Backpacking SE Asia: Koh Lanta and Phuket

Over the past couple weeks Caleb and I have traveled to Thailand, scuba dove in what they call one of the worlds most beautiful dive sites, swam with a Whale Shark, Manta Ray and other marine life, and are now relaxing, yet working hard at the Banthai Resort in Phuket.

We had the absolute best time volunteering with Radak Adventure in Gopeng, Malaysia, but our time in Thailand has been nothing short of exceptional.Radak Adventure

The Road to Thailand

Our adventure in Thailand started the night that we took the sleeper train. It was probably the best decision we made because it saved us money from booking a hostel for the night and was surprisingly comfortable.

The only catch was it didn’t take off till 1:45am. However, that allowed us to arrive early so we still had time to relax at the beach if we wanted. That didn’t happen.

From the train we took multiple buses and ferries before arriving in Koh Lanta. I think after a whole 14 hours of traveling from Ipoh to Koh Lanta it only cost us about $25-30USD. The trick was to book your train ahead of time then walk around asking about prices for the buses because they’re not what they say they are on the Internet.

Songkran Koh LantaKoh Lanta – Songkran

The minute we arrived in Koh Lanta we knew we had struck gold. We stayed in a hostel, Lanta House, in Saladan and only paid about $12USD a night for a private room with a balcony and air conditioning. Talk about a deal!

During our time in Koh Lanta we did some of the most exciting things you can do in the city. One of the things were experienced Songkran, a Thai water festival where everyone soaks each other using water guns, buckets and anything you can find that holds water. It was such a blast and way more low key than Songkran in Chaing-Mai or Bangkok.

Check out my video of Songkran in Koh Lanta below!

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Koh Lanta – Scuba Diving with Lanta Diver

I’ve experienced some of the best scuba diving in my life in Koh Lanta, given I only just got my PADI Open Water Certificate in February. Moreover, I’m only at dive 12 and have penetrated WWII shipwrecks, swam with a 15 ft. baby Whale Shark for an hour, experienced a Manta Ray in its natural habitat, saw a Hawksbill Sea Turtle, found a GIANT Moray Eel along with a Yellow-Edged Eel, witnessed an Octopus, and have seen many other forms of marine life. Believe it or not, all of these but the shipwrecks were in Koh Lanta. Chyeah!Koh Lanta sunset

On Our Way to Phuket, Thailand

Our route to Phuket was easy, and truthfully I think we got the best deal. We managed to find a ferry from Koh Lanta to Phuket for 350 baht, about 700 baht less than what you see on the Internet, and managed to snag a great deal to Patong Beach with the ferry company for only 200 baht.

If you’d tell this to someone who booked on the Internet – they’d call bullshit, but it’s true!

Now today marks day two of three in Phuket and we’re indulging in our resorts swim up bar, drinking buy two, get one free cocktails and chilling in the AC working on some marketing and freelance work while we wait for the storm to pass. It hasn’t been the typical “backpacking trip” these past few days, but that’s okay because we’re allowed to get spoiled every once in a while… right?

My Thoughts on Phuket

Honestly, I’m not a fan. The streets are filled with vendors trying to sell you stuff. There’s filth on the streets and loud obnoxious trucks that drive by. You can’t lay on the beach without someone coming up to you trying to sell you something. I’m sorry – but I just do NOT like it here.

This being said I will say our resort is quite nice and the staff really treat you well. We got served a delicious cold drink while waiting to go to our room and everywhere you turn you see smiles. And let’s not forget about the shower heads.. heaven on earth for a backpacker.

For me, Phuket is just a little over-rated. I would much rather be on a secluded beach than in this tourist-trap party town. But hey, that’s just me 🙂

All things aside –

Life. Is. Good.

Have you ever been to Phuket? We’d love to hear some of your travel tips! Just leave a comment below of some of your favorite restaurants, bars, or beaches.


Kollin Lephart
Kollin is an avid traveler and entrepreneur. When she's not working as a Marketing Consultant, she's strategizing ways to make Every Girl, Everywhere even better. She's passionate about helping people, traveling and living the best life possible.

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