Ko Lan island: a complete guide to getting there, beaches, what to see, transportation
January 11, 2023
Table of contents
Ko Lan is a wonderful little island located in the Gulf of Thailand. Ko Lan is located about 7 km from the coast of Pattaya Beach. And Pattaya is only two hours south of Bangkok (or longer if you choose to visit on a weekend or holiday, as there are more traffic jams at this time). The island is about 4.5 km long, 2 km wide and about 180 meters high at its highest point. The relief is predominantly mountainous, mostly covered with dense vegetation. The infrastructure is mainly narrow roadways covered with brick paving stones. Some roads are very steep and quite narrow, but most of the roads are suitable for normal traffic.
Ko Lan has six main and several smaller beaches. All beaches with white sand and clear azure water. On each of the beaches you can relax in a sun lounger, sunbathe, order local food. Active guests can indulge in various water sports. There are also many other activities such as parasailing that you can enjoy while visiting Ko Lan. All beaches have all amenities such as toilets and showers. All the beaches of Ko Lan have restaurants serving delicious fresh seafood or any other dish you may wish for. You can order food in the restaurant or directly from a sun lounger on the beach.
In addition to the beaches, at the highest point of the island you will find a 360° viewpoint. From it, you will have unique views of the coast of Pattaya, the island itself and the sea.
The island has several temples with statues, as well as countless stunning sea views.
Variants of writing the name of the island in English:
- Ko Lan
- Koh Lan
- Ko Larn
- Koh Larn
- Koh Laan
In excursion programs, the island of Ko Lan is often called “The Coral Islands”. In reality, this name is not used anywhere. I don't know why they do it. Perhaps to draw attention to this wonderful place, or to confuse you.
All the places mentioned in this article, from parking lots and piers to the beaches and attractions of the island, I added to the map. You can refer to this map to navigate around Pattaya and Ko Lan.
Buses from all over Thailand run to Pattaya. From any of these bus stations in Pattaya, you can easily get to Bali Hai Pier.
Bus stations in Bangkok run mini-buses to Bali Hai Pier. For example, from the Ekkamai Bus Terminal in Bangkok, you can get to Bali Hai Pier.
The pier has parking for cars and there is parking for motorcycles.
For motorcycles, there are both free and paid parking spaces. For a paid seat, I paid something around 40 baht per hour(!). If you are approaching the pier from Walking Street, then the motorcycle parking will be on the left side of the road opposite the pier building. If you came along Pattaya 3rd Road, then you need to almost completely go around the pier building and on the left side you will see a parking lot for motorcycles – almost before leaving the pier.
Motorcycle parking location on the map:
Car parking near the pier in a large automated garage costs 250 baht per day and is very secure. In other lots near the pier, the cost is 200 baht per day.
Parking at Wat Chai Mongkhon Royal Monastery is 40 baht per day.
Motorcycle parking nearby at other locations is 40 baht per day. There are also many free options on the street around the pier.
Wat Chaimongkron Royal Monastery is a good place to leave your car for a few days and explore Ko Lan. Parking costs 40 baht per day, almost always there is a taxi in front of the entrance, which will take you to the pier for 100-200 baht. This is beneficial if you intend to stay on the island for more than 3 days.
Wat Chai Mongkhon:
You can get to Ko Lan by ferry (it's cheaper) or by Speed Boat.
The ferry departs on schedule and arrives at one of the two piers on the island.
Getting to Koh Lan by ferry is very easy.
First you need to get to Bali Hai Pier where the ferry is moored. If you don't know where Bali Hai Pier is, just ask around, most people know where Bali Hai Pier is. You can also take a taxi or motorcycle taxi to get to the pier, they all know where the Bali Hai pier is. The ferry you need is right at the end of the pier.
There are two piers on Ko Lan island.
The first pier and the main village is called Naban Port and there are many restaurants, shops and resorts.
The second pier, Tawaen Beach, is the largest and most popular beach on Ko Lan.
The ferry to Tawaen Beach on Ko Lan is on the left and the ferry on the right goes to Naban (the main village). The fare on the Ko Lan ferry in both directions is only 30 baht ($1) one way. You pay when you get on the boat. That is, you do not need to buy any tickets for the ferry. Do not try to find ticket offices in the pier building! Just go to the ferry, pay the entry fee and get on the ferry straight away. Find a free seat there and wait for departure.
