In our Digital Nomad Girls Mini Guides, we feature cool nomad destinations around the world. In this guide, Nicole shares her experience of travelling in Ko Lanta, Thailand in our latest Digital Nomad Girls Guide to Ko Lanta!
Hi Nicole! Please tell us a bit about yourself
I do writing and marketing remotely. I grew up in Boston, USA and lived in Los Angeles most recently. After three months on the road in Southeast Asia, I’m taking a breather on Cape Cod in the US.
Are you from Ko Lanta or have you lived there? If yes, how long?
I am not from Ko Lanta (also spelled Koh Lanta), but I stayed there recently, and received wonderful resources from the people at KoHub about how to live there long-term.
What do you like best about Ko Lanta? What makes it special?
The thing that makes Ko Lanta special is the community around the coworking space, KoHub. It has been called one of the best coworking spaces in the world, and it truly lives up to that name! KoHubbers have group dinners, group outings both on and off the island, and are in general a fantastic resource. The island has a great deal of natural beauty as well.
What are the best neighbourhoods in Ko Lanta to check out or stay in?
The majority of accommodations and swimmable beaches are located on the west side of the island.
If you are working at KoHub and don’t want much of a commute, your best bet is to stay in the Long Beach area, which is the main beach with many bars, restaurants, resorts, and so forth.
Klong Khong is the least developed of the “big four” beaches. It’s quite beautiful and has a number of villas to rent, as well as a lot of family-run businesses.
Klong Nin is further south than Klong Khong and is also quite laid back. There’s a small town centre area and a large, pretty beach. There’s plenty of restaurants, bars and lodgings available, but it’s so spread out that you’ll never feel crowded.
Old Town is on the east side of the island and was the original centre of Ko Lanta. It’s maintained its character and charm, with teak houses and restaurants on stilts. It is a bit of a trek from KoHub, so prepare for a longer commute, or rent somewhere with wifi.
What are your favourite places to work in Ko Lanta?
Don’t believe NomadList. There’s one coworking space on the entire island, which is KoHub. It’s an amazing space to work. There’s easily seating for 100 people. They have a café where you can order everything from coffee to a coconut to full meals through their web app and have it delivered to your desk or the dining area if you need a break. They have regular outings and weekly movie nights. It has the strongest sense of community of any coworking space I’ve ever been to. If you are considering spending time in Thailand, you must spend some of it here.
What are your favourite places to eat? Are there any special dishes you recommend trying in Ko Lanta?
Beyond KoHub, there’s a number of great places to eat on Lanta. Irie Bar has delicious Thai food, cold beer and a great vibe and caters to a number of dietary restrictions. If you want something non-Thai, Greek Taverna has all the foods you’d expect at a Greek restaurant, done exceptionally well. Fat Monkey serves great food breakfast through dinner; it’s known for having the best burgers on the island, and the pizza is brilliant too.
Tell us a bit about the average cost of living in Ko Lanta from your experience
A budget bungalow steps from the beach with air conditioning, cable TV, wifi and a refrigerator will run about $225 per week if you book through an OTA. Rent for someplace with similar amenities will run you around $175/week if you don’t look too hard, less if you do.
A scooter is about $80 for a month, $30 for just one week, or $6 for one day. Fuel is about $1.25 per litre.
You can have your laundry done for $1.25 per kilo.
KoHub is $190 for a month, $60 for a week or $13 for one day.
A cup of coffee will run you about $1.50.
Meals can be anywhere from $3 for something low-end and local to $15 for something quite high end.
Alcoholic drinks will run you anywhere from $3 for a cheap beer to $10 or more for cocktails.
What are your favourite things to do in Ko Lanta?
If you love playing in the ocean, Ko Lanta is your place! It has beautiful beaches that are relatively unpopulated and breathtaking sunsets nearly every night. Any water activity you can imagine, from paddleboarding to kayaking to sailing and more, is available somewhere on the island. Though the water on Lanta itself isn’t very clear, there are boat trips to nearby islands that are extraordinary for snorkelling.
If you prefer land-based activities, you can hike to a waterfall at Mu Ko Lanta.
If you’re looking for relaxation and wellness, cheap Thai massages are available everywhere, including right on the beach.
Old Town is lovely for its cultural flavour.
If you prefer the party scene, there are many beachside bars where you can dance until sunrise. Though I personally did not partake, “adult” milkshakes are available in many places; however please note that all drugs are illegal in Thailand.
When do you think is the best time to visit Ko Lanta?
Note: added by the editor as we forgot to ask Nicole this, oops!
Koh Lanta basically has two main seasons: high season, which is the dry season, and the rainy season, or Green Season as the locals call it. Dry season is roughly from November to April and rainy season from May to October with September and October being the wettest months.
But don’t worry, you can still visit Koh Lanta during rainy season, the prices will be much lower and you’ll have the beaches almost to yourself.
Is there a digital nomad scene in Ko Lanta?
The thriving digital nomad scene on Lanta revolves around KoHub. You’ll meet people in many lines of work, all of whom are friendly and ready to talk.
How would you rate Ko Lanta in terms of safety for women travellers?
Koh Lanta seemed very safe for women traveling solo. I was treated with respect throughout and the many solo women I interacted with felt safe and comfortable. Common sense safety precautions are enough! There are some notes about Lanta for general safety, however.
Dengue fever does happen from time to time. This is an issue throughout the beachy parts of Thailand but most tourists never hear about it unless they contract it. Make sure to wear a good bug spray if you are outdoors (I suggest something DEET-based).
Thailand also is one of the most dangerous places in the world for driving. When riding on your own scooter be very careful. Wear a helmet and be aware that other drivers may be reckless or drunk. If you plan to drink, take a tuk-tuk; they’re cheap!