Koh Lanta: Kids and Family Guide

Last updated on August 29, 2023

Koh Lanta is an absolute dream for families. I’m not sure I can think of a more perfect destination for somewhat bohemian parents looking to re-experience youthful backpacker memories of beachside bars and banana pancakes – albeit with kids in tow and not a ‘bucket’ in sight (if you know, you know!).

Koh Lanta has nailed it when it comes to pleasing both kids and adults. While parents sip cocktails at sundown, the littluns can play at beachside play areas or with toys provided by bars – yep, that’s right, lots of the restaurants along the beach have boxes of toys for kids to play with! Dreamy.

Add to that calm waters, plentiful kid-friendly food, a low-key nightlife scene, and gorgeous places to stay – and you have a perfect family destination. We loved every minute of our trip there and are already planning our return.

This Koh Lanta kids’ guide is an intro to the island and all the best Koh Lanta family activities and places to stay and eat. We tried a few different areas and guesthouses while there so we could report back to you on the pros and cons. 

Also see our guide to the best things to do in Thailand with kids.

Koh Lanta Kids and Family Travel Guide

Pancake stall, Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta map

Where is Koh Lanta?

Sunset on Khlong Khong beach, koh Lanta
Sunset on Khlong Khong beach

Let’s start with the basics. Koh Lanta is in the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand, just south of Krabi. It’s to the east of Phuket with Koh Phi Phi in-between them.

There are actually 52 islands in the archipelago that makes up Koh Lanta. Most are tiny, so the two main ones are: Koh Lanta Yai (big island) and Koh Lanta Noi (small island.). There’s very little on the smaller one, so this post is focussed on Koh Lanta Yai. It’s a fairly large island at 6km wide and 30km long, and it takes around 40 minutes to drive from one end to the other. There’s a main road that goes around the perimeter of the island and then smaller roads lead off to the beach and centre of the island.

What’s Koh Lanta like?

Khlong Dao beach
Khlong Dao beach

Koh Lanta is one of those amazing Thai islands that’s been developed enough to be comfortable, but hasn’t been ruined by over-tourism and zealous, ugly builds (Koh Phi Phi, I’m looking at you).

Unlike Phuket, it isn’t the sort of place you’ll find huge brand name hotels and package holidays. Instead, it has small family-run guesthouses and beach bar shacks galore. There’s some nightlife around the backpacker areas of the island, but it isn’t a party-led place. It’s much more a destination to relax, with a palpable laidback groove that attracts travellers of the same vibe.

On top of that, it’s stunning, with powdery white sand beaches, turquoise sea and jungle-clad mountains. The sunsets are breath-taking.

It also doesn’t have any of the seediness of some Thai destinations.

Is Koh Lanta good for families?

Playground outside Banana Beach Bungalows
Playground outside Banana Beach Bungalows

Yes! It’s perfect for kids and adults alike. I touched on this in the intro, but here are the key reasons Koh Lanta is great for families:

  • There are plenty of family-friendly hotels and guesthouses. Many have kids’ pools and you’ll also find some with kids’ play areas. There are a handful that have kids’ clubs.
  • Like all of Thailand, the island is very welcoming to kids. They’re treated like guests of honour.
  • It isn’t a party island so you’re unlikely to be kept awake by late night music
  • Many of the beaches have peaceful calm waters (outside of monsoon season), perfect for little kids to play in
  • If you’re travelling with a fussy eater, you’ll find kids’ menus in many restaurants. And most places are also happy to adapt dishes to suit your kid’s taste.
  • Lots of the beach bars/restaurants provide toys for kids to play with (especially in Khlong Dao)
  • It’s popular with families, so your little ones can make friends

Where are the best areas on Koh Lanta for kids?

We’ve put together a detailed post about the best places to stay in Koh Lanta, breaking down the pros and cons of each area, including their suitability for families.

In short, Khlong Dao is the most popular and well set up area for families. It’s where you’ll find all those boxes of toys and the highest concentration of family resorts.

