Picking a Thai island to spend a few days in was no easy task, but we finally decided on Koh Lanta. Tranquil but with lots of options for activities, restaurants, bars, and a quirky obsession with reggae music, Koh Lanta is one of the most laid back and friendly places we visited in Thailand. So to no surprise, we fell in love with it. It truly represents all the values that Heart of a Hippie is all about. And the sunsets help too.
We decided to stay at The Pimalai Resort & Spa, the only hotel in our 5-week Southeast Asia trip that we decided to splurge on. This hotel is gorgeous. It’s right on what seems to be a huge private beach and it’s equipped with two swimming pools and three restaurants overlooking the sea. The hotel prides itself on being eco-friendly, hiring locals, and helping the community. We had a wonderful experience.
Eat & Drink
We visited four amazing bars while in Koh Lanta:
This bar was a 2 minute walk on the beach from our hotel. The staff is extremely friendly and entertaining, despite their lack of English. They do a solid job on the food and the drinks are unbelievably cheap. You can watch them put on a fire show while you eat and later watch a live band that gets the crowd singing and dancing along to popular rock songs and ballads. We went twice!
I had seen pictures of this bar on Pinterest and made it a point to go check it out. It’s a cute little bar with hippie décor planted right on the beach. We came here to grab a couple of drinks just before the sunset. Service wasn’t great but the atmosphere made up for it.
Rasta Baby Bar
If you want a bar that is extremely laid back and chill then this is the place for you. This reggae bar is so official, it transported me all the way back to Jamaica. The staff is friendly, chill, and with the complete Rastafarian culture look. There is also a boutique in the front of the bar with some great bohemian clothing.
No wonder this bar is rated #1 on TripAdvisor. You sip on delicious (and cheap!) cocktails, eat good food, chat with friendly staff and listen to great reggae music, all while starring at the ocean. What more can you ask for? The atmosphere here is so serene. We ordered two pad thai dishes (generous portions) and two cocktails all for 6 USD.
Phi Phi Islands
The famous Phi Phi islands are only about 1 hour from Koh Lanta. We took a day trip to see explore them. You can book any excursions through your hotel or at the stand alone travel booking shops on the island. The speed boat took us to a few different islands. We stopped at Koh Phi Phi Don; a haven for backpackers and the most developed island of the group; Koh Phi Phi Leh, where the movie The Beach was filmed, and at much more secluded island where had lunch on the sand and bathed in crystal clear waters. Unfortunately, most of the Phi Phi islands have been negatively impacted by heavy tourism. That’s also one of the reasons why we loved Koh Lanta, it still has a local charm that hopefully will remain intact.
I am not a snorkeling fan, but the hotel arranged a snorkeling/sunset trip to Koh Haa for us and 3 other guests. Almost hesitantly, we went. And good thing we did. This was some of the most amazing snorkeling I’ve done. Koh Haa is a cluster of a few rocks about 30 minutes from the Pimalai Resort and it not only offers amazing underwater but also cliff and sea views.
This is a center dedicated to helping out homeless and rescue animals. Tour the center and spend time with them and take them for walks. I didn’t get to go but I know someone that went and she said it was a very heartwarming experience.
Visit local villages