General Information Khao LakArea: 20 km² Population: 15,000 Language: Thai Currency: Thai Baht
When people refer to Khao Lak, they're usually talking about a series of beaches hugging Phang-Nga's west coastline, about 70km north of Phuket. With easy day trips to the Similan and Surin Islands, Khao Sok and Khao Lak/Lam Ru National Parks, or even Phuket, the area makes a central base for exploring the northern Andaman.
Southernmost Hat Khao Lak gives way to Hat Nang Thong, both within walking distance of Khao Lak proper (Khao Lak Town), a bland but convenient jumble of low-rise hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, tour and dive operators sited along grey Hwy 4.
About 2.5km north, Hat Bang Niang is a quieter version of sandy bliss with skinnier beaches. Hat Pakarang and Hat Bang Sak, 12km to 13km north of Hat Khao Lak, are a sleepy, unbroken sandy stretch surrounded by thick mangroves and rubber-tree plantations. You'll feel like you’ve really escaped it all there
How to get to Khao Lak ?
Many customers ask me how to get to khao Lak!!
Well you have a few solution to come to Khao Lak and join us in time for your scuba diving holidays.
Getting to Khao Lak By PlaneThe easiest way to get to Khao Lak is to fly into Phuket (closest way) or Krabi. Then you can take a taxi or bus to Khao Lak from there. Both airports serve both international and domestic destinations.
Phuket airport to Khao Lak by taxi costs around 1,100-1,800 THB, depends on how many people and where in Khao Lak you want to be dropped off. If you think this is too expensive and rather take a bus, you will have to get to the main road about 5 km from the airport on Highway number 4 and wait on the side of the road for a red bus to pass by. For a bus, take one heading towards Takuapa, Ranong or Surat Thani; they all stop in Khao Lak on your request or wherever on the road you indicate.
From Phuket airport to Khao Lak is about 100 km (approximately 1.5 hour by car or 2.5 hours by bus). Bus fares vary from 80-120 THB; some are air-conditioned, some are not.
Getting to Khao Lak By Train
Surat Thani is the nearest train station. If you are taking a train from Bangkok, it will take about 12 hours so an express night coach is recommend, you can take either Air-conditioned first class or second class (maybe you get a good sleep!).
However, taking a train can be a bit inconvenience because once you arrive Surat Thani, you will have to take a bus from the train station to Khao Lak, which takes another 4 hours. The bus fare to Khao Lak should be no more than 300 THB.
See the state railway website for train schedule and prices at Thai Rail Way
Getting to Khao Lak By Bus
One of the easiest ways to get to Khao Lak is taking a bus. No buses have Khao Lak as their starting or ending point; but they will pass through and you can stop here. If you take a bus from Bangkok, Chumphon, Phuket, Ranong, or Surat Thani, they all come through Khao Lak.
Most of the buses stops at Nangtong Supermarket located right in Khao Lak center and a few express buses stop at the BKS (Baw Kaw Saw) Bus Terminal only. BKS is a small terminal located near the fresh market in Khuk Khak (about 10 mins drive to Khao Lak Center).
If you are travelling from Bangkok, you can take a bus from the Southern Bus Terminal (“Sai Tai Mai” in Thai). It normally departs around 19:30 PM and takes about 11-12 hours. The price is about 970 THB for VIP 24 seats bus. Please check for prices and schedule at 1StopBangkok
Buses departing from Chumphon to Phuket it’s a 5 – 6 hours journey to arrive in Khao Lak and will stop opposite Nang Thong Supermarket. Bus fare from Chumphon is around 270 THB.
From the bus station in Phuket, take a bus towards Takuapa, Ranong or Surat Thani. Tickets cost around 90 THB and it takes about 2.5 hours to Khao Lak..
Thailand's climate is governed by a tropical monsoon pattern, which produces two seasons in Southern Thailand and three seasons in the other regions of Thailand.
Accordingly in Khaolak, there is a "dry" season from November to May, (as a result of the N.E. monsoon). This period starts with slightly cooler temperatures, followed by higher temperatures from March to May.
By the end of June the "wet" season officially begins, with the onset of the S.W. monsoon. However the actual week or month depends on the monsoons in any given year.
In Khaolak temperatures are warm throughout the year, with only slight variations in highs and lows.
The most popular time to visit is from November through to March, when the temperature and humidity are slightly lower. At this time there is a comfortable cooler breeze, with generally clear blue skies and very calm seas. Temperatures typically reach 32C and drop to 24C at night.
The hottest months are April and May with temperatures ranging from 27C upto 36C. There can be short heavy thundery showers, which actually provide a welcome relief from the temperature and humidity.
June, July and early August are slightly less hot ( 24C to 33C ) with generally fine weather and plenty of sunshine between brief heavy downpours.
By the end of August, through to October inclusive, the wet monsoon sets in more noticeably, but, even then, there are still long sunny intervals between the heavy showers.
September is the wettest month. Beaches are slightly windswept and less picturesque looking, and some water-based activities are restricted (eg. visits to the Surin and Similan islands). Nonetheless, Khaolak is very enjoyable at any time of the year with a wide range of attractions and excursions.
And of course the low season brings with it some bargain prices.
Bargaining is the norm when shopping at markets, small stalls and shops or from street vendors. Depending on your skills, you can expect to pay around 10-40% less than the original asking price. But a larger retail outlet will sell only fixed price merchandise.
Besides a few street markets there is ample shopping available in several stores along Petchkasem Road, Khaolak. There are a number of superb items to be had, from handicrafts to jewelry, silks, and clothes and tailoring. Many of the crafts originate from other regions of the country. The low prices will weaken whatever sales resistance you may possess!