That said, we marginally preferred Long Beach as the beach is narrower and has more shade. This made it easier to set up with a palapa for the day and then flit between the restaurant, water and shade.  We also liked how secluded parts of it felt.

For pure luxury, head to Kantiang Bay, home of the fabulous Pimalai Hotel (this is where we went to a wedding on the island and felt like cast members of White Lotus!).

We wouldn’t recommend Khlong Khong for families as the beach is very rocky so not ideal for swimming. It’s also the most party-centric beach on the island.

See a more detailed analysis in our guide to where to stay in Koh Lanta.

Where to stay with kids in Koh Lanta

Again, our post on where to stay in Koh Lanta has lots of Koh Lanta hotel and guesthouse recommendations, but here are our top picks:

Long Beach Chalet

Long Beach Chalet is a gorgeous beachfront resort with bungalows right on the sand as well as garden accommodation too. The pool (with a kids’ area) looks out onto the beach. It’s also home to Element, which serves the best coffee in Koh Lanta (what a luxury to drink cold brew on the beach!).

We particularly loved all the beach palapas, sun loungers and cushions, which guests can use for free. The restaurant, Nim’s, serves good food and has nightly entertainment.

Check the latest deals here.

Oasis Yoga Bungalows

Oasis Yoga is the island’s most popular spot for yoga and they have a lovely collection of bungalows for rental too. The cute wooden bungalows are set around a perfectly landscaped jungle garden and swimming pool with a serene, wellbeing vibe.

Although it might not sound like a family destination, kids are welcome and there were plenty there during our stay. As well as the bungalows, there’s a larger two-bedroom villa for hire too.

The onsite restaurant has a deliciously healthy menu and the buffet breakfast is fantastic. Being able to do yoga each morning was a wonderful treat (it reminded me of my training in San Pancho). It’s just a few minutes’ walk from the beach.

Check the latest deals here.

Banana Beach Resort

We didn’t stay at Banana Beach Resort, but we looked around and friends have recommended it too. It’s one of the most family-friendly budget resorts on Koh Lanta and is amazingly set up for kids with a fun playground right on the beach. The pool has a kids’ area and looks out onto the sea.

It’s also very close to lots of fun bars and restaurants with plenty of toys provided. And next to the Indian Bar, which has a nightly fire show. The rooms are basic but comfy.

Check the latest deals here.

The Pimalai

If you want to go all “White Lotus” for your holiday then The Pimalai is the place to be. The luxury five-star resort is truly stunning with exceptional views across Kantiang Bay, especially in the hillside area of the property.

It comes with all the luxuries you’d expect from a five-star hotel and is also well set up for families with a kids club and babysitting service. They even gave the boys a teddy, milk and cookies as part of the turn-down service at night!

We loved being there for the wedding, but I’d recommend something more low-key to experience the laidback beach vibes that made us fall in love with Koh Lanta.

Check the latest deals here.

Other family-friendly hotels on Koh Lanta

Other hotels that come highly recommended for families in Koh Lanta are:

Rawi Warin Hotel and Spa – a luxury resort with a kids club

Chada Lanta Beach Resort – not our vibe and more set up for package holidays, but convenient for kids if you’re willing to sacrifice the charming Thai beach style

Lanta Miami Resort – a family-friendly option on the quiet Klong Nin Beach

Lanta Sand Resort and Spa – this place didn’t look particularly charming to us, but it’s very popular with families and has a kids playroom and pools. Lots of the rooms have private plunge pools too.

Things to do in Koh Lanta with kids

For us, days on Koh Lanta were mostly spent on the beach and by the pool, punctuated by mealtimes at excellent restaurants and sunset on the beach. It was an exercise in pure relaxation and we lapped up every minute.

For the more adventurous, or those with older kids, there are day trips to be had and nature to explore. And there are also some fun, unique things to do with kids in Koh Lanta.

