Many tourists and divers have heard of Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Phuket, Phi Phi and The Similan Islands. All of these destinations can likely offer something unique to divers and tourists alike, however, nestled along the West coast of Thailand – Koh Lanta has something to offer everyone! And, Ko Lanta is still relatively unpublicised.
Here are SIX reasons, which when combined – lead to one conclusion and tell us why Koh Lanta is THE BEST dive destination in Thailand:
1. Excellent Marine Diversity
Diving from Koh Lanta, into The Andaman Sea offers you a richness in marine life that rivals any other dive destination in Thailand. The world-class dive site of Hin Daeng is regularly visited by manta rays and is easily accessible from Koh Lanta. If you miss the Mantas and the Whale Sharks, the site is beautiful nonetheless –rainbow runners charge around in the blue, big schools of batfish hang out in the channel, and untold numbers of giant morays gape out of their homes amid the coral rich reef. In fact, just about all of the common AND rare marine life of the Andaman has been known to show up at Hin Daeng.
All of our other popular sites promise a feast for the eyes as well…including the ever-popular Koh Haa. Ghost pipefish, frog fish, harlequin shrimps, countless nemos, lionfish, scorpionfish, cuttlefish, squid – it isn’t possible to list on this blog all of the species you could see – but for sure diving from Koh Lanta offers you the opportunity to see all of the wonders of the Andaman Sea.
2.Multiple Daily Boat Dive Trips
Koh Lanta is in a prime position with many excellent dive sites nearby. This means that you can dive with mantas, truffle in the rich reefs, swim amid huge schools of snapper – and still be back on land by dinnertime.
While many divers love live-a-board trips, it isn’t always a practical option when you’re with other people who don’t dive, or if you’re on a family holiday. Diving from Koh Lanta means that you can experience the best of the Andaman while your non-diving companions chill out on the beach, go for a massage, or join in on one of the many other tourists activities available on Koh Lanta.
3. Dive Sites that suit Everyone and All Levels
The dive sites around Koh Lanta offer something for everyone. Shallow waters with very little current make certain areas ideal for students, while on the same trip, more experienced divers can enjoy depths leading to 30m and beyond, with caves, swim throughs, sloping reefs, walls and coral gardens.
There is an enormous variety of fish for beginners to admire while getting used to taking their first breaths underwater, and a multitude of more unusual critters for the experienced divers to uncover and discover.
4. Consistent and Superior Visibility
As the majority of the dive sites are a boat ride away from inhabited and built up islands, the residual run off into the sea is more or less nonexistent, leading to consistently good visibility. Changes in weather, water temperature and oceanic movements can affect the visibility to some degree – but in general, the visibility around Koh Haa is between 15 and 30m.
5. Excellent Variety of Accommodation, Restaurants and Activities
Koh Lanta has developed over the last decade and now provides a wide range of accommodation. Luxury resorts, mid range bungalows, and basic bamboo huts are all available – so you can choose whichever your budget demands. In terms of eating out, the choice is astronomical. Small Thai restaurants dispersed around the various bays provide you with fragrant traditional dishes, at exceptional prices, but if you’re seeking more familiar food, such as pizzas, tapas, steaks and pasta – then Koh Lanta has no shortage of good quality western style restaurants either.
When you’re not in the water there are a whole host of other activities available – learn to cook Thai, go ‘Elephant Trekking’, tour the nearby islands on a traditional long tail boat or even spend the night camping at the uninhabited island of Koh Rok. The wildlife of Koh Lanta is rich and plentiful, both above and below the water, and the island is geared up to provide you with a great choice of activities.
6. Breathtaking Sunsets, Beautiful Scenery, and Restricted Development
Kantiang Bay is in the south –west of Koh Lanta. Strolling to the far end of the beach to watch the sunset behind the silhouette of Koh Haa, or walking up the hill to Top View where you can almost surround yourself with the pinks, reds, orange and turquoise of these glowing sunsets… Both are unforgettable experiences.
Fortunately, although Koh Lanta is developing in order to cater for the increasing number of tourists, there are restrictions on what people are allowed to build. New resorts are limited in height and developers are strongly encouraged to design the architecture in keeping with the natural beauty of Koh Lanta’s beaches and mountainous jungles.
Selling on the beaches is prohibited, and parasols, deckchairs and sun beds are limited in numbers. There are no major global organisations present on the island, yet commercialism is still kept in check by the local community. All of these factors contribute to create an experience, which is rich in culture, beauty and tradition, but still provides the facilities you need to ensure that your stay on Koh Lanta is comfortable.
For me, Koh Lanta strikes the most ideal and perfect balance in all aspects, a complete all rounder. Excellent diving from a beautiful island, which is not overdeveloped, and still offers plenty of activities and home comforts… It is an amalgamation of all things bright and beautiful… and it’s no wonder that people choose to return, year after year after year.