Booking somewhere that suits you as a couple is a whole different kettle of fish to finding somewhere that meets all your family’s needs. It’s definitely worth booking ahead to get what you want if you’ve got children in tow, especially in high season when places fill up quickly. If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, and specifically Koh Lanta, accommodation on the beach is high on the wishlist. Here are my tried and tested family-friendly places to stay on the beach in Koh Lanta, Thailand and beyond…
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Koh Lanta accommodation on the beach
About halfway down the coast, on Koh Lanta’s Khlong Nin beach, is this family-friendly joy – by far my favourite place to stay on the island. Clean and spacious with comfy beds, great bathrooms and idyllic views, the family bungalows overlook the pool, beach and restaurant – meaning you can put your little’uns down for a nap, whack on the monitor and sneak in some sunbathing and swimming in the pool, safe in the knowledge that you’re right outside with your room in full view. Lanta Miami’s grounds are pretty, well kept and separated into several different eating areas, making it feel like you’re mixing it up, even if you end up eating here most days. The raised pagodas with low tables make great ‘contained’ entertainment areas for kids while eating and there’s plenty of bars, restaurants, ATMs and minimarts around Klong Nin beach as well as a 7/11 about 1km away. You’re also quite close to Mu Ko National Park here and you can hire a (tire) car (with no seat belts) from reception and go exploring at your own pace. Come evening, grab a Happy Hour Mojito from Mr Love’s onsite beach bar and wallow in paradise.
I’d read online that this hotel was THE most family-friendly resort on Koh Lanta so was interested to try it for a night before we headed back to Bangkok. The resort is geared up specifically for families -TUI run holidays here. For the convenience you sacrifice a lot of the rustic Thai beach charm, but there are some huge pluses if you pop in for a night or two during your stay on Koh Lanta. Choose a room that backs on to the ginormous swimming pool complete with water slide, swim-up bar and elephant fountains and you’re family entertainment for the day is sorted. The novelty of opening the patio doors and jumping into a pool doesn’t grow old and there are safety catches on all doors to stop kids escaping. Children can boogie the night away at the kid’s disco and swim their hearts out at more pools near the beach. There’s also a babysitting service so you could squeeze in a cheeky date night. Breakfasts are immense with foods spanning several continents – load your plate with dim sum followed by an English fry up, noodles, salad or cereal – you’ll definitely find something for all palettes here (and be able to siphon off a bit for the kids’ lunch too). Venture out along the silky sands of Khlong Dao beach for body-boarding and more food options, or grab a Tuk Tuk to Koh Lanta’s Saladan Market for a spot of shopping.
About a 20-minute Tuk Tuk ride away from Koh Lanta’s Saladan Port, this small cul de sac of characterful bamboo huts looks wonderfully eco in appearance – if not always by nature (we didn’t see huge evidence of their green credentials). A smattering of hammocks, unpretentious beach bar, sandy restaurant and chorus of frogs at night fuel the relaxed, rustic hideaway vibe. It’s quiet and shady thanks to lofty trees – a welcome relief for hot bubbas. This Koh Lanta accommodation is smack bang on Long Beach, a glorious stretch of palm-fringed golden sand and calm waters, so vast that even in busy peak season, the beach still feels fairly quiet. There’s also a laundry service, Western-style food on the menu for fussier eaters and lots more little bars and restaurants a short stroll away. Treat yourself to a massage while your little one has their hair braided or nails painted next to you – total parenting win!
On the downside for families with toddlers and babies, Eco Lanta only possess one high chair and cot (or they did when we visited in 2017), so if there’s more than one baby staying here, be prepared to share or do without. There are a few loungers (which you’ll need to bag early) and deck chairs dotted on the beach, but no beach towels are offered. Mosquitoes are rife here, possibly because of the stagnant water feature in the centre of several of the huts and we were eaten alive in the first couple of days, so be sure to put your nets down at night and take plenty of repellent. The huts are constructed with varying levels and steep steps, which can be a bit of a challenge if you’ve got tottering toddlers. Overall, it was a lovely place to stay, but the service and guest extras could do with a bit of a polish in order to feel like you’re getting value for money.
Thailand’s Railay Bay was our stopover in between Bangkok and Koh Lanta. We flew down from Bangkok to Krabi on a domestic Thai Airways flight and then got a taxi to take us to a longtail boat leaving for Railay Bay. Railay Bay, accessible only by boat, is a magnet for the tourist hordes and it’s not hard to see why. On the west side, magnificent towering limestone cliffs encircle the bay, a fleet of long tail boats bob in the water and you’re perfectly positioned for sunset. Rock climbing, diving, boat trips and a whole host of other activities are on offer for adventure lovers, although the downside is the noisy boats and crowds mean you won’t feel like you’ve discovered your own slice of Thailand. It’s a fantastic spot for a short layover before heading to the islands (ferries depart to surrounding islands such as Koh Lanta from the beach) and the views are picture-perfect. The staff at the hotel are unfailing in their friendly welcome and adoration of children. Monkeys hang in the trees, there’s a small children’s play area, a beachside restaurant with buffet breakfast and a delicious pool overlooking the bay. Some family villas have their own jacuzzi pool, which is nice to loll in if you have sleeping babes inside the villa, however there was a strong smell of drains in places, which can be a little offputting! Choose from oodles of eateries up and down the beach as well as a little shopping avenue for clothes and essentials.