Here’s our round-up of the best…

Spend time on the beach

You can’t go to Koh Lanta and not spend time at the beach. It’s an island paradise after all, and is blessed by calm waters, perfect for swimming and playing by the shore. We spent most mornings splashing in the shallows and building sandcastles on the water’s edge.

Our favourite place for this was Long Beach as there was plenty of shade to take respite in, as well as loungers and beach cushions at our favourite hotel, Long Beach Chalet.

We also loved Khlong Dao Beach and Kantiang Bay. All the beaches are great for taking a walk at sunset, soaking in the vibes, searching for shells and enjoying all the sand patterns made by sea creatures.

Watch the sunset

Sunset Khlong Khong, Koh Lanta

An easy way to enjoy nature’s finest in Koh Lanta is to simply sit and watch the sunset. We saw some spectacular skies while there, and it was heart-warming to see the kids excited by them too. Of course, a sunset is best enjoyed with a cocktail and most of the bars offer happy hour deals. You can get mocktails for the kids too.

Some of our favourite sunset spots were: Nim’s Bar (Long Beach), Indian Bar (Khlong Dao) and Patty’s Secret Garden (Khlong Khong).  

Spend time by the pool

Oasis Yoga Bungalows, Koh Lanta

If your kids aren’t into the beach, make sure you stay at a hotel with a pool. We tended to spend our afternoons by the pool as the kids felt more confident there, and sometimes it’s good to be free of sand!

Many of the hotels have pools with kids’ areas (all of the hotels we’ve recommended do) and some even come with a sea view. I loved lounging at the edge of the Long Beach Chalet and Pimalai pools while gazing out to sea.

Lanta Animal Welfare

Lanta Animal Welfare is a rescue home for cats and dogs set up by a woman who made it her mission to end the suffering of abused animals on Koh Lanta. She’s done a huge amount for the community, treating and sterilising over 15,000 animals. You can visit the home and meet the rescued cats and dogs. You can even take the dogs for a walk.

We didn’t make it as the kids were too obsessed by the beach/pool to have a break, but we’ve heard from friends that it’s a lovely outing. To be honest, I’d have been in big danger of adopting one of the dogs, so maybe best I didn’t go!

Four islands day trip

The most popular day trip in Koh Lanta is the four islands trip, which takes you on a journey around the limestone Trang Islands.

You get to spend the day island hopping while snorkelling, kayaking and visiting the amazing Emerald Cave. You swim through emerald green waters and darkness in the cave before being greeted by a hidden beach on the other side, surrounded by limestone cliffs. It sounds incredible, but alas we didn’t do it as we felt our kids were too young.

Neither of our boys can swim yet and the littlest one is nervous in the water so we thought it would be pretty stressful getting them through the cave. But if you have a confident swimmer or older kids, it sounds unmissable.

The islands are closed for visitors in the rainy season from June to September.

Here’s a selection of tours offered through Get Your Guide…

Cooking class

The number one place for cooking classes on Koh Lanta is Time for Lime. They used to run a popular restaurant but have now switched exclusively to cooking classes. The profits go to Lanta Animal Welfare, which is just next door.

Watch a fire show

Fire show on Koh Lanta

Lots of the beach bars and restaurants have fire shows outside each night, normally somewhere between 7-9pm. The best way to find out about these is to simply walk down the beach during the day and have a look at the signs outside the bars. Lym’s on Long Beach currently hosts two per week. And the Indian Bar at the southern end of Khlong Dao normally does one every night (but be sure to check in advance to avoid disappointment).

Lanta Cinema

We had a brilliant evening at Lanta Cinema, an outdoor cinema in Khlong Dao. There’s nothing quite like watching a film beneath the stars, and it’s also well set up for families.

There’s a playground onsite, kid-friendly food including toasted sandwiches, and they have an extensive family programme of films. They normally show two films an evening and the first one is family-friendly.

We saw the Secret Lives of Pets 2, which the kids loved, especially with a carton of popcorn.

