It was actually a coincidence that we spent almost a week in Khao Lak. Until a few weeks ago, we didn’t even have the place on the west coast of Thailand on our radar. Somehow we were firmly convinced that Khao Lak was a tourist stronghold like Chaweng on Koh Samui or Phuket.
We were wrong about that. Khao Lak is touristy, but still very quiet. In this blog article we tell you what to expect when traveling to Khao Lak. We will also tell you about the many trips we have made.
1. Who is Khao Lak suitable for? First travel tips at a glance We had the impression that most holidaymakers in Khao Lak are couples – from every age group. Anyone looking for excessive parties is in the wrong place in Khao Lak. There are one or the other cocktail bar with appropriately equipped loudspeakers, but you won’t find any party tourists like in Phuket.
The long sandy beach also attracts families on. We met a lot of families, some with very small children and babies. However, during our visit (November) the sea had comparatively strong waves. When the weather is good, the sea is definitely calmer.
Khao Lak itself is not an independent place, but the name actually refers to a mountain in the hinterland. What a tourist understands as “Khao Lak” is actually several stretches of beach that stretch for many kilometers. This means that the distances are relatively large and you have to rely on transport if you don’t always want to eat in the same restaurants and also want to get to know a different corner of Khao Lak.
2. Sights and excursion destinations: Our tips The beaches in Khao Lak What we think is really great: The beaches in Khao Lak are very Long and wide. If you want, you can walk for miles along the beach. In some sections you will find great rock formations that are really photogenic. In general, we really liked all the beaches that we saw.
With its fine, very light-colored sand, the White Sand Beach is something very special and really dreamlike. However, we had the feeling that a lot of day tourists (like us) come here. We would have imagined the beach to be more lonely. A trip by scooter is definitely worth it. The beach is located in the northern section of Khao Lak.
Still one of our favorites is the beach where our hotel was located (more on that later in this article). The Sunset Beach is located in the south of Khao Lak and is bordered by a hill. You can only walk in one direction here on the beach, which is great in that this section is relatively quiet. We found the beach ideal for overnight stays.
Ton Chong Fa Waterfall At first we didn’t want to visit the Ton Chong Fa waterfall, but we are very happy that we decided otherwise. Compared to many other Thai waterfalls that we know, we found it very worth seeing. We don’t know whether it was luck, but relatively few people were there during our visit. We were able to capture the idyll in the middle of the jungle perfectly.
Arrival and information about visiting the Ton Chong Fa waterfall The best way to get to Ton Chong Fa Waterfall is by scooter. If you are driving north from the “Centre” you have to look out for the “Minigolf” sign. There you turn right and drive about 7 kilometers inland. The last 2 kilometers are gravel, but absolutely doable.
The entrance to the national park where the waterfall is located costs 200 Baht. You have to park the moped at the parking lot and from there approx. 19 minutes hike (partly uphill) to the waterfall. Tip: It is best to wear sturdy shoes, the path is relatively uneven. You can visit the waterfall every day between 8 am and 16: 45 Watch.
Police Boat 813 Before 10 years Khao Lak gained notoriety. The tsunami in claimed thousands of lives in Khao Lak. On the day of the disaster, the police boat guarded 800 watching the members of the royal family bathing in Khao Lak. It was washed two kilometers inland by the wave and is now as it was then.
Not even if you stand directly in front of the boat, you can’t understand the power of the tsunami wave. The place all around is unfortunately relatively run down and unkempt. There are a few tsunami museums where you can see photos and videos from back then. However, we did not visit them.
There is also a large memorial (“Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park”) quite far to the north of Khao Lak, but unfortunately we didn’t make it there in time. The dead of the catastrophe are commemorated here on a long wall.
Takua Pa Sunday Market If your trip to Khao Lak takes place over a weekend, we can highly recommend a visit to the atmospheric Sunday market in the historical center of Takua Pa. . The market is located in the north of Khao Lak, approx. 45 minutes by scooter from the tourist center. However, the long journey is worth it: Here you will mainly meet locals and only a few tourists.
We would for the countless street food stands alone accept the scooter ride again at any time. Our undisputed favorite: Kanom Krok. We absolutely love these little coconut rice pudding cakes.
Arrival and information about the Takua Pa Sunday market The market takes place every Sunday from approx. 14 hours to approx. 19 o’clock. Our tip for getting here: If you are arriving by scooter, continue inland from about half the distance. This route is much nicer than along the main road. Incidentally, Takua Pa does not mean a city, but a district. The Sunday market is located in “Old Takua Pa”, which is about 5 kilometers south of the county capital.
Snorkeling Trip to Surin Islands The secluded Surin Islands are one of the most beautiful snorkeling spots in Thailand. So if you are interested in the underwater world You’ll be in good hands there.
You can reach the Surin Islands after an approx. 1.5 hour boat ride. But be careful: we recommend urge you to only do the trip in good weather! We were horrified to discover that there is a great risk to be taken on the crossing. We were traveling with the provider SeaStar, who made the crossing despite meter-high waves. Crew member’s comment: “If tourists pay, then we drive”. At first hardly anyone on board was aware of the danger, but on the high seas everyone really stopped laughing. (And especially those who have seen their breakfast twice.)
Aside from the horror crossing, the Surin Islands are a dream place on earth. We think it’s a shame that, as feared, a lot of corals have already died off. That’s really sad. The colorful fish are of course still beautiful to look at. We can highly recommend a snorkeling trip, but we would definitely choose another provider next time!