The ferry is located almost at the very end of the pier. On the way to it, you will be offered more expensive options to get to Ko Lan Island, as well as to other islands.
Ko Lan ferries depart for Naban Port and Tawean Beach with different departure and arrival times. Port Naban is the main village where most of the people living on the island live. Naban also has most of the hotels and bungalows for those who want to stay for a few nights. Tawaen Beach is another destination that now has accommodations. You can reach all parts of the island from both of these places by tuk tuk or motorbike taxi. Don't feel stuck in one place, once you get to Ko Lan, feel free to explore as much as you want and have fun. You can choose any boat to return to Pattaya, no matter where you came from to the island.
The main village is called Port Naban and has many restaurants, shops and resorts.
Ferry schedule from Bali Hai Pier to Port Naban, i.e. from Pattaya to the island:
- 7.00 A.M.
- 10.00 A.M.
- 12.00 p.m.
- 14.00 P.M.
- 15.30 P.M.
- 17.00 P.M.
- 18.30 P.M.
Ferry schedule from Port Naban to Bali Hai Pier, that is, from the island to Pattaya:
- 6.30 A.M.
- 7.30 A.M.
- 9.30 A.M.
- 12.00 p.m.
- 14.00 P.M.
- 15.30 P.M.
- 17.00 P.M.
- 18.00 P.M.
Tawaen Beach Pier, the largest and most popular beach on Koh Lan.
Ferry schedule from Bali Hai Pier to Tawaen Beach, i.e. from Pattaya to the island:
Ferry schedule from Tawaen Beach to Bali Hai Pier, that is, from the island to Pattaya:
In addition to the ferry, you can get to Ko Lan by a small boat called the Speed Boat. The name Speed Boat was chosen for a reason, since the travel time on it takes only 15 minutes (instead of 45 minutes). Speed Boat price is 150 baht per person.
The Speed Boat waits for a few passengers and leaves. On high traffic days, the owner of the Speed Boat can fill the boat completely, some people even have to stand.
If you want to rent the whole boat for your group, the cost will be between 2000 and 3500, a lot depends on the size of the speedboat you want to rent.
You don't have to walk or drive to the pier if you want to use the Speed Boat. On Pattaya Beach Rd you will see transcriptions from the captains of the Speed Boat.
If you rent the whole boat for your group, then you can arrange to be taken not to the main piers of the island, but to one of the beaches of your choice.
The island of Ko Lan is not very big, and it is quite possible to get around it on foot. But given the hot climate of Thailand, hiking is not the best option, especially if you want to visit several places on the island.
Alternatives to walking are:
- motorcycle taxi
- public transport (baht-buses, tuk-tuk)
- motorbike rental
The cost of a trip to the beach for one person is usually 30-40 baht.
Taxi drivers have a map of the island and a fixed price tag for each trip. That is, there is no point in bargaining – the prices are the same for everyone.
Also remember that if there are 2 passengers on a motorbike, then the price must be multiplied by 2 (or by the number of passengers, if there are more…).
Motorcycle taxis are also said to take you on a tour of the island for around 400 baht, there is no fixed price. They will take you to all the beaches for a quick view, and then you decide which one you like best. But I didn't check it.
Tuk-tuks (baht-buses) stop near Wat Mai Samraan, about 100 meters from the main pier in the village. As you leave the ferry you will come to a T-junction, when you get there turn left and follow a small street until you reach a place where tuk-tuks are parked (on the way you will meet one of the two on island 7-Eleven).
Tuk-tuks go to different beaches – find the one that suits you.
The cost of the trip is 20, 30 or 40 baht depending on the beach you want to get to (the farther, the more expensive).
Usually, tuk-tuk owners wait until they are completely filled with passengers. But usually it doesn't take too long.
You may have noticed that the price for a taxi and a tuk-tuk for one person is almost the same.
Renting a motorcycle on Ko Lan costs 200-300 baht for 1 day.
You may be asked for a deposit, such as a driver's license.
Gasoline is a gift, that is, you do not need to refuel the motorbike when you return it.
