I have spent the past month on the island of Ko Lanta, on the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand. I couldn’t have imagined a place more dramatically different from the cities I’ve spent the majority of my time for the last decade. It’s been a welcome departure, and I’ve even managed to work while here, without sacrificing enjoyment of the natural beauty, swims in the ocean and sunset drinks.
Ko Lanta is a sleepy place. A constant internal refrain I’d had in my time here was “there is nothing going on on this island”. This was not at all a negative thing. You just live a sort of simpler island lifestyle here because of how little is happening. There are a few pubs and beach bars throughout the island (shout out to The Irish Embassy and The Joker on Phra Ae/Long Beach where I spent some evenings) but they never get too wild. There are some vague efforts at Ko Phangan-style western hippie/backpacker beach parties but the couple I went to were extremely halfhearted, with a not very engaged clientele, so they were actually more like beach chilling sessions.
A funny aspect of living on an island with a population of just 3000 is that you see the same people everywhere. I loved this aspect of life on Ko Lanta and, at least with my friends from Kohub (see next section), it would often be an opportunity for some spontaneous socializing over a drink or a bite.
One phenomenal thing that is going on here if you work online is KoHub, a coworking space just off Phra Ae/Long Beach. It’s a nice, chilled out facility composed of a couple air conditioned buildings with a big back yard. They have a kitchen serving Thai meals which are delicious and very reasonably priced. There is also a self-serve kitchen area with free Aeropress coffee and tea. Friendly, attention-loving cats slink around at your feet or on the desks.
Day-passes to Kohub are around $12 US and month passes around $180 US. There is also an extremely active community with WhatsApp and Facebook groups. I think partly because of how quiet the island is, the Kohub community was actually one of the strongest and most social of any coworking space I’ve worked in. Kohub is definitely a huge plus for Ko Lanta.
My recreation here consisted of daily ocean swims and sunset drinks. I stayed in beachfront bungalows the whole trip (Gooddays Lanta on Phra Ae/Long Beach for 3 weeks, and Laguna Beach Club in Khlong Dao for 1 week). Most days I’d work through the morning and afternoon, then pad down to the ocean for a swim, take a quick sand shower and watch the sunset from a beachfront bar with a Piña Colada or Tiger Beer, chatting with whoever happened to be there. Maybe I should be bothered that I didn’t make it out to the nearby Phi Phi islands for a dive or snorkel but honestly, a casual afternoon swim out in front of the bungalow and a sunset drink is really exactly what I wanted for this trip.
Ko Lanta has been a wonderful place to spend a month. It’s friendly and chilled out, but with enough social activities to not die of boredom. The existence of Kohub is a huge plus for anybody who needs to work while here. I’ll certainly miss the afternoon swims, sunset cocktails and generally chilled out vibe of this place when I leave. I hope to be able to bring some friends here next year.
Were I ever to write a retrospective of my month on Ko Lanta, it would surely look something like this ?: