Looking for things to do in Khao Lak and a quick overview of the area? This Khao Lak Ultimate Guide & Things To Do was created to collect must-know tips, basic facts and links to things to do and interesting posts about Khao Lak. Our mission is to help you plan your ultimate holiday experience.
Khao Lak is a relatively quiet paradise. It’s a much more laid-back destination compared to busy Phuket. We will try to summarise its best points.
Khao Lak’s 20 km stretch of tropical beaches is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The Andaman Sea coastline is set against a backdrop of lush jungle-covered mountains. The region is dotted with resorts and tourist facilities. Whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway or an action-packed vacation, Khao Lak has something for everyone!
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When is the best time to go to Khao Lak?
Khao Lak is a year-round destination with something to offer everyone. The best time to visit Khao Lak depends on your budget and preferences.
December to February is the high season and is the most expensive time to visit, but it’s also the coolest with temperatures averaging around 25 degrees Celsius.
If you’re looking for good deals and don’t mind the heat, our Khao Lak Guide would recommend checking March to May or September to November. June to August is Thailand’s rainy season with some resorts and restaurants closed.
Khao Lak’s Weather and Climate
The climate of the Khao Lak region is under the influence of two monsoon winds of a seasonal nature: a southwest monsoon and a northeast monsoon. The southwest monsoon typically starts in April, when a stream of warm moist air from the Indian Ocean moves inland, resulting in significant rain.
The best time of year to visit Khao Lak is during the northeast monsoon. This monsoon runs from November to February and brings less humidity and rainfall, making the weather more pleasant. However, it’s also the busiest time so book well in advance to get the best deal.
March to October is the wet season with more rain and fewer tourists, so it is a good time to visit if you’re looking for cheaper deals.
How to get to Khao Lak?
The easiest way to get to Khao Lak is by flying to Phuket International Airport. From there, it’s only a 90-minute drive to Khao Lak. Alternately, you can also fly into Krabi Airport and take a taxi or bus to Khao Lak.
Khao Lak is a series of villages
The three main areas of Khao Lak are Bang La On, Bang Niang, and Khuk Khak.
Bang La On is the most developed area with many resorts and tourist facilities.
Bang Niang is a bit more laid-back and North of Bang La On.
Khuk Khak is the most rural of the three villages, North of Ban Bang Niang.
A close runner up is the Lam Kaen area with Khao Lak South Beach. This is actually the original Khao Lak village, south of the Khao Lak mountain.
If you’re looking for a quiet getaway, I would recommend staying in Ban Bang Niang, Khuk Khak or Lam Kaen.
Further North there are 3 more areas considered to be within the Khao Lak region.
Just beyond Pakarang, you’ll find the villages of Pak Weep and Bang Sak with the most secluded beaches.
These villages are much smaller than Ban La On, Bang Niang or Khuk Khak, but they offer a more authentic Thai experience. If you like it quiet and don’t mind staying most of your time at a luxurious resort, look for accommodation in Pak Weep and Bang Sak.
To learn more about all the Khao Lak Areas, check the post “7 Khao Lak Areas: Which suits your next stay?“. Here we go in more detail about the unique traits to decide where to book your hotel, read this post
Things to do in Khao Lak
Khao Lak has many things to do, such as water activities, land activities, and jungle activities. You will have plenty of fun options. Here is a list with links to some popular things to do in Khao Lak:
- snorkelling or diving at Similan Islands
- care for elephants
- meet sea turtles
- visiting waterfalls
- jungle adventures
- local markets
- Lam Ru National Park
- Takuapa Old Town
There are many more things to do! If you want to see all the possible day and multi-day trips for Khao Lak, Khao Sok and surrounding areas, click here to check more than 50 Khao Lak tours and book them at low prices, with hundreds of verified reviews, hotel pickup included, free cancellation if you change your mind, from multiple local tour agencies.
Popular hotels and beach resorts in Khao Lak
There are plenty of resorts to choose from in Khao Lak, and the prices vary depending on the season. You can find everything from budget-friendly bungalows to luxurious all-inclusive resorts. Most resorts offer a variety of activities, as well as restaurants and bars.
Some resorts are specifically for families, others only allow adults.
If you are staying for a long time, or just on a tight backpacker’s budget, there are several guesthouses and low-budget hotels on the main road (highway 4) and on the mountainside.
