Ko Lan Island
Ko Lan is a beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand, about 8 km from the famous Thai resort of Pattaya and considered a great place for a beach holiday. The main advantages of Ko Lan – covered with white sand beaches and clear transparent sea, where you can do snorkeling and diving. The coast of Pattaya has long had a reputation as not the best place for bathing, so tourists coming to the resort prefer to spend time on the sea and rest on the island. Usually go to Ko Lan in the morning, and return to the mainland closer to the evening.
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Video: Ko Lan Island
Ko Lan Island is visited not only by vacationers in Pattaya. Many Bangkok residents go here, because from the metropolis to the tropical island can be reached in just 2-2.5 hours. Thai students and residents of Chonburi province like to spend their free time on Ko Lana, so that on holidays and weekends the island’s beaches can be quite crowded.
Some guidebooks translate the name “Ko Lan” as “island-spin” or “island-ridge”. This mistake arose because the second half of the name – “Lan” – is consonant with the Thai word “lang” or “back. In fact, “Ko Lan” means “island of a million”: “ko” – “island”, “lang” – “a million”. This name came about because the large island of Ko Lan is surrounded by several small islets.
The hilly island is clearly visible from Pattaya. It stretches for 4.5 km, has a width of up to 2.5 km and has a winding coastline. It is easily accessible by speedboats and ferries. Boat trip to the island of Ko Lan is very interesting. During such a trip you can see in detail the beautiful shore of Pattaya, admire the succession of tall hotels and take good pictures of small green islands. Even on the hottest day, sailing on a ferry or speedboat is pleasant, because the open deck is always blowing in the fresh sea breeze.
Ko Lan island has a well-developed tourist infrastructure, so if you want you can stay on it for a few days. On the island, built several hotels and gest houses, but you must keep in mind that accommodations in them cost one and a half to two times more expensive than in Pattaya.
View of Pattaya from Ko Lan Island Lodging for tourists on Ko Lan Small neighboring islands
Rarely do people consider the island of Ko Lan as a stand-alone resort to spend their entire vacation on. This place is popular as a good addition to Pattaya, where you can come for one day for a pleasant beach vacation.
Clear sea on the island of Ko Lan
Compared to other Thai islands, Ko Lan has a number of advantages. In addition to ease of accessibility and low cost of recreation, the island near Pattaya strongly benefits in climatic conditions. It is no secret that for several months the Andaman coast of Thailand is affected by strong monsoons. It rains heavily, the wind picks up big waves, and the local beaches are not suitable for swimming because of the storms. During the monsoon, the Similan Islands are generally closed to tourists.
During those same months, from June to November, the island of Ko Lan is calm. In this part of the Gulf of Thailand, severe storms are generally rare. When the rainy season reigns in other parts of the kingdom, the island near Pattaya is usually dry and sunny. Rains of course occur, but rarely, and they do not spoil a pleasant holiday resort. Summer and autumn on the island of Ko Lan is even more appreciated than the high tourist season. In summer and autumn, the sky over the island of Ko Lan is often closed by clouds, so there is no debilitating heat.
Beaches Ko Lan
The largest and most popular beach on Ko Lan is Tawaen beach, which is often called “Chinese” because of the large number of travelers from China. Besides the Chinese, here every day brings a lot of tourists from Korea and Japan. The beach is located in the northwest of the island and is convenient in that it has a pier, where the ferries arrive from Pattaya. The beach strip of sand stretches for 700 meters and, depending on the tides, has a width of 50 to 150 meters.
The entrance to the water everywhere is shallow, and the depth increases gradually. Tawaen beach has a large area of shallow water, so it is loved by parents with young children. On this beach you can ride a jet ski, ride a “banana” and rent inflatables for swimming.
“Chinese” beach began to be equipped with the first on the island of Ko Lan, so it has the most developed infrastructure. Along the coast set rows of sun loungers and umbrellas, and behind them is a whole street of restaurants and cafes, souvenir shops and stalls with swimwear, beach hats and pareos. Tawaen beach also has its own shooting range and medical center.
Standing with your back to the Tawaen beach jetty, you can see the long wooden catwalks on the beach. To the right of them stretches Sang Wan beach. In contrast to the “Chinese” beach, it is almost never crowded, although there are always free deck chairs and umbrellas from the sun. The central part of the beach is 100m long and covered with sand, while the edges are stony.
The rocky ridge separates Tawaen beach from another beach – Thong Lang. Many people find it a great spot for a relaxing beach holiday in Ko Lan. Thonglang stretches for 200 meters and has a width of about 10 meters. It is a sandy beach and the entrance to the water is very gentle throughout. Despite its small size, Thonglang has sun loungers and parasols, and several cafes are open.
