Khao Lak Thailand is a resort town in Phang Nga province on the western Andaman Sea coastline of southern Thailand, about 100 km north of Phuket Town. When the disastrous tsunami of 2004 struck South Asia, Khao Lak was the hardest-hit area in Thailand with over 4000 fatalities. It has since made an impressive recovery despite many hardships along the way, and is once again a popular tourist destination. Khao Lak mainly caters to families and those looking for party people prefer Phuket.
Khao lak is named after the national park (Khao Lak-Lam Ru). The park was declared a national park in August 1991. It occupies a vast area of 150 sq.km and covers Amphoe Thai Muang, Amphoe Kapong, Amphoe Takua Pa and Amphoe Muang. Khao Lak is becoming increasingly popular, mainly with European visitors. It’s easy to reach, quite and, as yet, not overdeveloped. It is something like Phuket’s past 20 years. You can walk northward along the sand for many kilometres, almost as far as Bang Sak beach.
Most larger hotels will run a shuttle bus service into Bang La On, often described as Khao Lak â€˜centreâ€™ although these may be at limited times and may be chargeable. There are plenty of taxis as an alternative. Bang La On is about 20 minutes by shuttle or taxi from, for example, The Sarojin.
Bang La On has the most shops, bars restaurants and banks. There are also many ATM machines. Bang Niang is smaller, but still has a good selection. You will find the majority of visitors to Bang Niang are couples whereas at Bang La On itâ€™s mainly families. Khuk Khak is still quite small with a handful of restaurants and a few shops. In the High Season all of the restaurants will be open including a wide range of both independent and hotel based beachfront restaurants.
In Bang Niang there is a large range of accommodation from the 4.5 star Ramada to bungalow resorts like The Sanuk Bungalows. In Bang La On the accommodation is primarily 3 to 4 star, for example, the Baan Khao Lak on Nang Thong Beach and The Paradise on Sunset Beach, the next beach going south. Just south of Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park there is Khao Lak beach which has the popular Merlin Resort and the relatively new boutique Lukanawadee resort.
Get in Khao Lak Thailand
Khao Lak By plane
The easiest way to get to Khao Lak is to fly into either Phuket (the closest alternative) or Krabi and go to Khao Lak from there. Both airports serve international as well as domestic destinations.
A taxi from Phuket airport to Khao Lak costs between 1100 and 1600 baht. If you think this is too much and prefer to take a bus, you will have to get to the main road, Highway 4, about 5 kilometers from the airport. Hop on a bus headed towards Takua Pa, Ranong or Surat Thani, they all stop in Khao Lak. It’s about 80 kilometers from Phuket airport to Khao Lak.
Khao Lak By train
The nearest train station is at Surat Thani on the east coast, making this an inconvenient option.
Khao Lak By bus
From Bangkok, buses go to Khao Lak from the southern bus terminal (Sai Tai). The trip, which costs less than 500 baht, takes about ten hours and runs overnight. Don’t buy bus tickets from Bangkok travel agents – they will most likely make you go via Surat Thani where you have to change bus.
From the bus station in Phuket, take a bus towards Takua Pa, Ranong or Surat Thani. It will set you back about 50 .
From Krabi there’s a daily minibus to Khao Lak. All travel agents in Krabi sell tickets.
Get around Khao Lak Thailand
* Chong Fah Waterfall – about 10 minutes east of Bang Niang – great for hot days, very scenic and accessible to all.
* Khao lak Thailand ,Police Boat 813 – one of two police boats overseeing the vacation of Khun Phum Jensen, son of former Royal Princess Ubol Ratana (his father was an American, hence the last name) at the time of the 2004 tsunami. Khun Phum was jet-skiing when the wave struck, and he and the entire crew of one of the police boats (which was sunk) died. This is the other boat, which was swept inland and has been left exactly where the tsunami deposited it as a memorial and historical landmark.
* Khao lak Thailand, Takuapa & Old Town. At Takuapa Old Town you will find Sino-Portuguese architecture and have the chance to wander around the quaint shops (best in the early morning), about 45 minutes drive from Khao Lak. Takuapa Market and River Plaza are in the new town, slightly closer to Khao Lak (near the bus station). This is a typical local market and the Plaza has some good shops and a few riverside restaurants.
* Lampi Waterfall near khao lak Thailand. About 30 minutes south of Khao Lak just off highway 4. A very nice waterfall, best viewed in the early morning as the sun rises from behind the mountains and the rays shine through the mist. The falls are only a short walk from the car park, making access easy for all.
* Khao Sok National Park. A visit to Khao Sok National Park will allow activities including jungle trekking on foot or elephant, visiting waterfalls & river rafting/canoeing. Around one hour drive north east from Khao Lak. A good day out, although accommodation is available for extended visits.
* Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park. Nice walks and a restaurant (not open in the evening). Between Nang Thong and Khao Lak beaches. Walkeable from the resorts in Bang La On.
* Cheow Lan Lake and Rachaphrapha Dam. Just two hours north of Khao Lak off highway 401. Superb views over the lake to the limestone ridges. Boat trips are available to rafts (for overnight accommodation you will need to pre book at Khao Sok National Park HQ or book the trip via a tour agency).
* Saori Foundation Centre, Bang MuangÂ near Khao lak(Drive north from Khao Lak and Bang Niang to Ban Muang; go through the built up area and a few hundred metres further on you will see on the left an official-looking entrance… turn left into it and find the Saori workshop along on the left.), . A women’s workshop which develops its own textile designs after a Japanese monk showed tsunami survivors how to weave and earn a living. You are welcome at the workshop on any working day – Monday to Saturday – to see how the designs and products are made and to examine them to see if you would like to purchase anything. Really nice products with designs individual to each worker.Enjoy Khao Lak Thailand.