‘Rainy season’, and ‘monsoon season’ are terms often heard when people talk of visiting Koh Lanta, and other west coast of Thailand destinations, between May and September. However, these terms are a little misleading. While it is true there is more rain at this time of year than during the other months, contrary to popular beliefs, it does not rain all day, every day – far from it…
Does it rain all day, every day ?
According to weather app, yes, it does. But in reality, no, it does not. The most common weather patterns we experience at this time of year are hot, blue-skied days, with possible heavy rain showers late afternoon/early evening. If you look at rainfall charts for this time of year, there will be a large spike in the amount of rain falling, however, this usually falls in one short, heavy downpour as the day is ending – not as a constant drizzle throughout the whole day as in northern Europe. These 30 – 60 minute downpours are quite spectacular, with a lot of rain falling in a short space of time, and they clear the air and cool things down whilst you are getting ready to venture out for dinner. And they don’t fall every evening…
The wettest months are the months when the seasons are changing – usually June & September. During these months, you are more likely to encounter the odd wet day, when it does rain through the day, but there is still plenty to do on the island at these times of year too. The months of the so-called ‘rainy season’ between these change-over times are usually as described above – short tropical downpours in the evening, and still nice and hot temperature-wise (even the rain is warm water when it does fall).
These downpours are needed too. After the very dry months of January through April, the island needs a good watering. The wells sometimes run low at the end of the driest months, and the vegetation is calling out for water. The effects of the rain are readily seen – everything quickly becomes greener and lusher, hence the locals refer to this time of year as ‘green season’. The cooling effect of the evening rain is also very welcome. The rain helps lower the humidity, and cool things down for the evening, as well as keeping the dust of dry season down to a minimum.
Is everything on the island closed ?
Another misconception about Koh Lanta is that the island shuts down for green season. This is also not quite true. There are a few businesses that will close for a few months, but many restaurants and bars are open as usual. Also hotels are open as usual, and are often great value at this time of year.
Diving-wise, Koh Lanta Marine Park is closed from May 15th, and re-opens on October 15th. However, the Phi Phi dive sites are open all year and dive trips are still running during this time period.
Places to go, and things to do in green season…
The National Park at the southern end of Koh Lanta is open, and in all its glory after a bit of rain. It’s always a nice place to relax with its quiet and beautiful beaches, and the lighthouse is a great photo spot.
Just before the National Park the beach at Klong Jark is also very nice. And either before or after a laze on the beach, the short trek to the Klong Jark Waterfall is also spectacular at this time of year – much better than in the dry season.
Lanta Old Town is also a great place for a spot of lunch during a drive around the island. Old Town is on the eastern side of Lanta, and a good spot to see a bit of traditional Thai culture, with views over the islands in the bay towards the mainland.
Scuba diving and snorkel trips are available to Phi Phi all year round too. A short sail out across the Andaman Sea, and you can dive or snorkel at some beautiful spots, with some amazing marine life around. Turtles and sharks can be seen regularly, and if you are lucky, you might even get to see the biggest fish in the ocean – the mesmerising whale shark ! Contact Lanta Diver to see their trip schedule – firstname.lastname@example.org
Another activity that many enjoy is to pay a visit to Lanta Animal Welfare, and to maybe even take a dog or two for a walk along the beach…
Where to stay, what to do, and where to eat ?
During green season it is very easy to find a room for your stay, and most resorts offer great value for money at this time of year. Lanta offers accommodation to suit all budgets and needs, but the prices are a little lower during these months. For accommodation, check these places:
Mook Lanta Eco Resort – beautiful boutique resort at the southern end of Long Beach. Nice rooms in a quiet garden setting, just a short walk to the beach. They do a great breakfast too – check out the Mook Muffins !
Sri Lanta – situated in Klong Nin, Sri Lanta is a nice resort with a beachfront area. Nice for a sunset cocktail…
Kaw Kwang Beach Resort – close to the main town of Saladan in the north of Koh Lanta.
Long Beach Chalet – also on Long Beach.
Lanta Riviera – found in the middle of Klong Kong area, close to the beach.
Lanta Sand – at the northern end of Long Beach, within a short distance of many beachfront restaurants.
And when you’re getting a little hungry after a tough day exploring/relaxing…
The Irish Embassy – Great pub food served in a great pub atmosphere, fantastic music, award-winning cocktails, with all your sporting needs on the multi-screens. There’s always something going on here too – Monday is quiz night, Friday is Name That Tune & Killer Pool, with live music midweek too. Situated in the Long Beach area.
May’s Kitchen – To be found close to the Irish Embassy in Long Beach. May’s Kitchen is a favourite amongst the locals. Amazing Thai food, great bbq and ribs, and good selection of western dishes too.
Sole Mare – Italian pizzeria & restaurant in Klong Dao. They have specials on Tuesdays (Pizza Party) and Thursdays (Pasta Party).
The Fat Pig – Also know by its Thai name of Moo Uan, The Fat Pig is located over the water in Saladan, looking out to Koh Lanta Noi. Good ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ breakfast, and live sports shown too.
Ni Restaurant – Small, family-run restaurant close to Relax Bay, at the southern end of Long Beach. Good Thai & western dishes, and nice prices too.
Happy Veggie – If you fancy a healthy, or vegetarian, option, The Happy Veggie is found between the southern end of Long Beach and the northern end of Klong Kong beach.
To find out more about what’s going on in green season, join the Koh Lanta Info Facebook group…