Khao Lak Beaches, Thailand

Khao Lak beach in the morning, Thailand

An early  morning view of Khao Lak beaches.

Why visit Khao Lak?

Khao Lak is a tranquil coastal area with soft sand and mid-market beach bungalows and resort hotels about 60kms north of Phuket island and 100kms north of Phuket town.

This region doesn’t do brash tourist resorts or Patong packaged people. It is more about soft yellow sand, clean warm seas, low-profile, discreet buildings catering to mostly European families, couples and scuba divers who are on the way to some of Thailand’s best diving off the Similan Islands (50 kms away) or Surin Islands (60 kms away).

khao lak beach cottages, phuket, thailand

Typical mid-market beach bungalows on the shore.

khao lak beach cafes, phuket, thailand

Traditional beach cafés.

Tsunami protection

Tsunami warning shelter, khao lak, thailand

Tsunami control centre and shelter in Khao Lak, photo by Ray Googin.

In 2004 a massive tsunami hit east Thailand’s coast, with loss of life. Coastal reconstruction included a tsunami warning control centre and refuge on the Khao Lak coast.

Khao Lak things to do

khao lak beach spirit house, phuket, thailand

A Spirit House on the beach, keeping the spirits up.

• The region is quiet compared to most of Phuket, easy to reach from Phuket airport and hosts mainly mid-range accommodation.

• The Similan Islands are the destination of choice for serious scuba divers or snorkellers who don’t mind the 2 hour ride to get 50kms offshore.

• A couple of pretty waterfalls with swimming facilities (Chong Fah and Lampi) less than an hour’s drive away make z good day trip, as does Takuapa Old Town with its old colonial architecture, market and riverside restaurants.

• Khao Sok National Park offers rainforest activities including jungle treks and elephant rides, waterfalls, river rafting and canoeing. Khao Sok is an hour’s drive drive northeast of Khao Lak.


• There are limited night life and dining options.

• Chunky waves tend to hit the beaches early in the season.

• Some places experience ageing Scandinavian folk overload. But that’s a positive in some ways…

Khao Lak best seasons

The best time to be on these beaches is December to March, with the obvious caveat that around Christmas and New Year the place will be packed and prices will be higher than during the low season.
The worst time would be May to October when many facilities will be closed and heavy rains may be frequent, along with rough seas, seaweed on the beach, mould and mosquitoes!
Bargain prices might be obtained during April and November if you’re a gambler!

Khao Lak beach view, Phuket, Thailand

Khao Lak’s main beach. Photo by Vincent.

Getting to Khao Lak

khao lak road, phuket, thailand

A forested road running alongside beaches in Phang-Na province.

• fly to Phuket international airport and take a taxi for the 75kms to Khao Lak. Buses don’t go from the airport, though they do pass by on Highway 4 about 5 kms away.

• fly to Krabi international airport and take a taxi or mini-bus from there.

• take an overnight bus from Bangkok’s Sai Tai terminal in the south of the city.

• take a bus from Phuket bus station running every couple of hours and taking 2 hours.

• take a daily minibus from Krabi.