Every year my husband and I go to Thailand to run the Free your full potential fitness experience in Phuket. It is the absolute highlight of my year. To be a part of an immersive experience in the sunshine filled with good vibes, fitness, yummy healthy food and like minded souls is a dream and to top it off set in Thailand nestled amongst jungle and mountains. Well it doesn’t get much better than that.
This last retreat was amazing but pretty full on as we had the largest group we have ever had so it was a real pleasure to be able to stay on for a week of island living in Koh Lanta where my awesome brother in law Andre now lives. Andre is quite a guy and is living his dream of owning a bar in Thailand and I must say island life suits him very well. He also has a beautiful girlfriend Christina who works in one of the best restaurants on the island. With these two locals in our midst we are always set for an amazing experience and an in the know locals guide to the island.
There is something about Koh Lanta that is so enticing because out of anywhere I have visited across the islands in Thailand it really feels like it has retained much of it’s rustic charm. It is extremely relaxing, the people are so friendly and it somehow feels much more undiscovered than the other tourist meccas. Despite it being stunningly beautiful with sunsets to die for, it feels quieter and probably much more like Thailand used to be before The Beach film, incessant hotel developers and truck loads of tourists. We spent the week working and playing with a little exploration fitted in for good measure. As always the best foodie finds are my predominant focus and the universe did not disappoint so I have put together my Koh Lanta top ten of where to eat, drink and be jolly.
Where to stay
We stayed at The Sri Lanta Resort hotel which we were really impressed with. The staff were lovely and there were two large pools, one beach side for lounging and one set back on the lawns which was my go to hideaway for my morning lengths which was the only fitness I was doing after our retreat as being on Koh Lanta it is almost impossible not to feel in holiday mode. Our room was a forest bungalow with shutters and doors on every side which opened up onto a big balcony, it was rustic and beautiful if a little dark at times, still it felt cosy and was nice being nestled up within the trees, the sounds of the birds and wildlife not far from the door. The hotel had a lunch restaurant overlooking the beach where we had a fabulous Thai meal on our last night and breakfast was served in a stunning restaurant beset by a stream we found to be abundant with frogs and lilies. It was a serene place to have breakfast and very calming to watch the morning yoga class from my table which despite my best intentions I never quite made.
On the night we arrived we were delighted to see the hotel was putting on a bbq and fire dancing night which of course we got fully involved in. It turned out to be a magical evening sat on cushions on small candlelit bamboo tables on the beach. At nine the music started with a wild show of fire poi and dancing the speeds of which were rather a little unnerving but a magical spectacle nonetheless. It’s experiences like these which really make trips memorable so Sri Lanta has my vote on this one. We would certainly stay there again the only thing we would change would be getting a slightly larger room with a bit more light. Being the workaholics that we are my husband and I were more often than not to be found laptop tapping in this lovely bamboo office pictured below. We were fuelled throughout the day with glorious fruit shake concoctions but always remember to ask for your shakes without sugar or you will be on constant sugar highs and lows here as they are sickly sweet.
Time for Lime – Best for foodies
Time For Lime is a triple threat, not only does it play host to one of the best sunset spots on the island, it is also the number 1 cooking school and in my opinion one of the best restaurants. Oh and did I mention its a cat sanctuary as well. There is a six course set menu which changes nightly. The food was incredible, bursting with flavours so fresh and innovative in it’s own way. It was especially nice to have thai food in a way that we had not been used to as although I love thai food my daily order of pad thai, green curry and spring rolls was starting to get a bit samey. I would recommend this restaurant as a real treat for any foodies out there looking for something a little different and the dreamy cocktails perfectly accentuated the food.
Kunda Vegan – Best for veggies and vegans
This was one of my favourites and if you’re a bonafide vegan this is your best option in town. If you’re not vegan its still worth a visit as the food is so fresh and healthy. It’s also really handy as you can get it takeaway. Walk through to the back of the shop and you sit in a tree house like garden surrounded by all sorts of ornaments and interesting adornments. The cafe has a tongue in cheek vibe with menu options such as KARMA- You get what you deserve .. which I thought was rather fun. The vegan brownie was next level! After being in Thailand a few weeks I was craving my beloved humus which is a diet staple for me back home and here I finally found it AND it was really good. Hoorah! The portions are also pretty sturdy which as a girl with a healthy appetite I always appreciate, well that tummies not gonna satisfy itself and let’s be honest a rainbow salad needs to be sturdy to hit the spot.
The Fat Pig – Best for harbour views and all round charm
I love the location of this restaurant and bar as it overlooks the harbour making it a great pit stop if you are on your way to catch a ferry. It has a stunning view and an awesome east west blend menu to satisfy every kind of craving. After non stop Thai food I really welcomed the chicken wrap and fries I had here. It also did a mean coconut shake!
The Fat Monkey – Best for atmosphere and food
This awesome bar restaurant has an exotic feel surrounded by trees and plants which draw you in. Despite it being on a busy street of bars and restaurants there is something really unique about it, it has a warm and cosy atmosphere and a great menu of both thai and international cuisines. Is is always busy but still feels like a hidden gem. If I wasn’t a veggie I would try the burgers as everyone raves about them! I had a yummy veggie curry and a decent glass of red wine. Woohoo
Fruit Tree Lodge – Best for Coffee and breakfast
Coffee is pretty important to me and finding a good brew is often my life’s work. I can’t say its that easy to come by in my experience in Thailand so I was super pleased to stumble upon this delightful cafe. It has a light airy and minimal feel much more modern than many of the other cafes and it did amazing breakfast food. My husband and I agreed the homemade granola was the best we have ever had and the freshly made energy balls made great daily takeaway snacks filled with goodness. I must also mention Kaya Cafe which is run by a wonderfully eccentric Italian woman who greeted us like old friends. She made us freshly brewed Italian coffee and home made chocolate biscotti which was rich and luxurious. This is a super cake and coffee stop off although cake and coffee for breakfast is also perfectly acceptable in my books.
Mojos Bar – Best for cocktails and a dance
Best cocktails in town. I love the vibe here, its a retro funk melange in style and decor and the tunes were funky to boot. It’s a relaxed vibe with a pool table, connect four on tap and some pretty groovy wall paper. We went on Taco Tuesday’s and were so delighted with them we had to have two each although I could have had three. There are many bars to choose from in Koh Lanta but if you are looking for something laidback, with friendly staff, soulful disco tune and cocktails made with passion then this is the place. See me enjoying an espresso martini and the lads smashing out connect four.
Shanti Shanti – Best For Dessert
So on my last night in Thailand I decided to go all out! I was massively craving something sweet but a magnum ice cream just wouldn’t quite cut it. The hubby and I hopped on the scooter searching for sweeter climbs and as soon as I saw the sign for french crepes I knew this was the place. There was a chap sat on a small table outside eating what looked to be a divine apple strudel and the smell oozing from the small but heavily adorned cafe was magnetic. We sat down had a chat with the owner who was french of course and ordered the dream crepe packed with all sorts of gooey goodness namely Banana, nutella and home made pistachio ice cream. It doesn’t get much sweeter than that and this was heaven. I will definitely be coming back here for my treat day next time.
Worth A Visit!
Don’t leave Koh Lanta without visiting the Klong Chak waterfall. You trek through the most incredible jungle characterised by huge trees and their spiralled roots as well as deep green damn and stream. It’s a good 25 minutes walk but totally worth it and the waterfall at the end was stunning although a little underwhelmed with water but we didn’t mind and got straight in for a refreshing shower. See Pics below for a taster of this majestic natural architecture.
Showing off the pool and our view!