“Authentic fishing houses for 2-4 in Lanta's Old Town; a unique and characterful place to holiday”
Coconut (sleeps 2-4)
Coconut is the more practical of the houses. Downstairs, the main room has an open-plan kitchenette with a breakfast bar, so you can perch and enjoy sea views with your cereal. Beyond is a spacious sitting area with a couple of wooden benches and Thai-style cushions, warmly lit by halogen strings at night. From here, you step through wooden folding doors onto the large deck with a thatched roof, hammock, and more seating of varying degrees of comfort. At high tide and when the water is clear, you can dive right into the sea, though you may want to take the steps until you figure out how deep it is.
Streetside is a boxy air-conditioned room, with 2 day beds, where you can watch TV or a DVD and deal with your electronic correspondence at a spacious desk. Up a slightly precarious wooden staircase lies the long master bedroom, with a firm double bed and a swivel fan to keep you cool. A big teak wardrobe downstairs has plenty of hanging space.
The bathroom has a pebble floor and a shower - and should the pressure of the running water be too low, there’s a great terracotta urn to shower from. Towels are suspended from sawn-off tree trunks. Next door is a little w/c.
Lychee (sleeps 2-4)
Because it’s angled the ‘correct’ way, i.e. with the eaves side-on to the sea, Lychee feels bigger and more sumptuous. Through traditional double doors, you enter a biggish hallway with a bamboo table for your bike helmet. Beyond that lies a little air-conditioned bedroom with a double bed and plenty of pillows, cushions, throws and blankets. There’s a sizeable built-in wardrobe.
The bathroom has a pebble floor and polished-concrete walls. There’s a rather clever sculptural rain shower that’s almost high enough for a Swede to stand up straight under.
The main room features an open-plan kitchenette; the wiring is a bit eccentric, so you’ll have to figure out what powers what. On the other side is a big wooden desk and a sitting area with a massive daybed. The satellite TV at the time of writing showed snow, but the DVD player worked, and pirated films and TV series can be found in town. Beyond that is the huge deck with interesting tropical plant life but no railing, so sleepwalkers beware.
Each house has a kitchenette equipped with a 2-ring cooker, toaster, pots and pans, crockery and cutlery, plus a fridge-freezer. Coconut also has a barbecue on its deck.
Fresh milk, eggs, rice and other basic provisions are available from the nice woman next to Fresh Restaurant (up the road), whose mynah bird can say ‘good morning’. She’s also the only one in town to sell cigarettes at market prices. Further afield, there’s a French bakery on the road to Phra Ae and a German one on Long Beach, with excellent streuselkuchen (crumb cake). The Lanta Mart in Saladan has cheese, salami, pasta, olive oil, cereals, frozen bacon, steaks and the glummest staff this side of Bucharest.
Fresh-caught fish can be bought from the fishermen’s wives out of their ice boxes, about 50m left of the houses. Just look and point. Various farmers' markets have fresh vegetables, chicken and pork.
To eat out, Susanna provides a list of recommended restaurants. In the Old Town there are 2 good Thai places. Beautiful, at the far end, lives up to its name with romantic little private decks among the mangroves, and a charming owner. Fresh Restaurant, also over the water, is less beautiful but the food is good, down to the handful of Western dishes. Most of the Old Town restaurants offer delivery service, if you're feeling lazy. Along the high street, a few basic places have fried rice and such for lunch. In season, Mango House has extortionate so-so breakfasts and burgers, but decent milkshakes. A noodle woman just past the pier does what she can. Up on the hills in either direction are restaurants with stunning views.
The nearest tourist beach is Klong Nin, where barracuda steaks and pizza are on offer everywhere, and some hotels advertise fine dining.
Families are welcome and the houses have space for 2 extra beds, which can be provided on request. There’s plenty for children to do, late-afternoon winkle-picking is included, but there are no special facilities.
Children (4-12 years)
Coconut is bigger, and has a railing on its deck, so you don't have to worry about toddlers falling into the sea. If your kids are older, we'd choose Lychee, which is more attractive. Do note that baby cots are not available.