Thong Lang Beach
Samae beach or Samae beach is located on the west of the island of Ko Lan and is bounded on two sides by cliffs. This part of the island faces the Gulf of Thailand and is always cleaner than the other beaches on the island because of the currents. The strip of sand stretches in an arc for 600 meters. It has a width of 20 meters on the edges and up to 100 meters in the center. On Samay is never as crowded as on Tawaen beach, where the ferries with holidaymakers dock.
Samaje is loved for its clear sea, clean white sand and numerous beach amenities. On this beach you can rent sun loungers and umbrellas, use the toilets and showers, dine in restaurants, and buy necessary resort products. As for water activities, tourists are offered jet skis and “banana boat” rides.
Between Samaye and Tawaen beach is a picturesque beach Thian, which has a length of 400 meters and a width of 100 meters. From Samaye to it in 10 minutes on foot. Thian has all the necessary beach infrastructure, and there are several restaurants for tourists.
In the south of the island of Ko Lan, at a decent distance from the other beaches is the beach Naul or Monkey beach. It stretches for 350 meters and has a width of 30 to 80 meters. The beach gets its name from the fact that nearby it lives monkeys, though they hardly ever come out to the beach, preferring to wait out the heat of the day in the shade of the trees. The beach is not crowded, so it is visited by lovers of secluded recreation. There are beach chairs and a few restaurants on the beach, but during the low tourist season there is no water entertainment.
Thian Monkey beach
Ta Rai beach is located at the east of the island of Ko Lan. It is the least popular because it has a rocky entrance to the water, and tourists who come here tend to swim in beach shoes. From June to November, this part of the island is not crowded, and the beach Tarai spend time for those who like to rest away from the noisy companies.
On the northern part of the island of Ko Lan you can find a few more small beaches. All of them, with the exception of Tayai beach (or Daeng beach), do not have any beach infrastructure. The coast here is sandy, but at the entrance to the water begins to stones. The northern beaches of the island are small in size, and can be bypassed in 10-15 minutes.
Daeng beach Ta Rai beach
Ko Lan sights
Unlike most Thai islands, there are paved roads to almost all the sights scattered around the island of Ko Lan. This is very convenient because using a motorcycle, you can easily get around all the interesting places on the island.
Near the pier Naban port stands the only Buddhist temple or wat on Ko Lan. It’s not hard to find. If you stand with his back to the sea, the Buddhist complex is on the left, 250 meters from the pier, which comes the ferry from Pattaya. The temple has a monastic community and holds services for the island population.
There are several religious buildings and sculptures on the grounds of Wat. Among them stands out a statue of a golden sitting Buddha. Buddhists are very tolerant, so anyone can enter their temple, regardless of religion. Of course, you have to be respectful of Buddhist traditions. One should not visit the wat in bathing suits and T-shirts, but in closed clothes. And you should also show respect for the images of Buddha – it’s not customary here to stand with your back to the sacred statues.
Buddhist shrines on the island of Ko Lan
Not far from Tawaen beach, on a hill there is a large statue of Buddha. It can be reached on foot. From the beach walk along the road in the direction of Naban port about 300 meters, and then turn to the road leading to the hill. At the beginning of the tourists will see a statue of a sitting Buddha painted in gold color, on both sides of which are two smaller statues. 100 meters up the hill is a large statue of Buddha, painted black. There is an observation deck next to it with a great view of the Naban port and the houses near the pier.
The highest observation deck on the island of Ko Lan offers a panoramic view. From it you can see Naban port, several beaches, the winding coastline, green hillsides and Pattaya. To get to the observation deck has different ways. From Samaye Beach, with your back to the sea, follow the road that leads over the pass to Naban Port Marina. At the first fork you turn right into the road leading up the hill, it leads to the observation deck. As the slopes of the hill are quite steep, you should be very careful when riding a motorcycle, especially on the descent.
On the beach Samaje towers a futuristic building that resembles an outspreading wings of a sea stingray. It looks especially picturesque against the background of the sea, palm trees and beach chairs. It is a modern solar power plant, which supplies electricity to the inhabitants of the island of Ko Lan. Along the seashore, on the left side of the building is equipped with stairs. If you climb up it, you will find a small observation deck with a gazebo, where you can see the coast and the whole beach Samae.
View of the beaches and the sea from the observation deck Solar power plant on Samae beach
Most of the accommodations where travelers stay on Ko Lan Island are in the village near Naban port marina. These are furnished rooms with air conditioning and a fan. Some of the hotels and hostels offer short stays of 3 hours in addition to the usual accommodation. Conveniently, the pier village has many Thai cafes and restaurants where you can eat inexpensive meals.