What to See & Do In Khao Lak
The main thing to do in Khao Lak is flop into a sunlounger and wait for happy hour to begin. The sea can be a little rough in parts so we spent most of our time by the pool. As mentioned, the prettier beaches are towards the north end of Khao Lak – ask for a taxi to White Sand Beach to see what I mean.
After reading up on all the daytrips available from Khao Lak (and spending a ridiculous amount of time in our hotel lobby trying to book one) we arranged a trip to the Surin Islands.
The Surin Islands are a protected archipelago of pristine islands, 60 km away from the mainland. Our day trip involved snorkelling at 3 different reefs that were filled with bright marine life, visiting a Moken ‘Sea Gypsy’ village and stopping for lunch and a swim at the stunning Ao Mae Yai beach.
Slightly closer to Khao Lak are the Similan Islands, which are also famed for their diving. You can book private and group tours through Eco Khao Lak Adventure.
In Khao Lak itself you can learn more about how the Boxing Day Tsunami ravaged the region at the International Tsunami Museum. A small exhibition recounts the horrors of that day in photos and video whilst a police boat just behind the museum demonstrates how far inland the ocean travelled.
One of my favourite activities in Khao Lak is getting a Thai massage on the beach. You’ll find a number of restaurants and resorts offering massage on the beachfront, as well as cheap spas along the main road. Prices start from 300 baht for a 60 minute Thai massage at these low-key joints.
Treatments at the hotels are obviously a lot more pricey but if you’re staying somewhere as gorgeous as The Sarojin I recommend you indulge yourself at least once. Spa La Flora is another place that caught my eye
Where to Eat & Drink In Khao Lak
We liked to tuck into cheap Thai food and beer with our feet in the sand and the sound of the waves as a backdrop so we ate a few times at Peter’s Bar, which was just along from our hotel. It’s a bare bones kind of joint with wooden tables in the sand but service was fast and friendly and prices excellent considering the location.
On the main road, Smile and Mojo’s were our favourite for Thai food whilst Indigo Restaurant at Ocean Breeze Resort had a great menu of Thai and Indian cuisine as well as chic beachfront seating, even if the service was a little patchy.
Soi Bang Niang is known as Food Street. There’s a range of international and local restaurants here but we felt the area lacked atmosphere. The restaurants near Bang Niang Market were the most buzzing and, of course, on market day you can feast at all the street food stalls and enjoy a few drinks at the bars dispersed around the market. (You must visit the mojito stand near the main entrance.)
There is little in the way of nightlife in Khao Lak. The beachfront restaurants and bars close early and the only places open late are along the busy highway. We spent a few evenings listening to live music and enjoying the frozen daiquiris at Happy Snapper and also enjoyed the food and atmosphere at Memories Beach Bar – one of the highly recommend drinking spots in Khao Lak but be warned it’s a long, dusty drive through an unlit area of jungle to get there.
Culture and History Khao Lak
Khao Lak History
From the annals state that before the Ratanakosin Era, Phang-Nga town is just a sub-district ruled by Takuapa town until the reign of King Rama 1 of Ratanakosin Era the town has been promoted to be same state as Takuapa town, Takuatung town, and transfer the town from foreign-affair department to Defence department since then. From the written history Phang-Nga has been official promoted in King Rama 2 of Ratanakosin Era in 1809 Burmese King, Pradung has assign A-terng-wun to be commander in chief to lead the army fought with Takuapa, Takuatung, and Thalang evacuate people to their camp and burn Thalang but fortunately support army from Bangkok arrive on time and could save the town.
During the war some citizen fled to Kra-Phu-Nga (in Malayan means water from Phu-Nga forest) which has mountain surrounded when the war is over the head of the town decide to evacuate people from Thalang to live at Kra-Phu-Nga since Thalang has burnt down my Burmese and the town ruled by Nakonsritammarat since then. There is the village called Thalang and people are from Thalang district that came and live in Takuatung district at present time. In the reign of King Rama 3 the king would like to renovate the south west town which has been attacked by Burmese so he set up the governor to run the town and have report directly to Bangkok, the King appointed Prayaborirakputorn (Saeng Na Nakorn) to be the first Phang-Nga governor in 1840 then decided to abolish Takuatung town to a district under Phang Nga province.
In the reign of King Rama 7 country face economic crisis problem Phuket government decided to abolish Takuapa town to another district under Phang Nga province since 1931. The city used to be at Ban Chaikai in 1930 and then city hall moved to Ban Taichang and then in 1972 the new city hall been built at Pung Chang Cave until present.
Culture and Art
The Takuapa Cultural and Historical Tour and the Amazing Three Temples Tour. The Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island Tour is good for those interested in other people’s cultures, as on this trip you will get to see a community living in a village built on stilts. Both the Phuket Sightseeing and Phuket Sightseeing and Fantasea Show tours will take you to Chalong Temple in the south of Phuket. The Additional Fantasea Show in the second trip is a cultural experience in itself.
The Thai artisanal industry goes back several centuries. Its wealth is such that today examples of it can be found in many countries. However, it doesn't feel as authentic to buy it somewhere other than in Thailand. Moreover, purchasing it on the spot is much less expensive. The traditional colorful fabrics vary according to the region you are in. Among other things, the Thai people make sarongs for men and patungs for women (a traditional skirt tied at the waist). Don't pass up the opportunity to buy some silk, which is sold at some fantastic prices. You will also find a whole range of accessories, like handbags and costume jeweler. Precious stones are also very popular. That’d not to mention the decorated ceramics, which are very trendy, as well as all types of wickerwork: baskets, hats, furniture, etc. Keep in mind that this list is far from exhaustive.