Khao Lak Travel Advice

Everything you need to know before you go.

Khao lak At A Glance

Is Khao Lak worth visiting?

The area known as Khao Lak is located in Phang Nga Province in southern Thailand, just north of Phuket Island in the Andaman Sea. Khao Lak is a beautiful area of mountains, jungles and beaches. The nearby Similan Islands and Surin Islands are world famous for their beautiful snorkeling and diving spots. Khao Lak is a quiet and relaxed resort which is popular with families and couples of all ages. Khao Lak is also the perfect central base point for anyone wishing to travel between destinations such as Khao Sok, Ranong, Phuket or Krabi.

Khao Lak Beach

Is Khao Lak “Touristy”?

While it is true that the main buisnes in Khao Lak is tourism, Khao Lak is much quieter and more “local style” than some of the more built up resorts in Phuket or Samui. Khao Lak is mainly focused on families and couples of all ages. There are several tourist focused bars and restaurants around, but also a lot more local style ones too. 

Unlike in some areas of Thailand, the Khao Lak beaches are not covered in over-priced deck chairs. there are no jet-skis zipping around either which helps keep the beaches in Khao Lak quiet and natural. 

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Is it safe in Khao Lak?

Generally speaking yes, Khao Lak is a safe place to be. There is of course a bit of petty crime here and there, but mostly it is isolated incidents and it vary rarely affects tourists. There is much less crime here than in the bigger towns like Phuket, Pattaya or Bangkok. Most thefts are opportunistic rather than planned and pick pocketing is almost unknown here so there is no reason to worry. It is perfectly safe to walk around Khao Lak at any time of the day or night, provided you use your common sense.

COVID-19 in Khao Lak

Although most of the virus control restrictions have now been lifted, please note that all aspects of our operation are subject to change depending on local and international disease prevention guidelines and recommendations.

Since the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus was announced we are taking a few extra precautions to help keep you and your loved ones safe.

These precautions are in line with Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) guidelines, and take into account recommendations and guidelines from The World Health Organization (WHO), the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the European Centre for Disease Preventions and Control (ECDC).

How will this affect your holiday?

Honestly, not much. We do most of the work for you. It is important to us that your time with us goes as smoothly as possible. Although there are a few small changes, mostly there is nothing new.

Personal protection & social distancing

Customers are recommended to wear facemasks in crowded areas or when around others. We also recommend that customers maintain a minimum distance of 1 meter between them and other people whenever possible.

SHA Plus Certified

Discovery Travel Limited Partnership is officially recognized by the Amazing Thailand Safety & Health Administration, and the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Temperature checks

At the peak of the pandemic local regulations stated that all staff and customers must undergo a temperature screening test at the start of the day.

This requirement has now been lifted. However, all our staff are fully trained to recognise fever symptoms and anybody showing signs of a fever, will not be allowed to join the tour unless certified by a medical professional.

We will allow affected customers to re-schedule free of charge however in the event of cancelation, the standard cancelation policy remains.

Temprature checks
Clean and safe equipment

Hygine and Sanitation

Anything used as part of our tours, including snorkeling equipment first aid kits and eating utensils, is properly cleaned and sanitized at the end of each trip as standard. This is nothing new but we thought it was worth pointing out.

We recommend using antibacterial hand gel regularly throughout your trip to Thailand to reduce the risk of infection and dierupting your holiday.

Wise Money Transfers

Contactless Payments

We are reducing our reliance of  cash payments. All payments can be made online when booking. We find the Wise is the simplest and cheapest way of transfering payments from banks outside of Thailand. An E-Voucher will then be issued as confirmation of the booking. This is your ticket and should be shown to the guide at the start of the trip.

Anyone booking with an external agency should also request their ticket in a digital format.

CLICK HERE to open your Wise account.

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How do I get to Khao lak?

The easiest way to get to Khao Lak is to fly into Phuket Airport and get a taxi to your hotel in Khao Lak. The taxi ride from Phuket Airport to Khao Lak takes just over an hour. There are also busses from Bangkok, Surat Thani and Ranong passing through Khao Lak at regular intervals.

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When is the best time to visit Khao Lak, Thailand?

It is generally agreed that the best time to visit Khao Lak is between January and April. This is when the weater is usually most settled. 

The main “high season” in Khao Lak is from October to May. The weather in Khao Lak can be very difficult to predict  in advance and changes very quickly. Find out more about the Khao Lak Weather.

Is Khao Lak expensive?

You can spend as much or as little in Khao Lak as you wish. Mostly it depends on your choices of hotels, bars and restaurants. Khao Lak has a massive choice of hotels with room prices ranging from about 800 Baht to 50,000 Baht per night. So, it is really up to you.

Compared with other areas of Thailand, Khao Lak’s pricing is about mid-range. It is not as cheap as the small farming villages in the back and beyond, but it’s not as expensive as some of the bigger and more well know resorts either.

how much is a beer in Khao Lak?

A local beer in a bar will usually cost about 60-80 Baht for a small bottle, or about 80-120 Baht for a large bottle. Cocktails are often about 120-180 Baht and soft drinks are usually about 30-50 Baht each. Hotel prices are sometimes a bit higher.

how much is a meal in Khao Lak?

Again, this depends on what you choose and how you prefer to eat. A standard “A La Carte” dish in Khao Lak is usually “something and rice” and costs about 50-100 Baht. For a bigger meal where you order several dishes to share you are probably looking at about 200-500 Baht per person. Western food cooked by western chefs can be a bit more expensive as they often prefer to import authentic ingredients.

Meal in Khao Lak

Do you tip in Thailand?

