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Spanning almost three kilometres between Long Beach and Khlong Nin, Khlong Khong beach attracts a mix of hippies, yoga-enthusiasts and regular budget travellers looking for a cheap place to stay. With grainy sand and loads of rocks, the narrow beach itself doesn't stack up to its neighbours and is terrible for swimming at low tide. But you don't come for the beach; you come for the scene, man!
Khlong Khong has at least a dozen funky beach bars that are known for extended happy hours and late-night parties. Nearly all of them has a billiards table, most specialise in cheap beer and buckets rather than trendy cocktails, many host live reggae and dance DJs to go with fire-spinning shows after dark, and a few are none too subtle in advertising things like "spliffs" and "happy shakes".
We found several bungalow staffers napping at noon, and one blew conspicuously herbacious smoke into our faces as he showed us a room. Murals of pot leafs abound. With that said, the scene is nowhere near as debaucherous as Haad Rin on Ko Pha Ngan; anyone looking to simply kick back and meet other travellers will be well served here.
Thanks to its plentiful rocks and overall lack of sparkle, Haad Khlong Khong is the least developed of Lanta's "big four" beaches. The far south and far north are lined with coconut trees rather than resorts, with most of the bungalow joints plunked one after the next in the beach's central area. You'll find plenty of bare-bones huts and comfortable air-con rooms, but nothing too luxurious.
To be fair, the beach itself would receive better press if it were on an island that didn't happen to boast some of the finest beaches in Asia. It's perfectly suitable for sun-bathing to the reggae beats, and if you tire of hearing No Woman No Cry for the umpteenth time, the more swimmable Haad Khlong Nin and Haad Phra Ae are both an easy motorbike or bicycle ride away.
Khlong Khong covers quite a large area, but most of the traveller services and restaurants are clustered along the main road near the centre of the beach. Though the main drag isn't exactly charming, it does host some quality cafes and guesthouses.
By David Luekens.