The Thai island of Koh Lanta holds a very special place in both mine and Craig’s hearts, as it was the relaxing leg our our honeymoon nearly 14 years ago, we went there after spending 3 weeks touring Vietnam from South to North. We were looking forward to a nice relaxing beach break and that’s exactly what we got. A beautiful, quiet island that was way behind other more touristy islands in Thailand particularly as it was only accessible by boat. We already knew where to stay in Koh Lanta, Crown Lanta ticks all our boxes.
We had always wanted to return to Koh Lanta and we made it a priority on our recent trip to Asia. Many things have changed, it now has a Koh Lanta ferry for vehicles and the two islands are connected by a bridge. You could easily hire a vehicle in Thailand and drive around Koh Lanta and the beautiful beaches by yourself. There is quite a bit of construction going on there and a number of new resorts have been built. This may have been because Koh Lanta was badly affected by the 2004 tsunami that devastated many parts of Asia but I’m still happy to report that even though tourist numbers have increased it’s still not over run like some other islands in Thailand and elsewhere in Asia. Make sure you get out and do some snorkelling, we took the kids snorkelling at Koh Rok and they loved it.
Where to stay in Koh Lanta?
Crown Lanta Resort and Spa is located on the island of Koh Lanta which is located about 2 hours from Krabi airport and can now be accessed by private vehicle. We had a private transfer organised through Crown Lanta although I do believe you are able to get other shuttle buses, one I found online is Krabi Transfers and the prices are around $90 – $100 each way per person depending on who you use. The resort is built on a private, hilly peninsula and requires a shuttle bus from reception up to your room. You could walk it and it would be a good work out but not one for me!! The main hotel facilities were located near the top of the resort and relatively close to our room. We had to walk down hill when we wanted to go somewhere and up hill to get back to our room. The hardest climb was walking to the buffet breakfast, that took some effort! The buggies were great though and there never seemed to be one far away when you needed it. I would still say its one of the best hotels in Koh Lanta for kids.
We were totally spoilt this time for our 3 night stay at Crown Lanta, we were given the private pool suite which had our own private plunge pool over looking the Andaman Sea. As I walked through the door the site of the plunge pool with the ocean in the background took my breath away. At that stage I could have been sleeping in a shoe box and I wouldn’t have cared!
You walk into the sitting/lounge room with mini bar, flat screen TV and tea and coffee making facilities. It was a comfortable space and good for the kids to wind down and watch a bit of TV, the room had Cartoon Network and that kept them entertained as we hadn’t seen a TV in nearly 2 weeks! Shock horror! Two large glass folding doors led out to the plunge pool with 2 sun lounges and an outside shower to wash off the chlorine before going back inside.
To the left on the inside was a set of sliding doors which revealed a bedroom suite with king size bed and a king single next to it against the wall. We did find this a bit of a squeeze with 5, we then asked for the lounge to be made up as a bed and this doubled nicely as another single bed. Kids said it was very comfortable. In the corner was a desk area with lamp were we charged all our gadgets. The room had big wardrobe connecting through to the bathroom.
Who doesn’t love a bathroom with a view? No hands I see!! Well this place had a killer view straight out to sea. Better still, it was secluded enough that no one could see in! Did I mention it had a big circular bath with rain shower head above! The bathroom was pretty spacious and we had a couple of cases in there in front of the wardrobe, where there was a dressing table with hair dyer and mirror which was great as others could get ready while I was doing my hair. The vanity had a single basin but ample room for both mine and Alannah’s toiletries bag. There were timber blinds for those that feel a bit exposed with the big window over the bath.
Did I mention the awesome view from the plunge pool and that the sunsets were amazing from there? Here’s a few that will give you a good idea of just how lovely it was!
Our suite was located just below the grand suite which is a 2 bedroom villa with plunge pool and 360 degree views. The photos in reception of the villa were quite impressive. There 4 other room types here, the Ocean Private Villas which we had, the Pool Access Deluxe Rooms which have direct access to one of the pools from the living area, the Gazebo Deluxe rooms that are above the Pool Access rooms and the Elegance Deluxe rooms that face the other pool but have no direct access. I didn’t get into any other rooms so have only been able to show you photos of ours from the inside.
