Koh Lanta is a colourful Thai island with a slow, blissful vibe making it an easy place to kick back and do nothing. If you can bear to tear yourself away from the powdery, sandy beaches and bath-water-warm Andaman sea you'll find lots of activities on offer. For such a small island it manages to pack in a huge variety of things to do. Here's our handpicked favourites things to do in Koh Lanta:

1. Get out and explore:

To really understand the island, you need to head away from the west coast, away from the lure of the sea and the sand and explore.

Hop on a moped and head into the lush green interior and out to the less developed east coast. Buzz past homes, mangrove forests, lighthouses and fishing villages on wide, virtually empty roads. With only a couple of roads crisscrossing the island there's no chance of getting lost even without a map. From the look-out points there are Jurassic Park-like views, across the water to Lanta's many uninhabited islets.

Even filling up at the petrol stations by the side of the road takes on a novel twist when the petrol is decanted from whisky bottles. When we first arrived in Asia 8 months ago we used to shake our heads at the Western families all crammed onto their mopeds. I never thought we would become one of "those families". But armed with helmets and Millie secure in her baby sling it truly feels like a safer way to travel than the precarious tuk-tuk. It seems our adaptation to all things Asia is complete...

2. Yoga:

You can't help but find your zen in the most scenic beachside yoga studios I have ever seen. Relax Bay and Sanctuary yoga both offer stunning platforms overlooking the beach and ocean. Oasis Yoga is one of the most highly recommended on the island and can be found in a beautiful garden setting. Enjoy laid back island relaxation with great teachers and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

3. Wander around the Old Town:

A time warp of a place, jam packed with old world charm. It's like wandering into a nostalgic film set of shuttered century-old teak houses on stilts. Lanta Old Town looks today much like nostalgic trading city of the South China Sea 300 years ago. A charming and unique fishing village this is a world away from Koh Lanta's tourist crowds.

There are kooky little shops, places to stay and some lovely places to eat and drink. Sandy's does the best brownies on the island and without doubt Aspara has the top table in town for a memorable dinner jutting out on stilts over the tranquil water. Mango House is a cool bar with delicious burgers, milkshakes and coffee. But be warned the Old Town goes to bed at 9pm sharp and after that everything shuts up shop.

There is also a great playground, outdoor gym (!) and a huge, grassy area for the kids to let off some steam.

4. Preen, pamper and relax:

If you're after somewhere to unwind, rest and rejuvenate you'll be tripping over spa treatments in Koh Lanta. Offering everything from basic roadside treatment rooms through to 5 star, luxury spa resorts in tropical, tranquil settings there is something to suit every budget here. One of our favourites is the charming Serenity Spa in Saladan where you can enjoy a heavenly massage on the stilted deck whilst being soothed by the sounds of the waves sloshing gently beneath you.

5. Sunset:

Koh Lanta has truly spectacular sunsets - every night is different and they are incredible even on the cloudiest of days.

Sunset walks along Long Beach have become part of our nightly routine here and the colours never fail to take our breath away.

6. Shopping:

Sitting at the northern of the island is Ban Saladan - a dusty harbour town and the main commercial hub on the island. The busiest spot on the island it is the place to go if you're looking for shops.

The Lanta Mart is the western supermarket where you can find cheese, salami, pasta, olive oil, cereals, frozen bacon, steaks and the glummest staff this side of Bucharest. The tourist markets have some decent handicrafts and little trinkets and with a bit of digging about we even managed to find some sturdy wooden toys (a rare find amongst the usual flimsy plastic), play-doh and arts & crafty bits & bobs for the girls. Further afield the Little Handmade Shop in Kantiang Bay is worth a look if you're passing. 

Heading down the road to Phra Ae is Diecks a fantastic German deli and in Long Beach there is a French bakery, Faim de Coup for crunchy baguettes and flaky croissants

Fresh-caught fish can be bought from the fishermen’s wives out of their ice boxes, just look and point and various farmers' markets have fresh vegetables, chicken and pork.

Other than that you'll find trusty 7-11's dotted around the island for milk, bread and basic day to day essentials.

7. Diving & Snorkelling:

If you have the urge to get underwater there's fantastic diving on offer from Koh Lanta. Incredible visibility, underwater caverns, coral outcrops and teeming with marine life. Ko Haa, which is an hour and a half away, is a volcanic island with steep drop-offs and more than a dozen dive sites, caverns and chambers where you can spot turtles, octopus and manta rays. If scuba isn't your thing, there's stunning snorkelling, sea kayaking to the limestone caves at Koh Talabeng and longtail boat trips to the beautiful beaches of Koh Rok & the twisted mangroves around Koh Klang and Koh Lanta Noi.

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