Tips for Exploring Koh Lanta by Scooter

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See our detailed post on things to do in Koh Lanta for everything you need to know to plan your trip including restaurants, accommodation and transport. This post focuses on exploring the island by scooter. 
Renting a scooter on Koh Lanta is the ideal way to explore the jungle-covered mountains and long empty beaches of this beautiful Thai Island.  

We love riding down to the undeveloped south of the island on the back of our scooter, the cooling breeze in our faces, the jungle on one side and the sea on the other. It’s the easiest way to get around and find a beach to yourself. 

Learn to Ride a Scooter on Koh Lanta

In an ideal world you would learn to ride a motorbike in your home country before you get to Thailand. 

Before we became digital nomads Simon did his CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) in the UK. On this one-day course he learned all the basics which made him much more confident driving in Southeast Asia. A few years later he got his full licence after four days of training and practical tests. 

That said, automatic scooters are fairly easy to drive and many people hire them in Thailand without a licence. Just be careful and realise you are taking a risk (your insurance won’t cover you without a licence). 

Simon usually drives us in Thailand, but on our last visit I learned to drive an automatic scooter, something I’d been scared of for years. As traffic is minimal on Koh Lanta (especially the further south you get) it’s a great place to learn.

Erin on a scooter, Koh LantaAccidents are relatively common amongst inexperienced foreigners, so do be careful. Don’t just hop on a bike and drive away or you could end up in a ditch like our friends. Instead get someone to show you the ropes away from traffic.

I practiced for three 20 minute sessions around the quiet roads of our villa complex before heading out on the main road. Simon showed me what to do and made me practice emergency stops and various manoeuvres.

With automatic scooters you don’t have to worry about gears so it’s fairly simple. If you drive slowly and carefully and wear a helmet you should be fine. And of course, never drink and drive. It didn’t take long until I felt confident and really enjoyed scooting around.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

If you rent a motorbike make sure your travel insurance covers you as accidents do happen. We recommend True Traveller (for UK/EU residents) who we’ve been using for years. World Nomads (available worldwide) is another reliable option. Both of these can be purchased when you are already abroad (unlike most policies). 

Koh Lanta Scooter Rental

Many restaurants, hotels, and travel agents rent out scooters on Koh Lanta so they are easy to find. Just ask your hotel or walk down the street and ask a few places to compare prices. Long Beach (where we stay) has plenty of options but you can find them all over the island. 

Automatic scooters can be rented for 250 baht ($8) a day or negotiate for longer stays—we paid 5000 baht ($160) for six weeks. They don’t ask to see a licence and you can leave a copy of your passport as a deposit.

Fuel

There are a couple of petrol stations near the north of the island in Klong Dao and Saladan 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 petrol is stored in whisky bottles at 40 baht ($1.30) each.

Scooter Itineraries on Koh Lanta

Ride a scooter to Koh Lanta National Park and see this view from the lighthouse

View from the lighthouse in Koh Lanta National Park

You can explore the entire island in a day by scooter. Here are some of our favourite stops: 

  • Long Beach – We always stay here as it’s the perfect mix of uncrowded beach and good restaurants. It’s ideal for sunset walks. We love the apartments at Sai Naam Residence but there are plenty of accommodation options. 
  • Old Town – Head across the mountains to the empty east coast and visit this stilted village. 
  • Southern Beaches – Back on the west coast explore the beautiful string of quiet beaches in the south including Kantiang Bay, Waterfall Bay (Ao Klong Jark) and Bamboo Bay (Ao Mai Pai).
  • Koh Lanta National Park – Trek through the jungle, visit the lighthouse, and relax on the beach at the National Park at the southern tip of the island. There’s a 200 baht ($6.40) entrance fee. 

More Koh Lanta Tips

See our comprehensive Koh Lanta Guide for more information on things to do, where to stay, the best restaurants (including vegetarian options), and how to get there. 

Are you planning your travels for 2018? See our Travel Resources page for our favourite tools and gear to help you plan the perfect trip. 

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