full during our visit, but they looked swanky with cushioned loveseats on terraces accessed through wall-size glass doors. Only the priciest front-row villas have unobstructed sea views, though second-row editions were positioned to receive partial sea outlooks. There’s also a two-floor stack of “pavilion rooms” a little further back. All beach zone rooms come with Jacuzzi tubs and a full list of amenities.

The resort is associated with neighbouring Lym’s Rice Bowl, a restaurant and bar that opened long before Long Beach Chalet expanded.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 1,200—6,400
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º2'10.21" E, 7º36'31.04" N

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Southern Haad Phra Ae, Ko Lanta
1,500B to 4,000B

The efforts put in by management and staff at Lanta Castaway become obvious from the moment you step under the frangipani trees in the impeccably groomed grounds.

The narrow property extends to the beach following a footpath with tan concrete villas and duplexes standing close together on either side. They’re all thoughtfully decorated with Andaman Sea photos and traditional Thai handicrafts alongside wood furnishings, rattan carpets on tile floors and ceilings fans up above—those are in addition to the air-con in all rooms. You also get a TV, large hot-water bathroom, fridge, kettle and wood chairs on the porches.

Classic Thai modern styled room.

Classic Thai modern styled room. Photo: David Luekens

Every room we’ve inspected has been spotless and spacious, but if you get the chance, go for the lone 39-square-metre “Beachcomber Bungalow” with a wraparound sofa placed beside a wide sea-view window beside the beach. Families can go for a freestanding room with two double beds, or take both rooms in a duplex.

The resort mature, understated vibe extends to a beach bar and Beachcomber Restaurant, whose excellent Mexican food draws patrons from across the island. While there’s no pool, you can book snorkel and dive trips at on-site Relax and Dive.

If Castaway is full, another good choice in the lower midrange bracket is Sayang Beach Resort up at the northern end of Haad Phra Ae, which also has a helpful staff along with clean, comfortable concrete bungalows that are suitable for families.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 1,800—4,600
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º2'8.92" E, 7º35'59.66" N

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Southern Haad Phra Ae, Ko Lanta
Under 600B

Andaman Sunflower Bungalows

# Southern Haad Phra Ae, Ko Lanta T: (075) 684 668 https://www.facebook.com/andamansunflowerkohlanta/

We stumbled on Andaman Sunflower in its hidden away location between the beach and the main road at the very end of a research day, and it turned out to be a case of saving something good for last.

Set in rows amid a quiet area set 70 metres back from the beach, many of the spacious woven-bamboo bungalows are draped in bougainvillea in the shade of coconut palms, each with a yellow lantern and hammock on the porch.

Cute huts with a hammock.

Cute huts with a hammock. Photo: David Luekens

They’re equipped with portable fans, comfortable mattresses on four-post beds with mozzie nets, hardwood floors and tiled bathrooms with Western flush toilets. Outside you’ll find foot-cleaning hoses and fire extinguishers attached to all front porches—you do not often see the latter on budget bungalows in Thailand. Most huts come with cold-water showers, but a few have hot water.

Two massive, drooling Saint Bernard’s welcomed us before galloping onto the lawn, and the owners hailing from Thailand and Germany take good care of them. There is no direct beach access but you can stroll beside neighbouring Hut Yee Boat, which is another decent choice for a budget hut, and be at the far southern corner of Haad Phra Ae in a few minutes.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 500—1,150
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º2'5.59" E, 7º35'52.68" N

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Northern Haad Phra Ae, Ko Lanta
600B to 1,500B

Blue Sky Bungalows

# Northern Haad Phra Ae, Ko Lanta T: (075) 684 871 http://www.blueskylanta.com/

Blue Sky remains our preferred bungalow joint in Haad Phra Ae’s northern backpacker village thanks to the sturdy huts and a position that’s further removed from the bars than similar options.

