You’ve heard of Khao Lak and maybe you are planning a trip. We are here to give you some quick insights and highlights about the place. Let’s dive right in!
Firstly, Khao Lak is not really a place… Now you might be thinking “wait, what…?”. Yes, it’s not just one place, Khao Lak is more like a string of small towns along a single ‘Highway 4’ – Open the map.
Tourists refer to the area as Khao Lak, but the locals use the village names which mainly include (from South to North):
- Lam Kaen
- La On and Nangthong (also known as Khao Lak Center)
- Bang Niang
- Khuk Khak
- Pakarang (or Bang Kaya)
- Pak Weep
- Bang Sak
There are a couple more areas when you go further North: Bang Muang, Nam Khem, and finally the city Takua Pa. To get a better sense of orientation, it’s best to have a quick look at our free map to download.
You may be wondering, what does “Khao Lak” actually mean? It means “Mountain Lak”. The region is quite hilly. The mountain closest to Khao Lak Center is the main elevation with only a height of 1050 meters within the Lak Lam Ru National Park.
In and around the Khao Lak region are many national parks. In total there are 7 parks within a radius of 70 kilometers, on land and at sea. You will have no problem accessing wildlife and going on an adventurous jungle tour. Rainforest-covered hills, mangrove forests, and rocky steep hills with awestruck views that you won’t ever forget.
Thailand is a beautiful country with many wonders and beautiful places. Away from the popular and crowded cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ko Samui, Krabi and Phuket, people come to Khao Lak for its quiet atmosphere. It’s also the starting point for one of the best diving spots in the world and a 25km long stretch of beaches with each their own features.
TIP: Similan and Surin Islands
There are daily diving and snorkeling trips to the Similan and Surin islands, both located within a national park. The coral reefs offer a spectacular meet-and-greet with the mesmerizing underwater world. Swim with turtles, whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, seahorses, and so much more.
There are quite a few beaches located in and around Khao Lak. You will have no problem finding your own “private” beach somewhere along the stretch. All these beaches are public (technically belonging to the King) and most of them have restaurants, massage huts, and bars close to them but they are not allowed directly on the beach.
If you want to go on a beach-hopping tour, here’s a list of the most popular (not necessarily busy) beaches from South to North:
- Lam Kaen Beach (aka Khao Lak South Beach)
- Sunset Beach (in Khao Lak Center)
- Nang Thong Beach (in Khao Lak Center)
- Bang Niang Beach
- Khuk Khak Beach
- Marriott Beach (at the JW Marriott Resort)
- Memories Beach (at the Memories Beach Bar)
- Pakarang Beach
- Pakarang Cape
- Coconut Beach (Pakarang – Pakweep)
- White Sand Beach (Pakarang – Pakweep)
- Pakweep Beach
- Bang Sak Beach
TIP: Surfing and skateboarding around Memories Beach
During COVID-19 and with a boost in local and national campaigning, the area around the Memories Beach have gotten more attention for its surfing and skateboarding features. Are you in for some extreme sports with direct access to good food and drinks on an amazing beach?
There is no continuous road alongside the beaches. From the main road, Highway 4, smaller streets branch off to beaches, hotels, restaurants, and everything else. It’s quite easy to explore the area on your own since there is only a single main road. Just head into a ‘soi’ (=a small street in Thai language), and discover its not-so-hidden secrets. Beware of the dangerous traffic, even with recent upgrades and road expansions. Thai people are infamous for their driving skills and many foreigners get a little overconfident or irresponsible when jumping on a motorbike.
Now that you have a better orientation of the Khao Lak area, we will continue to update this page with links to more in-depth information.
In the meantime, check out our post “Khao Lak Guide for Newcomers” for more information on Khao Lak.