This is Part 5 of our Digital Nomad Guide to Southeast Asia. If you aren't caught up, check out our past posts:
Digital Nomad Guide to Southeast Asia: Discovering Canggu
Digital Nomad Guide to Southeast Asia: Discovering Ubud
Digital Nomad Guide to Southeast Asia: Discovering Ho Chi Minh
Digital Nomad Guide to Southeast Asia: Discovering Chiang Mai
You can follow our guide for Koh Lanta in this post or check out the full e-book linked at the end of this article.
Just to get to Koh Lanta from Bangkok you have to take a plane, a bus, a taxi, and then a boat. Once on the Island you look around and you think to yourself “there is no way this island has anything close to good WiFi” since it looks very undeveloped. It was my first time having real concern over the WiFi speeds in an area.
These fears quickly dissipate when you get to KoHub, the only coworking space in Koh Lanta, and login to their WiFi. They have a very fast WiFi connection that is around 100Mbps/60Mbps on their main line then another backup line that is about half the speed as the main line.
KoHub is located on Long Beach on the west coast of the island (exactly where you want to be). They are about 2 minutes by foot from the beach and have both inside and outside seating. KoHub is very cool island style coworking space that does not compromise functionality.
The space also has it’s own restaurant and juice bar so you can get your food and drink delivered to your desk if you like. Food is amazing and fairly priced as well!
If you are a member of KoHub you will have 24/7 access to the space. The one month full membership costs around $150 which is reasonable in my opinion.
Now this is exactly where I start disliking Koh Lanta. Housing there is a problem, which is a problem for me because I’m bringing a whole group there. There are very little options to choose from and since the island has no real “downtown” area, everything is very scattered across the west coast of the Island. So you might find something you like within your budget but it might be a 10-15 minutes ride to KoHub. And that is another thing, you have to have a moped or a scooter to be able to go anywhere in the Island.
For individuals, I know KoHub has a few houses that they run about 5 minutes away from the coworking space. They’re relatively fairly prices, too. I expect that finding accommodation during high season will be even more difficult.
It seems like Koh Lanta has the high end resort style accommodation and then the low end hostel type or old style accommodation. It was not easy to find something nice and comfortable that is not a resort.
Since accommodation is rather scarce you end up paying a lot more money for a lot less accommodation than you would with a place like Chiang Mai for example.
COST OF LIVING
In comparison to the rest of Thailand, Koh Lanta is not a cheap place to be. Everything from accommodation, food, tourist tours and all the rest of it is about 1.5 times the prices you find in Chiang Mai.
Why? Well, I think the first reason is the fact that there is not that much competition in the island. There only few stores or agencies or accommodation options to choose from. Secondly, I can imagine it must be more expensive to transport goods to the island than to say some major inland city like Chiang Mai.
Having said all that if you are coming from the US or Europe you will still find Koh Lanta a cheap place to be.
DIGITAL NOMAD COMMUNITY
The Digital Nomad community is Koh Lanta is directly related to how many people are active members of KoHub at the particular month. During the high season from November-April you will find the space full with over 90 members.
I have never been during the high season but what I have heard, Koh Lanta is a very special place to be during the time. The community is extremely active and people really have a great time being a part of it.
Unfortunately, things change a lot during the low season. Koh Lanta becomes this empty beach town with almost no one in the streets. Most business close and KoHub membership drops to 5-10 members. Although I do not personally recommend you being there in the low season, some of the members I met in July told me that it is the perfect place to be if you are trying to avoid people and really get things done. If you anything like me, living in isolation for several months will probably drive me crazy, even though it is a paradise like place.
OUTDOORS AND THINGS TO DO
Koh Lanta is beautiful. Lush green forests and clear calm beaches. It does not have a ton of buildings or streets so it still has that remote paradise feel to it. I rented a scooter and drove down all the way from north to the south of the island and it took me around 40 minutes. Many times I had to stop to appreciate the view or to occasionally to let some monkeys cross the steer.
That whole Island is pretty much two main streets. The one on the east of the island, this is where nothing is. Then the one on the west of the island which is where you will be if you visit the island. It is also the only place I have been to that people refer to distance by beaches instead of blocks or streets. I remember asking someone where one restaurant was and he told me that it was two beaches down. Since the whole island is one pretty much one main street with different beaches on it, this is the easiest way to figure out location and distances.
Apart from the beautiful views you can also go on many water based adventures in Koh Lanta. The famous things to do are island hopping, scuba diving and snorkeling.