The main road
which loops around the island is paved with cement. Some roads
are unpaved dirt. Most of the unpaved roads are in very bad
condition with deep ruts; some would be very difficult to
negotiate in an ordinary sedan car. It's worth knowing the
names of the resorts near yours: both the pickup trucks and
motorcycle taxis will often want to pick you up or drop you
at a nearby resort with a better road.
Resorts and some of the major tourist services (like the
dive shops) own large pickup trucks and transport tourists
around in the tray. Very occasionally, they own minibuses
instead. If you come in by ferry your resort will almost certainly
meet you at pier with their truck; if you're travelling with
very small children who you don't want to cling to while you
bump along sitting on the side of the truck you might want
to warn them in advance that you'll want to ride in the cab:
it's generally assumed to be the private domain of the driver.
You will find the locals almost exclusively ride motorcycles;
you can hire these in several places for a few hundred baht
a day. You can also hire motorcycle taxis with sidecars. These
will happily take you on the unpaved roads but the ride can
be as slow as walking. A typical fare for a ride from Saladan
to Klong Dao Beach is 40 baht.
Jeeps can be hired for 1,200 baht per day. Be sure to check
insurance, contract terms and the condition of the vehicle.
The "roads" of Koh Lanta combined with the driver
operation characteristics of some renters are a serious challenge
for any car. The frequently available Suzuki Sporty seems
primitive and therefore sturdy, and a replacement should cost
around 15,0000 baht.