Set in two rows on either side of a sandy path that leads straight to the beach, stilted fan bungalows have high ceilings, woven bamboo walls, hardwood floors, comfy beds with good linens and mozzie nets, and basic cold-water bathrooms. You also get a doorstep waterspout to keep sand out of the hammock.

Hut and a hammock, what more do you need?

Hut and a hammock, what more do you need? Photo: David Luekens

The bungalows are a tad better than others we’ve checked out amid the clutch of small bungalow joints in the village, beating the smaller hexagon-shaped huts at nearby Somewhere Else by more than a hair. While that place and the Funky Fish both have large and lively bars and restaurants, Blue Sky is mainly a bungalow spot tucked behind a small beach bar with a billiards table.

Blue Sky also has a few air-con rooms with hot water set in a longhouse to go with some newer, utilitarian concrete rooms set closest to the beach. Somewhere Else would be our second choice in this vicinity, but you could also head inland to cheaper places like Ozone and Whalecome, or go for one of the Funky Fish’s dark, damp and dirt-cheap concrete huts.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 0—1,500

Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º1'45.53" E, 7º37'1.3" N

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Northern Haad Phra Ae
Under 600B

Chill Out House

# Northern Haad Phra Ae T: (082) 183 2258 info@chillouthouselanta.com https://chillouthouselanta.com/

“Is it a vagabond village? A beached pirate ship?” These were some of our thoughts as we approached Chill Out House, whose overgrown vines hide cheap rooms, dorms and a bar where bohemians enter a vortex of creativity, or drunkenness, or both. Basically it’s a big shack.

The fact that it has succeeded on an island so stacked with budget accommodation is a testament to the scene, perpetuated by staffers who keep things fun and laid-back. Guests swing in hammocks, strum guitars, lounge on floor cushions and socialise on the bar swings. Be careful about smoking, as the natural materials are not exactly fire resistant.

Easy to find.

Easy to find. Photo: David Luekens

The four private rooms and three dorms are spartan, with little more than fans, mozzie nets, thin mattresses and plenty of gaps in the walls. All use shared cold-water facilities. “The Loft” dorm has only thin mattresses on the floor and is set directly above the bar. Instead you might go for the classic six-bunk setup in the “Reggae Dorm” on the ground floor, or better yet, climb up to the “Monkey Dorm” to sleep with a breeze at the building’s highest point.

Also check out the nearby and similarly low low-budget Wildflowers Hostel before deciding which suits you best. If you prefer an air-con dorm with a modern design on the main drag, check out Non La Mer or Hub of Joys.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 0—360

Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º1'51.71" E, 7º37'2.78" N

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Haad Baan Phruklom (Relax Bay), Ko Lanta
1,500B to 4,000B

Relax Bay Resort

# Haad Baan Phruklom (Relax Bay), Ko Lanta T: (075) 684 194-5 relaxbay@hotmail.com http://relaxbay.com/

Relax Bay’s dark crimson and ochre bamboo bungalows dot a forested hill overlooking the quiet northern corner of a beach that actually goes by the same name as the resort. This tells you something about its long-standing reputation.

Rooms are well shaded.

Rooms are well shaded. Photo: David Luekens

Some standing beneath umbrella trees along the beach and others overlooking a pond or set further up the hill under the canopy, the mostly freestanding rooms are spaced far apart and accessed by meandering walkways. They have a tropical flare with woven bamboo walls, thatched roofs, hardwood floors, abstract art and silk pillows embroidered with the resort’s Chinese character logo.

You also get a desk, glass doors opening to decks with hammocks, stylish hot-water bathroom, wall-mounted fan and air-con—and the latter can be switched off to save a few hundred baht. The bungalows have been around for a while and one of those that we inspected smelled of mustiness. The resort also has a number of family rooms and sea-view villas set amid the privacy of the headland.

There are a range of beach activities on offer.

