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How I got my name: Koh Lanta

Posted by Clare Izaguirre on

Part of Krabi Province, on the western coast of southern Thailand is the ecologically diverse and scenic island district of Koh Lanta. Covering more than 151 km², it is alive with dense mangroves, vibrant coral reefs, jungle-capped mountains and unspoilt stretches of beach.

But why is Koh Lanta so special to Aquila Jewellery and how did it come to have the Koh Lanta Collection named after it? Grab a cuppa and let’s explore...

A short history 

Koh Lanta’s Malay name is Pulao Satak, translating to the “Island of Long Beaches” local estate agents LantaIslandProperty.com explains when summarising the history of the island district. Its origins date back 500 years, when the Chao Lay people (also known as The Moken) arrived on Lanta, states Koh Lanta blog Kolanta.net

The Moken also established the now famous Old Lanta Town which consequently played a part as the main port for trade for Arabic and Chinese ships. Chinese settlers came later, fusing a unique blend of cultures that makes Koh Lanta so special.

Koh Lanta district is composed of a cluster of 52 islands. Two of the largest and most visited islands are the larger islands of Koh Lanta Lai and Koh Lanta Mai.

You’ll find Mu Ko Lanta National Park set across many of the Koh Lanta Islands in the southern area of the district. It was established in 1990 as a marine park according to thenationalparks.com

Aquila Memories

When our founder Stacey thinks about the inspiration for the Koh Lanta collection she thinks about when she stepped onto Kantiang Beach in the southern tip of Koh Lanta, for the first time. 

She couldn’t believe how stunning it was.

The kilometre of clear golden sandy beach framed by a dramatic tropical rainforest backdrop was impossibly perfect. Not a sun bed, beach hut or person in sight. Only the ocean, beach and nature. It was simply beautiful. 

One lonesome sea-lapped wooden boat bobbed in the sea, anchored to the coast, attached by an aging and fraying rope. The boat was simple, even shell-like but it remained afloat, no doubt used for many decades. This moment served as the inspiration for the collection.

Each piece of the Koh Lanta collection has been handmade by our silversmiths in Indonesia, using a ‘rope twist’ technique imitating the rope that anchored the lonesome boat to the shoreline. Made with 925 sterling silver, the metal has been given an oxidised treatment symbolic of the aged, fraying rope. The thin ‘rope twist’ designs seem delicate but they are durable and robust, much like the rope.

What to buy

As Koh Lanta is such a small place it isn’t bursting with options. But it has some charming little shops to sift through and pick up some trinkets. It’s worth grabbing a copy of the Lanta Pocket Guide when you arrive or downloading the app for up-to-date information on markets and events.

If you head to Old Town Lanta Street Market on Koh Lanta Yai you can buy some locally woven sarongs, hammocks (if you have space) and bags. Foodies can check out the fresh spices for sale and try some som tam (papaya salad). 

Stop by Mountain Sea Silver and Stone next to Nang Sabai Cafe on Koh Lanta Yai to purchase handmade silver jewellery with sea shells and/or polished stone insets. 


Clothing

Koh Lanta is primarily a Muslim district so you won’t find locals wearing anything too revealing. Despite there being a relaxed beachside atmosphere, in general it’s best to cover up when not on the beach. Thai people actually swim fully clothed. Consequently modest beachwear is best for visitors.

Locals don’t tend to wear traditional Thai clothing unless during special events and celebrations, so to dress local it’s more about mirroring the way they wear clothing rather than a specific type of dress (e.g skirts to the knee, shirts covering shoulders).

If you want to buy some clothes, the shops on Koh Lanta sell much of the same with shirts, dresses, kaftans, skirts, sarongs and trousers all following similar designs. For more embellished clothes try Love Lanta Shop or KiKi Koh Lanta.

What to visit

Koh Lanta has so much to see it’s hard to know where to start. But making a daily itinerary and hiring scooters can help you zip around the sights with ease.

First, catch the sunset with a drink in hand on the picturesque Lanta Klong Nin Beach in western Koh Lanta Yai. It’s quiet and undeveloped, not yet packed with restaurants and bars. 

Secondly, don’t miss out on visiting one of Koh Lanta’s special natural features, the Khao Mai Kaew cave network. It’s a 30 minute trek to get there through the jungle. Once inside the cave you’ll see shimmering limestone formations, spiders and bats. Be prepared to climb and duck — wear sensible clothes and shoes.

Lastly, for those who can’t wait to explore marine life, book your ocean adventure through popular local water sports company Phoenix Divers. From snorkelling to scuba diving and certifications they are the qualified professionals who guide international visitors through the Koh Lanta waters all year.

We believe each piece of the Koh Lanta collection is a piece of Kantiang Beach, that boat and that special travel moment where both land and sea were bound in natural harmony.


So there it is! How the Koh Lanta jewellery collection got their name…has it inspired you to visit Thailand?

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