My husband and I are trying to figure out what beach to go to. We are for sure going to Koh Phi Phi but are now trying to decide if we should head from there to Koh Lanta or Railay. Any insights would be much appreciated.
#1 mtkushnick has been a member since 4/10/2010. Posts: 2
It depends what you want to do. I found Lanta disappointing after Phi Phi, but I was staying in a quiet place on Phi Phi. If you are staying in the busy part of Phi Phi, you may find Lanta a welcome respite. Lanta is big enough to venture out on bikes and explore. I found the scenery on Lanta to be average, but enjoyed the food and biking. Railay will be the more crowded, but is very beautiful.
Railay is visually more spectacular than Lanta, has 2 of the nicest beaches on Thailand. It will be more expensive and crowded, particularly after late November. Neither has particularly good snorkelling off the beach but Railay has it much closer by boat. Lanta has a much much bigger choice of accommodation which can be a big factor in busy times - Railay tend to book out. Railay has relatively few budget places although there are plenty at adjacent Ton Sai.
I really loathed Koh Phi Phi, actually. Reminded me of walking into an episode of the Real World complete with American frat boys, gals with boob jobs, European sex tourists in Speedos, and lots of people covertly trying to sell me weed. Factor in thumping, awful electronic music going until 3:00 in the morning and gobs of people, and you don't have a good destination. I'm 22 years old and do have a decent capacity for that kind of thing, to give you some perspective.
I didn't get to Railay but I LOVED Koh Lanta. Beautiful place. Cheap, great accommodation. (I suggest the Ancient Realm on Klong Dao beach). Amazing restaurants. Interesting culture - check out the Sea Gypsy village. Good proximity to other islands for day trips. Not many tourists, especially in off season.
I would advise that if you go to Koh Lanta, rent a motorbike. There's very little traffic and you can explore the variety of cool stuff the island has to offer. There are some incredible vistas on the other side of the island if you're willing to haul out there. You can ride a motorbike around the entire perimeter in about an hour and a half or so. As for snorkeling-scuba...there's a ton of great dive outfits on Koh Lanta who will take you out to the good stuff. They can even take you to Ko Phi Phi for the day, which strikes me as a much better way to see it then sleeping there....