The infrastructure around Khao Lak isn’t really made for pedestrians, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t go around by foot. Many sidewalks are in poor condition with little maintenance. You have to stay alert to avoid kicking uneven tiles or holes while you’re wearing your favorite flipflops or sandals.
If you didn’t know yet, traffic drives on the left side. This means, for many of us, being extra cautious when crossing the road or take part in traffic.
It can be quite an undertaking to cross the roads in Khao Lak. With recent road expansions to four lanes (sometimes six), and pedestrian/zebra crossings that seem to be just decoration (most locals really don’t care to stop), could set you up for a quick dangerous run crossing the streets.
So, coming to the actual question: should you explore Khao Lak on foot, yes or no? The quick give-away answer is “depends”. Not very helpful…right? Let’s dive in a bit.
Where are you located in Khao Lak?
As you may have read already, Khao Lak is a strip of villages that people refer to as “Khao Lak” along the highway 4. The highway can be quite a dangerous road to cross, even more so with recent expansions. If you reside on the mountain side of the highway, it’s likely you will have to cross this road often. If you are on the beach side, you may not have to cross this road that often as most of the points of interest are on the beach side. The real answer to the question may lie in the area you want to explore…
Which area of Khao Lak do you want to explore?
“Exploring Khao Lak” means you have about 25KM in length to undertake, which theoretically you could do on foot but really just isn’t practical nor would you really enjoy “exploring” if you’re being terrorized by the heat of the sun.
If you would like to explore each of the villages of Khao Lak, you need some form of transportation. Read more about transportation in our post “Exploring Khao Lak: Taxi, motorbike, bicycle, buses, or rent a car?“. Once you have arrived at your destination, you could continue on foot. But not all areas are equally done on foot.
La On (aka Khao Lak Center) and Bang Niang are most likely the easiest to explore on foot. Most shops and restaurants are packed together and there are sidewalks, kind of. Sidewalks in Thailand are likely higher than you are used to and they vary in height – mind your step!
Many sidewalks are in poor condition. Open sewer lids, work on the road, electricity pylons, loose stones, cracked concrete, are all sharing the sidewalk with you so be super aware while walking. If you plan to push a stroller around it can be more strenuous, but it’s still feasible. Just pay extra attention.
The following areas are more of a deal breaker. Khuk Khak, Pakarang, Bang Sak and Pak Weep are more difficult to explore on foot. These areas haven’t developed sidewalks in most places, so you will be literally walking on the side of the road. Besides, in these areas, most points of interest aren’t packed at one manageable distance. You may hit a few restaurants and a mini-mart, but that’s about it. It’s much more likely in these areas you’ll need some form of transportation.
Of course, there are those that really just want to hang out at their resort, forever, and don’t want to move a muscle. Let’s just assume you are not one of them – since you’re (still) reading this post.
Exploring Khao Lak on foot, with all its developing areas, is at your own risk. While certain areas like La On and Bang Niang are better taken care of to support pedestrians, other areas not so much.
If you just like to “explore” the surroundings of your accommodation, you can surely do it on foot and see what’s out there in close proximity. If you tend to go a little further and check out the other nearby areas you will need to use some form of transportation.
Be super careful when crossing the road as traffic is dangerous and sometimes unpredictable.
Lastly, if you’re in La On or Bang Niang, be careful with the raised sidewalks as they are mostly in poor condition. Going about with a stroller on the sidewalks is doable, but you will have to look out for loose stones and broken concrete so be careful.