Khao Lak hotels
Cheeky Khao Lak
If Phuket is that suave creature sitting at the bar who grabs your attention with inappropriate contact and a cheesy pick-up line, Khao Lak is the one who’ll buy you a drink without any ulterior motive. This resort town in Thailand’s Phang Nga province is relaxed, relatively quiet and not overdeveloped.
After an impressive recovery from the 2004 tsunami, Khao Lak is again coming to the fore as a place to relax rather than party, party and party. Bang La On boasts the most shops, bars and restaurants, while Bang Niang is smaller and popular with honeymooners. The bizarrely named Khuk Khak (which, loosely translated, means ‘crowded’) only has a handful of restaurants and a few shops, while isolated Khao Lak Beach itself is the perfect spot to indulge in a little PDA, if the mood takes you…
Khao Lak’s Top 10
10. Moo Moo Cabaret Show & Bar A good night out for all the family, and a great one if you’re into cocktails and ladyboys!
5. Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park Mountains, estuaries, rivers and forested valleys. Gorgeous.
9. Saori Foundation Centre A post-tsunami workshop where women are taught textile weaving by a Japanese monk. Buy one – they’re worth every baht.
4. Police Boat 813 The tsunami spared this vessel from destruction, instead dumping it in a field 2km (1.25 miles) away.
8. Lampi Waterfall This three-level waterfall and pool isn’t exactly a secret. It has a car park, restaurant and souvenir shop.
3. Chong Fah Waterfall The pool at the base of this 10m (33ft) drop is a godsend during Khao Lak’s hot summers. The fall itself is also pretty impressive.
7. Rachaphrapha Dam Offers a pretty damn good view over Cheow Lan Lake and the limestone ridges.
2. Khao Sok National Park Thick native rainforest, limestone outcrops, elephants, leopards and Malaysian sun bears… What more could you want?
6. Takua Pa Old Town Overlooked by most tourists, the old quarter is as full of Sino-Portuguese architecture and tea houses as it is devoid of cars and people under the age of 80.
1. Wicked Diving These guys chose their name from the modern use of the word. A mesmerising experience run by one of the most ethical companies in Khao Lak.
Khao Lak History
- Old Sala Klang - This ancient provincial hall is one of the top historical attractions near Khao Lak.
- Narai Nikayaram Temple - This temple near Khao Lak shows the history of the Hindu religion in the area.
- Wat Tham - The cave art and Buddhist relics make this unique temple near Khao Lak a must-see for those interested in ancient religious history.
- Khao Lak Tsunami Memorial - This memorial commemorates those who died in one of the worst natural disasters in the history of Thailand.
- Police Boat 813 - Marks the spot where a police boat was washed ashore during the 2003 tsunami.
Khao Lak Art & Culture
- Padungthomphotiwa Temple - This beach temple on Khao Lak is the perfect place for quiet meditation.
- Komniyoket Temple - This temple features large painted animals that are said to guard the grounds.
- Colours of Life - This unique Khao Lak gallery features work from local artists.
- Ramada Resort Cooking School - This Khao Lak School is a great place for a lesson in Thai cuisine.
- Tsunami Museum - This museum is a grim reminder of the tragedy Khao Lak faced during the recent tsunami.
Khao Lak Shopping
- Bang Niang Day Market - This lively Khao Lak market is a great place to buy local handicrafts.
- Boss Tailor - A great place to have a suit made.
- Daeng Leather - Exclusively featuring handmade Khao Lak items, a favourite among leather loving tourists.
- Emerald Plaza - The best spot in Khao Lak to find cheap beachwear and swimming apparel.
- M Gallery and Souvenirs - This small Khao Lak shop specializes in Buddhist images and local works of art.
Gay & Lesbian Khao Lak
- ThaiLife Homestay Resort and Spa - This gay-friendly resort offers a unique atmosphere.
- Bhandari Resort and Spa - A favourite among the gay and lesbian community of Khao Lak.
- Mo Mo Cabaret - This hotspot features regular ladyboy dance shows.
- Andamania Beach Resort - A young and lively gay crowd frequent this Khao Lak resort.
- Takolaburi Cultural Spa and Sport Resort - This gay-friendly resort is a favourite among those who want to have an active Khao Lak holiday.
Khao Lak Outdoor
- Sukko Cultural Spa - For a refreshing day of outdoor relaxation, this Khao Lak spa is a great spot.
- Khao Lak Land Discover - This tour around Khao Lak provides a great way to get some exercise.
- Mu Koh Similan National Park - This marine national park is a great place to see sea life in its natural habitat.
- Khao Lak National Park - Exotic plants and wildlife are all on display at this nature reserve.
- Mu Koh Surin National Park - The pristine waters found around this island near Khao Lak are perfect for snorkelling.
Khao Lak Sport
- Dive in the beautiful waters of Khao Lak with Eden Divers.
- Learn to box like the locals at Khao Lak Muay Thai.
- Snorkel in the pristine Khao Lak waters with Sea Bees Diving.
- If adventure and water sports are for you, check out Wicked Diving Khao Lak.
- Sail around Khao Lak with Thailand Dive and Sail.
Khao Lak Events
Chinese New Year comes around in January/February, marked by fun, festivities and an all-round good vibe.
For a truly unique experience, head to Muang Beach in March for the Turtle Release. Hundreds of baby sea turtles raised in captivity are thrown into the sea. Seriously cute.
Songkran is Thai New Year in April. Stay indoors if you don’t like festive water fights.
One of Thailand’s most romantic festivals is November’s Loy Kratong. Candles are released into both sky and sea and love is generally in the air.
The entire country puts 5 December on hold for The King’s Birthday.
When To Go
Hotels are cheaper during the off-season starting in May, but many shops and restaurants shut down during this time.
Khao Lak has a fairly tropical weather pattern, with a hot season, which is fairly dry, and a slightly cooler rainy season.
Daily thunderstorms are common, but only last 20-60 minutes
Most hotels run shuttle busses to central Bang La On. They’re not free, but neither are the taxis.
Cramming into the back of a songthaew is the most popular mode of transport. Agree on a price beforehand.
If you’re not comfortable haggling with drivers, motorbike rentals are also widely available.
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