Koh Lanta with kids: where to stay and things to do for families

  • February 7, 2019

An oh-so-cool Jack Sparrow look-alike warmly welcomed us off the beach and into the Reggae Bar on Klong Dao Beach; the chilled-out hippy vibe immediately transporting us back to our pre-kids backpacker days. Before we could make ourselves comfy amongst the mats and cushions spread over the floorboards and order our Happy Hour Chang, Mr Sparrow had brought out a big bag of toys for the kids. Genius!

Watching the boys play happily in the sand, we clinked Changs with our old mates who had joined us from Sydney, sat back on our cushions and breathed in that fresh sea air before catching up on the past 5 years. What a fantastic idea it was to visit Koh Lanta with kids!

Disclaimer: We were offered discounted hotel rates at Banana Beach Resort. The boat tour with Lanta Garden Hill Tours was complimentary. However the opinions and words are all my own, based on our own experiences. Hotel photos used in this post are courtesy of Banana Beach Resort. This post contains affiliate links. Should you click on a link to purchase, it is at no extra cost to you, but I get a small commission that goes towards the running of this blog. 

Ko Lanta with kids - Klong Dao Beach

After a couple of days in Bangkok, our group holiday to Ko Lanta with kids was all about keeping it easy. We wanted to kick back with our old besties (who also have two boys aged 2 and 4), let the kids play freely on the beach and in the pool, and soak up some tropical sunshine. However, despite visiting after the supposed rainy season, the weather was grey and drizzly for our entire week stay! For many, this would result in a disaster family holiday to Thailand. But we had awesome company and the drizzle by no means put the kids off playing in the sand and jumping in the waves.

Klaong Dao Beach

We based ourselves at Klaong Dao Beach, on the north east coastline of Ko Lanta. Here the sea is warm and shallow with very gentle waves, perfect for little ones. The sand offers a range of consistency for various sand building projects, and there are small rocks to explore.

A string of colourful restaurants and bars, which are all kid-friendly, hug the curved bay as far as the eye can see . Some even have slides and hoppers to play on, and they all offer kid-friendly food on the menu (pancakes, fried rice, omelette, fries, pasta).

Where we stayed in Koh Lanta with kids

Banana Beach Resort at the Southern tip of Klaong Dao Beach was perfect for our two families. We had two Sea View rooms next to each other with a double bed, bunk beds for the kids, ensuite and a large adjoining balcony. Rooms were basic, but clean, and there is also a fridge and kettle.

The staff are absolutely wonderful! So polite and friendly, and were always on hand to answer questions or sort something out for us.

There is also a restaurant on site, overlooking the beach, serving the usual dishes. But the big hit with the boys was of course the pool. There’s a separate kids pool with a slide, although be weary that this pool was too deep for our 2yo to stand up in, our 4yo was fine.

Koh Lanta with kids - Banana Beach Resort

If a parent can get a free moment away from the kids, we thoroughly recommend popping for a massage next door. A 60 minute thai massage costs THB400, although if that’s a bit hard core, they also offer Swedish and I thoroughly recommend the facial and head massage (THB600 for 60mins).

If you’re looking for accommodation a bit more upmarket however, but still family friendly, our friends atย our3kidsvtheworld.com have a great review of the Crown Lanta Resort & Spa, which sits at the Northern end of Klang Dao Beach.

Away from Klong Dao Beach

If you’ve chilled out enough on the beach and need to get out and explore, it’s worth flagging down a tuk-tuk to take you to Sala Dan. Wander the markets and treat yourselves to some ‘authentic’ t-shirts, local jewellery or sarong, before heading to the Pier for a seafood dinner over the water as the sun sets (not that we got to see a single sunset, due to the drizzle and grey!) Alternatively, visit Lanta Old Town on the East Coast with it’s traditional Thai wooden houses fused with a distinctly Chinese influence. Enjoy a drink in one of the cool bars and then walk along the Pier to enjoy the breathtaking views out to the island.

Ko Lanta with kids - Lanta Old Town
Photo credit: amazinglanta.com

One of the things you must do is take a speed boat tour out to explore the outlying islands. We went on a 4 Islands Tourย for a day of snorkelling, tropical beach fun and a visit to Emerald Cave, Ko Mook, which involved swimming 80 metres through a dark tunnel to reach a pristine lagoon.

