Koh Lanta served up some of the tastiest and most authentic Thai food we ate during our 3 months in Thailand.
We were told by quite a few people that Koh Lanta did not have much going for it and not to expect much due to it not being overly popular with tourists, but wow this was so wrong.
It really does prove that you can never take anyone else’s advice about a destination, you always have to try it out for yourself! We immediately fell in love with the slow-paced life and tranquil feel of Koh Lanta.
Its food was also out of this world – whilst you may not always agree with me, keep reading to discover my top 5 spots on the island!
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My Top 5 Restaurants on Koh Lanta
- Location: 814 Baan Klong Khong, Sala Dan, Ko Lanta District
- Hours: 7 am – 10 pm
- Menu: Asian, Thai, Vegetarian friendly
Thai Smile restaurant is a beautiful little oasis, hidden off the main road. Here you take a seat amongst lush greenery and beautiful orchids.
There is gentle Thai music playing in the background and you can listen to the insects buzzing in the field nearby.
Thai Smile is also accommodation offering a few bungalows for rent behind the restaurant. Because of this Thai Smile is open all day from breakfast to dinner not only for its guests – you can find Thai classics and a few Western dishes on the menu for breakfast and Asian / Thai food for dinner.
Thai Smile is not a fancy restaurant but is very relaxed, it offers a very warm and welcoming vibe.
We ate here 4 times during our stay in Koh Lanta because the food was just incredible, every time it was served to the same high standard and was extremely tasty.
The staff and owners here are all lovely, run by Dave and Lek they are on hand to ensure you have everything you need and that the food is excellent every time.
- Location: 4245 Sala Dan, Ko Lanta District
- Hours: 9.30 am – 10 pm
- Menu: Asian, Thai, Vegetarian/Vegan options, Halal, GF options
This small family-run restaurant has become famous in Koh Lanta and is very popular — for good reason too!
Located on the main road this open wooden building does not look like much from the outside but the food they are serving up is always delicious and again to a very high standard.
The Yawee chicken wings are some of the best we have ever eaten and come out every time with the perfect crunch, covered in their homemade sauce.
The vibe at Yawee is very busy especially if you are here for dinner, as it is only small it gets very booked up so if you would like to visit for dinner I’d recommend booking!
Due to its popularity, you can sometimes wait a little while for your food but if you have spent a little time in Thailand already you will know that this is quite standard across the country.
Trust me though, the food is well worth waiting a little extra time for and the welcoming and attentive staff make sure you have everything you need.
- Location: 39 5 Sala Dan, Ko Lanta District
- Hours: 8.30 am – 4 pm
- Menu: Western, Healthy, Smoothies, Vegetarian & Vegan options
Hidden Tree is the place to go for brunch on Koh Lanta!
Located on the main road you step into the restaurant and are instantly transported from the busy main road to a tranquil atmosphere, with a water feature gentle trickling in the background and gentle music playing it is the perfect place to have a slow start to your day.
Hidden Tree has an amazing range of drinks from freshly made coffees and smoothies to herbal teas and juices.
It also serves up some of the tastiest and freshest brunch that we ate in Koh Lanta there is everything from full English breakfasts, sandwiches, wraps, smoothie bowls and Thai dishes for lunch.
The super friendly staff are attentive and on hand to make sure you get the best out of your meal with them, don’t be afraid to ask them for any recommendations.
If you want an early afternoon meal or somewhere nice to grab breakfast then this is the spot to head to!
- Location: 8/1 moo2, Sala Dan, Ko Lanta District
- Hours: 6 pm – 10 pm Wednesday to Monday & 12 pm – 3 pm Sunday – Closed Tuesdays
- Menu: European, Fusion, Healthy
Yang Garden has a fabulous atmosphere and is a beautifully decorated Mediterranean venue. Walking in you are transported out of Thailand and into an chic Mediterranean garden.
When researching places to eat Yang Garden kept coming up in almost every blog post I read so I knew it wasn’t one to miss.
This small intimate restaurant can get very busy so I would always recommend calling a day or so ahead to book a table here.
As you are not eating traditional Thai food and the dishes are finished to an excellent standard it is a bit more expensive than the other traditional restaurants you find nearby.
But trust me it is worth that extra bit if you are missing some of your dishes from home, especially if you are from Europe like us.
With a large dinner menu, an excellent wine list and cocktails, Yang Garden is the ideal place for a romantic meal or special treat.
- Location: H2RM+Q27, Sala Dan, Ko Lanta District
- Menu: Asian, Thai, Western, Vegetarian options
Located right on the beach, Sea Culture is the perfect place to find an authentic Thai meal while you’re enjoying the sunshine.