There are a range of beach activities on offer. Photo: David Luekens

Few resorts on Lanta can match Relax Bay’s lengthy beachfront dotted with hammocks, loungers, massage salas, a volleyball net, slackline and beach bar extending to a small hidden-away swimming pool. The restaurant sits up on the rocks at the far end of the beach, and yogis can get down with their hatha at a sala up on the hill, with daily yoga courses on offer.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 1,150—4,100
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º1'57" E, 7º35'35.16" N

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Southern Haad Phra Ae, Ko Lanta
Under 600B

Sanctuary

# Southern Haad Phra Ae, Ko Lanta T: (081) 891 3055 sanctuary_93@yahoo.com http://sanctuarykohlanta.com/

Creative types will appreciate the poetic words and funky works of art painted on hunks of driftwood at Sanctuary, a venerable old backpacker joint tucked away towards the far southern end of Haad Phra Ae.

Words to live by.

Words to live by. Photo: David Luekens

Sanctuary was among the very first places to open bungalows on Haad Phra Ae and it’s surprising how little the scene has changed. Chilled-out staffers sling cocktails, serve terrific massaman curry and show bungalows to walk-in backpackers—and don’t be surprised if you see them perform all of these tasks in the span of five minutes.

Sanctuary is best suited to those looking to slow down and take it easy. Bring an instrument. Note that things can get rather smoky at the bar, where it smelled strongly of skunk although there were no skunks around, if you get our drift.

A social little beach bar.

A social little beach bar. Photo: David Luekens

Rooms are sort of an afterthought to the scene, but they’re not too shabby. Made of wood and woven bamboo, they all have hammocks on the porches to go with dark interiors cooled by fans and sporting soft beds, mosquito nets and cold-water showers in roofless garden bathrooms. You’ll also find larger fan bungalows and one air-con edition on the beachfront.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 500—1,150
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º2'7.73" E, 7º35'58.03" N

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Khlong Khong

Lanta’s main party beach, Khlong Khong has a solid spread of backpacker to flashpacker spots on the sand to go with another flurry of long-stay places out on the newly widened main drag. The rough tan-sand beach is nothing special, but young travellers (and the young at heart) appreciate the beach bars that host loud parties and advertise “Bob Marley cigarettes”.


Central Haad Khlong Khong, Ko Lanta
600B to 1,500B

Bee Bee Bungalow

# Central Haad Khlong Khong, Ko Lanta T: (081) 537 9932 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bee-Bee-Bungalows/267024966666939

The bamboo beach huts at Bee Bee Bungalow stand tall on stilts, each with a different aspect and all strung with multiple hammocks.

We love a good beach shack.

We love a good beach shack. Photo: David Luekens

Some have floor cushions in cosy lofts beneath the high thatch roofs, while wraparound wooden porches boast two tiers of hang out space in others. Fans join an open design for airflow and nets keep the mozzies at bay. Sitting perhaps 20 to 100 metres off the sand in the shade of palms, they all have a cold-water bathroom attached.

We had a pleasure chatting with an owner as he oversaw the building of a new beachfront treehouse. A small restaurant and bar do a steady trade by the beach, but Bee Bee is more relaxation station than party house. It’s set at the centre of Haad Khlong Khong within walking range of the freestanding bars.

Plenty of space for lazing by the sea.

Plenty of space for lazing by the sea. Photo: David Luekens

Bee Bee, which is not to be confused with Bee Garden up in Khlong Dao, is often full. This is especially the case since the closure and subsequent move to Haad Phra Ae of Where Else, formerly a Khlong Khong budget institution whose original property was being redeveloped into a new resort in early 2019.

Green Chilli Bungalows is a reasonable alternative to Bee Bee, and some of the beach bars on Khlong Khong rent out a few huts for cheaper.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 400—500

Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º2'4.56" E, 7º34'15.42" N

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Northern Haad Khlong Khong, Ko Lanta
600B to 1,500B

Coco Lanta Resort

# Northern Haad Khlong Khong, Ko Lanta T: (075) 667 175 info@cocolantaresort.com http://www.cocolantaresort.com

Occupying a former coconut grove towards the quieter northern end of Haad Khlong Khong, Coco Lanta is a solid choice for flashpackers looking for a built-in bar and restaurant to go with a pool and beach access.