Tipping is never compulsary or expected, but is always appreciated. If you think somebody has done a good job and you are pleased with their service, feel free to give them something extra. On average, most people in Khao Lak earn between 300-1,200 Baht per day. So an extra few hundred Baht here and there is always very welcome.

Tip amounts naturally depend on the situation, and there is no right or wrong amount.

As a general rule, if you had a good meal in a restaurant  you might leave a portion of the change for that staff. Usually up to about 10-20% of the bill. 

If you have had a great day out and wish to tip the guide/driver/boat crew, or you wish to leave something for the housekeepers in the hotel,  you may want to leave a bit more. In this case it is sometimes helpful to use the prices of everyday items and expeses as a guide. 

Is Khao Lak better than Phuket?

The truthful answer is that both destinations are slightly different. Khao Lak is a small coastal resort which is much less well-known, where as Phuket is a large island city with shopping centers, party areas and even and airport. There are some very nice quiet areas along the Phuket coastline that come close to duplicating the relaxed vibe of Khao Lak, but they are often more expensive and more well-known. The distance between Phuket and Khao Lak helps to keep Khao Lak less busy and less crowded.

Most visitors to Khao Lak will arrive via Phuket airport, and many will plan to spend a few days in Phuket either at the start or the end of their holiday in Khao Lak. Often the general agreement is that Khao Lak is the relaxing part of the holiday.

Is Khao Lak boring?

Unlike larger towns such as Phuket, in Khao Lak you are not bombarded with entertainment. But Khao Lak is far from boring. There is plenty to see and do in Khao Lak.

Khao Lak is mostly a quiet little town with jungle covered mountains on one side and beautiful beaches on the other. Day trips to local attractions and areas of interest are easy to come by. One of the most popular activities in Khao Lak is to visit the Similan or Surin Islands with their world-famous snorkel and dive spots. There is also local snorkeling available at Khao Na Yak for those who don’t want to travel far.

CLICK HERE to see our recommended day trips.

Nightlife in Khao Lak is also a lot tamer than in Phuket. There are several bars in Khao Lak, but they are mostly calm and relaxed places where you can chill with a beer in the evenings. the majority of the bars are located in the Bang Niang area, not far from the evening market. There are also a few more bars in the Nang Thong area (also known as Khao Lak center).

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Merlin Beach Khao Lak

What are the Khao Lak beaches like?

The Khao Lak beach stretches over 20 miles from the base of Lak mountain in the south to Baan Nam Khem in the north. Although there are some areas in the town where erosion and hotel sea walls make it tricky to walk at high tide, mostly the Khao Lak beach is untouched and natural. The “Coconut Beach”, “White Sands Beach” and Bangsak Beach are especially beautiful areas just north of the main town.

Unlike in some other areas of Thailand, the Khao Lak beach is not covered in over-priced beach chairs and hawkers.

It is perfectly safe to swim on the beaches in Khao Lak, however it is always best to swim where you can be seen. At certain times of the year there can be dangerous rip currents in a few select areas at certain tides. esspecially as the tide is going down. Most large beachfront hotels have a lifeguard on duty, but you should always use caution anyway.

Always know your limits. Rip currents can surprise you, so it is best not to go out of your depth. If you do find that you can’t swim against the current, it is impotant to stay calm and swim parallel to the beach until you find an area where the current is not so strong.

Are there sharks in Khao Lak?

Simple answer, yes. BUT…there is no need to worry. The most common sharks in this are small reef sharks and leopard sharks. Both are generally considered harmless to humans. In fact, you would be very lucky to see them at all. Sharks are very quick and naturally scared of humans. Most humans make a massive noise when swimming that will scare teh sharks away.

It is possible to see sharks occasionally when snorkeling or diving, mostly around the Similan and Surin islands. They can also occasionally be seen around the local reefs near Khao Na Yak.

Every year many divers come to Khao Lak with the hope of diving with the gentle whale sharks that often pass through this way.

Is Khao Lak good for families?

To put it simply, yes. Khao Lak is perfect for families. So much so that the majority of visitor to Khao Lak are families.

There are a few hotels in Khao Lak that are adults only and do not allow families with small children i.e Beyond Khao Lak Resort, The Sarojin and Bangsak Village Resort.

However most Khao Lak hotels are family friendly resorts. Many of the larger hotels such as The Sands Khao Lak and Mai Khao Lak and Apsara Resort offer a wide range of kids activities, entertainment and even play areas or pools.

Outside of your hotel there is plenty for kids to do and see. Most day tours in Khao Lak will offer discounted prices for children under 12 years old.

Restautants to will almost always offer dishes that are suitable for kids. It’s not all spicy curries in Thailand! less spicy options along with familiar dishes such as spagetti or chicken nuggets are just as easy to find.

As a general rule, the local Thai’s love kids. They are friendly and love to play with childen, so don’t be alarmed if the waitress in your favoritte restaurant tries to take a selfie with your children. This is perfectly common and normal in Thailand, and will usually end up in an extra large helping of ice-cream at the end of your meal!

Is Khao Lak good for Couples?

Again, yes. Khao Lak is fantastic for couples and is fast becoming a popular honeymoon destination. Khao Lak’s unique location means it is the perfect stopping point or base camp for those wanting to explore Thailand further. 

In recent years several more well known brands have opened up luxuirous resorts and hotels in Khao Lak. 

Even better than that, most of our tours are able to operate with just 2 people! Take a look at our exclusive Khao Lak tours. 

Is Khao Lak safe from tsunami?

This is a question we hear often. Most people are not overly worried, but they still want some reassurance. The answer is yes, Khao Lak is just as safe as anywhere else. The 2004 tsunami was considered a one-off event. Since then Thailand has installed an early warning system to help prevent a repeat of the disaster, which experts have said is unlikely anyway.

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