Long Beach Koh Lanta

by Guest

Often called Phra Ae Beach or Had Phra Ae, Long Beach is located south of Klong Dao in the north west of Koh Lanta island. The beautiful white sandy beach is almost 4 kilometers long (hence the name), which looks out over the Andaman Sea. The warm, shallow waters invite travelers to swim and snorkel . The beach is picture perfect, backed by coconut palms, casuarina trees and lush vegetation. It is popular with tourists, but its size means you can always find a private spot.

The golden sand is fine, coral that has been ground down over thousands of years, perfect for tip toeing across to get to the sea. For such a long beach, it’s surprisingly narrow, but this doesn’t really impact on space. Most of the beach has good swimming conditions, with shallow water and sand underfoot. The tree line behind hides most of the accommodation, but some have chopped them down to create a better view over the sea. The road is a few hundred meters away from the beach, which keep it quiet and serene. There are no surfers, kitesurfers or jet skiers, which keeps the swathes of sea open for just swimmers, snorkelers, and the occasional sea kayaker.

Long Beach offers little in the way of activity, but sometimes this is best. It’s hard to drag yourself away from Long Beach after a day spend relaxing. Get down early in the morning and find your perfect spot. Spend the day taking refreshing dips, doing a little snorkeling (through there isn’t as much marine life here as other spots), build up your tan in the southern Thai sunshine or find a shady spot and read your favorite book. Occasionally, you will find the odd street vendor plying their snacks or fruit along the beach, but if you’d like to have lunch or dinner, you’ll have to make your way to one of the nearby restaurants. Towards the late afternoon, when the sun isn’t as strong, locals draw lines in the sand and set up nets for volleyball games. Tourists are always more than welcome to join in should they wish. Another way to while away an hour or two is a massage offered by most of the accommodation along the beach. A good pummeling by Thai masseuse should cost around US $7 an hour. Anything less, and it probably won’t be any good. You’ll also be able to book morning, afternoon, or day excursions to snorkel or explore the other islands. If you can drag yourself away from the beach, these are excellent ways to fill the day.

If you’d like to stay on Long Beach Koh Lanta, then there is plenty of places to stay. These range from basic little beach bungalows to larger 4 star resorts complete with swimming pools. Whereas the backpackers buy up the beach bungalows, but the resorts are more appropriate for couples of families with children. Some of the more expensive resorts have private stretches of beach, but this really isn’t a reason to book them, as it’s not hard to find a quiet spot anywhere along Long Beach. There are some hotels located further away from the beach, but if you’re going to stay on a Thai island, you should do it properly!

There is a wide range of little beachside restaurants open to tourists, some of which are part of the hotels. We’d always recommend going for seafood when you find it, as they should be freshly caught. Deep fried or barbecued fish with spicy Thai dipping sauces are particularly good. International cuisine isn’t terribly good, so stick to Thai cuisine, which is spicy, flavorsome and delicious. The list of places to eat along the 4 kilometer beach is simply too long to list here, but as always, look out for the busy spots - they are usually full for a reason.

Compared to some of the beaches on Koh Lanta and other Thai islands, Long Beach is pretty relaxed and doesn’t have wild nightlife. A couple of the backpacker bungalows have small parties on the beach with live music and cheap beers. The Funky Fish is particularly good and popular with backpackers and tourists alike. There is a small club called Moloko near the end of the beach which offers late night parties, so if you want a quiet night’s sleep, pick a hotel a little further up.

The best and busiest time to visit is during the high season between November and April. Here the temperatures are hot and the skies clear and bright. There is very little rain at this time, making the beach an appealing place to hang out during the day. The rest of the year, the monsoon batters the coastline, though those who come are treated to low cost accommodation and food, and some excellent photo opportunities on the near deserted beach.

For those who don’t want to spend all their time at the beach, there is much to do on Koh Lanta . The best way to get around the island is on a hired scooter which shouldn’t cost you any more than US $10 a day. Other things to do include learning Muay Thai martial arts or watching a fight at one of the gyms, go on scuba diving tours, adopt a cat or dog at the Lanta Animal Welfare Center, explore the beautiful Lanta Old Town, learn yoga at one of the many classes or schools, ride an elephant up through the lush forest or go hiking along the beautiful trails in the Koh Lanta National park.

To reach Koh Lanta’s Long Beach from Bangkok or Chiang Mai, you will need to fly down to Krabi Airport and take either the ferry from Krabi Town or Ao Nang (which stops in Koh Phi Phi en route) which leave daily throughout the high season. During monsoon season, you will need to find a private speedboat to take you across to Koh Lanta. This may be a little tricky and the crossing somewhat rough.

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