It’s hard to believe that eleven years have passed since Thailand was brought to its knees by the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. One of the hardest hit areas was coastal tourism stretch, Khao Lak.
But in typical Thai fashion, they put the worst behind them, working tirelessly to lure tourists back to their little slice of paradise. Not that it should be difficult – Khao Lak is the Thailand that people dream about – white beaches, crystal clear water and friendly faces. Now Khao Lak is back – better than ever!
GETTING THERE: Khao Lak is roughly ninety minutes south of party hot spot, Phuket. There is no direct flight to Khao Lak – so you’ll have to fly into Phuket and head from there.
A cab from Phuket Airport should set you back about 1800 Baht max ($68 AUD).
WHEN TO GO: Aim for February, off the back of Thailand’s cool season, which runs from November until March. The Christmas crowds will be long gone, temperatures will be hot but manageable and you shouldn’t get too much rain. Avoid booking from July until October unless you’re a big fan of monsoons.
WHERE TO STAY:
HOW LONG: Two weeks maximum, four days minimum. Like most places in Thailand there are a lot of things to do, so give yourself at least four or five days to embrace all it has to offer. However, if you’re looking for a chilled out getaway, then you can easily notch up a fortnight in Khao Lak.
If you’re looking for a VIP experience at a fraction of the cost, look to the award winning The Sands by Kathathani. It’s right on Nang Thong Beach and it has everything you’re looking for in a relaxing holiday. Facilities include 5 swimming pools ( 3 with private access from rooms), a dive center, Thai cooking classes, Fruit Carving and a kid’s club. Consider their special holiday package on offer at the moment which includes a buffet breakfast every morning, a daily 30min massage and airport transfers.
CROWD: Known as Phuket’s relaxing little brother; Khao Lak attracts a different kind of crowd. While you can still find a bar to dance the night away in, most people are in Khao Lak to switch off. Expect to see a lot of loved-up couples, young families and of course some very relaxed retirees.
THINGS TO DO
FITNESS FREAKS: Going on holidays doesn’t mean you have to let yourself go. Khao Lak is full of activities designed to keep you trim, taut and terrific!
Muay Thai: Channel your inner karate kid with a visit to the prestigious Rawai Muay Thai gym. Complete with four large boxing rings, they run morning and afternoon classes. For those wanting to combine the beach with their love of boxing, the school runs Saturday sessions at nearby Khuk Kak beach.
Cycling: Seeing Thailand on two wheels is a memory you won’t soon forget – Khao Lak Cycling organise half and full day tours. You’ll pedal your way to Memories Beach, passing through coconut, rubber and pine trees before cruising past a palm oil plantation. Trips also include a traditional Thai lunch or dinner.
NATURE BUFFS: Get your great outdoors fix by adding these unique plans to your holiday hit list.
Lamru Khao Lak National Park: Named after its two mountain ranges – Khao Lak and Lamru – this national park is where Khao Lak natives head to take a load off. You can set up camp for 225 Baht ($8 AUD) or hire a bed for around 2000 Baht ($76 AUD). Then in the morning, join the locals for a dip at one of the park’s two waterfalls — Ton Chongfa to the north and Lamprao to the west.
Golf: Khao Lak is home to some of the country’s best golf courses. The Tap Lamu Golf Course is the top pick, nestled between the Khao Lak Mountains and the Andaman Sea.
Thai Muang Turtle Sanctuary: Open daily and free to enter, the Thai Muang Turtle Sanctuary is a must for environmental-warriors! Guests are shown the hatching tanks, before being introduced to the baby turtles. For a small donation, visitors can release a turtle into the Andaman Sea. You’ll be given a crash course in marine biology, as well as a history of the areas local sea life – educational and sensational!
TYPICAL TOURISTS: Khao Lak has you covered when it comes to ticking off items on the typical tourist itinerary.
Temples: The best bet is the Three Temple Tour. It’ll take you through the Dragon Cave, Bang Ring Pagoda and Suwanakuha temples. Each one is different but each has their own charm – keep an eye out macaque monkeys at Suwanakuha.
Snorkelling: Up next, no trip to Thailand is complete without a snorkelling session. Khao Lak is the closest mainland point to the Similan Islands, a 70km boat ride away. If you’re serious about underwater sightseeing, this is where you want to be.
Elephants: They say elephants never forget and you’ll never forget the elephants! Tours take place in the Khao Lak jungle, ten minutes from centre of town. You’re given the chance to bathe, feed and ride these gentle giants – a family-friendly day out.