Deserted beaches, crystal clear waters, and raw jungle forests; we love Khao Lak for its untouched beauty. There are no high-rise buildings, no crowds of tourists, and no pollution. Explore the spectacular natural surroundings, the unspoiled beach coastline, and the network of sandy beach trails running from Khao Lak to Bang Sak. A holiday in Khao Lak is like being tucked into your own corner of paradise.
Set on the fringes of the Khao Lak resort, Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park is a collage of sea cliffs plunging into crystal blue waters, stunning beaches, winding estuaries, and tropical evergreen forests. Visit Tone Chong Fah waterfall, which drops 10 meters into a pool that is good for swimming, or Nam Tok Lam Ru, a stunning five-tiered falls. When trekking in the forest you may well see flying lemurs, drongos, monkeys, and tapirs.
Limestone cliffs with intricate sea caves leading into exotic lagoons characterise the stunning Phang Nga Bay, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bay is filled with limestone islands that have, over time, collapsed into themselves, leaving the interior intact. The unique eco-system that composes Phang Nga Bay includes tropical monkeys, birds, and fish.
Diving and snorkelling offshore from the Similan and Surin Islands, located near Khao Lak, is popular. View some of Thailand's most beautiful coral, home to exotic fish and sea mammals. The journey is about an hour by speedboat from Khao Lak. Many tour companies offer day trips as well as overnight trips on board the boat.
There are a number of carriers offering flights to Thailand from the UK.
Direct Carriers: Thai Airways, Eva Air and British Airways offer a direct service from the UK.
Indirect Carriers: Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Qantas and Etihad all offer indirect services from the UK.
Departure Taxes: Since 2007 international departure taxes have been included in the price of flight tickets, helping to take the hassle out of organising holidays to Thailand.
British Passport holders are not required a visa to enter Thailand for tourist stays up to 30 days only, more than sufficient for most holidays to Thailand. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in Thailand. Please contact the Thai Embassy for up to date country and visa information on 0207 589 2944.
You can exchange your UK Pounds for the Thai Baht (pronounced Baaht) prior to leaving the UK, but you will generally save a few Baht if you wait and do it upon arrival. There are several currency exchanges at Bangkok's international airport. FOREX booths are sprinkled throughout the larger cities and post their daily exchange rates on electronic notice boards.
Cash exchanges incur no commissions or fees, so cash is the easiest, and in most cases the cheapest way to go. However, this has obvious risks associated with it, so do be careful carrying excessive amounts. Traveller’s cheques are generally only accepted at banks or foreign exchange shops and you will incur a commission fee. Cash machines are plentiful throughout Thailand. Major credit cards are accepted by most hotels and restaurants. Smaller merchants may not accept cards or will add a fee.
THB - Thai Baht
While some people may leave the small change from a large note, tipping isn’t generally expected and is in no way mandatory in Thailand. Many hotels and restaurants include a 10 percent service charge, but if you receive exceptional service then an additional gratuity would be appreciated. In taxis it is customary to just ‘round up’.
April-June and September-October
Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid immunisations and malaria tablets are recommended. All travellers should be up to date on routine immunisations. Yellow fever immunisation is required if arriving from an infected country or area. For full details, please contact your GP.
Packing for your holiday to Thailand is mostly a matter of common sense. It also depends on which season you are travelling in. Although the weather in Thailand is marked by three seasons - rainy (July-October), hot (March-June), and cool (November-February - it is generally hot and humid throughout much of the year. As such, you should pack clothing for hot, tropical weather, including:
Although you’ll encounter plenty of Southern style Thai cooking, such as red, green and yellow curries with a coconut milk base, the Khao Lak area has chefs from all over the country who have brought their own twists to the fresh, local ingredients on offer here.
The big draw of Khao Lak is its coastal location. Enjoying a spot of dinner as the sun sets is one of the most enticing experiences here, and there are many excellent eateries for this.
