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On the West Coast of Thailand, you’ll find the Khao Lak region, which is quite popular with tourists. Khao Lak consists of multiple villages and stretches for about 25 kilometers along the coast of the Andaman Sea. From lively villages to calm and quiet holiday idylls, in Khao Lak you’ll find it all.

15 recommendations and tips for your trip to Khao Lak

Since Khao Lak covers quite a large area, it offers loads of things to see and to do. Famous sights, beaches, markets, and natural beauty. All that makes Khao Lak a truly interesting and multifaceted vacation destiny. In this article we’ll share what to do and what to see in Khao Lak.

How to get to Khao Lak

Most of the visitors coming to Khao Lak arrive from Phuket, since Khao Lak doesn’t have its own airport. Many airlines from Asia fly to Phuket. There are even some direct connections from Europe and the Emirates. You can find more info regarding plane connections, time tables and prices at Skyscanner.

Khao Lak and Bangkok are connected by a bus link, though the journey takes accordingly. Trains are another option, but you have to change to a bus in Surat Thani.

From Phuket you can take a cab, minivan, bus or a privat transfer to get to Khao Lak. There is a multitude of options. You can either look for a transport directly from the airport or from the central bus station of Phuket Town. Some hotels also offer pick-up services, though you have to arrange that with your hotel in advance. Prices, time tables and departure points can be found at 12go.asia.

Accommodation in Khao Lak – our hotel tip

Most of the hotels in Khao Lak are in Bang La On and Bang Niang, the two main villages of the Khao Lak region. Besides those two, there are accommodations in Bangsak and Khuk Khak, both of which are a bit quieter.

We can recommend the Chongfah Beach Resort in Bang Niang. It’s right next to the beach and is a small, calm, clean and lovingly designed site. The rooms have a balcony or a terrace and offer a lot of space and amenities. The staff is also really helpful and a lot of stores, restaurants, etc. are located just a few minutes away in walkable distance. It’s just perfect for a beach getaway in Khao Lak!

1. Beach hopping in Khao Lak

Since Khao Lak owns a 25-kilometre-long coastline, it has a multitude of beaches to offer. This makes Khao Lak ideal for beach hopping! Starting with the Khao Lak Beach followed by the beaches of the famous villages Nang Thong Beach (Bang La On) and Bang Niang Beach (Bang Niang), until you reach the white shores of the Coconut Beach and the White Sand Beach.

Khao Lak's white Coconut Beach
The Coconut Beach of Khao Lak

There are also a couple of beaches in between. The longest one of those is the Khuk Khak Beach, which is so long that it had to be subdivided into parts 1 and 2. You can explore the beaches either by a shared cab or on your own with a scooter. Khao Lak just seems to be made for having a good time on the beach.

2. Tsunami Boat 813

The Tsunami Boat 813 is one of the memorials for the tsunami of 2004. It’s in the village of Bang Niang, almost across the Bang Niang night market. Next to the massive police boat, which had been washed ashore at this very spot, is a small exhibition with pictures and stories of the tragic incident.

The police boat 813 at the Tsunami Boat 813 Memorial

It is a powerful scene to understand the scale of the tragedy. The boat memorial is 2 kilometers from the coast, showing the extent of devastation the tsunami brought over the land.

3. Bang Niang Market

As mentioned, not far from the police boat 813 the night market of Bang Niang is to be found. It is very popular with the visitors of Khao Lak and is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Most vendors open at around 5pm and close around 10pm.

The market is comparably big, and you can find loads of booths and stores selling everything from clothes and accessories to souvenirs and food. The Bang Niang night market is not only suitable for a shopping spree, but also for a nice diner.

The night market of Bang Niang, Khao Lak

If you want to go for a drink after all the shopping and eating, the bars and cocktail booths of the Bang Niang night market got you covered. Owing to the tourist volumes, the prices can be unexpectedly high, but they are still lower than in other tourist destinations of Thailand.

