In the early 1980's the first rucksack-carrying travellers trickled over to Koh Lanta from the mainland and a few bamboo beach huts sprang up. Back in the day what visitors there were cruised around on mopeds, ate at basic roadside shacks and knocked back not-quite-chilled Chang beer by candlelight. It certainly was unplugged; with the island only getting hooked up to mains electricity in the mid 90's.

Now the power is regular (well, unless there's a storm brewing...) and the lodgings are lovelier. Although if you want to crash out in a bamboo hut, you still can and the lack of high rises and chain hotels has helped retain the tropical and relaxed charm. Over the past decade a steady stream of accommodation has grown around seven of the main beaches and these days you can find anything from bamboo shacks, kooky guesthouses, budget bungalows, apartment complexes to hip, luxury boutique resorts.

We found ourselves a proper "home from home" at the popular family-friendly Sai Naam Lanta Residence. Nestled just back from Long Beach the villa complex still retains a peaceful, quiet and relaxed atmosphere. Well, aside from on a Saturday night when all the Swedish guests go a bit nuts for showings of "Pop Idol" but even that wraps up at a very civilised hour!

Fabulously family focused apartments, houses and villas surround a spectacular swimming pool. Our spacious, self catering apartment had all the mod-cons including a really well-stocked kitchenette, air-con, terrace, TV and even a sofa. After 6 months of outdoor living in Bali we were over the moon to live somewhere with walls and windows for a while!

Guests are mostly Swedish with a smattering of other Europeans and Australians and lots and lots of young families. Many, like us, were staying a bit longer than the average holiday-maker so it was a great place for the girls (and us) to make friends whilst splashing about in the absolutely ginormous pool.

The apartments are handily located in the heart of Long Beach with a great selection of dining options, shops, ATM's and all the amenities we could need on our doorstep. The beach is a stones throw away so really easy to access for a quick dip or sunset walk.

After 5 weeks here our apartment really felt like home and we didn't want to leave!

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