This small family-run restaurant offers a wide range of Thai food and several Western dishes. They also have catch of the day specials so make sure to ask the staff what the fisherman has brought in that morning!
Serving up many different breakfast sets, freshly made juices and coffee, Sea Culture is worth stopping by on your way past for breakfast if you are heading out for the day.
Perfectly located on the beach facing west it is also a great place to have a drink and dinner while admiring the sunset.
Sea Culture offers accommodation, here you can find 7 traditional Thai-style bungalows which are modest but comfortable and located right on the beach so you can fall asleep listening to the waves gently lapping the shore.
The chilled-out and relaxed vibe here is just wonderful and is what makes this restaurant so special.
How to Get Around Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta is quite a large island and even though it is popular with tourists it’s not as popular as some of its neighbouring islands. Because of this the infrastructure in place is not the best and the roads can be quite bumpy in places.
Getting from one end to the other can take time but there are 3 main ways of transport:
Scooter — this is my recommended way of transport if you are comfortable riding one, there are tons of places to explore on the island and the quickest/cheapest way to get around is by scooter. Scooters can be rented from many shops along the main road as well as from your hotel and they range from 150 baht (£3) per day to 500 baht (£11) per day depending on which make and model you choose.
Tricycle — if you have been in Thailand already you may be familiar with these already but they are essentially a scooter with a metal frame attached with benches for seating. Because they aren’t the most comfortable and quickest means of transport they are often well-priced and can be good for those on a budget! Bear in mind though that they are quite small so can only fit 3/4 people in at a time. To book just speak to your accommodation or flag one down on the road.
Pickup truck Tuktuks — these are exactly as they sound, they are pickup trucks that have been converted into tuktuks, they often have a frame over the back part to enable passengers to sit down and have no worries of falling out the sides. These are the quickest and most comfortable way to get around so are often the most expensive. Again speak to your accommodation about booking or flag one down on the main road.
💡 A great way to learn more about the local cuisine and practise some skills for yourself is to attend a local cooking class – check out these Thai cooking classes in Koh Lanta on Get Your Guide!
Best Time to Visit
Koh Lanta’s typical high season is between November – December. It’s worth noting though that October tends to be the worst month to visit due to monsoon season, so some of this weather can be expected to overflow into November.
November/December – April is seen as the dry season. Although May to October is viewed as the monsoon season there are still plenty of sunny days and not many downpours that last for days until you get to around August time. Because of this, if you don’t mind an odd day of rain here and there you can get some great cheap accommodation from May – July and the island will feel almost empty!
Personally, I think the best time to visit Koh Lanta is between January and April if you are looking for calm waters and sunny conditions.
Where to Stay in Koh Lanta
Luxury: Long Beach Chalet
If you are looking for a luxurious stay in Koh Lanta this is your place. Offering Thai-style bungalows and chalets on stilts, you can choose from rooms overlooking the ocean in the beach zone or overlooking the gardens in the garden zone. They all boast incredible views with some of the most exclusive bungalows hosting jacuzzi baths on the terrace overlooking Koh Lanta’s most popular beach. Long Beach Chalet has a large pool, private seating on the beach for its guests, an onsite restaurant and for an additional charge you can arrange all-day trips here, as well as massages, laundry and transport.
Mid-range: Chomview Resort
This is where we stayed for 10 nights while on Koh Lanta, it was everything we wanted and more. There is a large variety of rooms but they are all very large, we stayed in the Superior Double Room with a balcony and I highly recommend it. The rooms come equipped with air-conditioning, a fridge, tea and coffee-making facilities, a private bathroom, fresh drinking water, a large balcony or terrace as well as some having views of the mountains or pool. Chomview Resort also has a water park making it the perfect place for families. There are many giant figurines around the resort and it is mainly aimed at families. However, don’t let this put you off if you are a couple looking for something quieter. Because of the waterpark, the pool and accommodation are so peaceful during the day so you often feel like you have the place to yourself!
Budget: Hub of Joys Hostel
Located near Long Beach, Hub of Joy’s hostel is popular amongst backpackers, the hostel offers free bikes to get around the island, free parking, a shared lounge to meet others and a restaurant serving up an exceptional daily breakfast included in your room rate. There is free wifi throughout the hostel as well as air-conditioning in the rooms and a shared bathroom. Hub of Joys Hostel is happy to help you arrange any tours and excursions and there is free popcorn and other snacks available for all guests!
Looking for more things to do during your stay in Koh Lanta? Check out these posts: