Ko Lanta is so big, we’ve split it up into areas, select one of the below for detailed accommodation and food listings in that area. Sights and general overviews for Ko Lanta as a whole can be found via the icons above. Don’t know where to start? Read an overview of Ko Lanta’s different areas.
All the way down at Ko Lanta’s far southern tip, Mu Ko Lanta National Park is home to some very laid-back monkeys, a splendid beach and some of the most breathtaking views you’ll find anywhere in Thailand.
In its entirety, the marine park spans over 130 square km of Andaman Sea and includes distant diving and snorkelling destinations like Ko Rok, Ko Haa and even Ko Muk and Ko Kradan to the south.
But as far as the actual island of Ko Lanta is concerned, the park refers specifically to a relatively small area in the remote south.
A two-kilometre-long hiking trail leads into dense old-growth jungle where you might spot a green imperial pigeon or Chinese egret along with the snakes that have helped to make them endangered. All over the park, fearless monkeys let visitors walk right up to snap portraits of them. You’re not supposed to feed them, but supposedly those who do are thanked with a gracious nod of the head.
The park’s highlights are its twin beaches that stretch out on either side of a high rocky peninsular cliff, known as Ta Noad Cape, with a picturesque old lighthouse at its highest point. A climb up to the lighthouse is a must for the panoramic views of both beaches, the impressive surrounding cliffs and several islands. If you have more than a couple of days on Lanta, save the national park for a clear one.
No railings or fences are found atop the steep white-rock cliff and some of the paths come within inches of a stomach-tingling 50-metre-drop (at least that’s our estimate) down to jagged rocks that get slapped by the surf. Take it slow and keep a tight grip on young children.
One of the “twin beaches” consists mostly of rocks, but the other is an idyllic crescent of silky white sand rimmed by screw palms and umbrella trees. The swimming is excellent. Though most of the area’s coral is dead, snorkellers can still spot an array of tropical fish just off shore. The lighthouse adds a distinctive touch to those beach-paradise photos.
Few choose to stay here due to the remote location and front gates that are locked up by sundown, but the national park does offer tent camping (250 baht per night) and a couple of large fan bungalows (1,000 baht) to go with a restaurant with limited choices and hours. Food left in an unattended backpack will almost certainly be plundered by the monkeys. Snorkels can be rented at the visitor centre, but don’t expect much in the way of maps or other info in English.
The park is open daily from 8:00 to 17:00 and stays open year round. To get here, simply follow the southeastern coastal road to its end. Admission is 200 baht per person for foreigners, plus another 20 baht if you’re bringing a motorbike. It’s also possible to arrange private taxis through any resort or travel office, and the park features on more than a few island tour itineraries.
How to get there
The park is open daily from 8:00 to 17:00 and stays open year round. To get here, simply follow the southeastern coastal road to its end. Accommodation reservations can be made at www.dnp.go.th. Admission is 200 baht per person for foreigners, plus another 20 baht if you’re bringing a motorbike. It’s also possible to arrange private taxis through any resort or travel office, and the park features on more than a few island tour itineraries.
By David Luekens.
Last updated on 19th December, 2016.
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