Where to stay in Khao Lak? There are 7 main Khao Lak areas to book excellent accommodation. Finding the right place to book your next stay can be difficult. Although there are options for every budget, picking the right area to stay in can take up a lot of time. We’ll do our best to make it easier for you!
Before we dive in, The Khao Lak Map Pack gives you a very good picture of all the 7 areas of Khao Lak with over 100+ popular places. Download it to your device and you don’t need internet to open it. It’s the most up to date map pack in Khao Lak, and a steal at just a few bucks.
The areas in Khao Lak have something for everyone. Luxurious 5* resorts, backpacker guesthouses, secluded bungalows by the beach, private home rentals, you name it. Having said that, Khao Lak is still quite undeveloped compared to other major tourist hot spots such as Phuket. Khao Lak still has that local Thai magic with beautiful calm stretches of beach, quiet mountainsides, and authentic local Thai food, and yet it is easy to find an amazing fine dining experience.
The Khao Lak areas are in development and there is a fragile balance between tourism and local culture. Khao Lak is like a secret place you want to share with your closest friends. Let’s dive in.
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Map of Khao Lak areas
Let’s start off with an easy-to-read map of the Khao Lak areas, see below. The center is located in orange, which is surrounded by the Lam Ru National Park (green). If you go south through the mountain roads towards Phuket, you will arrive in Lam Kaen (magenta) where the original Khao Lak village is located. Most of the tourists are located in La On (Khao Lak Center, orange) and Bang Niang (blue). The more north you go the quieter it gets, but all the areas have stunning beaches and sunsets in the west and mountain views in the east. The magical answer to what Khao Lak area is best for you is a tough one! Let’s look at each area.
We also have a growing interactive map with beaches, waterfalls, markets and more.
Rather have something offline and easy to access from your phone? Download the Khao Lak Map Pack here.
What Khao Lak areas are best?
It’s a tough question and there is no straight answer, but we can explore! It is up to your personal preferences and budget which hotel and Khao Lak areas fit your wishes. We can help you a bit by setting expectations for each Khao Lak area.
Room rates: Generally speaking, the room rates decrease the more North you go. The South is where most action happens and most businesses are packed together. This also says something about where you would like to stay.
Beaches: If having a nice beach in close proximity is important to you, then you don’t need to worry. All areas in Khao Lak have beautiful beaches with their own unique traits.
Next, we are going to (over) simplify the areas by summarizing their main points of interest, so you can get an idea of what the key differences are in a quick takeaway. Of course, there will be more differences, and personal preferences, but we aim to keep it short, so hold your horses Khao Lak veterans!
This article will start with the most Southern area Lam Kaen and move all the way North to Bang Sak. The more North you go the less crowded and few businesses you’ll get.
Lam Kaen area
Of all the Khao Lak areas, the original Khao Lak village is located at the South foot of the Khao Lak mountain in the Lam Kaen area. Lam Kaen therefore is separated from La On (considered Khao Lak Center) by the winding mountain roads.
To get to La On, it will take about 5 to 10 minutes North, depending on where you stay.
There are a few shops, hotels and restaurants. The main beach named “Khao Lak Beach” is about 700 meters long – and it is pretty! A unique trait of this beach are the huge boulders on the foot of the mountain, a stunning view.
Popular resorts in Lam Kaen are: Khao Lak Merlin Resort, Khao Lak Emerald Beach Resort, and a bit more South you’ll have Poseidon Bungalows on the Poseidon beach, and the modern Kalima Resort and Villa.
This area is quite uniquely located because of the mountain, and despite being within the original Khao Lak village, it’s often considered “away” from the buzzing La On and Bang Niang. If you are staying in La On or Bang Niang, many tourists don’t visit this area. Although, there are some unique traits here such as the lovely Turtle Conservation Centre at the Thai Royal Navy Base and a small waterfall “Ton Pling”. If you go a bit further South into Thai Mueang, about 20 min, you will get to the stunning Lampi Waterfall. (see our post for all popular waterfalls around Khao Lak)
La On (Khao Lak Center) area
La On is the King of all Khao Lak areas and is considered the “Center of Khao Lak”. If you prefer to have everything in one place – beaches, bars, restaurants, fashion shops, supermarkets, massages, diving, etc. – and with the most tourists – La On area is your best bet. The only thing it doesn’t have is a local market, which you can find in Bang Niang and Khuk Khak. Keep in mind the rates are the highest in La On on average, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find great value for your money.
