I'm not going to remove this post but it needs an update as Lanta Animal Welfare is no longer the place it was when I visited in January. I just spent a month volunteering there and I no longer recommend Lanta Animal Welfare as a place to financially support. If you're heading to Koh Lanta please check out my more recent post here.
After a brief stop on the beautiful and super quiet northern edge of Koh Pu Nick and I arrived on Koh Lanta last Tuesday and are loving it so much that we've already extended our stay twice. There's great food to be found and beautiful beaches to chill out on but one place that we've really fallen in love with is Lanta Animal Welfare. We'd read about both Lanta Animal Welfare and their partner restaurant / cooking school Time For Lime before we left the UK and were excited to check them out. We decided that we couldn't squeeze a stint volunteering into our travels at this early stage so we were excited to note that you can just rock up and take a tour, cuddle some kitties or walk a dog so we headed down there as soon as we could.
The tours run every hour on the hour but we made sure to arrive early enough that we were able to squeeze in a whole lot of kitten cuddling beforehand. Lanta Animal Welfare have over 20 cats looking for homes right now and every single one of them is beautiful. ACAB!
Jasmine was the friendliest out of this bunch of super affectionate cats and as soon as I sat down in the shade of the van she climbed onto my lap and then up onto my shoulder. She stayed there and snuggled me for a full 30 minutes until the tour began and I sadly had to put her down.
Despite the fact that the stories of how some of the dogs and cats ended up at Lanta Animal Welfare saddened me to my core I really enjoyed looking around, seeing how the sanctuary is run and hearing about all of the amazing work they do there. They have a wonderful spay & neuter programme which includes a mobile clinic that not only travels around Koh Lanta but has also travelled to the neighbouring islands of Koh Jum, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lipe. Every animal that passes through the clinic gets a free rabies vaccination which is wonderful; the island hasn't had a single case of rabies in 15 years. Amazing. They also reach out to children with their Education Programme which teaches local kids about the needs of animals through the mediums of interactive games and role playing - it's such a great idea to start teaching compassion from an early age.
If you're considering volunteering with animals this would be a wonderful place to do it, they have some space for volunteers onsite and the shortest amount of time you can sign up for is a month. Nick and I are already working out when we'll be able to come back and do this as it seems like the perfect volunteer opportunity for us. We love the island, we adore cats and I know I'd love to spend some time getting to know dogs better.
One of the ways we were able to get involved during our short stay was by taking dogs for walks either in the morning or afternoon, the dogs like the hot part of the day about as much as I do! The rescue centre is located near Relax Bay beach which is where we took these two cuties.
They wanted to sniff every single thing along the way!
Pin was the first dog we walked and Nick and I are both a little (a lot) in love with him. If we were nearing the end of our travels we'd have totally offered him a forever home. Look at those ears!
Pin arrived at Lanta Animal Welfare after being hit by a car and then abandoned by his owners but thanks to their help he's now happily walking again - we scamped all over the beach with him! Pin loves chasing crabs (which are thankfully pretty great at making a fast getaway!) and walking in the shallows (no waves though please!) and LAW's description of him on their site is spot on, sweet, playful and affectionate. Please do get in touch with Lanta Animal Welfare if you could offer him or any of the other dogs and cats on their site a home. Thanks to the wonderful Flight Volunteer Programme, where people travelling home from Bangkok or Phuket can accompany an animal friend on the plane on their way to their forever home, the cats and dogs from Lanta Animal Welfare have been able to find homes all over the world.
If you aren't considering a rescue cat or dog as your forever friend you need to. For every animal bought from a breeder, pet store or puppy farm another one dies in a shelter. That's a straight up fact. Not every shelter is no-kill and not every animal gets to find that perfect home before their time runs out. I cannot for one second comprehend how anyone could make the decision to buy an animal when there are literally hundreds of thousands or amazing ones waiting for homes.
If you're visiting Koh Lanta and are unable to take a new friend home with you (like us) then a visit to Time For Lime is probably in order. They do a six course tasting menu every evening and all of their profits go towards helping the animals at Lanta Animal Welfare. They're able to accommodate vegans and even (to a slightly lesser extent) someone with an allergy to peppers! Nick and I dined on spring rolls (the best I've ever eaten), red and green curry (Nick not me!), beautiful fresh mango summer rolls and fresh fruit. It was a really fun experience and it was great to be able to watch the cooking classes taking place just below us. Time For Lime also make excellent cocktails which, if you visit during Happy Hour, you can enjoy from the comfort of a deckchair on the beach for only 99THB / £2 / $3. Get some spring rolls to go with them and I call that a party!