GMT +7 hours
Secluded natural landscapes and pretty beaches await.
Khao Lak is a low-key beach resort that sits on the mainland, around an hour north of Phuket. Here, miles of glorious sands sit against a lush jungle backdrop, and local waters are renowned for their marine life. The area has a great resort-feel, with hotels scattered close to the beachfront and restaurants lining the main road, but it retains an unassuming atmosphere and laid-back vibe.
Best time to visit Khao Lak
Khao Lak is hot year-round. The peak season here is between November and February when the climate is drier and slightly cooler. The wonderful Similan and Surin National Marine Parks can usually be visited from November to mid-May – they're closed for conservation during other months. May to October sees high rainfall. This is the time to benefit from the greatest value offers and less crowded beaches, but you'll need to be a little more flexible with your plans, which may need to be rescheduled if there's heavy rain.
Khao Lak holiday highlights
Khao Lak is essentially a series of small villages that sprawl along the long beachfront. Nang Thong is the largest and most popular beach area (but still by no means busy), with restaurants, bars and shops along the main road and larger resorts fronting the beach. To the south, secluded Khao Lak Beach is a peaceful refuge for nature lovers, while to the north, the beaches get progressively quieter.
Just north of Nang Thong, Bang Niang has more of a chilled-out up-and-coming feel, with some great little bars and restaurants along the road that runs from the main highway down to the beach. Three times a week, Bang Niang hosts a market with food, clothes and accessory stalls. There's a friendly, laid-back vibe and most people take their time to browse, stopping for a drink at one of the pop-up market bars.
Khao Lak is also the gateway to the Surin and Similan Islands, renowned as some of the best diving locations in the world. Two hours east, Khao Sok National Park is an enchanting place to explore on a day trip. Giant limestone mountains and ancient evergreen rainforests provide a tranquil habitat for elephants, hornbills and monkeys, while a longtail boat ride on the impressive Cheow Lan Lake will introduce you to floating villages, emerald waters and some of the most beautifully unspoilt limestone karst landscapes you can imagine.