To name a few places to stay, there are quite some luxurious resorts such as: The Sands, Khao Lak Laguna, Moracea, and X10 Khao Lak.
There are also mid-range resorts like Khao Lak Bayfront Resort, Seaview Resort, or The Leaf Oceanside. More on a budget? Guesthouses or hostels like Monkey Dive Hostel and Walkers Inn are great options.
A unique trait of the beach in La On is the small white lighthouse that is perfect to make postcard-ready sunset holiday pictures.
Bang Niang area
Our first stop after La On (Center), just a 5-10 minutes ride North, is the Bang Niang area — the queen of Khao Lak Areas.
If you prefer to have all that La On has, except the absence of a western-focused supermarket, but love to wander a famous food and souvenir market, and prefer less crowded spaces… then Bang Niang could be your best choice. Compared to La On, the room rates are on average slightly better.
There are several accommodation options for low and high-range budgets. On the main road, prices are cheaper compared to the beachside, and you’ll find small-budget hotels, guesthouses and bungalows. To name a few budget choices: Hotel Ruk Cozy, Riverside Guesthouse, Loma Resort, Na Rak Bungalows. On the beach side, we got luxurious choices like: La Vela, La Flora, Ramada, Mukdara, Fanari, and others.
Bang Niang has a more “village” vibe compared to La On. It’s slightly smaller, easier to walk, less crowded, and yet more than enough budget guesthouses and luxurious resorts. There is an abundance of fine-dining restaurants, souvenir shops and late-night bars.
Khuk Khak area
Khuk Khak is the area that comes after Bang Niang, and you could consider it the first area to be “not touristic”. Of all Khao Lak areas, Khuk Khak could be ideal for the more laid-back and quiet holiday seekers.
Khuk Khak is at that sweet spot for people that want to be out of the buzzing La On and Bang Niang, but yet close enough to take a 5-10 min ride whenever you like to “get into town”.
There are a couple of accommodations along (or close to) the main road (highway 4), with or without swimming pools, that have a relaxing environment and for cheaper prices than La On and Bang Niang. Examples of popular accommodations in Khuk Khak: Mohin Tara Resort, Yama Resort, Sangsawan Palace Resort, Khao Lak Relax Resort. These are all budget-friendly and relatively small resorts — ideal for people seeking comfort and a quiet surrounding or those that tend to stay a bit longer.
Along the beachside in Khuk Khak, there are several luxurious 5* resorts, such as: Devasom, JW Marriot, and The Haven. You can also find slightly more affordable beach resorts like The Orchid and Andamania.
To learn more about Khuk Khak, its beach and popular hotels, read this post: “Khuk Khak: Beach, 5 Popular Hotels, and what to do?”
What is great about Khuk Khak, is the quiet environment and few tourists. If you want to get somewhere, you will need transportation. There isn’t much to do around here, except for chilling at the beach. watching perfect sunsets, or going to the morning market (see GMap) which is open until noon.
The Bus Station is also located at the morning market. If you want to book a bus heading South or North, you can do that here. Regular and VIP busses leave from the bus station to Phuket, Takua Pa, Ranong or even as far as Bangkok.
Going further north in the Khao Lak areas, Pakarang is around 10 km (12 min) North of La On (Khao Lak Center). This area has a lot to offer, especially with its famous White Sand Beach and Coconut Beach where many like to book a bungalow on the beach.
Pakarang area is a bit secluded, but it has developed quite a number of restaurants and resorts. The area is quite big, and restaurants and shops aren’t that concentrated. So you will definitely need some form of transportation to explore it. It’s easy to rent a bicycle, motorbike, car, or call for a taxi.
It’s perfect for people that might just want to relax and enjoy the fantastic beaches that made this area famous. There are also some bungalow options around White Sand Beach.
Some popular resorts to stay are: The Sarojin, Kantary Beach Hotel and Apsara Beachfront Resort.
