| Koh Lanta in Brief |
Area: 152 sq.km. This island forms the most southern district of Krabi province. It was known long ago by its name in the Malay language, Pulao Satak, which means Long Beach Island. Later, so many Thais, both Buddhist and Muslim, came to live on the island that there seemed to be a million eyes, which is what some people think Lanta means in Thai. Others hold that the name is corrupted from Javanese "lan-tas", and means a fish grill (which is built of wood with a square grill on top where the fish are set in a circle).
● Lanta Yai Island
is where the District & National Park offices are located. The island geography is mountainous and rugged, especially near the southern tip; some beaches are gravelly, others have fine white sands. A clan of Chao Ley, or "Sea Gypsies" are resident on Koh Yao Yai and they preserve many of their ancient customs and ceremonies; e.g. the setting of ceremonial boats adrift to bring good luck and prosperity on the full moon nights of the sixth and eleventh month. This and other features of their lives are open to view. To visit the island take a regularly scheduled ferry from Ban Hua Hin Pier in Tambon Koh Klahng, Bor Muang Pier in Tambon Sai Kao or Jao Fah Pier in Krabi Town.
● Taleng Beng Island
This island is in some ways a smaller version of Phi Phi Ley; made of Limestone, honeycombed with caves, inhabited by the same swifts whose nests are made into soup. Small beaches and caves appear where the tide ebbs.
● Hah island
A group of five islands. Hai Yai island has a field of grass on its ridgeline. Another island resembles in shape a sailboat; one has water that passes from one side to another beneath it. There are some corals in shallow waters.
● Ngai island
A fine sandy beach and coral reef run down the east side of this island. It is perfect for diving. Regular ferries and charter craft are available from Pak Meng Beach in Trang Province.
● Rok Nai Island
is composed largely of formidable cliffs. On the east side are a fine sandy beach and coral gardens growing around sea rocks. On the northern side are San Jao Bay and Thong Bay
● Rok Nok Island
The southeast and southern ends of this island have fine sand beaches and shallow water corals. Also not to be missed are Man Sai Bay and Talu beach. Transport to the island is via charter from either Pak Meng Beach in Trang Province or from Lanta Yai Island. There are tents for rent, contact Lanta National Park Tel.: +66 (075) 629018-9.
● Hin Dang
This submerged open water reef in the Andaman features a multiplicity of colorful corals to attract serious scuba divers.
Local festivals and Religious Rites
● The Setting Adrift of the Chao Ley Boats
takes place on Lanta Island during full moon of the sixth and eleventh month in the lunar calendar. This is a religious rite performed by Sea Gypsies who gather on the beach near Ban Saladan Village. They dance their famous "rong ngeng" round the boats to be set adrift. Ceremonies feature singing and dancing; the reason for the festival is to bring prosperity and happiness to the participants, it is something hard to find elsewhere.
● Krabi Berk Fah Andaman
This festival takes place in November and celebrates the opening of the tourist season in Krabi. Water sport competitions, cultural shows and good-natured fun are the schedule.
Getting to Koh Lanta
● By air (to Krabi Airport)
● By bus (to Krabi)
● By car
From Bangkok take Route 4 passing Petchburi, Prajuab-Kirikan, Chumporn, Ranong, and Phang-nga Provinces before reaching Krabi; a total distance of 946 kilometers. An alternate route is to take Route 4 to Chumpom and then tum onto Route 4L. This leads through Lang Suan District of Chumpom to Chaiya and Wieng San Districts of Surat Thani; from there follow Route 4035 passing Ao Lur District of Krabi, back onto Route 4, and down to Krabi Town. This shortcut is just 814 kilometers, and is followed by the bus services from Bangkok. For information regarding bus transport, contact tel. (02)435 1195-6 (non-air conditioned buses);or tel. (02)435 1200(air conditioned buses).
From Phuket Take Route 402 to Route 4 and pass Tambon Koto Kloy of Takua Tung District in Phang-nga; Tap Puhd District, Phang-nga; and enter Ao Lur District of Krabi; the total distance is 185 kilometers. Regarding bus transport, tel.(076) 211 480.
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● By train
From Bangkok Station take the train to one of the following stations: Trang, Putt Pin in Surathani Province, or Tung Song in Nakorn Sri Thammarat Province; from any of these places a bus may be taken onward to Krabi. Regarding train schedules and costs, contact the travel office of State Railway of Thailand, tel.(02)223 7010.
Until recently limited access has been the major restraining factor in the growth of Krabi's tourism industry. The nearest airport was 155km to the east in Phuket and the drive on what is a rather basic road took a good two hours. But all of that has changed with the opening of Krabi Airport (see issue7). Now the problem is no longer access rather accommodation. Currently Karbi has a total of 5,000 hotel bedrooms of which 3,000 are in the three to five star category. Several resorts are working flat out to be complete and open for the start of the high season in November as 1,000 bedrooms extra bedrooms are already fully booked and paid for by major Travel Agents allocation.
Posted by Kornwalai L. at Sunday, September 14, 2008