A handful of bright and spacious rooms come in a two-floor stack at the back of the property, but most rooms are in the form of small concrete-and-brick bungalows surrounding a lawn with volleyball net, swings and emerald-tile infinity pool sporting a beach outlook. Quads and triples have bunks built into the brushed cement walls, representing decent value for families.

Cool off by the sea.

Cool off by the sea. Photo: David Luekens

All rooms come with air-con, safe, TV, fridge, kettle and clean bathroom with hot-water shower placed behind glass or partition wall. You also get smooth tile floors floors, soft beds, stained-glass panes and glass doors opening to small terraces with hammocks and chairs. Minimal interior space will be the issue for some.

The place used to bill itself as an “eco resort”, though nothing is powered by sun or wind as far as we know. They do rent out good-quality mountain bikes. Other flashpacker options worth mentioning on Khlong Khong include Fisherman’s Cottage, Pavilion Resort and Pinky Bungalows.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 1,200—3,300
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º1'55.99" E, 7º34'36.06" N

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Khlong Nin

Khlong Nin and its neighbouring beaches, Khlong Tob and Khlong Hin, combine to form one of our favourite parts of Ko Lanta. They’re all beautiful beaches with strategic locations at the centre of the west coast, within easy striking distance of both the northern and southern beaches. Don’t miss the Muslim-Thai food out by the mosque in Baan Khlong Tob.


Haad Khlong Nin, Ko Lanta
600B to 1,500B

Baan Rim Lay

# Haad Khlong Nin, Ko Lanta T: (093) 581 6925 Baanrimlay_lanta@hotmail.com

Friendly Ko Lanta native Mr Pong owns a half-dozen spacious and well-equipped rooms at Baan Rim Lay opening direct to Khlong Nin beach via semi-private terraces, where he delivers breakfast to guests in the mornings.

Relax.

Relax. Photo: David Luekens

Though the place doesn’t look like much from the road, the concrete-and-tile bungalows bag you a comfy bed, desk, fridge, TV, coffee/tea facilities, sitting areas inside and out, and wide windows for enjoying sea views from under the sheets. Large hot-water bathrooms are divided into three segments. Foldout sofas help to make these digs a top pick for families.

The small, easy-to-miss property sits near the northern end of Haad Khlong Nin, a good location within a short walk to the street food in Baan Khlong Tob along with several good beach bars.

Modern, if a bit tight, rooms.

Modern, if a bit tight, rooms. Photo: David Luekens

Nearby La Paloma Lanta is a similarly well-equipped bed and breakfast type of place with rooms that fetch a bit more cash. It has a thick concrete wall along the beach, and we prefer how Baan Rim Lay’s rooms open directly to the sand.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 1,000—2,400
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º2'48.85" E, 7º32'36.74" N

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Haad Khlong Nin, Ko Lanta
Under 600B

Lanta Horizon

# Haad Khlong Nin, Ko Lanta T: (087) 626 4493 horizonbeachlanta@yahoo.com https://www.lantahorizon.com/

Horizon’s laid-back air lets you know that you have arrived in the serene south of Ko Lanta, and this bar-restaurant-guesthouse remains a go-to beachfront option for cheap rooms with a lively, built-in social scene.

The life of the property is a ground-floor bar and restaurant that extends right up to the beach, with plenty of hammocks, floor cushions, guitars and board games scattered in between. It has a hipster vibe but staffers are welcoming to all, with an upbeat, “let’s have a good time” attitude that makes up for their occasional forgetfulness. Live music is a regular feature in high season and noise from the bar does carry into rooms—consider bringing earplugs.

Plenty of spots to hang around.

