Khao Lak: A favorite
Khao Lak is located in Phang Nga Province, about an hour's drive north Phuket, where you typically fly to. The region is known for its relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere, where there is room for what Danes love in a holiday in Thailand: Bathing, beers and books!
It is also not so surprising that it is primarily Scandinavians and northern Europeans who visit the Khao Lak area.
Khao Lak is both an excellent place to relax and recharge your batteries, but also ideal for nature experiences, as there are no less than three national parks in the area, and miles of beautiful beaches.
So here you get the editors' tips for what to experience on a holiday in beautiful Khao Lak in Thailand, based on our travels around Thailand, i.a. in 2021.
Get closer to the turtles in Khao Lak
Royal Navy Sea Turtle Nursery is worth a visit and here you can learn more about these fascinating creatures and how they create one sustainable environment for them.
The turtles lay their eggs between October and March, and when the eggs are laid on the beach, they are well cared for so that the predators do not make the omelet out of them.
When the eggs hatch, the turtles come to the turtle nursery, and here they are cared for until they are released into the wild when they are about 8 months old.
Every year, more than 500 green turtles are released into the wild Turtle Release Festival in March.
However, the center is not only a nursery for baby turtles, but is also a rehabilitation center for sick and injured turtles.
Go to Na Yak Cape Beach - Khao Lak's hidden paradise
Now that you are out in the beautiful nature of Khao Lak, treat yourself to a visit to Na Yak Cape Beach.
You get here with a short boat trip from the harbour, where you sail out into the mangrove forests along the peninsula. Here you come ashore, and walk very briefly through a small forest to a phenomenally beautiful beach, where you can even snorkel at the rock when havet is for it – typically in our winter months.
If in doubt whether there are still pristine places in Thailand, go to Na Yak. You will be happy about that. The trip can be combined with the turtle center.
Surf in Thailand: Surfing Khao Lak
Although the beaches in Khao Lak are very similar on a map, they are still quite different. And it has the great advantage that there is a beach for exactly what you want, including surfing!
The beach in front of Apsara Hotel and Memories Beach Bar is perfect for riding the wave blue, because here the waves come straight in, and it gets quieter and deeper, and therefore it is also an obvious place to learn to surf.
There is a surfer biks with very helpful and patient trainers directly on the beach, where even the most inexperienced surfer, like this writer, can learn it from scratch. It's fun, and you get to use some energy in the hunt for the right wave - and in the hunt for your balance.
Cool in Ton Chong Fah Waterfall
A little up the slopes is Ton Chong Fah Waterfall. Here runs a large river that gathers in a series of smaller waterfalls with clear water that you can swim in.
The current is not too strong and the water is nicely cooling, so it is perfect after the short hike up the hills, where you get through a small forest.
The waterfalls are part of a number of day trips in Khao Lak.
Float along Kiang-Koo Waterfall bamboo rafting
Water is a natural part of many activities in Khao Lak, and if you are an adventurous water dog, you can float a trip in the jungle.
The ride itself is reasonably peaceful and you may be lucky enough to see many different animals. Mostly at a distance, which is very nice when animals in this jungle also include small green snakes, which were now as peaceful as the trip itself.
There are different lengths of hikes and the short one we tried is almost too short because it is quite nice to be a part of the jungle so we can recommend one of the longer hikes.
Experience Tsunami Memorials
In 2004, the tsunami hit parts Indonesia, Sri Lanka og Thailand, and Khao Lak was one of the places hit hard. There had never been a tsunami before - or there had been one since. Like all the other places, the area was flooded by the giant wave, which i.a. sent a patrol boat over a mile into the country, where it got stuck in a field.
This boat is today the center of a small area, where the victims of the tsunami are remembered, i.a. a member of the royal family in Thailand. It was precisely to take care of the royal that the patrol boat was in the area and everyone on the boat survived and helped other survivors.
Tsunami Memorials is within walking distance of the beaches, just behind the main street, and despite the violent history behind an experience you must remember to take with you when you are in Khao Lak, because it is also life-affirming in all its cruelty.
Enjoy wellness, massage and spa
Of course, you should try the many different forms of wellness that Thailand is so famous for. There are plenty of small places where you can get traditional Thai massage for quite a bit of money and they are usually certified masseurs and quite skilled.
However, there are also a number of new offers that are good for your body and your mind. In several of the large hotels, they have now started to offer medical wellness, where for several weeks - or even months - you follow a specific program with massage, diet, examinations, medical checks, etc.
If you think Ayurvedic lifestyle in a Thai way it gives a good picture of what to expect.
Of course, there are also more classic spa experiences, where you can get peace of mind with hot and cold baths.
Whatever you choose, remember to get it done. It is an affordable luxury that is an important part of Thai culture.
Try making Thai food yourself
We might as well be completely honest: We love Thai food. And even though you sometimes get your mouth burned by a fresh chili, there are so many amazing dining experiences that it's just a matter of throwing yourself into it.
There are several places in Khao Lak where they have cooking schools and food courses, and here both beginners and experienced can learn more about the secrets of Thai cuisine.
We can recommend Nai Muang Khao Lak, which is a cheerful place where they can do something with the cooking pots (they have several Michelin accolades). Another good option is the restaurant at Hotel La Flora, where they create luxury cooking experiences directly on the beach.
And then of course you have to eat through yourself. Get fancy dishes at the beach restaurants, and throw yourself into the favorite dish pad thai on one of the small side streets, where the menu is sometimes only in Thai, and you can eat your fill for almost no money.
Almost wherever you go, you can count on freshly made food made with large amounts of love, and then just a splash of kaffir lime and galanga root.
Here you can stay in Khao Lak: Hotels and resorts
You can find all kinds of accommodation in Khao Lak: Small hotels and large resorts. Private rooms and rental houses. And everything in between. Many are located on the beach, but not all.
It is primarily Scandinavians and northern Europeans who visit Khao Lak, and it is the style and offer also adapted to. There is not much bling bling, because these are most cozy places where you quickly feel at home, but if you are more into design and international style, there are also a few places that can.
Here is a strip of fine hotels, all located directly on the beach, which we have visited:
- flora: Beautiful, large hotel with many pool rooms and restaurant on the beach
- La Vela: Modern design hotel with spa and guests from all over the world
- Khao Lak Emerald Beach Resort: Modern family hotel with many facilities
- Apsara Beachfront Hotel & Villa: Peaceful and neat hotel by child-friendly beach
In addition, we can clearly recommend looking at Santhiya Phuket Natai Resort & Spawhich lies between Phuket airport and Khao Lak. It is a villa hotel in traditional Thai style, and it is both beautiful and at the same time so cozy that you want to stay there for a long time.
Whichever place you choose to stay, you get great value for money in Khao Lak.