Hotels and Hostels on Ko Lan St.
There’s no point in taking a picnic lunch to Ko Lan since you can easily buy the necessary items locally. Ko Lan is a well-established island and there’s a 24-hour store, 7-11, that sells juices, sodas, beer, snacks, ice cream and burgers. The store stands right next to the Naban port marina. In the same village there are vending machines that sell filtered drinking water. There are also many small stores open near the beaches selling food and drinks.
Some travelers prefer to rent a motorcycle and travel around the island of Ko Lan on their own. In order to rent a motorcycle, you need a passport and a cash deposit. You can do this near the piers Naban port or Tawaen beach, as well as on Samae beach. Naban port is the cheapest place to rent a bike.
The steep serpentine roads on Ko Lan
For those who want to drive on the island, consider that the roads are not along the coast, and through the central part of Ko Lan. The terrain here is hilly, and on the way there are sections of steep serpentine. For safety reasons, bike should be carefully managed and be sure to respect the speed limit.
There are sunbikes and motorcycles from Naban port and Tawaen beach to all the beaches on Ko Lan. The island area is small, so the road from the beach to the beach rarely exceeds 10 minutes. Usually tourists coming to Ko Lan know in advance where they want to go. They come to the parking lot sungteo, say the name of the beach and get into the car, which goes in the right direction. Those who use motorcycle cab also tell the driver the desired beach and get to him on his motorcycle. If the vacation at one beach for some reason did not work, you can easily move to another beach in Ko Lana and continue swimming and sunbathing in the new place.
How to get there
Ko Lan Island lies west of the coast of Pattaya, 8 km from the Bali Hai Pier. The pier is a hundred meters from the southern end of the famous Walking Street, the center of nightlife of Thai city. Bali Hai can not be called a full-fledged port, because no big ships are docked here. The pier can be easily reached on foot, but you can also take a local public transportation (sognteo (tuk-tuk) or a cab.
From the pier to the island of Ko Lan go speedboats. It is the fastest, but not the cheapest way to get to the island. The speedboat takes up to 12-15 tourists and drives them to the island in 15-20 minutes. If you want to immediately get to a certain beach, you must ask exactly where the boat will dock.
Ferries to Ko Lan aboard the speedboat ferry to Ko Lan.
The cheapest way to Ko Lan is by speedboat. The two-deck wooden ships, with a capacity of 100-120 people, reach the islands in 40-50 minutes. Ferries start running at 7:00 and pass between the city and the island at intervals of half an hour to an hour until 6:30 pm.
Keep in mind that on Ko Lan the ferries land in two places – at the main pier of Naban port on the northeastern tip of the island and the pier Tawaen beach, which is equipped on the opposite side of Ko Lan. You can buy ferry tickets at the ticket booth at Bali Hai Pier or from the “conductors” standing in front of the entrance to the ferry.
Ko Lan Island, Pattaya. Photos of the beaches and our reviews
January 2015 (updated: 19.01.2019) 30
One day we together with Katya thought that we have been living in Pattaya for a few months, we don’t swim in the sea, swim in the pool, but nearby stands a beautiful tropical island of Ko Lan with snow-white beaches and turquoise water. Called for the company of Olya and Zhenya, they happily agreed, admitting that they had not been there for several months.
To get to the island we need to take a ferry. We agreed to go early, but not on the first one. We got up bright and early at 7:30 a.m., took a shuttle bus to Wolkin Street, and then walked to Bali Hai pier.
We had an hour long boat ride to the island. We passed the time talking and watching the beautiful sights.
Disembarking on Ko Lan.
Ko Lan Island
The nature on the island, of course, radically different from Pattaya. How we got used to seeing clear blue water in the sea!
Beaches Ko Lan
The island has 2 piers and about 6-7 main beaches. Ferries from Pattaya bring directly to Ta Waen beach or the harbor village Na Ban on the other side of the island. Between the beaches can be moved by tuk-tuks at 20-40 baht per person by motorcycle cab or take a bike for rent for 200 baht a day (+ deposit 1000 baht).
If you are brought to the pier Na Ban, then the beaches in any case, you have to get to the tuk-tuk. In Na Ban near the pier you meet only motorbikers, you ignore them, tuk-tuks are just at a distance. After the pier you go into the town and turn left and go past the 7-Eleven. In about 3 minutes you will see a Buddhist temple on your right and a lot of blue tuk-tuks to your left. Just tell which beach you want to go to and they will point you to a tuk tuk in that direction.
Ta Waen Beach
On the beach Ta Waen all holidaymakers in Pattaya brought a ferry, so this bathing and sunbathing here the most people. The beach is equipped with everything you need – beds, cafes, souvenir shops, toilets, banana boat rides. What else do tourists need? We decided to take a tuk-tuk to some remote beach to relax and rest in silence.
