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 Koh Lanta 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 Koh Lanta and find a beach to yourself. 

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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.

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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 that we’ve used in the past.

Both of these can be purchased when you are already abroad (unlike most travel insurance policies).

Check the policy as you likely won’t be covered if you don’t have a licence and even then the size bike you can rent could be limited. 

Koh Lanta Scooter Rental

Many restaurants, hotels, and travel agents rent out scooters on Koh Lanta so they are easy to find.

The best way to rent a motorbike is through your hotel. On our latest trip we rented from Lanta Sky in Long Beach who usually ask for a passport as a deposit. But because we arranged it through our accommodation (Malee Highlands), we didn’t need to leave a deposit. 

If your hotel can’t arrange bike rental, just walk down the street and ask a few places to compare prices and deposit policies. Khlong Dao and Long Beach have plenty of options, but you can find them all over the island. 

Automatic scooters are usually rented for 250 baht ($8) a day, although I have seen rates as low as 150 baht ($5)—try Lanta Nattapol Travel & Tour in Khlong Dao on the side street down to Oasis Yoga (we haven’t used them ourselves). 

You can negotiate rates for longer stays of a week or more. We paid 2500 baht ($81) a month when we rented for three months in low season.

Rental places don’t ask to see a licence. Try to find a place that will accept a copy of your passport as a deposit as it’s not a good idea to be separated from your passport, especially for longer rentals.

If you’re still looking for a place to stay, see our post on the best Koh Lanta hotels for every budget which also includes a comparison of the different beaches and villages on the island. 

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Fuel

There are a couple of petrol stations near the north of the island on the main road in Khlong Dao and Saladan. 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.

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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 often stay here as it’s the perfect mix of uncrowded beach and good restaurants. It’s ideal for sunset walks. We love the luxury Layana Resort and the apartments at Sai Naam Residence but there are plenty of accommodation options. 
  • Old Town – Head across the mountains to the quiet east coast and visit this pretty village with wooden houses on stilts over the water. Just further south you’ll find excellent tacos and kayak rental at Baja Taco.
  • Kantiang Bay – Back on the west coast this is a quiet, beautiful beach in the south where the mountains meet the sand. Pimalai Resort is our favourite place to stay here—it’s perfect for a special occasion and has incredible views from the hillside infinity pool. 
  • Southern Beaches – Explore this beautiful string of empty beaches in the far south including 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. Just keep your distance from the monkeys!

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. 

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59 Comments

  1. My husband and I are travelling to India for we wedding in November, and on our way back (even without much time) we plan on visiting Lanta for a couple of days before we head home. I just have one question, and maybe you can direct me – we really wants to visit with elephants and tigers. Between Bangkok and Lanta where is the best place for us to do this?

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    • There are elephants on Koh Lanta but the only place I’ve heard of to visit Tigers is in Chiang Mai in north Thailand.

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  2. Thank you for such a detailed blog post! I’ve been scouring the web finding write-ups on Koh Lanta, as my boyfriend and I are traveling in November of this year for THanksgiving, and we are trying to decide between Koh Lanta or Koh Lipe… Your detailed reviews on the different accommodations available are SO useful. Thank you so much!

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    • I’m glad you found it useful Anna. Koh Lipe is lovely but as it’s so small it felt a bit crowded to us. Have a great trip!

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      • Hi Erin! We have decided on Koh Lanta, and are staying at Ban Kaan Tiang See. Super excited! :)

        Daniel (the boyfriend) and I are avid cooks, and were looking into the cooking classes—but we also thought it might be fun to have someone come to our villa and teach us to cook/make us a meal there. Have you run into anything like this? Hire a private chef for the day? And by chef I really mean someone’s grandma who can teach us how to make a mean curry paste. :)

        Thanks again!

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        • Yay! Love it there! I haven’t heard of anything like this. I would recommend asking at the hotel or one of the cooking classes. Have fun!

  3. Hi Erin,

    How are you doing? That’s a really lovely and insightful website.. My husband and I are planning a trip Lanta between April 18th to 22nd.. I gather that the weather should be ok then [Turquoise beaches, super romantic sunsets haha and calm waters for diving].. yeah?

    One thing though, we are a little stuck about where to stay.. Would you be able to give us some suggestions? And perhaps, some things to do in the island.

    Thanks so much!

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    • We love April in Koh Lanta. It’s not busy and the weather should still be good. All of our suggestions of places to stay and things to do are in this post and the original guide. Have a lovely time!

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  4. We are just coming to the end of a wonderful month in Koh Lanta.
    We have stayed in Old Town as it had the right kind of atmosphere for us and has been a magical experience from start to finish …. we are finishing on a real high due to our visit coinciding with the “Lanta Lanta Festival”.

    The truth is that we would not have even thought to come here if it wasn’t for your feature on Koh Lanta and how nice the island is. After a month here I have to totally agree with you when you say it has the perfect balance of everything. Thanks :0) PS… we have also had the best wifi service here in over a year in Asia.

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  5. Great post! I’m on Koh Lanta now wondering what to do, I’m also vegetarian and struggling with finding meals here so this is such a lifesaver! Thank you!

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  6. Your posts on Koh Lanta have made my life so much easier when planning my upcoming trip to the island. Can’t wait until we get to see this beautiful place for ourselves!

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  7. Good post. We enjoyed it very much. We’ve been in Bangkok for 30-days and already we took advantage of a discounted Air Asia flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai for the Loy Krathong festival. Now, we plan a few more domestic trips starting with Krabi and Trang sometime next week on Air Asia (USD$80.00 round trip). Maybe, we can squeeze in some time for Koh Lanta. Thanks for the information and great photos too.
    Michael and Gina Z
    New York City, USA

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  8. Do you think I’m trying to pack in too much stuff into 3.5 days? Koh Lanta seems great, I just don’t want to be traveling all the time with no time to enjoy.

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    • We travel really slowly so probably wouldn’t head down there for 3.5 days, but other people with more limited time do. It would be a shame not to see the Thai islands. Have you seen the recommended itineraries on Travelfish? http://www.travelfish.org/trip_planner/ It’s a great website for planning a SE Asia trip.

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