Thailand’s tropical isles are known around the world for offering pristine white sand beaches, sparkling seas and swaying palms. While the country is home to plenty of large, well-known islands, such as Phuket, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, it also has countless smaller islands that are off the typical tourist radar or even uninhabited.
One popular yet still relatively remote destination is Koh Larn, or Coral Island. Though just 7.5 kilometres west of Pattaya Beach in Thailand’s popular tourist hotspot of Pattaya, Koh Larn feels worlds away. While parts of Pattaya seem particularly busy and developed, even while on the beach, Koh Larn has managed to retain its rustic, tropical paradise charm despite being a sought-after day trip destination.
What to know before you go to Koh Larn
Due to its location, visitors can easily travel from the mainland to Koh Larn for a half-day trip either in the morning or afternoon before returning back to Pattaya Beach. There are a number of both half-day and full-day guided tours on offer featuring different inclusions and activities, as well as group or private options. If you’re staying in Pattaya, you’ll easily be able to find Koh Larn day trips offered by your accommodation or nearby tourist shops.
A typical full-day tour consists of a local form of transportation known as a songthaew (a pick-up truck with benches in the back) transferring visitors to the ferry pier to take a public boat on a 45-minute ride offshore to the island.
On the ferry, you can shop for additional excursions or experiences or simply wait to reach the island then find a spot on the beach to laze the day away. The ferry stops at a dock where you can get off for parasailing before continuing onto Koh Larn’s famous Haad Tien (or Tien Beach).
What to do on Koh Larn
Once on the island, there are a variety of activities offered right on the beach, either as part of your tour or separately, including more parasailing as well as jet skiing, speedboating and snorkelling.
In addition to the gorgeous Tien Beach, you can also wander around to the north to visit eateries and do some souvenir shopping at Ta Waen Beach or enjoying the clear water at Samae Beach. In the southern part of the island, Nuai Beach is beautifully framed by coral-filled waters on one side and lush hillsides on the other.
Of course, there are also plenty of spots around the island where you can simply spend your time lounging on the beach, soaking up the sun, taking advantage of the beachfront massage shops or wading in the water.
If you’ve booked a guided tour, it will usually include a simple traditional Thai lunch of stir-fried dishes, satisfying soup, rice and fresh fruits. Alternatively, you have a choice of beachfront restaurants to select from serving basic Thai or western fare.