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Destinations: Ko Lanta

by | Destinations

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission.

Thanks to travel app algorithms, most visitors to Thailand will be drawn to the major tourism hubs like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Krabi. For those who venture a little further out of these tourist hotspots, there are even clearer waters to swim in, richer cultures to explore and a spectrum of flavours to enjoy.

Having done enough trips to nearby destinations, we decided to venture out a little further to the island of Ko Lanta – A 2-hour drive from Krabi – with a ferry somewhere in between. This was in part due to a spirit of adventure, but also (admittedly mostly) due to my love for long-distance journeys. The ferry part of the journey reminded me of childhood journeys with my family when we would cross the Zambezi river on a ferry – part of a usually 25 hour journey from Lusaka to Gaborone. I digress.

Ko Lanta was initially settled by Sea Gypsies a little over half a century ago, followed by Malays, and then Chinese. By this time, the island on the southern coast of Thailand became a safe harbour for Arabic and Chinese merchants sailing from Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and the larger port in Phuket. Sri Raya, or the ‘Old Town’ (captured for this feature) served as the port and trading centre for the island, where dried fish, tin and charcoal, amongst others were traded.

We spent two nights at a cosy inn called the Verona Lanta. Right behind the property, on the coast line lies Sri Raya. I snuck out of the room at about 6:30 in a failed attempt to avoid waking my daughter and wife, and drove round the corner to the main pier at one end of the town.

To the south of the town is a public park with what looked like a civic centre, a large field, a playground and an outdoor gym. Poking up into the sky is a red-brick lighthouse which was gorgeous during the sunset the day before, and just off the brick wharf – on its side – lay a wrecked wooden ship. I couldn’t find much information about it so the photos will have to suffice until I do.

A walk into the Old Town takes you through a mixture of traditional Thai architecture and modern takes on the same. The locals are warm and friendly – as are all Thais – and the atmosphere is calm and relaxed. I found the centuries-old street light pillars to be a highlight of the town’s character, along with the wooden buildings with their hints of red and gold commonplace (a symbol of luck and prosperity in Chinese culture). Everything from pharmacies and barbershops to restaurants and souvenir shops line the street, with an especially large post box at the northern end of the street. My photo walk took a total of 20 minutes, but was certainly a relaxing one for a socially awkward photographer.

Having just spent two nights in the tourist-laden Krabi further up north, Ko Lanta – more-so Sri Raya was a much welcome escape from the noise and bustle of larger cities in the region. If you’re diver, Koh Lanta is known for amazing dive sites. For the sightseers, there are boat cruises to some spectacular locations in the area.

Would I recommend it? Yes. Yes I would. Now, enjoy the gallery!

Location: Ko Lanta / Sri Raya – G3JV+HP3, Ko Lanta Yai, Ko Lanta District, Krabi 81150

See it for yourself: https://goo.gl/maps/29SMKjS3M3z1fo1n7

Gear:

  • Sony A7RII, Sony FE 1.8/50mm, Sony FE 3.5-5.6/28-70
  • DJI Mini 2

Have a destination you want to share? Send a short story (300 words max) and up to 6 photos from your shoot there, to admin@luksmagazine.com

Sources:

  • https://www.kolanta.net/koh-lanta-history-culture/
  • https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/andaman-coast/ko-lanta
  • https://www.phoenixdivers-kohlanta.com/koh-lanta-dive-sites/kled-kaew-wreck/
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