If you want to enjoy a fabulous Thai beach holiday without any of the bustle and noise of the likes of Phuket and Samui, which have become increasingly built up over the last decade, then Khao Lak is definitely the place for you.
Located about 45-minutes drive from Phuket, along the western coast of Phang Nga Province, Khao Lak is a 20km string of picturesque beaches and resorts all characterised by soothing natural beauty, peace and quiet. With a name that translates as ‘Lak Mountain’, the area’s most prominent landmark is the mountain itself, which forms Khao Lak’s southern boundary as it slopes down to meet the sea. This mountain is the heart of the breathtaking Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park, with its lush, jungle-clad hills and cascading waterfalls.
Visitors coming to stay in Khao Lak should make the most of both the mountains and the sea. Some notable attractions include Lampi Waterfall, which is situated 30-minutes drive to the south and features a small on-site shop where you can buy refreshments. If you choose, you can swim in the waterfall.
Two hours’ drive in the opposite direction, to the north, you will find Cheow Lan Lake and Rachaphrapha Dam. Boat trips are on offer here and you can savour stunning views across the lake.
Arguably the area’s most popular natural attraction is Khao Sok National Park, which offers a variety of fun-filled activities including elephant trekking, river rafting, canoeing and hiking to visit the park’s picturesque waterfalls. However Khao Lak is also home to a few other more sombre attractions and landmarks, thanks to the terrible toll the Boxing Day Tsunami took from the region. Over 4,000 people died here on that grim day, and more than 3,000 have never been accounted for. One of the most famous reminders of the natural disaster in Thailand is Police Boat 813, which can be found about 2km inland from Khao Lak’s shore where it was deposited by the waves. This boat was one of two guarding the son of a former member of the Thai Royal family, who sadly perished; the other police boat tragically sank, killing all its crew.
Another more positive legacy of the tsunami can be found in Ban Muang. The Saori Foundation Centre is a women’s textile workshop set up by a Japanese monk who taught tsunami survivors how to rebuild their lives and earn a living through their skill at weaving.
Besides visiting Khao Lak’s remarkable cultural and natural attractions, there are plenty of other things to do during your stay here, when you don’t just want to lie back on the beach with a cocktail at your elbow. Water sports are obviously popular, such as scuba diving, snorkelling and surfing, but you can also play golf and book yourself a soothing Thai massage.
When it comes to wining and dining, and finding accommodation, there are plenty of options just waiting to be discovered in Khao Lak. For an unforgettable meal why not try the atmospheric Hill Tribe Restaurant in Bang Niang, which offers an impressive menu of authentic Thai dishes as well as serving up flavourful Doi Salong coffee.
There is an impressive selection of accommodation in Khao Lak, ranging from luxury resorts to cheap and cheerful guesthouses and beach bungalows, so you’re sure to find a place that suits your tastes and budget.
What is the currency in Khao Lak?
The currency in Khao Lak is the Thai baht (THB).
How long does it take to fly to Khao Lak?
A direct flight from London to Bangkok is approximately 11 hours 30 minutes. You can then hop on a domestic flight to Phuket and drive from there to Khao Lak.
What is the time difference in Khao Lak?
Thailand is UTC + 7.
When is the best time to visit Khao Lak?
What language is spoken in Khao Lak?
The official language is Thai.
Do I need a visa to visit Khao Lak?
British nationals don’t need a visa to visit Khao Lak. For up to date travel advice, please visit the FCO website here.