My only criticism is that there’s not very much veggie food aside from spring rolls and cheese sandwiches. But Steve and I ate after the film at a nearby restaurant, The Hope Kitchen, which was a lucky find as the food was ace.

Explore Koh Lanta National Park

In the south of Koh Lanta is Koh Lanta National Park where you can explore the rainforest, enjoy the secluded beach and see the lighthouse you might have come across in Koh Lanta photos.

It’s common to see wild monkeys around here, which to be honest put us off. Since our run in with monkeys with Ubud, I’m pretty wary of them and thought it might be stressful with the kids. Our friend was attacked by one there too.

If you do go, there’s an entrance fee of 200 baht.

You could also visit the national park as part of guided tour, such as this one which also includes a visit to the old town.

Do an ATV tour

Slightly older kids will enjoy the adventure of exploring the island by ATV. You can book this ATV tour through Get Your Guide, which explores Lanta Noi, the smaller of the two main Koh Lanta islands.

Trash Hero Beach Clean Up

This wasn’t running when we were there as they paused due to Covid. But we’d have liked to join a beach clean-up on Koh Lanta. They normally take place on Sundays with Trash Hero Koh Lanta and last for two hours (or however long you can offer). They’re currently struggling to find a new team to run the clean-ups post-Covid, so keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates.

Where to eat in Koh Lanta with kids

There are plenty of places to eat in Koh Lants with kids. Most restaurants are happy to adapt the dishes to suit younger tastes (i.e less spicy). And many have dedicated kids’ menus with western favourites like pasta and pizza. As I’ve said before, lots of places also have toys or kids’ play areas.

Some of the best restaurants are on the main road rather then on the beach, so sometimes it’s a good idea to enjoy sunset on the beach and then head up to the road for dinner afterwards.

These were some of our favourites….

Lym’s Bar

We’ve already talked about how much we love Long Beach Chalet, and Lym’s is the onsite restaurant, also open to the public. It’s a lovely, casual beachfront bar with a Thai and international menu, including kids’ options. They host entertainment most nights, including fire shows and live music. It’s a great place for a sundowner as there are lots of hammocks, palapas and beach cushions.

Escape Café

Escape Cafe, Koh Lanta

Escape Café is right next to Lym’s and is hands down the best place for coffee on Koh Lanta. They serve all sorts of speciality coffees and there’s lots of seating on the sand and on the terrace for some laidback lounging time. The cold brew is delicious.


Yawee was our favourite Thai restaurant on Koh Lanta. It’s a casual, local roadside restaurant with reasonable prices in comparison to those on the beach. The mango sticky rice is excellent. And they also do fried tofu, which isn’t so common on Koh Lanta, and was a big with with the kids.

Koala Bar and Restaurant

Koala Bar and Restaurant

Koala Bar and Restaurant is one of the most family-friendly restaurants on Khlong Dao. It has a Thai menu, plus international dishes like pizza. And there are toys for the kids to play with, plus a swing on the sand. It’s also close to the Indian Bar, so you could head there afterward for their nightly fire show.


At the northern end of Khlong Dao, we loved Veedvew, which is highly rated and serves delicious Thai food. There’s often a fire show at the restaurant next door, which you can enjoy after your meal. It’s next to an atmospheric, classic reggae beach bar, which brought back memories of my backpacker years!

Loro Loco Pizza

We were impressed by the pizza at Loro Loco, which serves proper Italian-style pizzas from wood-fired oven.

Living Room Café and Restaurant

A good bakery and breakfast spot for something a bit more European is Living Room where they have amazing pastries, plus a healthy menu of brunch classics.


Heama, Koh Lanta

If you fancy some Indian food, Heama is the place to go. The thali is delicious and the dhal is a kid-friendly level of spicy.

Mr Pad Thai

Mr Pad Thai is a little street food cart outside Aleena’s Minimart, serving the island’s best pad thai from potentially the most friendly man on the island. Don’t miss it.