Plenty of spots to hang around. Photo: David Luekens

Relying on shared bathrooms with hot water and ceramic basin sinks, the cramped budget rooms each come with a window and fan mounted directly above a comfortable bed inside a two-storey wooden guesthouse. Some larger rooms in this building have air-con and ensuite bathrooms, though we’re partial to the concrete bungalows with fridge, TV and glass doors opening to beachfront terraces.

Only stay here if you’re up for the same sort of mellow island life as the bartender, who whips up good cocktails when not asleep in his shack above the bar. The gang includes both Thais and foreigners, and it can be hard to tell guests apart from staff. One staffer has dreadlocks as thick as Bob Marley’s. The bar is quite popular with divers, long stayers and beach walkers.

Buddha is always watching.

Buddha is always watching. Photo: David Luekens

Another good option in Khlong Nin with a social scene, albeit a quieter one, is British-run Roundhouse, although the high-season value is not the greatest. A cheaper option is The Hut, located across the road from Roundhouse and offering a small collection of simple bamboo huts with cold-water bathrooms in the 300-500 baht range, even in high season.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 500—1,800
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º2'55.35" E, 7º32'16.66" N

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Haad Khlong Nin, Ko Lanta
1,500B to 4,000B

Sri Lanta

# Haad Khlong Nin, Ko Lanta T: (075) 662 688 reservation@srilanta.com https://www.srilanta.com/

Big changes had unfolded at Sri Lanta since our last visit, with the resort adding a huge three-floor stack of rooms and a bunch of new villas on the hill overlooking the southern stretch of Khlong Nin.

Sri Lanta’s pool impresses.

Sri Lanta’s pool impresses. Photo: David Luekens

The original 40-square metre bungalows made of wood and bamboo have held their integrity and we still love the graceful concertina doors that span the entire front sides of these rooms. Inside it’s a romantic, minimalist design featuring smooth wood floors, four-poster beds and vaulted ceilings.

Further up this tree-draped hillside sit the newer villas with a modern design relying on a lot of brushed concrete and glass. The “myth” and “star path” villas have sea-view terraces that are more like living rooms. Over in the three-floor stacks, which are advertised under the name The Sense Resort but owned and managed by the same group, rooms have at least 50 square metres and some come with Jacuzzi tubs on private terraces.

Rooms come in a few flavours.

Rooms come in a few flavours. Photo: David Luekens

Sri Lanta boasts an exceptional beachfront filled with massage salas, loungers, red umbrellas and lawns backing the sand. A unique aspect is how the beachfront consists entirely of common areas, with no villas to hog up the seaside and plenty of open space for kids to run off steam.

Beachfront facilities include an upscale restaurant; bakery; spa; volleyball net; TV lounge with billiards and ping-pong; slackline strung to the coconut trees; miniature soccer goals; and three dark-tile swimming pools including one designated for adults only. Staff does a good job of taking care of this whole area, from landscaping to restaurant service.

The more modern lodgings.

The more modern lodgings. Photo: David Luekens

Of course, the resort’s expanded size has its drawbacks, and we found reception less personable than previously. We’re also not fans of the new, block-like concrete reception area. Still, the resort has retained its share of elegance and still stands as a top midrange pick on Ko Lanta.

If you like the sound of Sri Lanta and you don’t mind a more isolated location on the headland of nearby Haad Khlong Tob, Moonlight Exotic Bay Resort is also worth a look, as is Andalay Boutique Resort on Haad Khlong Nin.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 1,350—4,000
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º3'4.25" E, 7º31'58.51" N

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Haad Khlong Hin, Ko Lanta
Under 600B

With rows of modest bungalows draped in greenery beside Khlong Hin beach on the way down to the far southern beaches, Coral Beach Resort has always struck us as a solid budget choice for seclusion seekers.

Rooms come in four flavours, starting with fan-cooled, cold-water bamboo huts topped by thatch roofs. Next come the older tile-floored concrete bungalows available with fan or air-con, and the addition of hot water in the bathrooms. All of the older bungalows are well worn but also cleaned regularly. The newest air-con rooms come in utilitarian concrete duplexes with fridges and TVs.