Fun tip: It’s a beautiful, quiet, and romantic walk on the wide-open beach between Apsara and JW Marriot at sunset.
For those that simply want to have a calm holiday, don’t care much for big markets and shopping, and don’t mind paying a little extra for a taxi to go somewhere, Pakarang could be ideal.
Another unique trait of this area is the good conditions for surfing. A popular place is Memories Beach Bar (See GMap), right next to Apsara Resort where you can rent a board and have a go at it! Although it hasn’t been hyped up that much, it is something that has grown in popularity in recent years, especially among people coming from Bangkok.
There’s a tsunami-resistant building at Pakarang Beach, south of Pakarang Cape, with a couple of restaurants and shops in close proximity. You’ll have a great view of the Andaman coast from up there. You will notice several fishing boats and locals going in with nets around Pakarang Cape. It’s a popular area for fishing. Around Pakarang Cape, you’ll find a lot of dead coral (Pakarang means coral in Thai).
Pak Weep area
The more North we go in the Khao Lak areas, the quieter it gets. Arriving in Pak Weep, you will be around 12 km away from La On (Center). It’s a relatively smaller and quieter area compared to the others in the South. This gradual increase of being more local and away, yet close to amazing stretches of beach is also the beauty of navigating the Khao Lak areas.
Pakweep Beach is a beautiful and quiet stretch of beach. It’s closer to highway 4 than Pakarang, which makes travelling more convenient.
If you want to be secluded and hang around your resort, without too much distraction, and enjoy the perfect sunsets, this could be a great area for you. The beachfront is similar to Khuk Khak but farther away from everything else. The beaches are almost private to you and a couple of other peace-seeking souls.
You will also be close to another waterfall named Namtok Sai Rung, also known as Rainbow Waterfall. It’s a beautiful, quiet and relatively small waterfall. Definitely worth a visit. You only pay a small 20 THB parking fee on private property. You can also have a great lunch in the water here or arrange a romantic dinner at the waterfall. Read more about the waterfalls in the Khao Lak areas here.
Bang Sak area
Bang Sak is the last one on our “map of Khao Lak areas”. Bang Sak is situated around 16KM North of La On (15 minutes drive).
Bang Sak is famous for its laid-back local lifestyle and the amazingly beautiful and quiet Bang Sak Beach. At the beach, you will find several local Thai restaurants and food stalls. More recently the Garang Artisan Ice Cream (see GMap) place opened up right at the beach, which has high-quality ice cream, bakery goods and coffee – worth a visit!
Popular high-class resorts in the area are Graceland Khao Lak, Grand Mercure and Le Méridien. Slightly farther North there is the luxurious Pullman Khao Lak, which is technically not in Bang Sak, but Bang Muang.
Bang Sak is just tranquil and relaxed at its best. Far away from La On (center). Though, it is conveniently close positioned to Bang Muang and its local market which is open every day. It only takes around 5 minutes by car or motorbike to get to the Bang Muang market. Tip: best time to visit is around 3-6 pm, when the market is less busy.
Bang Sak is also close to Ban Nam Khem, where the Tsunami Memorial Center is located and the pier to take the ferry to Ko Kho Kao island.
Lastly, from Bang Sak, it will only take 15 minutes to the nearest city in the area, Takua Pa. You could visit Takua Pa Old Town and the market, or go shopping for local prices at the Big C. Let’s hope you won’t need to visit the Takua Pa hospital (see GMap), but it’s in close proximity just in case!
As you can see, every single area that falls under “Khao Lak ” has its unique traits and many accommodation options, and it really depends on your own personal preferences for what is best for you. Click on some of the accommodation links above to view room rates, availability, photos and reviews. You can also view options for Khao Lak on booking.com here.
Here at Khao Lak Center, we like to provide information for all the Khao Lak areas with more insights and tips to help you choose your next stay. Check out all Khao Lak areas with our map pack to make a better-informed decision and learn what’s going on around Khao Lak.
Read more tips: To learn more about Khao Lak, check out the Tips section with more informative articles. The FAQ section is great for quick answers to common questions about Khao Lak in general and the Khao Lak areas.
Interactive map: Explore our growing interactive map with beaches, waterfalls, markets and more popular places.
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