Patty’s Secret Garden Café

On Khlong Khong beach, we had a great meal at Patty’s Secret Garden Café, which serves Thai and international food. The views of the sunset were spectacular, and they also have a little kids’ play area.

The Backyard

Backyard Cafe, Koh Lanta

The Backyard has a nice garden with a kids play area, including a slide and ball pit. And they also offer some tasty healthy bowls like acai.

Oasis Restaurant and Bar

The café and restaurant at Oasis Yoga Bungalows is a wonderful place to eat. As you’d expect from a yoga studio, they have lots of healthy options plus some indulgence too. Andf there are both Thai and international dishes.


Our favouite place for ice cream on Koh Lanta was Thai’ce at Boogie Bay Bar. The owners make delicious homemade ice cream with daily specials on offer. Two Scoops Gelato is another popular and delicious option for ice cream.

Pancakes outside 7-11

Lots of the 7-11s have pancake stalls outside at night. It became a treasured ritual, getting a fruit or chocolate filled pancake each evening. Don’t miss them – it’s a must do on Koh Lanta!

How to get to Koh Lanta with kids

You’ll likely be coming to Koh Lanta from either Krabi or Phuket. And you have three modes of travel to choose from: car, ferry or speedboat.

I agonised a bit over how to get to Koh Lanta from Phuket as I read loads of bad reviews for the speedboat, saying they weren’t for the faint of heart and also incredibly noisy and bumpy. On the flip side, I also read reviews that said they were great. But that’s the internet for you! So in the end, I decided to try all three different options: ferry, speedboat and car, so I could report back my findings to you. I’ve written a detailed post on all the different options for how to get to Koh Lanta, but in short, this is what we did:

  1. We got the ferry (2 hours) from Phuket’s Rassada pier to Koh Phi Phi. This was perfect for us as the leisurely ride meant we could enjoy the spectacular views of Koh Phi Phi. We also paid for the premium class, which meant we had access to an air-con lounge with sofas, and the top viewing deck.
  2. From Phi Phi to Koh Lanta, we got the speedboat (30 minutes). It was a beautiful day, so the water was really calm and we didn’t find it too noisy either (the boys slept for most of the journey!).
  3. For our return journey, from The Pimalai to Phuket Airport, we took the Pimalai’s private boat transfer to the mainland (30 mins) and then got a minivan from there to the airport (around 3 hours). This was because we were travelling to northern Phuket and Rassada pier is in the south, so we felt this option was simpler and took more or less the same amount of time. It also avoided us having to worry about the ferry/speedboat being cancelled due to bad weather.

You can search and book boats and cars on 12go.com.

How to get around Koh Lanta with kids

Koh Lanta is super easy to get around. There are motorbike tuk-tuks, modified mini trucks, and taxis to choose from. Or you can even hire your own motorbike. It’s really a matter of choosing what you feel most comfortable with.

A proper car/minivan taxi is the safest option, but also the most expensive and difficult to arrange. They aren’t readily available everywhere in the way that tuk-tuks and trucks are, so you’ll need to get your hotel to call for one or arrange one in advance. Some of the bigger resorts, like The Pimalai, offer car seats for babies and kids, but you can’t expect this with all taxi companies.

You could also bring your own car seat from home, but that would be pretty cumbersome for days out at the beach! Personally, we just used a taxi for our transfer to the Pimalai. They provided a car seat for Arlo, and we also bought this mini one from home, which made travel a little safer for Otis.

A far more convenient option for getting around Koh Lanta is by tuk-tuk or truck. The motorbike tuk-tuks are the most prolific. They’re made of a little covered side car attached to a motorbike, so they’re fairly basic structures. There are no seat belts and you’re pretty open to the elements.

I used them loads a young backpacker, but was definitely more apprehensive when travelling with kids. We used them for short journeys between beaches, and the kids absolutely loved them, while I sat a little white knuckled and somewhat questioning my parenting!

