Khao Lak is located along the west coast of the province of Phang-Nga, in southwestern Thailand. It takes about one hour by car to get here from Phuket Airport. Some buses from Phuket and Bangkok stop in Khao Lak.
The Khao Lak area has a 30 km long beach facing the Andaman Sea. Along this beach, several villages have been built over the years, e.g., Nang Tong, Bang La Own, Bang Niang and Khuk Khak. The name Khao Lak originates from the surrounding rainforest clad hills (khao = hill, mountain). The original village of Khao Lak is a small place in the southern part of this area. Over the years, due to growing tourism, the name Khao Lak has spread north to also include the other villages. So when you now ask the bus or taxi to stop in “Khao Lak”, it will actually stop in the village of Bang La Own. But this is what everybody now regards as the village of “Khao Lak”.
The best weather is experienced during the dry season – November through April. During this period you will enjoy sunny skies and an average temperature of around 30 degrees. At the end of the dry period, late April-early May, the weather gets somewhat warmer and a bit more humid. This is a prelude of the wet season, which normally starts during May and lasts until end of October. During the wet period the southwestern monsoon brings strong winds, waves and rain. Sometimes, the amount of rain coming down in one hour is mindboggling. But the rain also brings down the temperature a few degrees and offers a bit of relief from the heat. Keep in mind that even during the wet season you can get a spell of 7-10 days of sunny skies and no rain.
If you are looking for a beautiful place with a relaxed atmosphere, Khao Lak is the place to visit. It is a great place for kicking back in a comfortable chair to read a good book, or take loooong strolls on the beach. Or have a massage. After sunset maybe do a little shopping along the main road, to check out CDs, DVDs, t-shirts, local crafts and more. You will find plenty of dive centers, local tour desks and of course lots of tailors and Internet cafés. There are several banks, cash machines, and money exchange offices. How about getting a tattoo?
Restaurants are plentiful. Besides Thai food, there are restaurants serving e.g., Indian, Malaysian and Italian food. And Scandinavian! Visit Viking Steakhouse when you get tired of the rice and the chicken, and go for some Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and lingonberry! And finish off the meal with some delicious fudge cake! Yummy!
Khao Lak is not famous for its night life. But of course there are a bunch of pubs and bars, of which the most famous one is Happy Snapper with its live-band which plays every night and normally attracts quite a crowd.
All types of accommodations are available in Khao Lak – from luxury hotels and bungalows on the beach, to small budget rooms along the main road. Prices per room and night range from over THB 10 000 for the more expensive options, to about THB 800 for the cheaper alternatives. During December – February it is recommended that you book your accommodation in advance, as this is the peak season. We can help you with recommendations and reservations.
Khao Lak is perfectly located for those wishing to visit the Similan and Surin Islands to dive, snorkel or just experience some of the world’s most beautiful marine areas. Approximately 10 km south of Khao Lak lays the coastal village of Tap Lamu. This is where most dive and snorkel boats have their home port – also M/V OKTAVIA.
Another place worth visiting is the Phang-Nga Bay with its limestone rocks and islands. Here you will find the famous James Bond Island, where some scenes from The Man with the Golden Gun where shot. You can also visit the island of Koh Panyi, where you will find a sea gipsy village built on stilts. The temple Suwankuha, with one of the largest Buddha statues, is also located in the Phang-Nga Bay area. Driving from Khao Lak to Phang-Nga Bay takes about one hour.
Golf anyone? Tap Lamu Navy Golf Course is located only 10 km south of Khao Lak. You can rent clubs, caddie and a cart. For the less pretentious, there is fun jungle themed minigolf course in Bang Niang, just a couple of kilometers north of Khao Lak.
While you are here, make sure you visit the local markets. You will experience a fascinating mix of people, things, and all kinds of fruits, vegetables and foods. Very interesting! The biggest market is on every Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and it is located in Bang Niang.