Long beaches, crystal-clear water, and a laid-back natural environment are Koh Lanta's main attractions. Although "discovered" by international travelers in early 2000, Koh Lanta remains fairly quiet. Early development resulted in the construction of hundreds of budget bungalows and several swanky resorts along the west coast of Lanta Yai (Lanta Noi's coast is less suitable for development); however, as one of the largest islands in Thailand, Lanta was able to absorb the "boom" and therefore remains relatively uncluttered. In addition, Lanta is approximately 70 km (44 miles) south of Krabi Town, far enough outside established tourist circuits that visitor arrivals have increased a little more slowly than at other Krabi and Phang Nga beaches and islands.

Ironically, before the tsunami it was hard to imagine how Koh Lanta could be any more beautiful, but afterward the water was bluer and more sparkling, the sand whiter and softer. Though the huge decrease in visitor arrivals to the island initially caused its share of economic hardship, it wasn't long before word of Koh Lanta's renewal spread and lucky travelers again found their way to its shores.

Most smaller resorts are closed during the low season (May through October). However, some do open in late October and remain open until mid-May—during these (slightly) off times, the weather is still generally good, and you can find that the rates are much lower and the beaches much less crowded.