The mini trucks are also fairly easy to come by. They feel more secure than the motorbike taxis as they’re more enclosed and sturdy. But they’re not as safe as a car and they don’t have sat belts. They’re sometimes marginally more expensive than a tuk-tuk, but that depends on your haggling skills! We found that most journeys by tuk-tuk or truck cost about 100 baht.

When to visit Koh Lanta

The high season on Koh Lanta is November to March when the weather is generally dry, warm and sunny. This is the best time for swimming in the sea and you can normally expect calm, warm waters. This is the busiest time on Koh Lanta, but even when places are at full capacity, it didn’t feel too crowded to us.

Koh Lanta has a rainy season (or ‘green season’ as the locals call it) from May to September when the weather is unpredictable. You might get days of consecutive sunshine or days of consecutive rain. Sometimes it just rains for a couple of hours and then is sunshine the rest of the day. It’s hard to predict. The wettest and stormiest months are normally September and October. The sea is more rough during the green season.

Lots of places on the island close during the green season, but you can get some excellent deals on Koh Lanta hotels.  

Our top Koh Lanta travel tips

  • It’s so cheap to do laundry in Thailand. Take it to one of the shops and they’ll return it the next day, all perfectly fresh and folded. It costs around 50 baht per kilo.
  • Bring anti-mosquito wrist bands – they worked a dream for us
  • The sun is super hot, so pack rash vests for the kids
  • The 7-11’s are super useful for buying everything you need, from nappies to snacks to medicine
  • It is near impossible to buy swim nappies in Thailand. This is apparently because Thai people potty train their kids really early so swim nappies aren’t really needed. Bring enough for your vacation.
  • Try to pack as little as possible as it’s a nuisance lugging it all around in the heat, especially if you’re doing boat journeys. The fact it’s so cheap and quick to do laundry means you can afford to pack less.
  • Use 12go.com to book travel – it’s super easy and reliable

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Our top travel planning tips

If you’re planning a trip, be sure to have a look at all our top travel planning tips, including how to save money with the best credit cards, what to bring, and all our favourite tools and tricks.

For car rentals, we recommend booking with Discover Cars. We’ve found they always have the cheapest deals for mainstream retailers.

If you decide to book any Airbnb apartments, use this link, as it’ll give you £25 off your first trip.

We found great last-minute deals on Booking.com, getting a discount of up to 60%.

Have you ever considered a home exchange? It’s our favourite way to travel (and the most affordable).

Our favourite place to book flights is Skyscanner – again, they always have great deals.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! We recommend True Traveller who offer reliable, comprehensive cover, including medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. You can buy True Traveller insurance even when you’ve left home, which is unusual for travel insurance companies.

And if you’re travelling with a baby, see our survival guide to flying with a baby and all our best travelling with a baby tips.

3 thoughts on “Koh Lanta: Kids and Family Guide”

  1. This is an amazing resource thank you so much. We are going to koh Lanta with our two kids (4 and just under 1) in December. Based on your blog we’ve booked into Banana Beach for Christmas!!

    Could I ask – from your experience is there any benefit in moving around the island and staying on two different beaches? Or one beach is just fine? Thanks!!

    • I think it slightly depends on how you like to travel. If you’re keen to just arrive in one place and settle in for the week, then I think it’s totally do-able to stay in Khlong Dhao and do day trips from there. It’s so easy to get around, even in the evenings. Personally, I think if I was going back for two weeks, I might do one week on Long Beach and another on Khlong Dao as I don’t mind swapping hotels and quite like the variety. If you want to go to Kantiang Bay, it’s definitely do-able as a day trip. But if you’re staying there, I think it’d get tiring to have to do day trips every day to get everywhere else. Hope that helps. Enjoy! We had such a great time 🙂

  2. I’ve only just started reading your blog, but I love it! I’ve just been reading other blogs on travelling Thailand with kids and was going cross eyed. Yours is so easy to understand and laid out really clearly, and beautiful!


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