When I first visited Koh Lanta I stayed at Pada Hotel which is located in the centre of Lanta Island, just a minute walk from the Klong Nin Beach. Hotel Pada is a 20-minute drive from Saladan Pier. The hotel offers two types of accommodation – bungalows and hotel rooms. Featuring Thai-style furnishings with a modern touch, rooms have en suite bathroom with hot shower facilities.
Address: 93 Moo 8, Klong Nin Beach, Koh Lanta, Thailand 81150
Pada Hotel Garden:
- It has free Wi-Fi, one for outside in the garden and one for inside the hotel. Its not the greatest signal but its fine compared to others
- Large double bed
- Ensuit bathroom
- The garden is lovely- lots of hammocks to laze around in
- The beach is only 2 minutes walk just follow the ‘To the beach’ sign
- Having to pay 2000 baht for key deposit which is £36.60 (Which is regarded quite a lot for a hostel in Europe let alone here) – We had already paid for the room so having to fork out this extra amount was irritating especially as we were leaving Thailand soon.
- The ‘cleaner’ only tidies the bedding and gives fresh towels occasionally. They also left our windows wide open on the first floor which could have been easy access for a thief.
- All rooms are equipped with a safety deposit box which is so tiny it would probably only fit my samsung S3. All rooms are equipped with a safety deposit box which is so tiny it would probably only fit my samsung S3.
- Because the area is small you have to hire a moped to get anywhere otherwise you will have to dine with tourists
I decided to stay in Koh Lanta for three nights to chill out and enjoy this large island, about 30 kms long and 6 kms wide with nine beaches strung along its west coast. There are plenty of things to do in Koh Lanta, places to eat and a variety of accommodation options but it’s all quite spread out and doesn’t feel overcrowded.
To get around Koh Lanta you ideally need a motorbike or face paying for a taxi or tuk tuk to take you around. I loved zipping around on a moped and Koh Lanta is a great place for it. It’s quite a large island (27 km long) so having your own transport makes it easy to explore. The roads are paved (with loads of bumpy patches further south), there is no traffic, and it’s hard to get lost when there’s only one road that goes around the island and a couple that cut across it.
Check out the link: http://youtu.be/OouikjvFs2s
It cost us 200 baht a day to hire an automatic scooter, although we got a really bad one with a broken speed thermometer. Many restaurants, hotels and travel agents rent them out so they are easy to find.
- Bring a scanned copy of your passport
- By Thai law you must carry your passport on you at all times so Don’t surrender your passport when you sign the rental contract. I have heard stories of unscrupulous people who refuse to return your passport because they have fabricated bogus problems with the scooter and they want you to pay up to fix them. Even worse, some go so far as to steal the bike while it’s in your possession and then insist you replace it before returning your passport. If you don’t like the idea of leaving your passport you can leave a deposit (3,000 BAHT) which is a lot easier to walk away from should you find yourself in such a situation.
- Ask for a receipt of rental contract in case you are pulled over by police
- Do wear your helmet even if it looks like it would give you less protection than your bike helmet back home. It’s the law to wear a helmet in Thailand, and I saw more than one ticket being issued to helmet-less people
- Do take a few spins around the block on quiet streets before venturing out into a busy thoroughfare just to get the feel of the scooter. It’s a lot harder to balance when you have a passenger on the back too.
- Take photos of the motorbike in case the rental guy accuses you of something you didn’t do
- Do drive defensively like your life depends on it, because frankly, it probably does. Watch the drivers ahead of you, beside you, behind you and don’t forget to watch the road for speed bumps and potholes. A hole in the road or a bad driver on the road (things completely out of your control) can come out of nowhere
- Licenses – Information on what you’re legally supposed to have to drive a motorbike in Thailand is misleading and you’ll hear different things about whether you do or do not actually need a certain license. Technically, I believe you’re supposed to have proper identification. In actuality, the rental places will not ask to see a license or really even check that you can handle a bike. If you get stopped by police for a traffic infraction, they probably won’t hassle you and after a chat or small fine you’ll be on your way (chances are you probably won’t get stopped at all unless you do something really wrong). If you are involved in a serious accident then that’s another story…but from experience after being here for a year and a half, most of the foreigners – and several Thais – that I know do not have a license and have not had any problems.
- Make sure you take pictures of the bike as you aren’t insuranced
- Riding a motobike in Thailand day in day out is dangerous, there’s no doubt about it. Driving sensibly will help ensure that your going to be incident free on a short visit here. Make sure you’ve got travel insurance that covers you too, just in case.
- There is a massive accident rate. I recently learned that insurance companies (Thai) will not insure motorbikes after their warranty period because of this. Here is a slightly dated but informative study about accident rateshttp://www.iatss.or.jp/pdf/research/29/29-1-11.pdf
There are a couple of petrol stations near the north of the island in Klong Dao and Saladaan and these have the cheapest rates so stock up here when you can. Elsewhere on the island you’ll find informal petrol stations by the side of the road where gasoline is advertised, petrol is stored in whisky bottles at 40 baht (75p) each.
There are no Western chains or highrises, and there are many empty beaches. One beach we found whilst driving on our scooter was very secluded, the water is see-through, and the sand was amazing. I loved the jungle covered mountains of the interior and the long golden beaches along the west coast.
The majority of restaurants near our hotel were quite expensive in comparison to other places in Thailand so most nights we took the motorbike for a drive and found a local thai restaurant where we could both dine out for £3.50 and that includes drinks. I was used to eating out at local restaurants in Vietnam so I wasn’t afraid to eat there. The majority of restaurants aimed at tourists were alot more ‘expensive’.
The food consists of sticky rice, roasted chicken on skewers, fish or anything meat related. I didn’t eat breakfast at the hotel and instead drove to a nearby local restaurant with less tourists.
After dinner on a Wednesday evening I decided to check out the Tree House Bar. Ban Koh Lanta, Krabi,
I ordered a few drinks (quite expensive for Thailand) but worth it for the entertainment. There was a great atmosphere enjoyed with good music.
Here are a few videos of the performance:
Make sure you get there early otherwise you will have to sit on the floor which isn’t so comfy.