Digital Nomad's Guide to Koh Lanta + Review of KoHub

I was excited to hear that Koh Lanta, which is my favorite island in Thailand, opened up their first coworking space! I first came to Koh Lanta to work as a Divemaster years ago, and have been back almost every year for vacation. It's the perfect combination of being a beautiful island, having top dive sites, and friendly, laid back people.

The only thing that prevented me from spending more time on Lanta in the past has been the lack of fast, reliable internet.  The good news is that problem has been solved and Koh Lanta is now a great place to base yourself as a digital nomad and work online. This is my guide as a digital nomad to Koh Lanta.

Getting to Koh Lanta:

One of the reasons why the island isn't as touristy as Phuket, Krabi or Koh Samui is because it's just slightly harder to get to. The great news is once you're here, you instantly realize it was worth the hassle.  Regardless of where you're coming from, fly into Krabi and take a taxi to the island.

You can fly directly from Chiang Mai to Krabi with Air Asia, but they only have two times. Don't fly at 6am, it is worse than you think it is. Instead fly Thai Lion Air which is half the price and is a better airline or take the late Air Asia flight and prebook a direct taxi.

Taxi from Krabi Airport to Koh Lanta:

If you can afford it, if you have 3 or more people in your group, or if you are landing after 4pm, make sure you prebook a private taxi to take you to the island. If you don't, you'll get ripped off in Krabi Town.  Use a service like Krabi Shuttle and save yourself a lot of time, and headache. It's not cheap, but it's worth it.

The cheaper option is to take a shared shuttle once you get to the airport. You'll buy a ticket to "koh lanta" for 90 baht which will actually only take you a somewhat shady tour operator in Krabi town (20 minutes away from the airport). There you'll pay between 400-500 baht and wait 30 minutes - 1 hour to be put in a minivan to take you to Koh Lanta. If you arrive after 4:30, they'll charge you double for whatever reason they make up, but mainly because there are less people going at that time and because you have no other options.

If you are arriving before 2:30pm, you can also get the ferry from the airport which takes around the same amount of time but allows you to go by boat which is slightly nicer than the shuttle experience. Either way, it's a long journey but once you get to Koh Lanta it'll be worth it.

Sometimes I'd tempted to just pre-book a private taxi for 4 people, and hold up a sign at the airport saying 500 baht private taxi to Koh Lanta and see how many people I can get to go with me. =)

The shuttle at Krabi airport

Review of KoHub: CoWorking Space

We're lucky that even though KoHub is the only coworking space in Koh Lanta, it happens to be a really good one. It has reasonable prices for being on a secluded island, the perfect location, a nice layout, and a cool working and social vibe.

It's a great place to be for 1-2 months at a time.

Here's a video tour of the coworking space:

Favorite things about KoHub:

Aside from a really nice shaded indoor/outdoor setup, which I prefer over being in an airconditioned room, I really like the social calendar. They are really trying to make it a community for digital nomads and I can see it being an alternative to Chiang Mai as a digital nomad hot spot.

The air quality is fantastic in Koh Lanta, and it's nice being walking distance to the beach.

Ask Questions or Meetup in Koh Lanta:

There isn't a ton of online presence on Lanta as it's a small island. Most places including the gyms don't have functional websites, so it's kind of one of those places you still need to just show up at to get any real info. But here are a few facebook groups to check out:

Join the group: Koh Lanta Digital Nomads

For rentals: Koh Lanta Properties 

When you arrive ask about the member's group: Kohubbers

Where to Stay on Koh Lanta:

We stayed at some basic fan bungalows at the Wonderful Resort just next to KoHub and loved the place. It was around 700 baht a night ($22US) but ended up being a bit cheaper as we stayed for over a week.  They included a full breakfast with ham and eggs, coffee and toast every morning and the staff was very friendly.

Just on the other side of KoHub is Sunny House which is around the same price, doesn't include breakfast, but has a nice pool. Check out both and see which one you like better.

My favorite places to stay on Koh Lanta would be:

Lantawadee Resort, Wonderful Resort, Prae-Ae Lanta Apartments all of which I book through Agoda.

If you don't mind paying a bit more but want to live in the same building as other digital nomads, the KoHub Apartments which is about 1.2km (3/4 mile) up the road from the coworking space. Also check out Lanta Garden Hill if you want a bigger place with a kitchen.

At one of the many beach side restaurants

Where to Eat:

There are a ton of restaurants both on the beach and on the main road, and pretty much all of them have been good. Lanta Tavern happens to have the best Texas style ribs I'd have anywhere outside of Texas and Funky Fish on the beach has incredible Red Duck and Lychee Curry.

KoHub also daily group lunches for 120 baht ($4US) per person. The food itself is actually really good but the social aspect is awesome. You get to sit and chat with everyone which makes it easy to meet each other.

Costs of Living on Koh Lanta:

Still cheap compared to the U.S. but definitely more expensive than Chiang Mai.  I wouldn't come here to bootstrap, but if you're making at least $1,000 a month online you should be fine to get by.  If you want to really enjoy Koh Lanta though, you'd want to be making at least $1,500.

A typical day's lunch at KoHub

Things to Do:

Some of the best Scuba Diving in Thailand is in Koh Lanta. It's more expensive than Koh Tao or Phi Phi, but only because the dive sites are further away. But trust me, it's worth paying extra for. Part of what you're paying for is the experience of hanging out on a big, comfortable boat while being served a proper breakfast and lunch. On islands like Phi Phi and Koh Tao, since the dive sites are usually 10 minutes away, you just hop on and off without much of an experience or time to unwind and relax. Especially for beginners, diving on busier islands can feel rushed.

