We've already confessed our love for Koh Lanta and highlighted the best beaches and places to stay. In our opinion, it's the best island in Thailand, offering some of the most beautiful beaches and just the right amount of development without being too touristy.
Whether you're planning to spend a two-week vacation in the Koh Lanta or you're stopping by on your journey throughout Southeast Asia, we can help you plan an amazing trip. In fact, one of the reasons why we fell in love with the island to begin with is due to the sheer number of exciting things to do in Koh Lanta and amazing beaches to explore.
There are things to do in Koh Lanta for everyone regardless of age and interests. From snorkeling trips and island hopping to Thai cooking classes, animal shelters, stunning sunsets, yoga classes, and relaxing Thai massages on the beach, you'll never get bored. In order to help you find the best activities on the island, we've listed all of the top things to do in Koh Lanta.
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Wondering What to Do in Koh Lanta? Here Are the Top 11 Activities:
1. Take the Koh Lanta 4 Island Tour
The single most popular thing to do in Koh Lanta, besides spending time on the beach, is the four island tour. It’s a full day with fun water activities as well as visits to some of the most beautiful islands and beaches in Thailand.
There are actually several different four islands tours on Koh Lanta and they offer visits to different islands and also different activities.
During some tours, you get to go kayaking, while others are spent exploring old pirate caves. What they all have in common is that you get to snorkel on colorful reefs and spend time relaxing on secluded beaches, while experiencing the beautiful coastline that has made Thailand famous around the world.
Most of the tours are full day tours meaning they provide food, snacks, and drinks but make sure you double check what's included before you book it. Also, it's usually not a problem if you're vegan or have any dietary restrictions. Just remember to let the crew know in advance so that they can prepare food that's suitable for you.
2. Visit Lanta Animal Welfare and Walk Some Dogs at the Beach
If you’re wondering what to do in Koh Lanta, we highly recommend a visit to Lanta Animal Welfare. Lanta Animal Welfare is a place near and dear to Victoria's heart after having been a volunteer there for 3 months in 2013. The volunteers and staff work tirelessly to take care of Koh Lanta’s stray animals as well as some animals from neighboring islands.
Because of LAW, the rate of rabies has drastically gone down on the island and many of the shelter's former residents have found their forever home abroad.
Lanta Animal Welfare offers tours starting at 10:00 and ending at 16:00 from November to April, and tours every two hours at 11:00, 13:00, 15:00 and 16:00 from May to October.
The tours are free, but donations are greatly appreciated as the shelter relies completely on donations to exist and provide care to the animals.
In our opinion, walking one of the dogs at Lanta Animal Welfare is one of the best things to do in Koh Lanta. But please keep in mind that for obvious reasons the dogs are not walked during the hottest time of the day. The best time to take a dog for a walk is from 8:30 - 11:00 or 15:00-17:00.
Fancy a visit with some cats? Visit Kitty City and cuddle with 30+ cats and kittens. Who knows maybe during your time at Lanta Animal Welfare, you’ll even find a 4-legged companion to bring home!
3. Take a Thai Cooking Class at Time for Lime
If you love Thai food and would love to learn how to make some delicious Thai dishes, taking a cooking class at Time for Lime is one of the top things to do in Koh Lanta.
Victoria took a cooking class at Time for Lime as part of her volunteer experience with Lanta Animal Welfare and loved every minute of it. The cooking class was fun, interactive, and easily catered to vegans with vegan Thai food versions of each dish.
Time for Lime truly provides a great introduction to Thai food. From making homemade curry paste with a mortar and pestle to learning about the individual Thai ingredients that make up the sweet and sour characteristic of Thai dishes, you will walk away from the class having learned a tremendous amount about the Thai cuisine.
Choose between the different Time for Lime cooking classes on offer:
- The Family Class is designed for families that want to cook together - the minimum age for kids if cooking is 6 years old
- The Cooking and Cocktail Experience for partners and friends that want to learn about making cocktails and wine pairing along with cooking
- The Single Cooking Chef offers a full hands-on experience for those that are ready to dive right in and cook up a storm, you get your very own cooking station
*If you’re vegan just let them know, they are very accommodating and even offer a full vegan tapas menu at the restaurant.
4. Snorkeling in Koh Lanta
Like on any other beautiful tropical island, the biggest attraction of Koh Lanta is the sea. And since the island is located in the Andaman Sea, the diving and snorkeling is world class. In fact, snorkeling is one of the top things to do in Koh Lanta.
On some of the beaches in Koh Lanta, you can snorkel without the help of a boat, Kantiang Bay and Bamboo Bay are especially popular for this. However, the waters around Koh Lanta tend to be quite rocky and the bottom is mostly sand. Therefore, it’s often better to let a tour operator bring you around to the best spots.
Many of the most popular snorkeling spots around Koh Lanta are located on the neighboring island of Koh Rok, and every tour operator and dive shop on Koh Lanta can easily set you up with day trip there.
When booking a snorkeling trip in Koh Lanta, you usually have two options. You can either book it with a dive shop and get to follow along on their dive trips and snorkel while the divers are in the water. Or you can book a snorkeling trip where you and everyone else on the boat are going just to snorkel for the day.