Photo: Ta Waen beach Koh LanFoto of Ta Waen beach Koh Lan Beach Sun loungers at Ta Waen beach
Samae beach on Ko Lan is the second most popular beach. The water in the sea is transparent, with a beautiful blue color. However, sometimes there is plastic trash in the water. Somehow it so happens that we come to the island always in low season, but even in the summer months it is crowded. Samae beach is quite large, the whole coast is filled with sunbeds and umbrellas. The current prices for 2016 – 100 baht for a sun lounger on the first line, 50 baht for other sun loungers. How much does it cost to eat at Samae Beach – meals from 150-200 baht, ie, dinner with drinks will cost about 300 baht per person.
In one of the blogs about Pattaya the guys are very praised this little beach. Our friends hadn’t been to it yet and agreed to go. We got there in 5 minutes by tuk tuk.
Entrance to Tai Yai beachCat Cafe on the beachKoh Larn beaches: Tai-Yai beach Koh Larn photo Tai-Yai beach
No people here at all. On the whole beach rests five and a half people. Sun beds were paid, 100 baht per person. Beach staff strictly prohibited to lie on the sand, stating that this beach – private property, so, either pay for deck chairs or get out. Because of this incident, everyone had a bad feeling about Tai Yai beach and the island. We had to take a couple of sun loungers, as no one wanted to go to another beach, it was a desire to quickly dip into the water.
Sun loungers on the beach Ta-Yai
Bathing on this beach somehow also did not go well. The tide was out and the bottom was stony, so we could only splash in the places with no sharp rocks. We even thought we’d better stay on Ta Waien beach. Besides, during the 4 hours we spent on the beach, twice we saw people stepping on sea urchins, and then limping out of the water to pull the needle. Such observations made me want to swim at all.
So, the beach Tai-yi not recommend anyone. But despite all the unpleasant nuances, rest were satisfied, because we were in good company. And the bright views of the island of Ko Lan brightened everything.
Having rested on the beach, we went in the direction of the bus stop to the ferry. At the parking lot hung out motorcycle cab drivers, who assured us that they will bring us to the ferry at the price of a tuk-tuk. They said that from our pier the next ferry was in an hour, and from the other one the ship was leaving in 10 minutes. We naively believed them and, accommodating the three of us on a motorcycle, drove to Na Ban Pier. It turned out that the nearest ferry leaves from the pier in an hour and a half. Apparently, the cab driver was very tired from his overwork and could not take us to the distant Ta Waen beach pier.
Temple Wat Maisam Larn
All traces of the cab driver were gone. While waiting for the ferry, we went for a walk through the town of Na Ban village. We found a 7-Eleven and got some snacks and cold water. There was a beautiful temple up ahead, we went to take a photo and stayed there under the shade of trees at a table.
Wat Maisam Larn. A Buddhist temple in Ko Lan.
Ko Lan reviews
During the conversation time flew by and we went to our ferry. The reviews on Ko Lan island are mixed. The island left a mixed impression. On the one hand, the exotic nature, beautiful views, clean water. But saddening boorish staff on the beaches. Also tiresome to take the ferry 40 minutes and wait for the deck to fill. But in Pattaya the choice of good beaches is not great, swim here or in the pool at your hotel. I think we’ll go back and visit other beaches someday.
Watch the video!
Video of Samae beach in August
Hotels in Ko Lan
There are hotels on Ko Lan that you can book on your own. You can stay here overnight or even for the whole vacation. Be sure to book in advance, as hotels are few and far between.
- Samanta By The Sea
- Baan Kaneang
- Suntosa Resort
- The Castello Resort
Maps and useful information
The following map shows the Bali Hai Pier, from which the Ferries to Ko Lan depart. Departures as they fill up, approximately every 40 minutes to 1 hour. Travel time is about 45 minutes. The fare for 2016 is 30 baht. Pay before entering the ship or ue at the ferry. Don’t agree to buy tickets from the men on the pier, it will be some kind of scam for sure.
You can get to the pier of Bali Hai from Jomtien, Pratamnak or Wongamat by public transport (tuk-tuk) for 10 baht. For those coming from Jomtien and Pratamnak – get off almost immediately after passing under the overpass at a busy intersection in the Arab neighborhood on 16th street (Pattaya 16 road). Then on 16th street walk to the pier for about 10 minutes. On the way will be 7-Eleven, you can take water and snacks.
From Wongamat take a tuk-tuk to Walking Street, and then walk the entire street in the direction of the mountain marked Pattaya. The walk takes about 10-15 minutes.