Koh Lanta is located on the western coast of Thailand on the Andaman Sea. It is approximately 70km south of Krabi Town and 30km southeast of Koh Phi Phi. The island itself is 25km from north to south and 4km from east to west. The primary arrival point for ferry's is on the northern tip of the island in the village of Saladan. Saladan is the central business district of the island containing numerous banks, restaurants, and shops.
Koh Lanta's western coast is lined with 9 beaches and contains a majority of all tourist accommodations. The eastern coast is lined with mangrove forests and dotted with local villages. Lanta Old Town is located on the south east side of the island. It used to be the main village on the island, but Saladan now holds that honor. At the southernmost tip of the island is the Mu Koh Lanta National Park. The center of the island is mountainous with dense tropical forest which is interrupted occasionally by rubber plantations.
Koh Lanta's population is roughly 20,000. The locals are comprised of Thai Muslim, Thai Chinese, and Sea Gypsies (Chao Lay). The three groups have lived together in harmony for centuries. They all have a laid-back, gentle demeanor and always greet visitors warmly. The Sea Gypsies continue to make their living fishing while the others tend to their rubber and coconut plantations. A growing number of the younger generation are working in many of the jobs created by the steady increase in tourism.
The popular thing to do on Lanta is rent a motorbike from the resort or numerous other rental shops and explore the island at your leisure. That being said, there is an abundance of small taxi trucks and motorbike taxis cruising around the island at all times. There is one car rental shop on the island and the resort can also arrange for any car transport needs you may like.
The average temperature is 27-33 degrees Celsius (81-91 degrees Fahrenheit) year round. May to October marks the monsoon season. During this time heavy rains occur regularly but they tend to come and go sporadically. Thus, there is still a healthy supply of sunshine as well. November to April marks the dry season. During this time, the humidity is low and cool breezes occur regularly in the evenings. This is also know as 'High Season' as it is when most tourists visit the island.
Banks, ATM's and Money Exchange
There are several banks located in the village of Saladan, one in Klong Dao and another in Phra Ae. All offer money exchange services. There are also some independent money exchange kiosks located around the island. ATM machines are located practically everywhere, and they accept most foreign debit/credit cards.
There is a large government run Health Center (clinic) in Saladan with professional doctors, as well as, the island's hospital located just south of Lanta Old Town. There are also a number of private clinics and numerous pharmacies scattered about the island, including the Siam International Clinic about 100m from Castaway Resort.