Getting to Koh Lanta

We took a direct flight with AirAsia from Bangkok to Krabi. A private minibus then drove us direct to Banana Beach Resort (1.5-2 hours). Booked through Banana Beach Resort, the private minibus cost THB2500 and also included the 10 minute car ferry across from the mainland to Ko Lanta. Alternatively, there are ferries connecting Ko Phi Phi and Phuket. Click here for further information on ferries to Ko Lanta, including times, costs and bookings.

Have you visited Koh Lanta with kids? I would love to hear what you got up to!

Ko Lanta with kids
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Where would we be without our trusted Lonely Planet.

You may also like to read:
Ten day Thailand itinerary with young kids and no internal flights or overnight trains
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Best beaches in Thailand for kids

Blog Comments

This is so cool. I hope I can have adventures with my 3 years old daughter like this.

Well we give a big recommend to Ko Lanta ?

I travelled in Thailand when I was in my 20s, almost a life time ago when I was single and without a child. I lived there 6 months as an exchange student, but had a long weekend to travel. Thai islands are really beautiful.

What an experience that must have been! We too visited Thailand a fair bit pre-kids – never thought I’d be back here with 2 sons! It really is ever so kid-friendly though ๐Ÿ™‚

I could really use a Thai message right now ;). This is a part of the world I still need to explore, and I can see how great it is for families. Looks like there’s a bunch to do outside of the every day beach too – I’m intrigued by the family who runs the elephant sanctuary – what a cool thing to do. Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

Take me back! We love Thailand. It really is wonderful for families. So accessible. Thanks for reading!


annette @afrenchcollection

‘Jack Sparrow’ seems happy with life ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing all these great ideas Jenny. #FarawayFiles

He certainly seems to have life’s priorities right! Thanks for reading ?

Oh I’d love to go to Koh Lanta. I never made it there when I went to Thailand and I love that hippy, backpacker vibe. Looks like it’s great for children too which makes it even more of a must see. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

Thanks Clare. It was our first time here too and we’d missed it on previous trips – there are so many islands to choose from in Thailand! But this one worked pretty well for young kids ๐Ÿ™‚

This looks like a great family friend part of Thailand. Iโ€™d love to return to this amazing country one day. Glad you highlighted the ethical elephant sanctuary. #FarawayFiles

The elephant sanctuary was a definite highlight. Quite a trek to get there, but totally worth it ๐Ÿ™‚

I stayed on Koh Lanta in my 20s and it was a gorgeous island, you sure make it look great for families. #farawayfiles

The islands have changed so much over the years. I’m sure Ko Lanta was rather different when you last visited. But for families, yup – it’s pretty awesome!

Koh Lanta looks so much more chill than Phuket!! I was ready to swear off Thai beaches as suoerctouristy (although we loved Koh Lipe), but jus I think I need to go to Koh Lanta!!

Every island is different in Thailand and they are constantly changing as tourism is booming. I’ve never been a fan of Phuket either. But Ko Lanta definitely ticked the boxes for our group family trip! ๐Ÿ™‚

Wow! The adventure of a lifetime. I love Thailand. Such a peaceful, friendly place to travel. Iโ€™d love to take our family one day…better start saving! #FearlessFamTrav

Thanks Zoe. We’re HUGE fans of Thailand too. And it’s so very accessible for young families. I hope you get to take your family back sometime soon!

We haven’t been to Ko Lanta, but it is definitely on our radar. I love how backpacker spots are catering now to families. 10+ years ago when we were backpacking, I don’t remember ever seeing kids with their parents traveling and I don’t think restaurants would have toys and slides. So great to see that our generation is backpacking with the kids in tow! #fearlessfamtrav

It really is amazing the shift! We never used to see young kids travelling either. Places like Klong Dao beach have really embraced travelling families.

Ko Lanta is on my list to visit with my 2 year old this year, so this is a super useful post, thanks! #fearlessfamtrav

How exciting! It really is so wonderfully family friendlh. When do you hope to go?

