Koh Lanta Yai

Heavy lids enclose me in darkness, but with each gentle sway of the boat I slowly rock back into consciousness.
Muffled voices gain clarity and as I fight the urge to slip back into a deep sleep, S gives me an excited nudge,
“Babe, wake up, we’re here!”
 
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We’re in Koh Lanta, and as I step of the boat and wait for my backpack to be unloaded I can already tell that this place is different. There’s not the usual attack on the senses that so many places in Thailand can bring.
It’s quiet, serene, and has just a handful of taxi drivers waiting to see if you need transport.
We politely decline the offers and in return we receive smiles and “mai pen rai” (meaning no worries) and as we walk off of the pier and towards our guesthouse, my earlier lethargy wears off and with each step taken, is replaced by an increasing build up of excitement.
 
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A charming wooden house built on stilts overlooking the sea and Koh Lanta Noi, known by the name of Sincere Guesthouse, is where we stayed. The wooden features, quiet environment, “no shoe” policy and open terraced restaurant had us from the moment we stepped inside, and with it being situated just two minutes from Saladan pier, five minutes from town and seven minutes from the beach, it had the perfect location.
 
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The island is rustic, low-key and if you step away from the trash-free beaches, you can see that it’s not designed for tourists.
 
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It was, and has stayed, built for locals.
Which in a place like Thailand, (which has such a heavy footfall of tourist traffic and developments that happen quicker than a sandstorm), generates a lot of worry.
 
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Will Lanta be ruined when more people discover it?
 
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Will tourists increase development?
 
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Will development ruin Lanta’s natural beauty?
 
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But as it stands at the moment, people need not worry as the tight-knit community of Koh Lanta has ensured that whilst the island develops, it has done so in a controlled manner, stopping it from becoming a free-for-all on who can profit the most.
 
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The island has significantly grown in popularity over the past ten years, but despite a slight price increase, the introductions of a few high end resorts and restaurants, the essence of the island has remained low-key and serene. From the villages so quiet you’d think they were abandoned, to the seaside resorts that make the most of the materials that they have, to the more built up beaches, there’s an area for everyone.
However one things for sure.
If you’re looking to party, this isn’t the place for you.
 
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Koh Lanta is a place to relax and enjoy yourself.
A place to immerse yourself in local life, culture, and to really appreciate your surroundings.
A place to spend your days exploring, touring the island looking for the old abandoned Chinese temple, enjoying the marine park, or helping a local charity.
 
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It’s a place where your evenings should be spent dining in local restaurants, settling down with a good book as you wait for the sun to set. Which you should definitely do.
 
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Because.
 
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Look.
 
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At.
 
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That.
 
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Sun!!
 
Koh Lanta is a place that not only helps you rest and relax, but it’s a place where you can truly find yourself.
And because of that, it’s one (out of two) of my favourite islands.

Have you ever been to Koh Lanta?
What did you think?