Living in Koh Lanta
Before you enter a PADI Divemaster or Instructor level SCUBA Diving Internship with Go Pro In Paradise and Lanta Diver, you really need to know about what it will be like to live in Koh Lanta.
Most people have very different experiences whilst living in Koh Lanta. Without doubt though, virtually everyone who stays here for some time is reluctant to leave. It might be the excellent climate, it could be the fantastic diving, most likely it is the relationships they build with the delightful Thai people.
Whatever these reasons for people staying, there are some important things that you might want to know before you come.
DO YOU NEED A VISA ?
Thailand does have visa requirements, and the type of visa that you will need to apply for will depend on how long you plan to spend training with us here at Go Pro In Paradise. For a stay of thirty days or fewer you may be able to come to Thailand without arranging a visa in advance – please check with your local Thai Embassy as this differs for different nationalities. If you arrive and get a thirty day stamp at the airport, you should understand that you will not be able to extend this length of stay. If you wish to stay for up to sixty days, you should obtain a sixty-day Tourist Visa from the Thai Consulate in your home country a few weeks before your departure. For courses longer than a sixty-day period, you should be able to apply for a multiple-entry Tourist Visa at the Thai Consulate in your home nation – each entry will give you sixty days. Each of these sixty-day entries on a Tourist Visa can then be extended in Thailand for another thirty days by going to the nearest immigration office – there is one in nearby Krabi Town. Please note that Thai immigration laws are subject to change and we advise you to check with your local Thai Consulate for the most correct and current advice.
All visitors must have a valid passport for at least six months from the date of departure from Thailand. Proof of onward travel is also required. If you need a visa, you can contact the Royal Thai Consulate nearest to you.
CLOTHES TO PACK
Don't pack too much!!
Quick, reliable laundry services are easy to find and very reasonable. The entire contents of your suitcase or back pack will be washed, dried, pressed and returned for a minimum fee. And Koh Lanta is home to a few shops where you can pick up board shorts and t-shirtsif you need more...
Light sweater and/or wind-breaker that can double as a rain coat, for mountain hikes, cool evenings spent on the beach or a light shower of warm rain. Remember you'll be in the tropics and heavy clothing is typically not necessary.
Cotton clothing or other natural fibres are most comfortable, absorbing perspiration and drying quickly.
Sarong - Buy one when you get here. A great souvenir of your travels, sarongs are also versatile for covering up, spreading out as a blanket on the beach, and entering temples which require you to cover your legs.
Long trousers and a collared shirt for men and a dress or slacks for ladies will improve your opportunities if you will be visiting a government or other official office - for a visa extension, for example.
A pair of water shoes or booties are great for diving and all your water sports, but for shopping, trekking and just getting around, it's good to wear something that will prevent stubbed toes and sprained ankles. Sturdy walking shoes are great.
Vaccinations - travel to Koh Lanta does not currently require any special vaccinations (check for last-minute information at www.cdc.gov - the U.S. Centre for Disease Control) although diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT), and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shots are recommended for everyday life wherever you are. Vaccinations for Hepatitis A (and Hepatitis B for long trips over 2 months) require thinking ahead for inoculations from a few weeks to 7 months before your visit. If you are concerned, consult with your doctor.
Prescriptions - bring plenty of any required prescription drugs with you and their generic names. Most prescription drugs are found in Phuket but may be under different names. A copy of your prescription may also help you avoid any questions at customs too.
Cuts and Scrapes - In the tropics, small cuts and scrapes may take longer to heal. Having a small first aid kit with a minimum of an antiseptic wash or cream and an antibiotic powder or ointment and small adhesive bandages will come in handy. See a doctor if an infection sets in. Coral cuts can be especially nasty and may require diligent attention to keep them from becoming infected. Nebocetin is a dual acting antibiotic that comes in both powder and liquid form. We have found it to be excellent.
