The east coast of Lanta has a totally different feel to the west, with a much more traditional style and is home to many little villages. Tourists are far fewer in number here and the local population support themselves primarily through fishing, shrimp cultivating and farming. Be sure to make one of your days a tour to this side of the island and do not just stop at the main town, but travel further south for some incredible views.
The Old Town, the original capital of the island, is located in the southeast and is the primary port for the fishing and tourist long-tail boats. Fifty years ago, Chinese and Arabian merchants used this port as a stopover, but since the development of the car and passenger piers, Saladan has become the primary town and harbour. Home to a mix of Chinese, Muslim and Sea Gypsies all living in harmony together, the Old Town has an almost wild west look to it, with pretty much all the buildings made of wood and, like Saladan, extending out over the sea.
But the east coast is changing, as tourists who are tired of the beaches explore it and discover its charms, with its temples, fabulous restaurants and unique shops. The Old Town is also home each year, in March, to the Lanta Festival, which is held over three days. For these few days, the Old Town becomes a pedestrian-only zone with bars, restaurants, hotels, shops and other businesses from all over the island setting up stalls offering great live music, DJs, cheap food and drink until late into the night.