Koh Lanta is made of two islands: Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai.
Koh Lanta Noi is the smaller of the two islands and doesn't have tourist facilities. Visitors traveling by road from the mainland travel across the smaller island on the way to the resorts on Koh Lanta Yai.
Koh Lanta Yai is made up of Si Raya (known today as Lanta Old town), a small, quiet village with 100 year-old shacks and shop-houses built on stilts over the water. Ban Saladan on the northern tip of the island is the business and commercial center where most visitors arrive on the island. Koh Lanta Yai has a very diverse cultural mix with Thai-Muslim, Thai-Chinese and the original Sea Gypsies, all having lived on the island in harmony for hundreds of years.
The west coast, where Pimalai is located, faces the Andaman Sea, lined with astoundingly beautiful white sandy beaches and views of breathtaking sunsets in the horizon. The east coast is less developed and offers glimpses of life before tourism. It faces the mainland and has a coastline largely consisting of mangroves and large limestone rock formations.
An island so beautiful, Koh Lanta has been voted as one of the World’s Top 7 Best Islands for Living by the International Living magazine. Similarly too, the astounding Ba Kantiang Bay has been voted as one of the World’s Top 10 Best Tropical Beaches by the Sunday Times, London.
Koh Lanta’s native population is roughly 30,000. The locals are comprised of Thai Muslim, Thai Chinese and Sea Gypsies (Chao Lay). The three groups have lived together in harmony for centuries. They all have a laid-back, gentle demeanor and always greet visitors warmly. The Sea Gypsies continue to make their living fishing while the others tend to work on their rubber and coconut plantations. A growing number of younger generation are working in tourism. There are also approximately another 30,000 Thais who moved to Koh Lanta to work in tourism.