–>Koh Lanta Thailand Livability Factors
–>Koh Lanta Thailand Cost of Living
–>Koh Lanta Thailand Best Area to Stay, Best Tours, Cheapest Flights
–>Koh Lanta Thailand Beach Tour Video and Google Map
–>Koh Lanta Food and Experiences For Digital Nomads
Best Retire Cheap in Paradise Locations in the World
[kkstarratings]This is Dan from Vagabond Buddha. This is my Koh Lanta Thailand Retire Cheap Guide.
I was last here in Koh Lanta three years ago. Right before I started Vagabond Buddha. I really enjoyed working and living here, so why not return and share it with you? Qiang Hui and I headed here to enjoy a month of working and playing at Kohub.org.
Digital Nomads: Kohub.org is one of the biggest hangouts for digital nomads in Thailand. They have amazing Thai food, a great tropical co-working environment, and cheap packages for weeks or months. The packages include a place to stay, a separate place to work, wifi at both, 2 meals a day, and social activities. The social activities are crucial for digital nomads that travel alone. You can get lonely sometimes out on the road. Plus, you can network and learn more about what other digital nomads do to make money.
Retire Cheap in Paradise: I catalog the best live or retire cheap places in the world. This Koh Lanta Thailand retire cheap guide definitely provides one of the best possibilities to live or retire cheap, whether or not you are a digital nomad.
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Koh Lanta Livability Factors
We just completed 4 weeks in Koh Lanta. Koh Lanta is an island in the Krabi province of Thailand. I would characterize Koh Lanta as more of a laid back hippie area of Thailand versus somewhere like nearby Phi-Phi or Phucket, which are more high-energy, crowded, and younger.
Koh Lanta has a Bob Marley resort feeling … when you visit the beach-side bamboo-huts that line the west coast of Koh Lanta. The cost of living is slowly rising here but it is still lower than many parts of the world. A low cost of living is just the first question I ask when deciding whether to investigate the best live or retire cheap places in the world. That is why I also provide my livability factors in this Koh Lanta Thailand retire cheap guide. Each factor is rated individually as high, medium, or low. I then rate the overall desirability of a destination is considered.
Walkability: Low. At first, you may think this is a place you won’t need a car because it is a relatively small island. But it is too spread out and too warm much of the year to walk. If you just pick one beach neighborhood with a decent grocery store and stay there, you probably won’t need a car very often. But, this is not a place where everything is in walking distance, plus there is no public transportation. Your life will likely be lived all over the island.
Typical of most of Asia, there are scooters everywhere and not so many cars. Both the tourists and the locals, drive scooters at crazy speeds and run into each other sometimes. So don’t be tempted to buy a scooter for everyday life. It is okay to play the death-scooter lottery if you are only here for a few weeks. But if you move here, you are better off in a car/truck if somebody does something stupid. You can buy a used small car here with AC. We were here for a month and saw two older cars advertised on the Lanta Facebook expat page. You can always flag down a 3-wheel tuk-tuk taxi to get around. Then you avoid licensing, repairs, insurance, and gasoline.
Internet: High. Koh Lanta has fairly decent Internet speeds. That shouldn’t be an issue here.
Food: High. The prices are fair in restaurants; unknown prices if you cook at home. I have easily spent more than a year of my life in Thailand and I have never cooked at home. Sure, I have made oatmeal in the morning, coffee, and microwaved popcorn, but I have not cooked many meals in Thailand. In Koh Lanta, an entree in a sit-down family restaurant ranges from about 120 Baht to 250 Baht ($4 to 8 USD). If you go to a high-end western resort you can easily pay 500 Baht for an entree ($17 USD). Or, you can find cheap street food. You can get Thai pancakes or Pad Thai from a food cart for 30 to 80 Baht ($1 to $2.60). The night food market in Old Town has meals ranging from 30 Baht to 90 Baht ($1 to $3 USD). A glass of wine in a beachside hut is about 120 to 160 Baht ($4 to $6 USD). A small beer in a beachside hut is about 70 to 100 Baht ($2 to $3 USD). A tall beer at the 7-eleven is about 60 Baht ($2 USD). You can find beer in quantity on sale at the grocery store for much cheaper, maybe half that price.
Weather: High. The average high for the year ranges from 87.4F 30.8C in September to 93.F 34.1C in March. The average low ranges from 74.5F 23.6C in December to 77.7F 25.4C in June. Not a crazy variance either way. The real season is the amount of rain that falls. May through October receive about 10inches, 250mm, of rain per month. November through April receives less than 5 inches, 150mm per month. Wikipedia.
Things to Do: High. Scuba. Beach. Yoga. Thai Boxing. Volley Ball. Fishing. Snorkeling. Gym. Run on the beach. Swim. Kayak. Body surf. I didn’t see any surfboards. I didn’t see any kite or windsurfers but there was enough wind. This is simple island life.
Social Considerations: It seems that everywhere you go here people speak English. But most of the locals speak resort-English. You will meet a few Thai people with a deep understanding of conversational English. But more often you will need to learn some Thai if you want to form deeper bonds with the locals. There are three major groups of locals living here: Thai Muslims, Thai Sea gypsies, and Thai-Ethnic Chinese. Everyone seems to get along very well. If any trouble erupts it is often a drunk tourist. There is a group of expats living here that might help you find odds and ends that you can’t seem to find on your own.
