Choosing the best beach on Koh Lanta really depends on your travel style. Although all of Koh Lanta’s developed beaches are located on the western side of the island, each has its own unique vibe and reasons to visit. From quiet, family-oriented beaches to late-night party places, you’ve got plenty of options!
Koh Lanta also has an abundance of isolated resorts dotted all along the coast between the main beaches. While accommodation prices can be surprisingly low and many resorts have swimming pools, the nearest beaches are often stony and difficult for swimming.
Starting in the north at Ban Saladan -- the port town -- and moving south, here are the best beaches on Koh Lanta!
Closest to Ban Saladan, Klong Dao is a very popular, three-kilometer stretch of sand. The beach is quite possibly Koh Lanta’s busiest; very few rocks in the water make for excellent swimming. Families with children often prefer Klong Dao because the water is typically shallow, and the bay has practically no waves. Unfortunately, taking a dip to cool off isn’t as refreshing in the lukewarm water.
Some great, cheap restaurants can be found along the beach as well as several art galleries. You’ll find plenty of shops, ATMs, and a couple of 7-Elevens for what you need. Klong Dao is relatively quiet and has very few parties compared to other beaches farther south.
Budget travelers will have trouble finding cheap accommodation on the beach in Klong Dao; however, there are some basic bungalow options on the road -- just a few minutes walk from the beach.
Long Beach (Phra Ae)
Long Beach, known locally as Phra Ae, is just south of Klong Dao; as the name implies, it is the longest strip of white sand on the island. Although Long Beach is popular, there’s plenty of room for everyone along the four-kilometer-long beach. Long beach is certainly one of the best beaches on Koh Lanta. Swimming is excellent -- the best on the island -- with no rocks or underwater hazards; the water is deep enough to be cool and refreshing.
Long Beach was once the mainstay of backpackers visiting Koh Lanta. Today, new resorts are dotted along the beach. Fortunately, many stretches of Long Beach remain quiet and undeveloped. Most budget options are near the northern part of the beach and along an unpaved road connecting the beach to the main road. Bamboo bungalows can still be found right on the beach for very cheap.
Despite the influx of resorts, plenty of cheap restaurant choices and a few weekly parties keep Long Beach popular with backpackers and long-term travelers.
See the best time to visit Koh Lanta; the island really slows down in the low season.
Although the swimming isn’t as nice on Klong Khong due to the many rocks, you’ll find a great atmosphere and a vibe different than the beaches to the north. Accommodation tends to be a little cheaper and some places have pools to make up for the poor swimming!
Klong Khong is home to some excellent Thai-food eateries and a handful of fun beach bars. Weekly parties at two popular bars there ensure that residents have late-night options.
The sand is littered with coral and stones, making Klong Khong a poor choice for strolling. The sunsets from Klong Khong are simply amazing.
Klong Nin, although also plagued with big tide changes and underwater rocks, has the most unique atmosphere on the island. The narrow road has a plethora of charismatic, beachfront restaurants and bar shacks. Swimming is decent in the middle of the beach; however, both ends of Klong Nin have plenty of sharp rocks to avoid. Fortunately, you can walk anywhere in Klong Nin in just a matter of minutes.
Accommodation in Klong Nin ranges from basic bungalows to four-star resorts. Visitors in Klong Nin tend to be on shorter vacations rather than long-term backpackers. Klong Nin is a great place for a beachfront dining experience at sunset.
Farther south on the island is Ba Kantian Bay, a one-kilometer curve of soft sand protected by rocky cliffs on each side. Kantiang is one of the quietest bays on Koh Lanta; local residents are fiercely loyal to their bay. The water can be warm and stoney during low tide at Kantiang Bay, but there are some patches that offer good swimming. Because of its orientation, Kantiang Bay isn’t really the best choice for sunsets.
If you don’t mind climbing the steps, bungalows perched on the rocks at each end of Kantiang offer incredible views from your porch. You’ll find basic bungalows and one five-star resort, but accommodation isn’t as abundant as it is on other beaches. There are a few basic food options on the road along with a 7-Eleven which becomes quite busy at night.
With regular bands and fireshows, the famous Why Not Bar provides the only source of nightlife directly on the beach in Kantiang Bay.