Khao Lak is a 20 km stretch of beach resorts in Phang Nga Province, on the beaches of the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand, about 100 km north of Phuket City. When the devastating tsunami struck South Asia in 2004, the Khao Lak region was the worst affected area in Thailand, with more than 4,000 dead, more than 3,000 more than ever, and thousands injured. Since then, it has made an impressive comeback and is a popular tourist destination. Unlike Phuket, the many resorts in the Khao Lak area cater primarily to families and those seeking tranquility, peace, and nature.
Good to know.
Khao Lak is a 20km stretch of beautiful beaches along the shores of the Andaman Sea, set against a backdrop of jungle-capped mountains. The region is dotted with numerous resorts and tourist facilities. The name Khao Lak means Lak Mountain. The mountain is the heart of the Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park. The headland that forms when the mountain plunges into the sea near the southern tip of Khao Lak roughly marks the southern boundary of the Khao Lak region.
Khao Lak’s attractions are impressive and numerous, but they are not ostentatious. Extensive beautiful parks, uncrowded mountains, roads and beaches, relatively untouched wilderness, easy access to excellent offshore diving, accommodation ranging from luxurious to primary, and an infrastructure that supports Western tourism but not at the expense of local customs or the Thai way of living life, they attract more and more visitors.
What to see and do in Khao Lak
A stay in Khao Lak also positions you perfectly for a day trip to the stunningly beautiful Cheow Larn Lake and Khao Sok National Park. To the south, Phuket is an easy bus ride away; to the east, beautiful Phang Nga Bay offers further sightseeing options. From November to February, something magical happens on quiet stretches of beach in the Khao Lak region when sea turtles come ashore in the moonlight to lay their eggs. To learn more and even have the opportunity to release a turtle into the sea, visit the Phang Nga Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Center.
To the south
The Lampi waterfall (detour at km 820). About 30 minutes south of Khao Lak, just off Hwy 4. A beautiful waterfall is best seen early morning when the sun rises behind the mountains, and the rays shine through the fog. The falls are just a few steps from the parking lot, making access easy for everyone.
There is a small shop where you can buy drinks (including tea and coffee), ice cream and souvenirs. There are also restrooms on-site. Swimming in the water below the falls is permitted and appears reasonably safe.
Chong Fah Waterfall (7km inland (a quarter of it dirt road) off Route 4, at the north end of Bang Niang. The turn-off is marked with a blue sign. 08:00-16:00:00 :00-16:00:00 30. Excellent for hot days. Enjoy a quick swim. Very scenic and accessible to all. 100 baht for foreigners/50 baht for children edit
Police Boat 813 (Central Bang Niang, Inside). It was one of two police boats protecting Khun Phum Jensen, son of the former Princess Royal Ubol Ratana (his father was American, hence his last name) at the time of the 2004 tsunami. Khun Phum was jet-skiing when the wave hit, and he and the entire crew of one of the police boats (which sank) were killed. This is the other ship that washed inland about 2 km and was left where the tsunami dropped it as a memorial and historical landmark. Extensive work will be carried out during the 2012 off-season to convert the site into a museum park.
To the North
Cheow Lan Lake and Rachaphrapha Dam.
Just 2 hours north of Khao Lak on Highway 401. Excellent views across the lake to the limestone ridges. Boat excursions are available for rafts (for overnight stays, you need to book in advance at Khao Sok National Park Headquarters or book the trip through a travel agency).
Khao Sok National Park (just over an hour north of the Khao Lak area on Rt 4. Turn to Khao Sok at km 109). Nature activities include jungle walks or elephant rides, visits to waterfalls, and rafting or canoeing. The park’s headquarters includes small natural history exhibits of the local flora and fauna. A good day outdoors. Accommodation is available near the park’s office for more extended visits. Adult: 200 baht; Children: 100 baht.
The climate of the Khao Lak region is influenced by two seasonal monsoon winds: a southwest monsoon and a northeast monsoon. The southwest monsoon begins in April when a current of warm, humid air moves inland from the Indian Ocean—resulting in significant rainfall. It peaks in October, the wettest month in Khao Lak. The following months are much drier due to the prevailing north-easterly winds.