Here is a list of the most popular 4 and 5-star beachfront resorts per area:
Popular hotels in La On (Khao Lak Center)
Moracea 5-star resort
5-star beachfront accommodation situated on gently sloping Khao Lak Hill. Boasting a spa and sea-facing outdoor pool, it has a fitness room and an on-site restaurant. Featuring private balconies with sunset views, spacious air-conditioned rooms are fitted with cable flat-screen TVs. A fridge and safe are provided. Private bathrooms have a bathtub and hot/cold shower.
X10 Khaolak 5-star resort
X10 Khaolak Resort is a nice quiet place, situated 2 km from the city centre at sits right at the beach. The non-smoking resort has an outdoor pool and fitness centre, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar. Every room at this resort is very spacious, air conditioned, fitted with a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with free toiletries, a hair dryer, slippers, and robes. It’s a short walk to the centre with plenty of shops and restaurants. Many visitors say that the breakfast and in-resort restaurants are excellent.
The Sands 4-star resort
The ultimate tropical getaway, offering luxurious accommodations at pristine beaches, and a variety of activities and amenities. Set amidst lush gardens and overlooking the sparkling Andaman Sea, this five-star resort boasts spacious guest rooms and suites, multiple swimming pools and water sliders, a full-service spa, and a selection of restaurants and bars serving delicious international cuisine.
Popular hotels in Bang Niang
La Flora Beach Resort 4-star resort
A stunning retreat situated on the beautiful golden sands of Bang Niang Beach. The resort features modern and spacious guest rooms and suites, all with private balconies or terraces overlooking the Andaman Sea or tropical gardens. The resort’s restaurants and bars offer an array of delicious dishes and cocktails. La Flora beach resort is a luxurious escape in a stunning beachfront location. Visitors often mention the fun kids club.
The Waters 4-star resort
A luxurious and modern stay with a variety of amenities. The resort’s spacious rooms and suites are elegantly designed with contemporary furnishings and feature private balconies or terraces overlooking lush gardens or the Andaman Sea. With just 350m from Bang Neang Beach, it’s an easy walk. Open for all day dining, the in-house restaurant serves Italian cuisine. Swim-up Bar, the on-site pool bar caters for guests’ favourite drinks and musics.
La Vela 5-star resort
Boasting a large and well-designed outdoor pool with views of the mountain ranges and the sea, La Vela Khao Lak offers modern rooms at the beachfront. Spa and wellness centre invites all guests to indulge in various refreshing treatments and therapies. All rooms have an en suite bathroom fitted with a bathtub. Most popular facilities include: 2 swimming pools, airport shuttle, spa and wellness centre, fitness centre, room service and excellent a breakfast.
Popular hotels in Khuk Khak
The Haven 5-star resort
Boasting 5 outdoor pools, a restaurant, fitness centre and spa. Free private parking at the property if you happen to have or rent a car. Quietly situated at Khuk Khak Beach, this adult only resort is the perfect getaway from the bustling centre. Many visitors talk about the amazing long swimming pools and pool bars, and great romantic and quiet walks on the beach. Some choose this resort as their honeymoon destination. A big breakfast buffet is included with every room.
Devasom 5-star resort
Devasom resort in Khao Lak is a luxurious beachfront resort, known for its stunning architecture and serene ambiance. The resort features 69 guest rooms, suites, and villas, each designed with a blend of traditional Thai decor and modern amenities. Enjoy panoramic ocean views from the comfort of your room or while lounging by the resort’s infinity pool. Indulge yourself in massages, body scrubs, and other spa therapies. Guests also love the resort’s dining options, which include the award-winning Devasom Kitchen restaurant serving Thai and international cuisine.
Apsara Beachfront 4-star resort
Sitting right at the beautiful memories beach and close to the popular memories beach bar. The resort features 195 guest rooms, suites, and villas, each designed with a blend of contemporary style and traditional Thai decor. One of the unique features of Apsara resort is its landscaped gardens, which cover over 12 acres and include a lagoon-style swimming pool, a natural waterfall, and a tropical garden with over 200 species of plants. Their extensive spa includes private treatment rooms, a herbal steam room, and a jacuzzi overlooking the ocean. The resort’s dining options are also popular among guests, with three restaurants offering a variety of Thai and international cuisine. The beachfront restaurant is particularly popular for its seafood BBQs and stunning ocean views.
