Khao Lak, tourism in the Takua Pa District
Khao Lak is a resort town in Phang Nga province on the western Andaman Sea coastline of southern Thailand, about 100 km north of Phuket Town. When the disastrous tsunami of 2004 struck South Asia, Khao Lak was the hardest-hit area in Thailand with over 4000 fatalities.
Khaolak is named after the national park (Khao Lak-Lam Ru). The park was declared a national park in August 1991. It occupies a vast area of 150 sq.km and covers Amphoe Thai Muang, Amphoe Kapong, Amphoe Takua Pa and Amphoe Muang. Khao Lak is becoming increasingly popular, mainly with European visitors. It’s easy to reach, quite and, as yet, not overdeveloped. It is something like Phuket’s past 20 years. You can walk northward along the sand for many kilometres, almost as far as Bang Sak beach.
Khao Lak is a resort town in Phang Nga province
Most larger hotels will run a shuttle bus service into Bang La On, often described as Khao Lak ‘centre’ although these may be at limited times and may be chargeable. There are plenty of taxis as an alternative. Bang La On is about 20 minutes by shuttle or taxi from, for example, The Sarojin.
Bang La On has the most shops, bars restaurants and banks. There are also many ATM machines. Bang Niang is smaller, but still has a good selection. You will find the majority of visitors to Bang Niang are couples whereas at Bang La On it’s mainly families. Khuk Khak is still quite small with a handful of restaurants and a few shops. In the High Season all of the restaurants will be open including a wide range of both independent and hotel based beachfront restaurants.
In Bang Niang there is a large range of accommodation from the 4.5 star Ramada to bungalow resorts like The Sanuk Bungalows. In Bang La On the accommodation is primarily 3 to 4 star, for example, the Baan Khao Lak on Nang Thong Beach and The Paradise on Sunset Beach, the next beach going south. Just south of Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park there is Khao Lak beach which has the popular Merlin Resort and the relatively new boutique Lukanawadee resort.
How to get to Khao Lak
The easiest way to get to Khao Lak is to fly into either Phuket (the closest alternative) or Krabi and go to Khao Lak from there. Both airports serve international as well as domestic destinations.
A taxi from Phuket airport to Khao Lak costs between 1100 and 1600 baht. If you think this is too much and prefer to take a bus, you will have to get to the main road, Highway 4, about 5 kilometers from the airport. Hop on a bus headed towards Takua Pa, Ranong or Surat Thani, they all stop in Khao Lak. It’s about 80 kilometers from Phuket airport to Khao Lak.
From Bangkok, buses go to Khao Lak from the southern bus terminal (Sai Tai). The trip, which costs less than 500 baht, takes about ten hours and runs overnight. Don’t buy bus tickets from Bangkok travel agents – they will most likely make you go via Surat Thani where you have to change bus.
From the bus station in Phuket, take a bus towards Takua Pa, Ranong or Surat Thani. It will set you back about 50.
From Krabi there’s a daily minibus to Khao Lak. All travel agents in Krabi sell tickets.