Don't miss it!
The headquarters of Mu Ko Lanta National Park overlook Laem Tanod, a peninsular cliff of white rock topped by a lighthouse watching over one of the prettiest beaches on Ko Lanta. We think this popular day trip destination ranks among the most memorable viewpoints in Southern Thailand.
The park oversees a number of smaller islands, including Ko Talabeng to the east of Ko Lanta and Ko Rok some 40 km to the southwest. But when you’re on Lanta, “the national park” refers to a relatively small area around Ao Tanod in the remote south, guarded by a gate where foreign visitors must shell out 400 baht per adult and 200 baht per child.
A two-km hiking trail leads into 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 those who do are sometimes thanked with a gracious nod of the head.
A climb up to the lighthouse rewards you with a panoramic view covering the beaches that stretch on either side of the peninsula along with dramatic cliffs and several islands, including Ko Muk to the south and Ko Haa out west. Save a trip to the park for a clear day if possible.
The main beach has silky khaki sand backed by screw palms and umbrella trees. The swimming is excellent, but you’ll have to visit some of the aforementioned islands to peep much fish and coral. The beach is large enough to find a quiet patch, and the always-visible lighthouse adds a distinctive touch.
Few stay here due to the remote location, but the park rents out tents for 250 baht per night (30 baht if you bring your own) along with a couple of fan bungalows with private bathrooms for 1,500 baht.
There’s also a restaurant with limited choices and hours, and shared cold-water bathrooms for the campers. Monkeys may plunder food left unattended.
The park opens daily from 8:00 to 17:00, year round except when the access road floods. To get here, simply follow the southwestern coastal road to its end.
Address: Southern tip of Ko Lanta.
Coordinates (for GPS): 99º5'54.38" E, 7º28'12.02" N
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Admission: 400 baht for foreign adults, 200 baht for foreign kids
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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