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. This post has been updated as I know how many people are

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. You can also contact KoHub and have them book a private taxi to pick you up on the main street just outside of the airport (5 minute walk across the parking lot) which may save you a few bucks.

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 good news is that in 2016 they finished building the bridge that connects that two Lanta islands (big and small) which saves you around 40 minutes of drive time as the two car ferries were a bottleneck in time.

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 good working and social vibe. They also have air conditioned rooms for the days that it simply gets too hot to be outside, even while sitting under the shade and with fans on.

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

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

Here's a video tour of the coworking space:

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. You can also stay in the KoHub apartments which has a nice rooftop and is in a good area, just be warned that the rooms itself are small and even though it's marketed as being convenient it's actually a 20+ minute walk in the heat so unless you have a scooter it's a bit too far to stay.

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 or small town mentality. First buying anything is difficult on Koh Lanta which is fine if you're just there for a few weeks but after that you'll wish there was an easy place aside from going into Krabi just to get clothes, a USB cable, a new computer, avocados or actual grass-fed butter. Even getting around can be difficult as all taxi drivers there will rip you off and things like Uber or Lyft don't exist as it's too small of a market.

Dangers: Even though there's only one main road that looks really easy to drive on and should be, I've now met three people including myself who have been hit from behind by cars or tuk-tuks while walking, cycling, or riding a normal speed on a scooter. The locals, especially taxi drivers get so used to speeding up the one main road that they often drive 70+ km/hr in places they really should be watching out for pedestrians.

The reason why I dislike Koh Lanta isn't because bad things can happen, as things like that can happen anywhere. It's the small-island scarcity mentality that the locals there have, both Thai and western alike. If you get hit by a taxi, it's automatically your fault even if you were just walking and they hit you from behind. If say anything negative about a business, restaurant, or experience, you are will be ganged up on by the locals, which is why even writing the downsides to Koh Lanta rarely gets talked about.

Overall Thoughts:

I love Koh Lanta as a place to spend a few weeks or maybe even a  month during the burning season in Chiang Mai. I would also live here if I wanted to combine working online with scuba diving as there aren't many other places you can do that in the world. But aside from that, the island has too many downsides for me to stay long term which is why I spend most of the year in Chiang Mai where you can get whatever you need, go to cinemas, in door restaurants, and have a normal life.

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. It truly is beautiful and as far as tropical islands are concerned it has decent internet and infrastructure. 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: 

Read my updated post called "More things to do on Koh Lanta" as it shows some of the fun sides of living on the island aside from the practical mentioned above.

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.

  10. There are now shuttles passing the airport. No need to go to Krabi Town first if you are going to the island, they stop once an hour outside the airport (5 minute walk at the main road).
    My coworking space KoHub was helpful to book that in advance for me.

    1. Hey Andreas, thanks for the info on that. That'll make getting from Krabi Airport to Koh Lanta a hundred times easier!

  11. Hey Johnny Happy New Year. Yes, I know this post is old. We met at one of your coffee shop meetups in Chiang Mai in 2015. At 65 years old - I am THE oldest digital nomad :) ha ha ha.. so my question is... I was looking at the photos of Koh Hub Apartments and everyone in the pics looked like they were 22 years old :). Since I would be staying for 1 month - in 2 weeks from now..I want to chat with older people.. like me!! What are your thoughts on this topic?? ..and where would you recommend I stay on Koh lanta? Cheers from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

    1. Hey John, the older expat scene doesn't normally hang out in Koh Lanta. Someone should create a facebook group called Nomads over 50 or something where people can connect.

      I'm assume there are more in Mexico or even Bangkok.


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