It has been a long time since the last post, so I think it is time for a few quick updates.
Is now a good time to visit Khao Lak?
Over the last few months, we have seen massive changes here in Khao Lak. Now that the crippling COVID-19 restrictions have been fully lifted, life is once again returning to normal. Although a few of the larger shop houses do still stand empty, many of the shops, restaurants and bars are open once again. With several brand-new businesses that have already moved in to replace those who didn’t survive the last few years.
The markets in Khao Lak are also open again now too. With the Bang Niang market open every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. And the Build market open every Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. There is also another afternoon market that is open daily right next to the PTT gas station. The Takuapa Old Town walking street market is open every Sunday.
How about the weather in Khao Lak now?
The Khao Lak weather has been mostly good over the last month or two. Hot and sunny almost every day with the occasional short rain shower, mostly in the late afternoon to cool things down. The tourist season did get off to a bit of a shaky start, with a few delayed storms and strong winds coming in from the sea. But it looks like it has calmed down again now. Historically late storms at the start of the season generally means that the weather will continue to be good into May and maybe even June, so fingers crossed!
What is happening with Discovery Travel?
Although the tourist numbers in Khao Lak are not quite up to pre-covid levels, here at Discovery Travel we have been amazed by the demand for our small group and private tours. Over the last three and a half months, with your help we have managed to provide work and income for around 8-13 local families almost every day. We are confident this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.
We are now working to expand our network of local partners here in Khao Lak and also in other areas of Thailand, so that we can continue to provide income to local families. Most recently we have started working alongside the Tha Din Deang Community Tourism Project, with the aim of introducing new community based Khao Lak tours in the near future.
Tha Din Deang provide a range of sustainable activities that are managed and guided by the villagers themselves. Each one of these activities is based on traditional skills and understanding of their environment. The village is surrounded by healthy mangroves and grassland forests.
These unique eco-systems have supported the village for over 100 years, and even helped protect the villagers from the devastating tsunami in 2004.
The history and culture of the village is highlighted with tin panning demonstrations and by collecting crab traps while kayaking in the mangroves. One of the most enjoyable activities on offer is traditional tie-dying. The villagers use natural dyes made from bark and leaves to create unique and beautifully patterned cloths. At the end of the day everyone gets their very own hand made cloth to take away with them.
What else is new?
With the demand for affordable private Khao Lak excursions and day tours on the rise, we have partnered up with Oceanova Andaman to provide private Surin Island day trips. Instead of going to the expense of chartering a private speedboat, we use the joined speedboat purely as a ferry to the Surin Islands and back.
Once we arrive in the Surin Islands National Park, a private longtail boat will be waiting to take you to all the secluded reefs where the speedboat cannot go. Not only does this help save you money and avoid the crowds, it also helps to reduce your carbon footprint.
At the start of the season, we also began to introduce multi-day Thailand holiday packages and adventures. These trips include some of our favorite off the beaten track experiences, and are operated with the help and support of some of the friendliest people we have met during our Thailand travels.
Each trip is focused on providing a true off the beaten track, community-based experience. In our experience, some of the most treasured travel memories are often the ones that are shared with local people.
What does the future hold?
We have managed to maintain the same prices now for almost 5 years. Unfortunately, this year however due to increased tax, fuel, operation and supplier expenses, it is likely we will be forced to increase our prices slightly in the future to enable us to maintain our high quality and safety standards. Rest assured, this is not a decision we take lightly, and we will endeavor to keep our pricing as fair and affordable as possible.
It is not all bad news though!