No frills bungalows at no frills prices.

No frills bungalows at no frills prices. Photo: David Luekens

None of the rooms are too memorable and some could use an upgrade, but we like the shady grounds and the old Lanta style that extends into a cute dining terrace perched above the beach. Staffers live up to the “resort” label by offering massage, motorbike/kayak rental and tour/transport bookings.

Khlong Hin’s namesake rocks make Coral Resort’s beachfront feel private, but head south down this deceptively long beach to find out what privacy really feels like. Those not hiring a vehicle might get bored, as it’s two km from here to the closest clutch of restaurants in Khlong Nin.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 300—1,300
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º3'26.08" E, 7º31'15.85" N

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Far southern Ko Lanta

This section includes a trio of far southern beaches: upscale Ao Ba Kantiang, backpacker-friendly Haad Khlong Jak and remote Ao Maipai. All three are tremendously beautiful and set in more natural surrounds than the more heavily developed beaches further north. Though many travellers only come down here on a day trip, quality lodgings are available on all three bays.


Ao Maipai, Ko Lanta
600B to 1,500B

Baan Phu Lae

# Ao Maipai, Ko Lanta T: (085) 474 0265 baanphulae@yahoo.com https://baanphulaeresort.com/

For a long time, Baan Phu Lae was the only place to stay on Ao Maipai and it remains a favourite of ours despite the formidable competition that has moved in nearby.

The first thing you notice is the idyllic beachfront, followed by young staffers patiently assisting guests. A lot of guests spend all day at the restaurant and bar, but kayak and motorbike rental are available.

Lounge on the deck.

Lounge on the deck. Photo: David Luekens

Cute and clean yellow and brown concrete bungalows stand within steps of the sand and a tad further up the hill, all of them affording at least a partial sea view. Though lacking fridges and hot water, the bungalows are tastefully decorated with silk throws, wood furnishings, polished concrete floors, paintings of Thai boats, soft beds and several windows.

You’ll also find four good-value rooms in a two-floor stack closer to the top of the hill. These have air-con and large sea-view porches for the same price as second-row fan bungalows, at least on the day we passed through.

Colourful interiors with plenty of space.

Colourful interiors with plenty of space. Photo: David Luekens

Baan Phu Lae is often full, and should that be the case, neighbouring Bamboo Bay Resort is a decent alternative. Be careful not to confuse Baan Phu Lae, which means “Mountain Sea House,” with Khong Nin’s Baan Rim Lay, or “By the Sea House”.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 700—2,000
Book online: Agoda
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º5'14.44" E, 7º28'58.89" N

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Ao Maipai, Ko Lanta
1,500B to 4,000B

La Laanta Hideaway is an intimate boutique resort that blends into the landscape at the centre of Ao Maipai.

Twenty polished concrete rooms with thatch roofs stand on either side of a footpath, backed by a forested slope. Most are freestanding villas along with a few rooms in duplexes, all with vaulted bamboo ceilings, tasteful art and accents of wood, silk and rattan.

Frolic in the pool.

Frolic in the pool. Photo: David Luekens

You also get a cushy queen bed, air-con, TV, DVD player, fridge, coffee machine, safe and large hot-water bathroom with stained-glass sink. Interiors are quite consistent so we’d skip the pricey first-row rooms and settle for one a little further back. The larger villas bag you more space and daybeds on the terraces, but sea views are obstructed from all but a single first-row villa.

The resort’s focal point is a two-tiered swimming pool set beside a restaurant and bar. Cushioned loungers, umbrellas, massage salas and a volleyball net are included in a glorious beachfront. You can easily walk from here to Baan Phu Lae’s restaurant for a change of pace.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 1,200—3,800
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º5'20.11" E, 7º28'53.4" N

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Ao Ba Kantiang, Ko Lanta
1,500B to 4,000B

Covering a pair of ochre-painted two-floor buildings and a flower-draped courtyard in between, Phra Nang Lanta is an unusual Mediterranean-themed resort in the northern corner of stunning Ao Ba Kantiang.