4. Wat Khuk Khak

The Wat Khuk Khak is in close proximity to the Khuk Khak Beach and only sees a handful of foreign tourists a day. The complex is quite green and equally impressive, especially the main building. Surrounding the main building are a bunch of smaller statues and sometimes also monks.

The Wat Khuk Khak in Khao Lak

5. Sai Rung Waterfall

The Sai Rung Waterfall is close to the Pak Weep Beach and is sometimes also called the Rainbow Waterfall. When you’re visiting at the right time and the sun shines through the water, the waterfall is lighting up in many different colours.

The Sai Rung Waterfall of Khao Lak

The most convenient way to get to the waterfall is with a scooter, but cabs or organised day trips are viable options too. From the main road of Khao Lak leading up north, you have to turn right at Pak Weep Beach, going away from the beach. From there on signs lead you the way.

Entrance is free of charge, though parking is 20 Baht for a car or a scooter. From the parking lot it’s only a few minutes into the forest until you reach the waterfall. A tiny, but magnificent stopover.

6. The Big Buddha of Bang Sai

If you’re driving on the same road towards the Sai Rung Waterfall, but instead of turning right at Pak Weep Beach you continue for some 10 more minutes, the street will lead you to the Big Buddha of Bang Sai. He’s at home at Wat Samnak Song Dok Daeng, as the temple is known by its full name.

The Big Buddha of Bang Sai close to Khao Lak

The temple complex is still under construction and is mostly financed by donations. The Big Buddha is already finished though and the stairs leading up to him are currently being built. It’s worth a quick stop, which will most definitely be even better, once you can reach the Big Buddha via the stairs.

7. Andaman Viewpoint

The Andaman Viewpoint still is a proper secret tip. When we went there, it was only us. The view wasn’t the best back then because of the haze, but the sun is right over the ocean and it’s a great spot to catch the sunset.

The view from the Andaman Viewpoint in Khao Lak

There’s no entrance fee to the Andaman Viewpoint and it’s reached the easiest by scooter. The viewpoint is just before Bangsak Village in the northern direction, on the side not going to the beach. There are also signs.

We spoke with some Thais when we went there, and they told us that a bar offering drinks would be built there soon. Still, the Andaman Viewpoint will probably remain a hidden gem for quite some time.

8. Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial

In the village of Ban Nam Khem, about 20 kilometers away from the centre of the Khao Lak region you will find the Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial. It sits right at the ocean and has a view of the small Koh Kho Khao island.

The area was one of the hardest hit by the 2004 tsunami and therefore the memorial for the victims was built here.

Tsunami Memorial in Ban Nam Khem, north of Khao Lak

The main memorials are a fishing boat and commemorative plaques, which are on a wall imitating one of the devastating waves with its shape. There’s also a golden Buddha statue facing the commemorative plaques, keeping an eye on them.

Here too, you can get to by scooter or by car. Otherwise you can also take public transport from Khao Lak to Takua Pa , and get on a shared cab, heading towards Ban Nam Khem.

9. Pakarang Cape

Laem Pakarang, Pakarang Cape or Coral Cape are the names by which this cape close to Coconut and White Sand Beach is known. Not many people visit here, which is why it’s mostly calm and quiet over there.

At low tide you can see a big plate of corals protruding out of the sea, spreading out over parts of the beach. Right at the Pakarang Cape is also a beach section, which is quite beloved by divers.

The Pakarang Cape from above, captured with the DJI Mavic drone

Parts of the underwater world are breath taking and there’s even a sunken shipwreck, waiting to be explored. Because of the corals, it’s not the best spot for swimming, unless you wear some water shoes. For us, the Pakarang Cape was a gorgeous spot for a quick stopover on the way to Coconut Beach.

10. Ton Chong Fa Waterfall

The Ton Chong Fa is another waterfall in Khao Lak you should give a visit. Shortly after the Bang Niang night market, when driving north, you’ll see the entrance to the Ton Chong Fa Waterfall on your right. It is about 7 kilometers inland.