The main pool area was located just a few steps from our villa and was surrounded by other villas and the Elegance Deluxe rooms. There is a shallow area to one side for small children, but best of all there is a swim up bar, as we know I love swim up bars. There is also a row of spa seats along one side and the pool was shaped so that there was seating all around the edge. I liked that you could sit around the pool and not have to be directly at the pool bar. The water at the main pool was very very warm, reason being I think is that it is in the sun most of the day and our plunge pool was shaded by some trees so was much cooler. The pool bar’s all day menu which included some traditional Thai meals, fresh wraps and tapas style food.
There are 2 restaurants at the Crown Lanta, our favourite being the Reggae Bar, also a great spot for watching the sunset. We loved the tapas menu there and ordered nearly all of the options by the time we left. The atmosphere is cool and cruisey with Bob Marley playing in the background, reggae is calming and it was the perfect bar for it. The furniture is simple with mats and cushions on the floor and a share table in the middle. There are also a couple of tree houses which we found on our last night, these would be amazing to watch the sunset and the kids thought they were fabulous. In fact I could almost go back just to see another sunset from there! Frozen margarita’s might have been nice too!
The Cliff Restaurant was located in front of the main pool and had balcony views to the Crown Lanta private beach. You could order your meal and then help yourself to the buffet style salads and breads. I had the beef massuman and Alannah had the thai green curry and it was amazing. I really do love Thai food and forget how much better it is in Thailand.
The Peak Restaurant is were the buffet breakfast is found. It was a good workout getting to breakfast each morning as the last stretch was a steep little hike! I was determined not to get the buggy though. The buffet breakfast was extensive, you can have your eggs cooked however you like. I had mostly poached with bacon and stir fried potatoes with capsicum and onion. The kids inhaled the fresh fruit and there were also curries, stir fried fish, vegetarian options and traditional noodles and rice. Caelan got into the sushi on the last morning and I think we had about 8 pieces.
The Crown Cafe is located behind the reception area, you pass the koi pond where the kids can feed the fish for 20b, behind the cafe you can see the Pool Access Deluxe rooms. It’s air conditioned and does a nice coffee. The kids had a smoothie each which they really enjoyed.
Craig and I had the opportunity to try out the Infinity Spa, we both chose the Royal Thai Massage. Now this is a bit funny because anyone who knows me well knows I often don’t really pay attention to details. This was a prime example because I went in thinking it was going to be all oils are relaxation when traditional Thai massage is not really like that! I have to admit for the first 10 mins I was thinking what is going on here..! Whilst it was different, I have to say it’s had a huge impact on my back, which I have a lot of problems with and it is feeling so much better. So all in all, while I’ve tried something new, to my surprise it was probably the best option for me!! See sometimes being a bit ignorant pays off! Would I chose it next time….. yes!
There was a small gym located next to the Peak Restaurant, if you ask me just getting there was my exercise done!! It was sufficient enough and had what it needed but we did not make it there this trip, it’s there if you need it though!!
I believe it’s always best to check pricing direct with the resort through their online reservations link found here. My ‘go to’ booking site for Asia is agoda.com, I find them to be very competitive and reasonable priced. It is always good practice to check with a few though.
I loved Crown Lanta, it was perfect for relaxing and there were a number of families staying there, again I noticed a lot more European tourists than I expected. We actually didn’t spend that much time at the pool so we didn’t interact with to many other people like we usually do. I think now that it’s easier for people to get to Koh Lanta the island will see an in increase tourists. The closest town to the resort is Saladan Koh Lanta which is about a 5 min tuk tuk ride, we went in and did some shopping for souvenirs and found there to be quite a few restaurants, bars and tour desk operators located here.
Koh Lanta is a great place to visit the islands from including, Koh Rok (post coming soon), Koh Phi Phi and the 4 Island hopping options which has you swimming through caves and snorkelling in the crystal clear blue waters. Your holiday isn’t complete without heading out at least once. If I had the time I would have done all 3 tours, the waters and the sea life are something that will stay with you forever.
Koh Lanta has plenty of room for more tourists, the people are lovely, welcoming and kind, like they are everywhere it Thailand in my experience. It’s been a long while since I have been back to Thailand and this experience has just reminded me why I love it so much. I can honestly say that it won’t be another 14 years before I get back here. I would love to go back again next year and stay a bit longer and see a bit more of the island. It’s the perfect place to grab a motorbike and go and find your own untouched paradise as I’m sure there’s plenty more to find there.
Before our visit to Crown Lanta, we stayed at the Aonang Cliff Beach Resort in Aonang, click on the link to read all about it.
Sal & Co
Disclaimer: We had a mutually beneficial arrangement with Crown Lanta Resort & Spa, as always our opinion is our own.