Photo: Old school in the Old Town.

Lanta Old Town

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Known as Baan Ko Lanta or Amphoe Gao among the Thais, most travellers refer to the island’s historic east-coast village simply as the Old Town. If you seek a taste of culture and heritage to go with fresh seafood and lovely views, a day trip or extended stay on Lanta’s sleepy east coast is a good idea.

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A settlement has existed at the site of the Old Town for centuries. First came the tribe of “sea people” known as Urak Lawoi; then Muslims from further down the Malay peninsula and Sumatra; and finally Southern Chinese who filtered to Lanta from places like Phuket and Takua Pa during a 19th-century immigration wave based on tin mining. It’s easy to imagine ancient ships taking shelter in the picturesque bay off Lanta’s east coast.

Downtown old town. Photo taken in or around Lanta Old Town, Ko Lanta, Thailand by David Luekens.

Downtown old town. Photo: David Luekens

It was the Chinese who left the most visible mark on the Old Town. Incense wafts from shrines dedicated to icons of Chinese Buddhism as lanterns dot teak rowhouses that are more than a century old. Some have stilted sections reaching to terraces set far out over the bay. Soak in the tranquility while gazing at fishing boats and obscure isles like Ko Por and Ko Bu Bu.

Though still charming and photogenic, the Old Town today has a more touristy feel than it used to. Some heritage houses host seafood restaurants like Apsara, while many others have become guesthouses like The Old Times and Sriraya. At the south end of town, Cooking with Mon looked like a fun place to pick up Thai cooking skills across from the terrific Sweet Life Community Guesthouse. Other shopkeepers focus on souvenirs, jewellery and ... Travelfish members only (Around 300 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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How to get there
If you’re hanging around the Old Town after sundown (but not overnight), remember that it’s a dark 20-minute ride back across the island. The cross-island road from Haad Phra Ae is fairly flat, but the more popular southern route from Khlong Nin takes you high over an inland mountain with some tight switchback turns. If you don’t bring your own wheels, a few local taxis can always be found lingering near the pier. Old Town guesthouses can also help arrange onward transport, bicycle and motorbike rental.

Lanta Old Town
Southeast coast of Ko Lanta

Location map for Lanta Old Town

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Popular attractions in Ko Lanta

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Ko Lanta.



Best places to stay in Ko Lanta

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Ko Lanta.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ko Lanta.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Ko Lanta.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ko Lanta.
 Read up on how to get to Ko Lanta, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Ko Lanta? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
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See below for more sights and activities in Ko Lanta that are listed on Travelfish.org.


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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Ko Lanta? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.


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