Real Estate: I have seen small 2 bedroom concrete homes here for as little as $40,000 USD. I never recommend buying in a foreign country until you have lived somewhere at least 2 years. It is easier to buy than sell, so just rent until you are sure you will never want to leave. Year round rental contracts range from about $250 per month to $600 per month. If you want specific examples of what expats pay in rent, just ask on the Facebook Expats page.
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Koh Lanta Overall Desirability Score: Medium-High. I could see myself in Koh Lanta Thailand retiring cheap but not more than 2-3 months of the year. I could live in Thailand all year but I would probably spread my time in 2-3 places. Chang Mai is great except during the crop burn time when the air is full of smoke. I really loved Karon Beach, but only 3-4 months per year. Bangkok is another great place for 3-4 months per year. I go once a year to Bangkok for my medical and dental care. Thailand is clearly in my top 5 countries in the world to live or retire cheap. But it is so easy and cheap to move around Thailand, why get stuck in one spot? Actually, I would say the same thing about the entire world. Why not enjoy it all? Just apportion your time to your favorites once you discover what they are.
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Koh Lanta Cost of Living
The below cost of living numbers are an integration of my own experience and Numbeo. These numbers do not include the Kohub.org coworking space and meal plan. For more on that watch the below digital nomad video.
Monthly Cost of Living, Koh Lanta Thailand ($USD)
|Airbnb/per month rate||$15.00||0||14||30|
|1 Br Apt w/lease||$14.00||0||12||0|
The above numbers are for one person and do not include anything not mentioned on the table, such as alcohol, tours, medical, or extras. I do not guarantee these prices for anyone. Here is a link explaining how the table works.
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Best Area to Stay in Koh Lanta
There are three I liked most when conducting research for this Koh Lanta Thailand retire cheap guide. The Kohub.org apartment building and co-working office space are in the Long Beach Area.
Long Beach: I like the beaches and variety of restaurants, places to stay, and the general overall feeling of Long Beach.
Round House: The area around the Roundhouse is really cool.
Why Not Bar: I like the area around the Why Not Bar.
We stayed in Kohub.org apartments and everything was great. If we were not digital nomads that needed the coworking space and meal plans, we might stay in this Airbnb for a month when we were in Koh Lanta. I do not recommend paying the quoted rate when you are staying for a month in an Airbnb. We make significantly lower offers on 10 different properties and one of our favorites usually accepts our offer. (If you are new to Airbnb, use this code http://www.airbnb.com/c/dbell50 for a big discount).
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Cheapest Flights to Koh Lanta
We almost always get our cheapest flights on this Skyscanner. They have a web crawler that is constantly looking for the cheapest prices all over the world. As usual, we found the cheapest flight to Koh Lanta on Skyscanner.
The Thailand Visa-free entry rules have changed this year. Make sure you read all about it. If you fly into Thailand you are given 30 days. If you arrive by land you are given only 2 weeks. But it depends on what passport you hold, so check into it. We were going to take a ferry to Thailand from Malaysia but changed our plans. We decided to fly to Krabi for automatic 30 days when we heard we would only get 19 days if we arrive any other way.
Best Guided Tours of Koh Lanta
Here is the source I recommend in Koh Lanta for tours. They are tour aggregators which means almost anybody can put their tours on their webpage. So in addition to price, you should see how many reviews a tour has and read the customers comments before deciding which tour is best for you.
Koh Lanta Beach-Scooter Tour
The above video is our Koh Lanta Thailand Beach-Scooter Tour. If it looks fun, rent a scooter and click the below map. You can tour the beaches of Koh Lanta. Click here if the below map is nonresponsive. If the directions appear in the Thai language when you open the map … try opening the Google Maps application on your smartphone before clicking the link/map.
Digital Nomads in Koh Lanta Thailand
We wanted to share our favorite food experiences in this Koh Lanta Thailand retire cheap guide. We had purchased a meal package from Kohub.org so we only had to find one other meal per day. Mostly, we just had oatmeal for breakfast in our apartment and then had lunch and dinner at Kohub.org coworking space. The food at Kohub was amazing!
Somewhere else: The Som Tam (Papaya Salad) we had here was amazing for $3 USD. They have large beers here for 120 Baht, $4 USD. These are fair prices for a beachside setting.
Living Room: We loved the breakfast at this German Bakery.
Rare View: We enjoyed the view and the food at this restaurant in Old Town. Old Town is on the east side of Koh Lanta. Click the link to the Rare View on your smartphone and ride over to the east side of the Island to see the oldest part of Koh Lanta.
Walking Street: The walking street has many food choices at reasonable prices. This is a street of food carts that are open in the evening.
May’s Kitchen: We had a decent meal here for the money. This is a family-style Thai restaurant.
Irish Embassy: This is an Irish Pub that has some decent bar food.
Vagabond Buddha’s Kitchen: We only cooked oatmeal at home on this trip. Lunch and dinner were mostly at Kohub.org.
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This is Dan of Vagabond Buddha. Thank you for reading our Koh Lanta Thailand retire cheap guide. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?
I am not offering you any of the above prices. These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post. Your costs will likely be drastically different based upon your spending habits or if significant inflation or deflation occurs or the market changes after this post. Never move anywhere until you have done an exploratory visit to verify livability and cost of living based upon your personal lifestyle and needs. I will not update these numbers until I am on the ground again here, if ever.