Beach Restaurant and Bar in Bang Niang serves up giant prawns, tom yum soup and many types of fresh fish for those looking for a full dining out experience. There are also a number of romantic, Thai-themed restaurants towards the end of the beach.
If it’s a seafood barbeque you’re after — which are popular in Thailand — consider Sala restaurant or Khao Lak Seafood in Nang Thong. Pick your fish of choice and devour it with the help of a selection of dipping sauces.
Instead of just eating the delicious Thai food on offer, it’s a great idea to learn how to cook it so you can continue to enjoy it after you return home. Whip up a spicy noodle dish or create a deeply flavoured broth at Ta-Krai restaurant at the JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort and Spa. Chef Jimmy, at Case de la Flora, can also teach you to make the perfect pad Thai. Cooking classes are popular in Thai resorts so you can come home with a new skill.
Pop-up vendors are not as abundant in Khao Lak as some other parts of Thailand, but you can still find some excellent, inexpensive fare if you know where to look.
Bang Niang night market
Known by the locals as Food Street, this market area is as close as Khao Lak comes to the type of food market found on every corner in Bangkok. The market has a lot of souvenir and trinket shops, but among them are some vendors serving traditional local fare. Slightly further up the road there’s a second market frequented more by the locals, which is another good place to find authentic food.
These grilled pork skewers are one of the most popular street food dishes throughout Thailand. It is quite often served with a small bowl of sticky rice, which clings to the marinade on the meat, and can be easily eaten as you wander around the markets.
Many regard Thai basil chicken to be the ultimate of all street food. The Thai basil adds a touch of sweetness to the dish, which can also be made with other kinds of meat or fish. The finishing touch is a friend egg on top, which brings the whole thing to another level.
Prices in Thailand are fairly inexpensive, particularly compared to what you are used to at home. A plate of Thai food, some noodles, and a soft drink might cost between 40 to 70 Thai Baht, grilled chicken with sticky rice from a street vendor might cost about 20 Thai Baht, one litre of bottled water from a store might cost seven to 12 Thai Baht, a bottle of wine from a supermarket might cost about 450 Thai Baht, and a small Singha beer from a bar might cost 60 to150 Thai Baht.
Most Thai's wear clothes similar to Westerners: suits to work, uniforms to school, jeans and T-shirts at the weekend. This is especially true in cities and tourist areas such as Bangkok. In some rural areas and for special occasions you might find people wearing traditional Thai dress. Chut Thai phra ratcha niyom (Thai dress of royal endorsement) includes several sets of clothing, typically made of silk, used on formal occasions and holidays.
Thai people are shy, polite, and sensitive by nature. Their culture is conservative and ruled by the family structure and the Buddhist religion. Young people respect their elders, teachers, and Buddhist monks, and behaviour is tightly controlled. This is a country where where the rules of saving face apply and explosive displays of emotion are frowned upon.
While parts of Thailand have been westernised in some ways, it is still a traditional Buddhist country, where certain cultures and traditions are revered, including:
Khao Lak is best known as a beach destination, with many visitors also looking to go diving or snorkelling at the underwater hotspots here. However, there’s also wildlife to see on land too, including just an hour north at Khao Sok National Park, where you can see birds, lizards and other indigenous animals on a gentle raft cruise.
Lam Ru National Park
With 1,000-metre high hills, waterfalls, dense forest valleys and beaches, this national park is a fantastic habitat for wildlife. Animals that inhabit the region include drongos, hornbills, tapirs, monkeys and black bears, with several species of butterflies also found in the rainforested areas.
There are a number of different walking options, with round trips taking between two and five hours, depending on how frequently you stop to spot animals.
Khao Lak is one of the most popular regions in Thailand to dive and snorkel. It’s close to a number of exciting dive spots, including the Similan Islands, Koh Bon and Richelieu Rock. Manta rays, whale sharks and many other brightly coloured tropical fish can be spotted here swimming among the reefs and wrecks.