Each of 15 rooms was individually designed to fit into the building’s curving contours, with the smallest bagging you 50 square metres. Custom patterns adorn glazed floors and cushioned daybeds are set out on spacious terraces affording an outlook over the bay. Some rooms bag you a Jacuzzi tub and a nearly full kitchen in 78 square metres of space.

Plenty of beachfront to go around.

Plenty of beachfront to go around. Photo: David Luekens

We like how the purpose-built resort was drawn up to accommodate different types of travellers—families have plentiful space and extra beds; couples enjoy hidden nooks; and those with mobility limitations can take ground-floor rooms with no steps. One room we inspected smelled a little musty, but we reckon an hour with some of the many windows open would take care of that.

The small swimming pool looked a bit murky and could be a disappointment in this price range, but it fits nicely into the beachfront garden. Offering a restaurant and bicycles, staffers have been courteous to us here and at Phra Nang’s other property up in Ao Nang.

The ocean views are not bad.

The ocean views are not bad. Photo: David Luekens

For more cash you could try The Houben’s plush and trendy concrete rooms and red-tile swimming pool. Ao Ba Kantiang also hosts Pimalai, a five-star resort covering most of the hillside behind the beach’s southern half.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 2,500—4,100
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º4'16.88" E, 7º29'55.33" N

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Ao Khlong Jak, Ko Lanta
Under 600B

Klong Jark Bungalows

# Ao Khlong Jak, Ko Lanta T: (075) 665 016 klongjarkbungalows@hotmail.com

Klong Jark Bungalows is an old mainstay with continued success despite the rundown rooms—a testament to the service and unforgettable location.

Bungalows range from cramped woven-bamboo fan deals to concrete huts sporting bright paintjobs that somehow remind us of punk rock. Holes in mosquito nets and overly grotty bathrooms are a couple of things to watch out for. Beachfront editions are larger and equipped with air-con, but none of these digs are anywhere near fancy.

Long running with great views.

Long running with great views. Photo: David Luekens

The beachfront area includes a restaurant and bar with plentiful floor cushions and a reggae theme, although we usually prefer the bar scene at nearby Last Beach. An advantage of Klong Jark Bungalows is the full-service reception offering motorbike rental, tour bookings, taxis and even Pringles and Oreos.

Along with Last Beach Resort, the other option for budgeteers at Khlong Jak is to head slightly inland to one of the sturdy wood-and-concrete huts at Sun Moon Bungalow, arguably a better option for a long stay.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 400—700
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º5'3.24" E, 7º29'10.9" N

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Ao Khlong Jak, Ko Lanta
Under 600B

Last Beach Resort

# Ao Khlong Jak, Ko Lanta T: (089) 532 8456

Last Beach Resort was initially located on Ao Maipai and the owners kept the original name after moving to Khlong Jak—we guess Second to Last Beach Resort doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Lodgings come in two forms. Our choice would be one of two large wooden bungalows with high metal roofs, tinted windows, portable fans and soft beds with mozzie nets. Seashell collections join cold water in the stonewall bathrooms, and hoses are placed out front for splashing off the sand.

Simple beach bungalows in good condition.

Simple beach bungalows in good condition. Photo: David Luekens

If these are full, settle into a smaller room in a wooden duplex with several windows, including some sporting blue-and-green stained glass, and attached bathroom. The value for both room types is excellent, and guests are encouraged to settle in for as long as they want, paying by the day.