How to choose your accommodation in Khao Lak?
When choosing your holiday accommodation, it’s important to consider what type of holiday you want. If you’re looking for a relaxing beach break, then a resort on the beach is the obvious choice. However, if you’re after more of an adventure holiday, then maybe something closer to the mountainside and jungle would be better.
Khao Lak has accommodation for every budget but the closer to the beach is usually the more expensive.
There are a few resorts that offer all-inclusive deals which can work out cheaper than paying for food and drinks separately.
The best place to explore the areas and their popular hotels is by reading our post 7 Khao Lak Areas: Which suits your next stay?
What to pack for your holiday in Khao Lak
Thailand is a hot country and so you’ll need to pack light clothes that are comfortable and easy to move in. It’s also worth packing insect repellent, sun cream and a hat, as the sun can be very strong.
November to February is the dry season so it’s a good time to visit with very little rain, but the heat can be intense — be prepared!
If you are planning to be adventurous, bring your hiking shoes as there are several National Parks in the region. Other than that, bring your sandals or slippers to walk in comfort! If you will visit some local shops and temples, you have to take off your shoes every time you enter, so slippers are recommended.
Don’t worry about forgetting something, there are plenty of well-priced shops to buy shirts, shorts, bags, slippers, and everything else you may need. Keep your luggage light and keep some extra space, you do want to go back with some souvenirs, right?
The best beaches in Khao Lak
What are the beaches like in Khao Lak? Khao Lak has a long 20 km stretch of beaches. Each beach has its unique traits and attractions. The most popular beaches in Khao Lak are Nang Thong, Bang Niang and Khuk Khak.
All the beaches in Khao Lak are facing the Andaman Sea. With few exceptions, you won’t find crystal clear water on any mainland beach, but it’s still great for swimming and enjoying the sunsets.
Nang Thong Beach is known for its boulders and long stretches of white sand beach. It is the most popular beach as it is located in the centre of Khao Lak. You can recognize this beach by its iconic small white lighthouse.
Bang Niang beach is known for its gentle waves, and less crowded spots, making it a perfect place for some quiet swimming and children to play around.
If you like to walk on the beach, you can easily have a long walk between Bang Niang and Nang Thong beach — a must-do during sunset time!
Khuk Khak Beach is known to be one of the most secluded beaches in Khao Lak. It’s great for those who are looking for some privacy and a quiet getaway. You will have long stretches of beach to choose a spot, without meeting a soul. Learn more here.
Pakarang Beach is a picturesque destination located in Khao Lak, just 15 minutes/13 KM away from La On (Khao Lak Center). It’s an excellent place to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy center of Khao Lak. The beach is situated just north of the town, and it’s far less crowded than some of the other more popular beaches in the area. Learn more here (video included)
Pakarang Cape is a beautiful and fascinating place. The cape has an abundance of bleached coral, which serves as a stark reminder of the impact of climate change on our oceans. It’s just 15 minutes north of La On. Learn more here (video included).
White Sand Beach, 15 minutes north of La On, is a picturesque stretch of coastline that offers crystal-clear waters and soft white sand. This beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and taking in the stunning natural scenery. The beach also offers various activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and beach volleyball, making it a popular spot for both locals and tourists. With its tranquil surroundings and gorgeous views, White Sand Beach is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Khao Lak.
If you’re looking for a more secluded beach experience, you should head South to Thai Mueang or North to Bang Sak (video included). Large parts of these beaches are both beautiful and unspoilt, and you’ll have them pretty much to yourself.
The beaches in Khao Lak are not as crowded as some of the beaches in Phuket, so if you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday, Khao Lak is definitely the place to go!
To discover our selection of Top 3 beaches, read: Khao Lak Top 3 Amazing Beaches you don’t want to miss
Popular nearby islands
Situated along the pristine Andaman Sea in southern Thailand, Khao Lak serves as a gateway to a cluster of captivating islands. These enchanting islands offer visitors a glimpse into a world of natural splendour, with their crystal-clear turquoise waters, powdery white sand beaches, and vibrant marine life. Each island near Khao Lak possesses its own unique charm and allure, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and beach lovers alike. From the popular Similan Islands, renowned for their exceptional diving and snorkelling opportunities, to the lesser-known yet equally breathtaking Koh Tachai and Surin Islands, these paradisiacal destinations offer unforgettable experiences in a serene and unspoiled setting. Whether you seek thrilling underwater adventures or simply wish to bask in the tranquillity of nature’s beauty, the islands near Khao Lak provide a sanctuary that will leave an indelible mark on your soul.