My favorite dive sites from Koh Lanta are Koh Ha and The Bida Islands which are both beginner friendly, and for advance divers Hin Daeng/Hin Muang is a must dive while you're here. If you don't want to spend the time or money to get certified, you can do a one day discovery dive which gets you basic training and an instructor to take you down to 12m (40ft).

Here's a video of us snorkeling with leopard sharks: 

Snorkeling vs. Scuba Diving

Aside from diving, you can book a snorkeling trip with any of the dive companies, but honestly the diving is a million times better. In the above video we did two dives and decided to snorkel just for a bit at the end of the day.

Other non water things to do include bringing a book to one of the beaches or explore the island on a scooter. There aren't any movie theaters, malls, or much else to do, so it can get a bit boring long term compared to Chiang Mai if you're not into beaches or diving.

Diving in the Bida Islands with Larissa

For Animal Lovers:

One fantastic thing that's also very convenient on Koh Lanta is the Animal Welfare Center. You can go there anytime to play with one of twenty cats, or take one of the dogs for a walk on the beach. The volunteers at the center don't have time to talk the dogs very far so they really appreciate it when tourists or nomads take the rescue dogs out for a few hours and the dogs sure appreciate it.

It was one of the coolest things we did during this trip and if I lived on Koh Lanta I would take a dog out every other day.

Taking a rescue dog for a walk on the beach

Downsides to Koh Lanta:

The biggest downsides of Koh Lanta and most islands in general are difficult access to goods and the closed minded island mentality.

First buying anything is difficult on Koh Lanta including clothes, a USB cable, a new computer, avocados or butter made from grass-fed cows.

Even though there's only one main road that looks really easy to drive, I've now met three people who have been hit from behind by a speeding tuk-tuk because the taxi driver was speeding like a maniac and treating the road like a superhighway.

Overall Thoughts:

I love Koh Lanta as a place to spend a few weeks or even a month or two, especially during the burning season in Chiang Mai, and would definitely live here if I wanted to combine working online with scuba diving, but aside from that, the island is just too remote for me to stay long term which is why I spend most of the year in Chiang Mai. 

If you're coming to Thailand for the first time and have always dreamed about living on a tropical island, Koh Lanta would be a great place to start. If you're thinking about visiting Thailand, make sure you read my book 12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap before you come. It'll give you a good insight on what life is like and how to save money on your trip.

Updated for 2016: 

More things to do on Koh Lanta

Hope you enjoy the island!

Warm Regards,


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Post a Comment

  1. Sounds great. Just booked my flight, will arrive next week friday!

    1. Awesome Heinz, i'm sure you're going to love it there!

  2. Perfect timing! I've just arrived in Koh Lanta. Such a beautiful place! And Koh Hub seems already pretty amazing, very chilled and with a great community (by the way, James says thank you for the video).

    I booked an AirAsia flight from Bangkok to get here, with a minibus connection included, but I missed it.

    So in the end I took a plane to Krabi, landed at 4.15pm, and bought a ticket for a van to Koh Lanta for 490 bath.

    The bus departed in 10 minutes. They dropped me at Krabi Town, where I had to wait another 10 minutes for a minivan. The driver spoke no english and was a bit rude, but all the other tourists were laughing about it. Before boarding he asked to see tickets, but none of us had any ticket as we had to give ours to the reception lady at Krabi Town.

    The whole ride took about 2 hours and a half, including two ferry crossings. The crossing at sunset was nice, and we were dropped directly at our hotels in Koh Lanta.

    All things considered, it was a fun, cheap and adventurous ride, but I wouldn't recommend it for everyone.

    1. Hey Val, glad you made it safely to Koh Lanta and are enjoying Koh Hub so far! Sorry to hear you missed your flight with Air Asia, what happened?

      As for the minivan transfer, sounds about right. I think we had a worse experience because they double the price after 5pm. Same rude service in Krabi through, luckily as soon as we got to Koh Lanta everyone was smiling and super friendly.

  3. Awesome insight! Just what I was looking for as I am planning to stay in Koh Lanta for 2-3mths. Given it's pricier than I thought maybe it's better I do 2mths in Koh Lanta and 1 month in Chiang Mai.

    1. Yup that's a great idea. You'll get bored of the beach after 2 months anyway =)

  4. I love these posts of yours Johnny. I'll use this blog as the backbone of our move to Thailand in April. YOU THE MAN!

  5. Hey Ian, really glad to be able to share these! I actually refer back to them myself pretty often when I forget where I stayed or how much something was.

  6. Thanks Johnny, I'm going to check Koh Lanta out tomorrow!

    1. Hey Fred, you're going to love it. Tell everyone at KohHub I said hi, I just left!

    2. I will - shame I missed you, maybe i'll catch you next time!

  7. Hey Johnny, I am in Thailand right now and your blog posts keep popping up everytime I search about a certain place in Thailand.
    We are in Phuket right now and after reading your article, my husband and I are keen to check out KoHub in Koh Lanta. Wasn't even considering it before I read your article so cheers for that!

  8. Hey Angeli, happy to help! You're going to love Koh Lanta!

  9. Hey Johnny, I met someone who went to Koh Lanta and wasn't impressed with the amount of rubbish lying around on the beaches and in the undergrowth, did you see any of this when you were there?

    1. I don't worry about natural undergrowth of plants, but I too hate seeing rubbish. Koh Lanta however has sooooo much less than most other places. If you were hated the few pieces of trash on Koh Lanta, you'll HATE places like Malaysia and Bali.

      The trick to getting rid of it is to support education of locals and setting up reduction or plastic and proper waste disposal.


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