"Bangkok Belly" - Diarrhoea is a common traveling companion when faced with changes in your climate, diet and sleeping arrangements, and overexertion. Take it easy and experience the wonderful Indonesian cuisine sensibly. Ice is manufactured in government-run facilities and is generally safe as long as it's been handled in a sanitary method between leaving the facility and getting to your table - you can judge this well by the general state of the restaurant where you are eating. Over all, stick to bottled water. If you do succumb to Bangkok Belly, relax as much as you can and drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids including the water from a young coconut (aire kelapa muda). Doses of Imodium or activated carbon (both readily available in Phuket) and a good book for company will help. It typically runs its course in 2 to 3 days. If longer than that, go see the doctor.
Malaria - Koh Lanta is typically not a threat for malaria although long stays in the rural western portions, especially during rainy season, may warrant care. Use repellent brought from home (preferably with DEET) when out. Mosquito coils are available locally to keep the ‘nasties’ away.
Contact lens wearers - bring any solutions you might need, especially for gas permeable (hard) lens wearers.
The Basic Travelling Emergency First Response
Antiseptic/Disinfectant (Betadine, Dettol, etc.)
Antibiotic powder or ointment
Adhesive bandages (Band-Aids, Elastoplast, Hansa Plast)
Ibuprophen or other over-the-counter pain reliever
Decongestant (12 or 24 hour dosages)
Anti-diarrhoeal (Kaopectate or Lomotril)
Tiger Balm - for itching bites and muscle pain
Pre-packaged alcohol towelettes and/or gelled alcohol
Sulphur soap and/or medicated body powder (Herocyn) if prone to prickly heat and skin fungi
ARRIVING IN KOH LANTA
Most likely you will arrive at Krabi International Airport. If you're traveling from cold climates, you might do yourself a favour and pack a light shirt and shorts in your carry-on to change into before landing.
Processing through immigration may take a while if you're travelling on a full plane although it is relatively easy and without hassle. After having your passport stamped, you'll pass through an x-ray machine for carry-on goods before coming to the luggage carousels.
Upon emerging from the International Arrivals gate, if you haven't pre-arranged pick-up at the airport, no problem. Upon exiting the Arrivals area, look for the taxi/minibus counters - a minibus to Lanta costs around 400 baht. A private taxi to Koh Lanta costs around 2,500 baht. Minibuses are cheaper, but take longer as they will be dropping other people at their hotels too.
Money changers are easy to find in most tourist destinations. Best rates are had from official ‘authorised’ money changers with rates from the banks not far behind. Always visit ‘authorised’ money changers, have a friend go with you to help you watch for sticky fingers and always double count your money before leaving the door. Bills in larger denominations and in crisp conditions and current year are accepted readily. Heavily wrinkled, torn, or older bills may not be accepted by money changers or the banks. All major currencies can be changed very easily.
Always keep photocopies/pictures of your passport, onward ticket, travellers’ cheque numbers, birth certificate and credit card numbers separate from the originals. Leave a copy with a friend or family member back home. If you have a travel partner, swap document copies.
A small torch for finding your room or just digging through your back pack.
Hat and sunglasses - Bring them or pick them up easily here, but remember you're probably closer to the equator here than at home and you'll want to protect yourself. If you purchase them here, look for UV and polarised glasses and expect to pay a reasonable price. If it's too cheap it may not offer UV protection or be polarised, regardless of the stickers on it. Expect approximately USD 40 for a pair of real polarised glasses. Anything that costs you USD 3 isn't what it says it is.
Sunscreen - Brand name products are available at stores in the tourist area but may be a little more expensive than prices back home. It would be best to bring some 'reef friendly' sunscreen with you from home.
Bring a small calculator to help you with exchange rates.
Tipping is not a custom here but highly appreciated for special service. Hotels will add a 10% service fee to your bill and some restaurants will add a 5% service fee. Taxes of 10% are charged by the government on all purchases. Remember, wages here are low, and anything you can tip will go a long way in helping a family meet its obligations.
Koh Lanta has a wide-range of accommodation available to suit all budgets/needs. Feel free to email and ask us for some recommendations. If you'd rather book your own accommodation have a look at booking.com.
To find out more specific information about living in Koh Lanta, please email - firstname.lastname@example.org