Wait, there’s more!
Published/Last edited or updated: 9th February, 2019
Tired of all those beaches and islands? Well, we weren’t either, but Ko Lanta has plenty of other activities if you must leave your hammock. Below we dig into watersports, yoga, meditation, muay Thai, cooking classes and more.
Kayak and SUP board rental is available for 300 to 500 baht per day on all major beaches, and Lanta does not disappoint those with a passion for paddling. Prime spots to get out on the water include the Thung Yee Pheng mangrove forest on the east coast; around Laem Koh Kwang to the northwest; Relax Bay south of Haad Phra Ae; and the far southern trio of bays starting with Ao Ba Kantiang. But there’s really no bad place to kayak because jetskiis are banned and other motorised traffic minimal given the length of Lanta’s coast. Rainy season does bring a few surfers out to the typically mild breaks off Ao Koh Kwang and Haad Khlong Dao.
Yoga and meditation
One reputable spot is Oasis Yoga on Haad Khlong Dao, offering classes in flow, ashtanga, sunset stretch and yin along with a health bar and stylish midrange bungalows. The five-night retreats are quite popular.
Other options include intermediate ashtanga with Thip at Yoga Home Ko Lanta, pregnancy yoga at Lanta Yoga, and daily yoga classes at these and several resorts including Sanctuary, Relax Bay, Sri Lanta and Nakara. Walk-in classes cost around 300 to 500 baht, with weekly and monthly rates available.
Ko Lanta’s International Buddhist Meditation Centre is signposted off the main west-coast road near Khlong Hin beach. No one was around when we went up there, but the breezy meditation room, set high up near a forest with a sea view, looked like a great place to sit. When in residence, an English-speaking Thai monk provides instruction in vipassana meditation, we were told. This is a functioning Buddhist temple—please wear respectful attire.
International Buddhist Meditation Center Koh Lanta: Inland lane across from Dream Team Resort and the north end of Haad Khlong Hin
Lanta Yoga: Fruit Tree Lodge, southern Haad Phra Ae; T: (089) 019 5911; (089) 697 8379; http://www.lanta-yoga.com
Oasis Yoga: Central Haad Khlong; T: (085) 115 4067; http://www.oasisyoga-lanta.com
Yoga Home Ko Lanta: T: (097) 082 9088; https://www.facebook.com/yogahomekohlanta/
The northwest of Ko Lanta hosts two muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) facilities, each with a “stadium” presenting fights on Friday and Sunday evenings. What they call stadiums are really glorified pavilions with some bleachers and perhaps sofas around the ring. We always question whether tickets that cost 500 to 800 baht are worth it for these hyped fight nights. You will not be seeing the best fighters in Thailand throwing down on Ko Lanta.
However, both stadiums double as training facilities where experienced instructors run courses by the hour, week or month. A one-off crash course fetches 300 baht. Both facilities also feature good-size fitness centres and these can be used separate from the kickboxing gyms for 200 baht per day.
Hero Muay Thai: Main drag in northern Haad Phra Ae; T: (089) 746 5635; (075) 684 962; https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Sports-Team/Hero-Muay-Thai-Gym-and-Stadium-126165528057302/
Lanta Muay Thai Complex: Main drag in central Khlong Dao; T: (083) 509 1135; https://lantamuaythaicomplex.com
The most popular is probably Time For Lime, where you’ll pound a curry paste and learn to make classic Thai dishes like jungle curry and laab in a sleek open-sided kitchen and bar overlooking the south end of Haad Khlong Dao. Group classes cost 2,000 baht per person, start at 16:00 and last through sunset, often ending with cocktails after 21:00. There’s also a shorter family-oriented class starting at 11:00 for 1,000 baht.
A more homely option is Cooking with Mon, taught by a Southern Thai chef in an open-sided kitchen set down a leafy Old Town lane. Don’t expect ingredients to be pre-chopped and set out on dishes for you—this is more of a deep cooking scene that’s an especially good choice for private groups willing to get their hands dirty. Classes cost 1,600 baht per adult and go from 11:00 to 16:00.
Two other cooking schools, both in southern Haad Phra Ae, also appear to be worth considering. Lanta Thai conducts classes in a traditional Thai house and advertises “no pairing” in its workstations, throwing in complimentary cookbooks to boot. Sukho Cuisine offers fruit carving and market tours in addition to cooking classes. Both cost 1,500 baht.
We’ve not tried these and so can’t offer an opinion on which is best; they have all received positive feedback online.
Cooking with Mon: Across from Sweet Life Community Guesthouse, Old Town; T: (086) 843 6204; http://cookingwithmon.com
Lanta Thai Cookery School: Inland near Lanta Animal Welfare off main drag in southern Haad Phra Ae; T: (087) 311 3252; (075) 656 990; http://www.lantathaicookeryschool.com/
Sukho Cuisine Thai Cooking School: Inland off main drag in southern Haad Phra Ae; T: (083) 646 2651; (096) 164 5453; https://www.facebook.com/SukhoCuisine/
Time for Lime: Southern end of Haad Khlong Dao; T: (075) 684 590; http://www.timeforlime.net
Nestled between jungle and rubber trees off the dirt lane to Mae Kaew Cave, Asa Lanta calls itself an “Asian Sustainability Academy” where you can learn to build walls using sustainable materials and craft jewellery and bamboo tools. Focusing on “green living blended with Thai culture,” the group also runs homestay and retreat programs along with a teahouse and shop, with the whole earthy shebang adhering to a sustainable mission.
Crafty travellers may also be interested in the casual batik workshop conducted in the heart of Saladan village. For only a little more cash than a sarong would cost off the rack, talented Mr Sam will show you how to make one of these essential Southern Thai garments of your own design.
Asa Lanta: Tham Mai Kaew Rd, inland from Khlong Nin; T: (088) 296 2916; http://www.asalanta.com/
Sam Batik: Baan Saladan, west of the pier; T: (095) 995 7980
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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