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Long and thin, 81-square-km Ko Lanta Yai is touristy on the west coast, but it also has local character thanks to Muslim-Thai, Chinese-Thai and Urak Lawoi people whose sea-faring ancestors arrived as early as the 16th century. Watch beautifully painted longtail boats reflect late-afternoon sunlight. Attempt the chilli-laden food that steams at roadside markets. Listen to timeless calls to worship resound from the mosques. If you don’t see enough goats, rubber trees and monkeys munching on mud crabs on the east coast, cross the bridge to meet Lanta Yai’s more arcadian sibling, Ko Lanta Noi.
Scandinavian backpackers found Lanta in the 1980s and word soon spread about this beach-heavy alternative to Phuket and Ko Phi Phi. A yoga scene developed as divers came to glimpse rays and whale sharks around nearby Ko Haa, Hin Daeng and Hin Mueang. These are a few sites worth checking out among the many small islands encircling Ko Lanta, from Ko Bu Bu in the east to Ko Rok in the distant southwest. Do check some of them out on a boat trip, as the snorkelling around Lanta itself is ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,600 words.)
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