Koh Lanta’s Old Town is on the waterfront on the east coast of Koh Lanta Yai. It is definitely Koh Lanta’s heritage and dates back to hundreds of years ago when the Koh Lanta we know was almost completely uninhabited. Merchants from China and Arabia used to use Koh Lanta as a place to stop off on long journeys. Because the east coast is very sheltered all year round, the spot we know as Koh Lanta Old Town was used as a trading port.
In fact up until about 50 years ago it was the main town of Koh Lanta, and the only way to access the island was by boat to Old Town. Shortly after, it was deemed more convenient for tourist and car ferries to arrive in Ban Saladan, so that area grew and became the capital.
Koh Lanta’s Old Town has remained very similar to what it was all those years ago. You can still see the original wooden Chinese shophouses (similar to the ones found in other Chinese dominated areas of Thailand and Malaysia). It has remained what it was back then – a fishing village where Thai life goes on the way it has done for years. It has an amazingly peaceful atmosphere and its well worth spending an afternoon here exploring.
Similar to Ban Saladan with the wooden restaurants on stilts over the water, you’ve also got the added bonus of nice views over Koh Lanta’s Eastern Islands. Still only a small village, Old Town is home to a thriving and active fishing community. The population of Thai-Chinese, Thai-Muslim and Sea Gypsies live side by side harmoniously, as they have done for years
Staying in Koh Lanta Old Town is a completely different experience to the beach resorts of the west coast, with wooden houses on stilts right on the waterfront. It’s possible to rent some of these houses daily, weekly or monthly. Here you can find some great cheap deals for long stay accommodation.
To get here, take the east coast road from Ban Saladan, or the west coast road then cut across the island and continue heading south. Turn left down to the water and you are there. This is a truly unique place with heaps of character and atmosphere.
Koh Lanta Old Town
Location: Koh Lanta Yai, Koh Lanta District, Krabi 81150 Thailand