Posted: 04/14/2014 | April 14th, 2014

It all started with two French girls. It was 2006, as well as I was five months into my very first round-the-world trip. I’d shown up in Thailand two weeks before, run into a friend, as well as jetted off to Ko Phi Phi, a location I didn’t enjoy. one more good friend emailed me about a beautiful, out-of-the-way, hidden island near the Malaysian border called Ko Lipe as well as suggested I come. It sounded perfect. “I’ll be right there,” I replied.

But then I ran into those lovely French women with their seductive accents.

A few nights before, I’d satisfied them in one of the many bars on the island. I saw them once again on the ferry back to the mainland; they were heading to Ko Lanta. I’d never heard of it, however when they invited me to find along, I put my Ko Lipe plans on hold as well as joined them.

I can never state no to a French accent.

Arriving at Ko Lanta, we discovered ourselves on an island paradise that has since ended up being one of my preferred locations in Thailand.

Back in 2006, the island was rustic. It had few resorts, restaurants, or bars, as well as most bungalows had only chilly water as well as fans. Air conditioning as well as hot water were a luxury. even on its most touristy beach during high season, there was barely a spirit around. A bar was thought about hectic if it had more than five people in it. We spent four days biking the island, lying on the beach, gorging on affordable seafood, as well as watching a few of the most unbelievable sunsets of my life.

Ko Lanta was paradise. A beautiful, seemingly unknown location found in a region understood as the epicenter of Thailand tourism. exactly how everybody handled to miss this paradise with its long as well as wide white sand beaches, affordable food, as well as sunsets (the island faces west) boggled my mind.

But everyone’s loss was my gain, as well as those four days left a deep perception on me.

When I returned to Ko Lanta in 2009, I was nervous. three years had passed. That’s a long time in Thailand. advancement occurs like a sandstorm, as well as Ko Lanta’s name had been coming up more commonly on websites as well as among travelers. I feared the worst: my small bit beach bungalows replaced by resorts as well as those peaceful beaches full of bars as well as overpriced restaurants. Gone would be the days of $6 bungalows.

I stepped off the ferry, took a depth breath, and…exhaled a significant sigh of relief. Yes, costs were higher, there were more people, as well as some resorts had popped up, however the low-key, relaxed nature of the island stayed intact. The beaches hadn’t been overdeveloped, there wasn’t trash everywhere, it was still simple to get most of the beach to yourself, as well as affordable bungalows still existed.

Fast ahead to February 2014 when I took my Thailand tour group to Ko Lanta. With its white sand beaches, tasty seafood, plethora of activities, as well as relaxed atmosphere, it was the perfect method to end the tour.

But once again I held my breath.

It had once again been years since I was last on the island, as well as even though recent photos I’d seen illustrated that the island was still beautiful, I was worried nonetheless.

But I was worried for nothing.

The island was still paradise and, while more established than before — with a few more high-end resorts, worldwide restaurants, as well as higher prices — it still offered seclusion as well as serenity.

Ko Lanta seems to buck every pattern in tourism in Thailand. in spite of its growing popularity, it hasn’t been overdeveloped like every other island in the country. There’s a great deal of prospective here, as well as with its lovely beaches as well as sunsets, this location might quickly ended up being the next Ko Samui, Krabi, or Phuket.

But it hasn’t.

And that’s great for us. Uncontrolled advancement has ruined many islands in Thailand, however Ko Lanta has stayed a paradise for a few reasons. It’s quite difficult work to get there with the cars and truck ferries. only so many people can be brought over at once. The government has focused its efforts on establishing other parts of the region, as well as the local, tight-knit neighborhood has been rather coordinated in exactly how they want the island to develop. This neighborhood partnership (rare in Thailand) has enabled it to prevent the free-for-all advancement fate of other Thai islands.

I’m unsure exactly how long this will last, particularly as the building of a bridge from the mainland finishes. In Thailand, nothing is ever certain. Your island paradise might turn into your island hell within the span of a single season.

However, for now, Ko Lanta stays one of the very best islands in Thailand to see as well as my island paradise.

One day, I’ll discover those two French women as well as say thanks to them for bringing me right here all those years ago.

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