The Best Areas to Stay in Khao Lak
75km north of Phuket International Airport, Khao Lak is a small coastal resort town on the Andaman Sea. Much quieter than any of the popular areas in nearby Phuket, it’s a great family destination well known for its proximity to nature. It also works well as an alternative or add-on destination for anyone seeking a slower-paced location. Hit very hard by the 2004 tsunami, Khao Lak’s economy and landscape have since bounced back strong.
Located between the official Khao Lak town and Bang Niang beaches, La Own along the stretch of highway that cuts through town is the main shopping, dining, and nightlife hub. Tucked between tree-covered hillsides and beautiful clear waters, this strip offers a surprisingly decent variety of restaurants, all ranges of accommodation, and handfuls of tour operators helping arrange dive trips and day tours to the local sights.
The area is known as a scuba diving mecca, with its beautiful coral reefs, and rich marine life. Popular excursions include to the Similan and Surin Islands, Khao Sok and Khao Lak/Lam Ru National Parks, or nearby ‘Little Amazon’ canals at Tapuapa. To the east in Phang-Nga Bay, is Ao Phang-Nga National Park, distinguished by its tall limestone rock formations.
Other good opportunities for enjoying Khao Lak include renting a bike and cycling around the surrounding countryside, visiting one of the nearby hot springs, or taking a cooking or Thai boxing class. To learn about the devastation caused and rebuilding from the tsunami, there are 3 different tsunami museums in La On.
The Best Places to Stay in Khao Lak
- Best Resorts in Khao Lak for Luxury
The Sarojin • The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani
- Best Resorts in Khao Lak for Families
Seaview Resort Khao Lak • The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani • X10 Khaolak Resort • JW Marriott Khao Lok Resort & Spa
- Best Moderate Hotels in Khao Lak
The Retreat Khaolak Resort • Casacool Hotel • Rakkawan Residence • The Haven Khao Lak • Hotel Gahn • Baramate Khao Lak
Best Areas in Khao Lak for…
- Best Area in Khao Lak for Shopping and Dining: Bang Lah Own
Bang Lah On is the most tourists oriented of the three Khao Lak towns, and the area most commonly referred to by tourists as Khao Lak. Along this stretch are many souvenir shops, tailors, dive shops, massage parlors, and restaurants. Most of this stretch has sidewalks making it pleasant for strolling along during day or night. This area is closest and parallel to Nang Thong Beach, a 5-minute walk away.
- Best Area in Khao Lak for Local Vibe: Khuk Khak
10 minutes drive north from Lah On is the regional center of Khuk Khak. There is little reason to visit here for tourists, but is where local Thais shop for their everyday items for the home, plus all the infrastructural ingredients that keep the local resorts running. There is a daily street market and the small local bus station, though buses will also stop in Lah On if asked. Khuk Khak also has many inexpensive restaurants, and Khuk Khak Beach is a 5-minute walk away.
- Best Area in Khao Lak for Day trips into nature: Bang Lah Own
The area is full of small offices and tour operator kiosks offering boat trips including snorkeling and scuba diving to the Surin and Similan islands, plus hiking, mountain-biking, zip-lining, bungee-jumping, hot springs, and waterfall excursions. There are also opportunities to visit nearby elephant sanctuaries and waterparks.
- Best Beaches in Khao Lak
Khao Lak is a string of gorgeous beaches that stretch on for 20 km. From Nang Thong Beach in the south, you’ll pass Bang Niang Beach, then Khao Lak Beach, before reaching Khuk Khak Beach in the north. All are clean, soft, sandy beaches, minimally separated by protruding headlands or small rivers meeting the ocean that rise with each high tide.
The 3 Best Areas in Khao Lak for Tourists
More recently developed for tourism is the northeastern tip of the island. Convenient to the airport and not too far from all the facilities at the main beach, Chaweng, the coastline alternates between rocky cliffs ideal for views and sunsets and coves with beaches of talcum-white sand and casuarina trees. These comparatively upmarket and relaxed areas are also popular among expats with private transport for the cluster of beachside cafés and bars. Public transport reaches as far as Choeng Mon village, but many resorts also provide transfers to the more developed areas in the south. Most accommodations are expensive and in isolated resorts and individual villas (not part of a complex), so there’s very little in the moderate and budget range.
- Best Hotels: Khaolak Laguna Resort • Seaview Resort Khao Lak • Khaolak Laguna Resort • TUI BLUE Khao Lak Resort • The Sands Khao Lak by Katathani
Bang Niang is…
Best Hotels: La Flora Resort & Spa Khao Lak • X10 Khaolak Resort • Ramada Khao Lak Resort
Khuk Khak is…
- Best Hotels: Apsara Beachfront Resort and Villa • JW Marriott Khao Lok Resort & Spa • The Sarojin (adjacent White Sand Beach)
- Best Hotels in Khao Lak
- Best Family Hotels in Khao Lak
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