As mentioned, there is the famous Four Island Tour, which is the easiest way to go snorkeling in Koh Lanta.
5. Diving in Koh Lanta
If diving is more your thing, you'll be excited to know that there is some great scuba diving in Koh Lanta. Many of the islands surrounding Koh Lanta are home to some of the top diving spots in the world, and it’s definitely an activity to consider when visiting Koh Lanta.
There are numerous dive shops on Koh Lanta on every beach so it’s never a problem finding an operator that can help you. Some even arrange liveaboards where you get to travel the Andaman Coast for a few days and dive several times a day.
If you’ve never gone diving before, you can take a three-day course and get your license as an open water diver.
And for experienced divers, there is a wide range of dive spots to visit. For example, underwater caves, stunning reefs, a couple of wrecks, and more.
Note that most of the dive shops on Koh Lanta close down during the low season since the rain impairs the underwater conditions. Because of this, it’s always better to go diving in Koh Lanta between October and March.
6. Free Diving in Koh Lanta
If you’ve been thinking about trying out free diving, Koh Lanta is definitely the place. In fact, if you're into extreme sports of any kind or like to push yourself to new limits, taking a free diving course is one of the best things to do in Koh Lanta.
A handful of Koh Lanta’s dive shop offers free diving introduction courses as well as more advanced training and excursions for experienced free divers.
In Adam's opinion, there is no better way to experience the ocean than through a free dive, and in Koh Lanta, you can find some of the most talented instructors in all of Southeast Asia.
7. Partner with Trash Hero and Clean Up the Beaches
Trash Hero is a non-profit that aims to clean up the beaches in Thailand and elsewhere in Asia. Several times a week they arrange beach cleanups on Koh Lanta where you can volunteer with others to spend the afternoon picking up trash that has been dumped on the beach or washed up by the sea.
Obviously, Trash Hero is a great initiative and one of the best things to do in Koh Lanta since you get to make a difference.
Another part of Trash Hero’s mission is to limit the amount of trash that we use, especially plastic. In order to do so, Trash Hero sells affordable and reusable metal bottles and they have set up refill-stations around Koh Lanta where you can fill your bottle up for free or a small charge.
Buying the Trash Hero bottles is a great way to help fund the project while also limiting your waste and helping to spread awareness to others visiting the island.
8. Get a Thai Massage on the Beach
Who can resist a Thai massage especially at a tropical beach? In Koh Lanta, you'll have plenty of opportunities to indulge in this favorite Thai pastime as most Koh Lanta beaches offer it right on the spot.
We've had fantastic Thai massages at both Khlong Kong and Phra Ae Beach, and with massages costing roughly $8 an hour, who can say no? Moreover, most hotels and guest houses offer massage services or can help you set one up.
9. Enjoy Sunset on The Beach With The Best Mojito in Koh Lanta
Sunsets are magical in Koh Lanta, just take our word for it. You should try to experience the sunset at as many beaches in Koh Lanta as you can since they all offer a different experience. Watching the sunset is our absolute favorite thing to do in Koh Lanta which is why we try to do it daily, and suggest you do the same.
With that said, why not enjoy the sunset with the best mojito on Koh Lanta?
Head down to Khlong Dao beach to be mesmerized by the stunning colors of the sunset while enjoying a mojito or another amazing cocktail at Time for Lime. Time for Lime offers a happy hour right during sunset hours from 5:30- 6:30 pm so it’s the perfect time to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Not to mention that Time for Lime's drinks are incredibly well made. Try classic favorites like mojitos, mai tais, and piña coladas, or enjoy an ice cold Thai beer. Otherwise, try something completely different like their Thai-inspired lemongrass margarita which just so happens to be their best selling cocktail.
The best part, however, is that Time for Lime is run together with Lanta Animal Welfare and all the profits from the bar and restaurant go back to the shelter.
10. Get Your Yoga On
Although perhaps not as popular as the yoga scene in Ubud, Bali, yoga is one of the top things to do in Koh Lanta.
Oasis Yoga is the most popular place to do yoga on the island. The studio is located in Saladan, and they offer a set of different classes on a daily basis. Enjoy a nice morning vinyasa flow Class or an ashtanga class before a day at the beach.
For beginners, we suggest you check out the sunset stretch or a beginner's yin class. And don't forget to visit the health shop for a fresh superfood smoothie on your way out.
You can also visit Sanctuary Yoga and enjoy a 400 baht yoga class on the beach. Many of the classes are taught by locals, but the schedule is more sporadic so make sure you contact them in advance.
Sanctuary Yoga also offers basic accommodation and a beautiful beach bar where you can sip on a drink while watching the sunset on the horizon.
11. Visit Old Town Koh Lanta
Another popular thing to do on Koh Lanta is a visit to the beautiful Old Town.
Spend the afternoon strolling down the winding streets admiring the classical Thai wooden houses and enjoy a meal on one of the many restaurants located on stilts raised above the ocean.
Old Town was originally created as a settlement by the local sea gypsies and has been persevered for cultural reasons, even though many locals still live there today. Interestingly enough, Old Town used to be the main entry point to Koh Lanta only about 50 years ago.