There are hundreds of restaurants on Koh Lanta which cater for every palate with a wide range of different cuisines. Most serve a mixture of Thai and Western food, and prices typically range from 30 to 150 baht per dish for local dishes. Although almost all eateries are confined to resorts, you’re quite welcome to stroll along the beach to pick and choose.
Thai food is almost always excellent but, like the rest of Thailand, Western food cooked by local chefs can be hit or miss. However, it is possible to find the taste of home at any of the many British, Scandinavian, French, German, Irish and Australian-run restaurants. The food often depends on the quality of your resort, but standards on the island are generally high.
As you would expect, the five-star resorts have the best restaurants on Koh Lanta. Their chefs are internationally trained and offer up imaginative and delicious cuisine from all over the world, often with a spicy Thai twist.
The food at these resorts is relatively expensive and the wine even more so, but the price tag is well worth it for a special occasion.
Koh Lanta is also internationally renowned for its seafood, and whether you’re dining at a beachside hut or a five-star resort, you can be sure that the fish or prawns you are enjoying were caught fresh that morning. Some of the seafood may also have been moving just five minutes before it landed on your plate!
Here is a collection of places we suggest, but of course there are loads more if you have a wander around.
Recommended Koh Lanta restaurants
Sunset Restaurant: small, quaint restaurant on Klong Dao Beach, close to Lanta Resort and next to Mooks Bar. The Thai food is the best in the area and inexpensive. Offering real Thai cuisine which can be enjoyed at tables directly on the sand, this no-frills restaurant has spectacular views and cool sea breezes.
Abdul’s Pancakes: is a crêpe stall run from a motorcycle sidecar. You can most often find the stall in Moo 1, Saladan, opposite Lanta Diver, when the boats come back at around 15:00. The chocolate and banana crêpes as well as the chicken crêpes are out of this world!
Cook Kai: across the street from Klong Nin Beach. Built of wood and well decorated, it offers a spacious, open dining area and bar. Run by the cook and his family, their Thai food, which is unique to Cook Kai, is some of the best you can get in the area. The daily specials, announced on the board at the entrance, are worth a try.
River Restaurant: friendly place located on the beach just south of Narima Resort. They have an extensive and delicious menu with lots of Thai dishes and a few Western ones. The pad thai is tasty and the restaurant is very popular with families.
Thai Cuisine: is a long-running favourite here. It is located in Phra Ae, just south of the Opium nightclub. The menu features a wide selection of wonderful Chinese and Thai dishes. The special spring roll is a must and there is bar service and a small artisan boutique. Tel: 089 288 4492.
Lanta Seafood: is the island’s best seafood restaurant and can be found in Ban Saladan on the road that runs parallel to the coast. The dishes are fantastic and are produced straight from the sea. Tel: (075) 684 106.
Watermark Restaurant: is housed in the Rawi Warin Resort and Spa on Kong Nin Beach. This exclusive restaurant offers the best in Thai and Mediterranean cuisine. Mind you, the prices are also exclusive.
Bars and nightlife on Koh Lanta
Nightlife on Koh Lanta is pretty much non-existent, but that is the main appeal to most visitors who come here. Most Koh Lanta bars can be found in hotels, restaurants and bungalow establishments on the beach. Some Koh Lanta bars will put on fire shows at dusk, but this is about as lively as it gets.
Koh Lanta is a place to chill out and relax, enjoy a drink on the beach and watch beautiful sunsets. If it’s discos, girly bars and a strip full of watering holes you are after, then head to Krabi’s Ao Nang or Phuket.
As most of the beach bars don’t even have a name on Koh Lanta, the best thing to do is walk around until you see one that takes your fancy. Head to any of the major beaches and you will be sure to find a place to enjoy a drink of an evening. Here are a few places that are worth a try.
Chalee Barley’s: has a friendly bar on Klong Nin Beach. This is a great place to meet fellow like-minded travellers, and the establishment also has a restaurant and guesthouse.
Mooks Bar: on Klong Dao Beach between DR Lanta Bay Resort and Sun, Fun and Sea Bungalows is good spot to relax with a drink on the beach, listen to some reggae and catch up on sporting events on the box.
Oscar’s Bar: has a beautiful driftwood terrace on Long Beach which makes for a romantic setting.
Where Else/Feeling Bar: serves Indian and Thai food in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Tel: 081 536 4870.