A very laid-back crew of Thai guys runs the place and they put on barbecues and occasional parties in high season. By day you’ll find them and guests swinging in hammocks strung up in the bar and restaurant, which opens to the best beach on Lanta, in our opinion.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 0—700

Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º4'59.17" E, 7º29'12.13" N

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Old Town

Several heritage houses have been repurposed to accommodate travellers in the Old Town, most of them sporting terraces set out over the picturesque bay. The atmosphere is sedate and there’s plenty to eat and drink, even if you’ll have to head across the island to find a decent beach.


South end of Ko Lanta Old Town
Under 600B

Sweet Life Community Guesthouse is not one property but five (at least) that are scattered around the serene south side of the Old Town and managed by fluent English-speaking Ko Lanta native, Tommy. He brightened our day with one of the more welcoming, personable greetings we’ve received on an anonymous hotel inspection in quite some time.

Old school.

Old school. Photo: David Luekens

Set across a leafy lane from Cooking With Mon’s kitchen, the main guesthouse has small brushed-concrete rooms on the ground floor and an upper floor with brighter wood-floored rooms, plus a four-bed mixed gender dorm. The priciest rooms here have private terraces, though the sea view is partially blocked by a neighbouring house. All rooms in this building have air-con that can be switched off to save 200 baht, we were told. There are no private bathrooms, with all guests sharing modern hot-water facilities found on both floors. A large communal kitchen and dining area contribute to a hostel atmosphere.

Those seeking more privacy should inquire about the other houses set on stilts nearby and managed by the same crew. Set in an old fisher house, we adored one of the two fan-cooled rooms at Muchu House for its large size, breezy interior, low price and floors that allow you to hear the sea gushing below. The sea-view hammocks are also a win.

More modern options are available too.

More modern options are available too. Photo: David Luekens

Nearby, the cushier Wooda House has a larger bedroom with a front wall opening to a huge roofed sea-view terrace. It also boasts a living room extending to a second, lower-floor deck—all of it part of 200-square metres of space. While Wooda is great for couples, the 120-square-metre Ocean Blue House may be better for families thanks to two bedrooms and a full kitchen.

The group also rents out Mountain House surrounded by forest over on the west side of the island near Haad Phra Ae. In addition, Tommy showed us some newly built concrete air-con rooms for budget long stays near the hospital in the Old Town. You’re best off digging into Sweet Life’s excellent website and contacting directly to find out which option will suit you best.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 300—800
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º5'42.75" E, 7º31'32.87" N

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Centre of Old Town, Ko Lanta
600B to 1,500B

The Old Times B&B

# Centre of Old Town, Ko Lanta T: (081) 854 6000 https://www.facebook.com/theoldtimeslantabnb/

We dig the vintage style of The Old Times, a charming guesthouse set in a century-old teak house built on stilts by the sea.

Take a seat.

Take a seat. Photo: David Luekens

Air-con rooms on two floors nail the antiquarian style of the Old Town while remaining playful with names like Yellow Submarine and Black Superman, each decorated with photos of The Beatles and Muhammad Ali, respectively. Other antiques include writing desks, four-poster beds and a portrait of Jake and Elwood Blue. Cushy beds are draped in mosquito nets, and ensuite bathrooms come with partitioned hot-water rainshowers.

At high tide the splashing seawater is audible beneath the lower-floor rooms, and the old wooden walls are thin. Floor cushions beckon on a seafront deck where you can enjoy fresh coffee, Thai food and pizza before snapping a selfie on The Old Times’ signature lonely bench. Families with small children should look elsewhere because the deck has no railings.

We like the rooms here.

We like the rooms here. Photo: David Luekens

The ramshackle Sriraya Guesthouse is a cheaper option joined with a tattoo shop nearby, while Easy Life has 500-baht bungalows closer to the main drag. Many Old Town restaurants also rent out a room or two, or you could head north up the east coast to the homestays of Thung Yee Peng.

More information

Walk–in rates ( baht): 0—1,000
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 99º5'33.12" E, 7º31'59.32" N

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ko Lanta.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Ko Lanta.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ko Lanta.
 Read up on how to get to Ko Lanta, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
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