You can find more information in this blog article: Snorkeling in Surin Islands
3. Our favorite restaurants and cafés in Khao Lak As Khao Lak is a well-developed tourist area As a holiday destination, there is a large selection of restaurants and cafés. As in all tourist locations, the price level in Khao Lak is also rather high . For a dinner for two (including alcoholic drinks) in a regular restaurant you have to pay approx. 12-15 Calculate euros. Occasionally you will also find food stalls where you can eat cheaper.
Yellow Snail Cafe High recommendation! We visited the Yellow Snail Cafe 4 times in 5 days – that says it all. Not only the puristic ambience is to our liking, the coffee is also excellent. The espresso macchiato at the Yellow Snail Cafe is the best we could find in all of Khao Lak.
Another tip : We were also able to work very well in the Yellow Snail Cafe because the internet is relatively fast here.
Andalay Bar During all our visits, we really enjoyed the Andalay Bar. The very casual restaurant is located directly on the beach in the south of Khao Lak and is always well attended. The Andalay Bar is also perfect for a sundowner. When the weather is nice, you can marvel at great sunsets . As everywhere in Khao Lak, the prices are relatively high – at least for the fact that the Andalay Bar is a relatively simple place. Main courses cost about 100 Baht.
Baan Srimuang Sea House One of our finest Discoveries in Khao Lak was the wonderful Baan Srimuang Restaurant. It is totally hidden by a small lake and is definitely worth a visit. The owners are lovely and the food is just fantastic! Not to mention the atmosphere. We were there during the day and were able to enjoy the view of the lake. It must also be great there in the evenings.
The only downer: the restaurant is off the beaten track and you have to rely on transport. Baan Srimuang can be reached quickly by scooter: If you drive the main road north, you have to turn right and then left just before the Mariott Hotel (pay attention to the sign) . Follow the road and then the lake and restaurant appear on the left. The prices are absolutely fine: for both of us we have (Two dishes, two drinks) 400 Baht paid.
Gold Elephant At first glance, the Gold Elephant looks very touristy. And it is, too, if you look at the guests. But the food is really very tasty and compared to what you get offered, not as badly expensive as expected. We ate here twice and both times all the dishes tasted excellent . In terms of price, the Gold Elephant is above average: for three main courses and three drinks (alcoholic) we have over 1200 Baht paid.
4. Our hotel tip for Khao Lak: Palm Beach Resort We slept all in all 5 nights at Palm Beach Resort in southern Khao Lak. There was a reason for choosing the hotel: We visited Kathi’s mom in Khao Lak, who was staying in the neighboring hotel (Bayfront Resort) at the time. Since nothing was available with her, we switched to the Palm Beach Resort.
The hotel complex in the Palm Beach Resort is totally green and very idyllic. Most of the rooms are in bungalows. Our room (category “Garden Room Deluxe”) was in the lower part of the complex close to the beach. The room itself was really pretty. Don’t expect luxury, but we felt very, very comfortable. Only the bathroom was getting a bit old.
The breakfast was okay (in Thailand you shouldn’t expect too much from breakfast to have). We really liked the stretch of beach where the hotel is located. It is very quiet and contemplative.
In general, we find that the hotel prices in Thailand (at least at tourist hotspots) are now overpriced and the Palm Beach Resort is no exception. Our room has more than 4 per night.000 Baht cost, which of course is crazy. Something else is cheap. Nevertheless, we found the hotel very nice. It’s too bad that we only discovered the great “Mountain Pool” on the day of departure.
5. Getting to Khao Lak Khao lak is good 70 kilometers north of Phuket in Phang Nga Province. The nearest international airport is that of Phuket. Most holidaymakers arrive via Bangkok. There are dozens of daily flights between Bangkok and Phuket.
Here we like to search for cheap flights: Skyscanner
From Phuket Airport, the journey takes the Taxi to Khao Lak about 1 hour and 14 minutes (with little traffic). The prices for this taxi ride are relatively expensive. Here you have to use about 1.100 Baht (over 30 euros). It is worth asking the hotel about transport. Some hotels offer free airport pickup.
6. Scooter Rental in Khao Lak Khao Lak stretches for many kilometers. If you want to get to know different corners and sections of the beach, you are dependent on transport.
We have a Rented a scooter. This one cost us 350 Baht per Day (= 16 Hours). With our rental, we didn’t have to deposit our passport or cash as a deposit (as is often required in Thailand). In general, we always look for rental companies that do not keep the pass. An international driver’s license is not required for borrowing. However, it may be that the police stop you during a check – in this case such a check is an advantage, as otherwise you quickly pay a fine (usually approx. 400 baht). However, we did not experience a single police check.
In general, riding a scooter on the main road in Khao Lak is relatively uncomfortable, as large vehicles often overtake you will. In general, only rent a scooter in Thailand if you are experienced in driving. In addition, the following applies: big before small. And: As a tourist, it’s always your fault anyway. Whether or not you take the risk is of course up to you. The relatively comfortable alternative are the open shared taxis (“Songthaews”) you’re looking at you can easily stop on the street. For a short distance you need approx. 30 Calculate baht.
Transparency: Affiliate Links We are curious: Have any of you already been to Khao Lak? Do you have any other tips? We certainly haven’t seen everything yet and are looking forward to your comments!