What an absolute adventure and an amazing opportunity for your children. I particularly loved the idea of the elephant sanctuary. I am sure we visited a similar sanctuary in Chiang Rai many years ago. Thanks for sharing and as always I love your pics. #fearlessfamtrav

The elephant sanctuary was a big highlight. Elephants have it so tough in Thailand. It was lovely to find a place which cared and loved for them so much. Thanks for reading!

What a great idea to meet up with friends with kids of the same age! And this was the perfect place to do it! So much fun for everyone! #fearlessfamtrav

Genius idea indeed! All 4 kids got on so so well. Need to make sure we do a trip altogether again. Thanks for reading!

Can you believe we have never been to Thailand! You make a compelling argument for us to go soon #fearlessfamtrav

Oh you guys really would love it. So accessible for families. I hope you make it there someday soon!

I’ve never been to Thailand but my daughter has started talking about how she wants to go. Adding this to my packet for planning!

We’re huge fans of Thailand! Has so much to offer families. I hope you ladies make it out there soon! Thanks for reading ?

Koh Lanta looks like a greta beach place in Thailand. We’ve never been…there are so many to choose from in Thailand! Love the elephant sanctuary. We went to a similar one in Laos and made some everlasting memories bathing and feeding the elephants #fearlessfamtrav

You’re right – there are so many to chose from! I feel we hit the jackpot with this one though for how kid-friendly it is.

This is a great roundup of what there is do on Ko Lanta!!! I’m just a touch inspired now!!! #FearlessFamTravel

I hope you get there sometime soon ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for reading!


Jules ( shadesofcourage.com)

It looks so lovely, hope to make it to Thailand once. For some reason, although it is such a popular destination I have not yet had the pleasure to visit. The hotel and the city both look family friendly. #fearlessfamtravel PS: So excited for you that you get to co-host this linky now permanently!

Thanks – I’m really excited too – it was always one of my fave linkys! I hope you make it to Thailand some day – I think it’s probably one of the countries we’ve visited the most!

What a fab holiday! Will definitely bear it in mind (*adds to ever growing bucket list) lol

Ha! That’s the problem of a travel blogger – forever being inspired by other travel bloggers ๐Ÿ™‚

That looks like an awesome choice! We’re still scoping out the Thailand beach options for our visit.

Well this beach gets a big tick from us ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hope you have a wonderful time in Thailand!

Great blog, thank you! We are looking to take our 3 year old later this year so this is so helpful! Just wondered about when you visited as the weather doesn’t sound great? Also, were the restaurants close to the hotel? Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you for the information on Phang Nga Elephant Park. We are going to Koh Lanta in a couple of weeks and did not know it was possible to get there from the island. My daughter wants to go in the worst way. Great post!

Fantastic! Have the best time guys and let me know how you get on ๐Ÿ™‚

I have just booked a holiday with my daughter (3) my friend and her daughter (6) we are staying in Phuket but wanted to go to another island for a couple of nights and I looked at Koh Lanta, on googling Koh Lanta with kids I stumbled across your website. Well we are now visiting Koh Lanta for a couple of nights and staying at the Banana Beach Resort. Your blog is brilliant and I have to say I am slightly envious.
I did a fair few trips to Thailand before I had my daughter and never made it to Lanta, now I am super excited to hopefully meet Jack Sparrow and watch my daughter take in all the things I love so much about Thailand.

This is so awesome to read! Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time (and better weather than us!) Do let Banana Beach Resort know that you found out about them through us ๐Ÿ™‚ Oil is the lady in charge and she’s lovely – will really look after you. Oh to be at the Reggae bar now with a pad see ew and Chang ๐Ÿ˜‰ Enjoy!

I’m travelling to Ko Lanta with my 11month old and husband next January. Are the tuks-tuks safe for travelling with a little one? Or do you think we should hire a car?

I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time! It really is a personal choice. I have always taken my little ones in tuk-tuks and held them on my lap when very tiny. They love it! But with no seatbelts and open sides, you may feel it safer to hire a car.

Hi there, my husband and I are planning Krabi and Koh Lanta with my 7 year old and 4 year old his year and are planning 6 nights in one location and 9 nights in the other location however unsure which location to stay longer โ€“ would you stay longer in Krabi (Ao Nang beach) or Koh Lanta? Any advice would be greatly appreciated thank you! Many thanks, Gillian

Krabi is rather touristy and not really our scene. So we would pick Koh Lanta.

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