Should you visit Koh Lanta in the Low Season?
Koh Lanta’s tropical climate is governed by 2 distinct monsoons, the ‘Dry’ North-east monsoon which coincides roughly with high season (between November and April), and the ‘Rainy’ South-West monsoon falling roughly between May and October, or the tourist low season.
What weather should I expect if I visit between May and October?
The South-West monsooon winds that control Lanta’s weather over this period do not switch direction at the same time each year, in fact over the last few years this switch appears to be happening later and later. This means that the rain can start late June, and even stop for a month or so. These winds bring a mixture of dry and wet days, and it is far from unusual to experience gloriously sunny weather for weeks at a time even during the rainy season. At the start of the monsoon season the rain tends to come in the late evening or night. The most rainfall seems to occur from around August to mid-October. In general when it does rain, it tends to be heavy, quick and occur in short bursts. Ocassionally it may rain for 3 or 4 days towards the end of the season. The temperature rarely falls below 27 degrees.
What should I expect of diving in the low season?
This is diving as it should be! From May through to around August the visibility actually increases, with distances in excess of 50 meters being reported from Ko Haa and Hin Daeng, Hin Muang. Crystal blue, aquarium-like conditions are frequently experienced by divers coming at this time of year. The visibility tends to start dropping slightly between August and October, but even at this time rarely drops below 15m at Ko Haa. The water temperature hovers around 30-31 degrees through until the start of July, then drops slowly to around 28 degrees.
Narima Diving use Lanta Old Town,a picturesque and historic fishing town on the South East of the island, as our departure point throughout these months. Enjoy plenty of room on our comfortable, spacious dive boats, and an even more personal service from divemasters and instructors, as you take in the sights of the National Park and lighthouse during your journey around the bottom of the island, passing several of the smaller Lanta archipelago islands on your trip out.
It can feel like your own private adventure, as you approach dive sites where often you will be on the only boat. If you are a fan of fish over divers then this is the ideal time to come and dive Koh Lanta. The reduction in dive and boat activity lends itself to some spectacular diving, with a natural increase in marine life activity, and the ability to offer longer dives. Furthermore May and June are renowned for an increase in manta ray and whaleshark sightings around Lanta’s dive sites (last year for instance, Lanta was fortunate enough to have 27 consecutive days of sightings with these majestic creatures.)
However do be aware that boats do not go out daily over this period since sea conditions can become unfavourable, although it is not rain that limits these activities, but the wind and resulting waves. Dive operators and boat captains keep a keen eye on weather forecasts and reports, and make informed decisions on a daily basis as to whether boats go out, and to where….safety first!
What about the island itself?
Less tourists, Fantastic beaches, Unhurried pace, Thai hospitality.
Koh Lanta is a true gem of an island offering a relaxed tropical atmosphere, a choice of 10 unspoilt beaches, tidal mangroves, rainforests, waterfalls and tree-covered mountains. Low Season is also referred to here as the Green Season, since the rains allow a rejeneration of the flora and forests across the island. Koh Lanta Yai is quite a long island (27kms) and as such the beaches are never full, and the general ambience is far less commercialised than neighbouring islands such as Koh Phi Phi, or Phuket. This is particularly the case the further south you journey on Koh Lanta, where there are fewer resorts, and the views and beaches become progressively more rugged and beautiful. The low season means cheaper accomodation, a holiday away from the crowds, from the parties, and noisy bars. So if the idea of sleeping to the sounds of of cicadas, the waves breaking on the beach, and bullfrogs singing, holds more appeal for you than the bass from a bar then Lanta is definately the island for you.