Following the street, you will arrive right at the entrance, where you have to pay a fee of 200 Baht for entering the national park. Now you got to walk about 30 minutes through the jungle. Though the stones on the way can be quite slippery. Sturdy footwear is to be recommended.

On the way to the Ton Chong Fa waterfall, you’ll find loads of small natural pools, which are perfect to cool down. The waterfall with its 7 steps is really impressive, though mostly only after a rainfall after which the river carries heaps of water. If you like hiking, then a trip to the Ton Chong Fa Waterfall is just for you.

11. Build Market

Also located on the main road going through the Khao Lak region is the new Build Market, about a five minutes’ drive up north from the Bang Niang night market. On the Build Market you’ll find loads of shops in old shipping containers. Sometimes there’s even live music and besides shopping, the Build Market is also a great place to eat.

The Build Market of Khao Lak

When we visited, the hipster market was still quite unattended, but that will certainly change, since markets like this one are very popular in Thailand. Opening times are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from 5pm until 11pm.

12. Eating seafood at the beach

There are a lot of great restaurants at the beach to have dinner or a snack. You can find fresh seafood, but also all kinds of Thai cuisine dishes. The Happy Restaurant at the Tap Tawan Beach for example is amazing, though it’s also well visited most of the times.

Dinner at the beach, Liabhad Bar & Grill Restaurants, Bangsak, Khao Lak
The Liabhad Bar & Grill Restaurant in Bangsak

A restaurant a bit outside, with a calm atmosphere and yummy food at the sea is the Liabhad Bar & Grill Restaurant in Bangsak. It is popular with the locals, and tourists are quite rare over here. The service was great and the food fabulous. It’s most definitely worth a visit!

13. View at the Muanlai Restaurant

South of Bang La On, just after the Khao Lak Sunset Resort, you’ll find the Muanlai Restaurant sitting on the seaside. The restaurant offers Thai and Isaan Food. It’s the view of the coasts and beaches of Khao Lak though that is stealing the show.

View of the beaches of Khao Lak

The Muanlai Restaurant serves as an ideal stopover for a refreshing shake and to take some pictures of course. If you’re exploring Khao Lak don’t miss the chance to visit the Muanlai Restaurant. It’s mostly quite empty and therefore another one of our secret tips.

14. Massage

Massages and spas are bountiful in Thailand. Khao Lak is no exception. After a day of extensive sightseeing in Khao Lak or a day on the beach in the sun, there’s almost nothing like a massage to relax. No matter whether directly on the beach or in one of the many shops and spas.

Massage at Khuk Khak Beach 2 in Khao Lak

If you got a sunburn, a soothing aloe vera massage might be just what you need, though a massage with coconut oil is quite unwinding too. If not, the famous Thai massage is an alternative. Provided you like it a bit rougher. Rates start at 300/400 Baht an hour.

15. Sunset

Since Thailand’s sun sets just above the coast of Khao Lak, the sunset is one of the main highlights for visitors of the region. You can watch the sunset at pretty much all of Khao Laks beaches. No matter how many sunsets you’ve already seen, it’s always a worthwhile way to end the day.

Sunset at Nang Thong Beach in Khao Lak

We can recommend the bar Coconuts at the Nang Thong Beach, located just next to the Centara. Everyday there’s a Happy Hour at sunset where you get two cocktails for the price of one. It’s best to arrive at 5:30pm, so you can enjoy a drink while the sun is dipping beneath the horizon.

Khao Lak: Tours and Tickets

Do you prefer to travel with a guide who knows the area very well? Then we recommend a guided tour with a local. This way you can get to know Khao Lak in a completely different way. GetYourGuide offers a wide selection of exciting tours for Khao Lak.

Did you already go to Khao Lak? What other tips for sightseeing do you have? How do you like Khao Lak? Leave us a comment!