Visit the Similan Islands
The Similan Islands are a group of eleven islands renowned for their diving and snorkelling opportunities.
The eleven islands are called Koh Bangu, Koh Bon, Koh Ha, Koh Hin Pousar, Koh Huyong, Koh Meang, Koh Payan, Koh Payang, Koh Payu, Koh Similan and Koh Tachai. All the Islands are located in the Mu Koh Similan National Park, which covers over 140 square kilometres.
The park was first established in 1982 and gazetted as a national park in 1984. The main purpose of establishing the park was to protect the coral reefs, which are part of a larger marine ecosystem that is important for both local and international tourism.
The Similan Islands were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006.
Many tourists want to visit the Similan Islands because of the crystal clear waters and colourful coral reefs. It’s the perfect destination for snorkelling and diving. There is an abundance of marine life around the islands. Some of the fish that can be seen swimming around the coral reefs are:
- colourful tropical fish
- manta rays
- sea turtles
- moray and other eels
and a lot more…
The best time to visit the Similan Islands is from November to April when the weather is good and the seas are calm. Khao Lak is a great place to base yourself while you explore the amazing underwater world of the Similan Islands. Book the popular early bird day trip to the Similan Islands here with English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian guides.
Khao Lak Guide to Surin Islands
A close runner-up to the Similan Islands is the Surin Islands. The Surin Islands are known for their world-class diving, snorkelling and fishing. The marine life is just as colourful and varied as in the Similan Islands and there are also some great beaches if you want to take a break from the water.
If you want your next snorkelling or diving trip to be less crowded compared to the popular Similan Islands, book this highly-rated trip to the Surin Islands by Love Andaman (local tour agency)
The best time to visit the Surin Islands is from November to April when the weather is good and the sea is calm.
Foods you should try
If you’re looking for some unique Thai food to try, Khao Lak is the place to be! Some popular Thai food dishes to try are:
- Pad Thai: This is a stir-fried rice noodle dish that is typically served with shrimp, chicken, or tofu. It’s one of the most popular dishes in Thailand and can be found at most restaurants.
- Tom Yum: This is a hot and sour soup that is flavoured with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce, and crushed red chilli peppers. You can include meats such as shrimp, chicken, pork or fish.
- All the Thai curries (red, green, yellow, massaman), but especially the Green Curry: This is a coconut milk-based curry that is flavoured with red and green peppers, Thai basil leaves, kaffir lime leaves, Thai eggplant or green beans. It’s typically served with chicken, beef, pork, or fish.
If you’re looking for something sweet to finish off your meal, try one of Thailand’s famous desserts, mango sticky rice. The rice is cooked in coconut milk and topped with ripe mango. It’s a delicious way to end your meal!
Khao Lak Wildlife
Khao Lak is home to various wildlife. If you’re lucky, you might spot an elephant or a gibbon while you’re there. The Khao Lak region is also home to many different bird species, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for some of Thailand’s beautiful birds.
Are there snakes in Khao Lak?
We won’t sugarcoat it, yes there are snakes, but they usually don’t come near the tourist spots as it’s too noisy for them. However, if you’re venturing into the jungle, it’s always best to be aware of your surroundings and take some precautions.
Khao Sok is the best place to spot wildlife
If you’re looking to see some of Thailand’s amazing wildlife, Khao Sok National Park is the place to go.
Khao Sok National Park is not far from Khao Lak. You can book a day trip or overnight stay at Khao Sok. The famous Khao Sok Lake should be on your priority to-do list because of the limestone karsts that rise up out of the emerald green waters, giving the area an ethereal feel. With its dense jungle and river systems, it’s home to a wide variety of animal species, including elephants, bears, deer, monkeys and exotic birds.
Finally, should you visit Khao Lak?
Is Khao Lak worth the visit? That really depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a more rural, Thai experience, away from the hustle and bustle of Phuket or Bangkok, then Khao Lak is definitely worth your time. The beaches are beautiful and the vibe is relaxed and chilled out. Khao Lak is also the ideal destination to visit the Similan Islands and Khao Sok National Park. Just be prepared for the tropical heat and humidity — but that’s just Thailand!