I would like to especially note about safety while driving a motorcycle. Of course, everywhere in Thailand you need to be careful when driving a motorcycle. But on Ko Lan there is an additional specificity:
- some stretches of road are both narrow and steeply sloping. With all my experience of driving motorbikes in Thailand, including mountain serpentine, these places seemed extremely dangerous to me!
- some sections of the road, for example, between houses, are very narrow
- some roads are one-way traffic
- at intersections between houses, always make sure that the exit is safe – a tuk-tuk can rush along the narrow road, which does not see you until the moment you appear on its way. At the same time, there is just nowhere to turn for it
In general, you need to be especially careful on Ko Lan, even if you have experience driving motorcycles.
Ko Lan has six main beaches and several smaller ones not mentioned here. All beaches with white sand and clear azure water. You will also find toilets and showers on all beaches. You will find hotels on the beaches of Samae and on the beaches of Tawaen. Sun loungers in most places cost about 50 baht. Since you pay for sun loungers, you can bring food and drinks with you if you like and save some money.
The approximate cost of popular services on the island:
- Beach chairs: 50-100 B
- Toilets: 10-20 B
- Lockers, if any: 50-100 B
- Shower: 20-50 B
Samae Beach, located on the western side of Ko Lan, is just over 500 meters long. Samae Beach seems a bit cooler to me because it has more breeze. The sand is a bit grainy but still pleasant to the feet when walking or playing barefoot. There are many restaurants along the beach serving just about anything you want.
White sandy beach with clear blue water and light breeze most of the time. This beach is visited by 800 to 3000 people a day during the high season. The fare to this beach from Naban Pier is 50 baht. The cost of each sun lounger is from 50 to 100B for the whole day. Food is readily available as there are many restaurants located along the entire beach, you can take food with you if you wish. If you want something to eat or drink, you can order directly from your sun lounger, and it will be brought to you.
A few steps from the beach is a very beautiful large resort called Xanadu. They have a free shuttle service from Naban Pier for their guests. They also have a conference room that can accommodate 200 people.
If you love beautiful sunsets then this is the place for you. During the rainy season, they become even more spectacular.
By far the most popular beach on Ko Lan, this beach receives between 2,000 and 5,000 or more visitors daily.
For those who love to swim, you will love the swimming areas, which are separated from all boats for your safety. The slope of this beach is very gentle, which makes it easy to wade, especially for children. There is also a rental of jet skis and many other entertainments.
There are an estimated 150 rooms for rent at various resorts along the beach path. Most of them are set back from the beach itself, making them quiet when you want to take a nap. Most of them have free Wi-Fi and will pick up your luggage from the pier for you.
Tawaen Beach is by far the most developed and most visited beach on Ko Lan.
Tien Beach, in my opinion, is the most picturesque of Ko Larn's beaches. It costs 100 baht to rent a sun lounger here, but these are much more comfortable deck-type loungers and are well worth the extra comfort. It has all the usual swimming spots and water sports. There are also many restaurants here. There are only a few rooms, certainly not as many as Samae Beach or Tawaen, maybe 5 or 10 rooms.
Tien Beach is a medium sized beach on the island. As for the blue ocean and white sand, this is the best place. This beach has many restaurants and souvenir shops that are a bit more upscale than other beaches but still have a touch of Thailand. From what I've been told, it's a year-round beach, with little fluctuation in tourist numbers from season to season. The atmosphere here seems very calm and relaxing.
A rather narrow bridge without a railing leads from the parking lot to this beach. If you are dizzy or drunk, I would not advise you to go on it.
Nual Beach has changed a lot over the past few years. There were plans to build a huge resort complex, but local protests halted its development. However, it is a very nice beach to spend the day and has all the food and other services you will need. The hillside is inhabited by monkeys and many people like to feed them, which is why this beach is sometimes called Monkey beach.
Nual Beach is located in the southernmost part of Ko Lan, Nual Beach is another good beach on the island. This beach also has all the usual entertainment, a restaurant, and a toilet.
