BEST FOR: when you can’t make up your mind
Of all Thailand’s islands, Koh Lanta is one of the best all-rounders. Less than an hour’s boat ride from Krabi, Koh Lanta is actually made up of several little islands, the most-visited of which is Koh Lanta Yai. It has nature reserves and beaches where you won’t see another soul; it’s got accommodation that runs the gamut from spare to super-swanky, which attract more 30-, 40- and 50-something travellers than backpackers. Bringing the children? The waters are calm and the island safe.
If you want to have it all on holiday – suntanning on beautiful beaches, a bit of world-class diving, a great massage, fun beach bars, kayaking through a mangrove forest, eating seafood tom yum with the locals in a friendly fishing villages – then Koh Lanta is where you get it.
BEST PLACES TO STAY ON KOH LANTA: The island is not short of sleek resorts. Pimalai was Lanta’s first five-star hotel, set in tropical forest on the edge of white-sand Ba Kan Tiang Beach near Lanta Marine National Park. Accommodation ranges from rooms to entire villas and the spa has got outdoor massage tables surrounded by palm trees. Pimalai, Ba Kan Tiang Beach, Koh Lanta (00 66 75 607 999; pimalai.com).
On Phrae Ae Beach, the five-star Layana Resort & Spa is a neatly groomed resort made up of more solidly-built rooms and suites, and fully mod-conned-up. It also has Hobie Cats to sail, and a spa. Layana Resort & Spa, 272 Moo 3 Saladan, Koh Lanta (+66 75 607 100; layanaresort.com)
Two more great (and very affordable) places to stay are the elegant Costa Lanta (costalanta.com) and Sri Lanta (srilanta.com).