LANTA ISLAND, 27 January 2021: From face mask to snorkelling mask, Thailand’s Koh Lanta is a destination that is ready to welcome guests safely as we head for a post-Covid-19 era and those vaccines kick-in.
We are still experiencing severe disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the pain of social distancing to varying degrees depending on our lifestyle and family connections, but we have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccine programmes are rolling out and travel to our favourite destinations will resume soon. For now, we wait and see or muse over the making of a travel wish-list. But there is a growing sense of hope that the vaccine rollout and more robust testing pre-flight will signal that 2021 will be a turning point; the big comeback for international travel.
Today, choosing a destination for your next trip might still be complicated and involve restrictions, but research shows that top-of-mind are holiday themes that evolve from keywords: Sea-Sun-Sand, Unspoiled Nature, Delightfully Exotic Island, Pristine Beaches, Turquoise Blue Ocean, Krabi, Andaman Coast, and South Thailand.
In South Thailand on the coast of the Andaman Sea Lanta Island is emerging as a destination that fits the keywords.
Lanta’s travel season usually starts early October, while the favourite time for holiday-goers to visit the island’s exquisite beaches runs from November to March.
Since 1 July 2020, Mu Koh Lanta National Park remained partially open for visitors to enjoy its undisturbed natural scenery of Laem Tanot (Tanot Cape) at the southeast end of the island. All the visitors were Thais and expatriates living in Thailand, but that will change in 2021 as vaccines come into play and rules governing travel ease.
In the meantime, under the new travel environment, there are a few more clicks on mobile apps to organise a visit. The National Park authority recommends visitors to pre-register through an application called QueQ to comply with the social distancing practices on Lanta. Visitors are also required to make their check-in and check-out onsite through Thai Chana app for the record.
Famous diving sites under the supervision of the National Park authority including Koh Rok, Koh Ha, and Hin Daeng/Hin Muang have been welcoming domestic visitors since October. International visitors will probably return to Lanta by the start of the last quarter of 2021 the traditional peak months for travel after the rains end.
From urban clutter to clarity of nature
Lanta’s geography is typically mangroves; coral-rimmed beaches; and tree-covered hills which allow visitors to enjoy outdoor activities and be embraced by nature. Choices of ecotourism activities to enjoy at Koh Lanta include diving, snorkelling, kayaking, birdwatching, and trekking. Choose one or do it all to pay off what you’ve been through during the time you’re being stuck at home.
Face mask to snorkelling mask
Though the face mask is a travel essential on arrival on Koh Lanta, you are more likely to be wearing a snorkelling mask to explore the island’s marine habitats at the time when ecosystem returned to its best recovery due to the absence of human activities in the recent months.
From laptop screen to sunset scenery
It is the right time to let the pristine natural beach scenery to relieve your eye strain from hours of staring at mobile, tablet or laptop screens. Koh Lanta offers perfect spots to view the beautiful sunset over the sea from all nine beaches which lie along its 30 km-long north-to-south coastlines. Famous beaches on Koh Lanta include Kantiang Bay, Klong Dao, Klong Khong, Phra Ae and Khlong Nin. Let the sand be your seat, and enjoy the panoramic sunset views.
From teleconference to local experience
Enough of Zoom, Skype, WebEx Meeting, LINE Conference calls, or any teleconference activities. Leave your laptop in the room and go out to interact with locals. Koh Lanta is home to a multicultural community with groups of sea gipsy, Thai-Chinese, and Thai-Muslims who have lived together in peace and harmony for hundreds of years. Visitors will be able to experience sea gipsy traditions and ancient trade histories at the Old Lanta Town dating back hundreds of years.
From food delivery services to local food treats
Seafood is probably the best choice when dining on the island. Koh Lanta is packed with seafood restaurants from five-star to homely shoreline shacks that mesmerize you with their culinary talent. Whether it is a hammock-and-cocktail BBQ dinner style or a fancy dinner style at a private resort where famed chefs serve seafood fusion dishes crafted with western and local gastronomic traditions, there are no poor choices when seafood is on your menu during a stay on Koh Lanta.
How to get there
To reach Lanta the choices are flights, ferries and land transfers. For those who decide to travel by car, you board the car ferry operating from the mainland to Koh Lanta Noi at Baan Hua Hin, located around 75 km from Krabi town. Once on Koh Lanta Noi, you take a short drive to the bridge that spans the channel between Lanta Noi and Lanta Yai where most of the travel attractions and resorts are located.
Airline passengers can pre-book a shuttle minivan services from Krabi Airport to Koh Lanta with the Bus Co-operative of Krabi. But you may prefer to take a ferry from Krabi town’s Chao Pha Pier, located about 13km from Krabi Airport. During the high season, from November to May, the ferry usually operates two services daily. The 50-km ferry trip to Baan Saladan Pier on Koh Lanta Yai takes two hours. Travellers transferring from Phuket join the ferry at the Rassada Pier. There are two daily services on the Phuket-Phi Phi-Koh Lanta route. Due to the Covid-19, it is necessary to double-check the operator’s schedule before planning the trip.
The new normal travel practices may take more time to navigate but the day is fast coming when you will once more be checking in at a beach resort and posting your seafood photos on your Instagram of your magical stay on Lanta.