Now there are no permanent buildings on Nual Beach, everything here is portable, but there are still toilets, showers, and many food stalls and restaurants. I love the style of the restaurants and the beach hut amenities they have created, it gives them their own charm. Like all other beaches on Ko Lan, this beach with white sand and clear blue water is great for swimming and snorkeling.
One of the things that makes this beach different from all others is that it is home to a small group of monkeys. Visitors love to see the monkeys on the hillside and you can feed them if you like.
Nual Beach has a tribe of monkeys that live on a hill overlooking the beach. Visitors to this beach like to climb the hill to get a closer look and feed the monkeys. Although these monkeys are quite docile, they can sometimes become aggressive and bite, especially if provoked. Recently there have been two reports that these monkeys have bitten humans. I don’t know if the monkeys were provoked or not, but one thing is for sure: teasing them is not a good idea.
Not the best beach on Ko Lan, but it seems to be cozier. Again, all the usual services are available here, including room rentals.
Thong Lang is one of the smallest beaches on the island of Ko Lan, its length is just under 200 meters. The sand strip here is narrower than on other beaches, but there are plenty of places where you can stay for sunbathing. Tong Lang can be reached by boat, motorbike or on foot along the new road from Tawaen Beach. If you come by ferry to Tawaen beach, you need to walk or motorbike the entire length of Tawaen and then a short distance on a cement road, the total distance from the ferry is 1.4 km. It has all the usual services, including room rentals.
Ta Yai Beach is the smallest of the main beaches on the northern tip of the island. There is a restaurant that can serve you in the restaurant or on a sun lounger on the beach. This beach is easily accessible by taxi or boat. This beach is much quieter and there are fewer motors running speed boats. There are several boulders at each end of the beach that are great for photos.
It's a nice little beach and doesn't seem to be very crowded. Nice place to spend an easy day.
On the one hand, it should appeal to those who do not like crowded places. But at the same time, you need to be prepared to do without some amenities, for example, without a sunbed and an umbrella.
Video from Windmill Viewpoint on island of Ko Lan near Pattaya, Thailand.
In my opinion, this is one of the most spectacular places on the island!
This viewpoint is sometimes referred to as Samae Beach Viewpoint.
Motorcycle paths lead to the observation deck, but be aware that the roads are narrow and very steep. If you don't have much experience driving a motorcycle, I wouldn't recommend going there by motorcycle.
For experienced motorcycle riders, I highly recommend going up there, the view is worth it.
By the way, please note that cars do not go there, apparently simply for the reason that in some places it is impossible to pass or even turn by car.
When descending, slow down to the lowest possible speed – this is the only way to get through some sections with sharp corners and with a strong slope. Stay in your lane as oncoming traffic may not be visible due to curves.
In one day I visited this place 2 times: at the height of the day and before sunset.
If it is raining or the asphalt is damp, then refuse to go there – it is very dangerous!
I have seen some go up there on foot or by bike. Of course, this is a very difficult exercise!
Motorcycle parking and a place to relax and take great photos.
In this photo, Tawaen beach.
And in this photo, the road from Tawaen beach to Tong Lang Beach.
Huge statue of a Thai monk.
Here is the Monastery of Khao Yai Yang Varodom Vararam and the observation deck of Khao Yai.
This place is slightly higher than the Viewpoint at Tawaen beach, although it is very close to it.
Here you can buy souvenirs in the temple.
You will also find typical Buddha images, snakes and a small waterfall.
A little further away is another huge statue of a monk.
The monastery, viewpoints on the sea, mountain paths and, it seems, somewhere even the imprint of the Buddha's foot.
In this place we met the monks, and since my wife was wearing too short shorts, we decided not to linger there and explored this place very superficially.
Is that all there is to see on the island? Of course not.
We did not ride on all roads and climbed not on all mountain paths. You can explore the island of Ko Lan on your own, and you will definitely find something new. Well, or you can just stay to relax on one beach and also have a great time.
By the way, there are a lot of hotels on Ko Lan where you can stay for one or more nights. If you like bars and live music, then don't think that you will be bored on Ko Lan. In the Na Baan pier area, I saw bars with live performances of musicians.
If you come to Pattaya and are wondering where are the best beaches, then my answer is this: the best beaches in Pattaya on the island of Ko Lan. If you like white sand and clear water, then you definitely need to go there.
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