Top 15 Things to Do in Khao Lak, Thailand

Top Tourist Spots in Khao Lak

Khuk Khak Beach by @flashpackinglife via Flickr cc

Bucket List: 15 Best Places to Visit in Khao Lak, Thailand

The seaside town of Khao Lak is quite the opposite of its neighbor Phuket. Khao Lak comprises several tourist-oriented villages, mainly in the Takua Pa District and partly in the Thai Mueang District of Phang Nga Province in Thailand. The name “Khao Lak” literally translates to ‘Main Mountain.’ While Phuket can get vivacious and over the top, Khao Lak is more easygoing and laid-back.

The town’s close location to popular islands, like Similan and Surin Islands, and its peaceful beaches make Khao Lak the ideal location for low-key beach vacations. The current state of Khao Lak is a far cry from the 2004 tsunami that left the town in a wreck, turning the area from a stopover destination into a beach destination itself.

1. Turtle Festival

Annual Turtle Festival in Thai Muang
Annual Turtle Festival in Thai Muang

Every year, locals celebrate the release of young turtles into the ocean from Thai Muang Beach to raise awareness of the declining population of turtles. The Phang Nga Coastal Fisheries Research and Development are tasked with conserving and protecting the visiting nesting turtles from raising the survival rate of the hatchlings. Rangers and volunteers remove these eggs from the shore and incubate them for 60 days before the release. The annual 7-day event is held every March at Thai Muang Beach.

2. International Tsunami Museum

International Tsunami Museum by Bjoertvedt via Wikimedia cc
International Tsunami Museum By Bjoertvedt – Own work, CC BY 3.0, cc

The International Tsunami Museum was established to retain the memories of the devastating tragedy of the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004. The museum displays framed photos and plays videos of the tsunami. The museum also has exhibits that show how a tsunami forms and the psychological impacts of the calamity on its victims.

Operating Hours: 9AM to 9PM, Daily
Entrance Rates: 100 baht

3. Elephant Sanctuary Tours

Elephant Sanctuary Touris in Khao Lak by Luke Strange via Flickr cc
Elephant Sanctuary Tours in Khao Lak by Luke Strange via Flickr cc

In Khao Lak, visitors meet the elephants taken care of in one of the many elephant sanctuaries. Tours into some of the largest sanctuaries allow visitors to feed, bathe and play with these gentle giants. These can be half-day tours to just one center or combination tours to multiple sanctuaries. Some of these centers are Elephant Welfare Centre, Phang Nga Elephant Park, and Khao Lak Eco Elephant.

4. Pak Weep Beach

Pinky Beach at Pak Weep Restaurant & Bar
Pinky Beach at Pak Weep Restaurant & Bar via FB Page

Pak Weep Beach is one of a kind because the beach takes into account the entertainment and safety of children. It is a family-friendly beach with play areas filled with swings, slides, and climbing frames. On a good day, the sea is calm and has fewer waves. The shores are clean and shaded by coconut trees.

5. Sunset Beach

Sunset in Khao Lak by Mattihias Burch @mabufeu via Flickr cc
Sunset in Khao Lak by Mattihias Burch @mabufeu via Flickr cc

Sandwiched between Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park and Nang Thong Beach, Sunset Beach has a long stretch of beach that look over the sea and, just like its name, stunning sunset views. Sunset Beach feels more idyllic, and visitors can take in the natural beauty of Khao Lak from one of the beach’s luxury resorts.

6. Nang Thong Beach

Nang Thong Beach by @Kullez via Flickr cc
Nang Thong Beach by @Kullez via Flickr cc

Nang Thong Beach is regarded as one of the first tourist-friendly resort towns in Khao Lak. While the 2-kilometer strip of beach is packed with restaurants and bars, the golden sands of Nang Thong Beach are popular for quiet beach walks and relaxing get-togethers. After all, it is located in one of the quieter areas in Khao Lak.

7. Bang Niang Beach

Bang Niang Beach by @percygermany via Flickr cc
Bang Niang Beach by @percygermany via Flickr cc

Bang Niang Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Khao Lak, together with Nang Thong Beach and Nang Thong Beach. The beach is popular among backpackers and day travelers looking for simple water activities on its calmer sea and accommodations that are budget-friendly

Unlike Nang Thong Beach, Bang Niang Beach is livelier at night. Its bars and restaurants are stocked with entertainment equipment and filled with locals and tourists, giving life to the thriving nightlife of the beach.

8. Khuk Khak Beach

Khuk Khak Beach by @flashpackinglife via Flickr cc
Khuk Khak Beach by @flashpackinglife via Flickr cc

Often deserted and empty, Khuk Khak Beach has a long stretch of powdery, soft, white sand beach. The shores get wider during low tides, giving visitors more space to idle and play. Khuk Khak Beach is also close to Bang Niang Market, filled with fresh produce, local street food, and handicrafts.

Bang Niang Market
Operating Hours: 2PM to 10PM, Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays

9. Cape Pakarang

Sunset at Apsara Beachfront Resort & Villa
Sunset at Apsara Beachfront Resort & Villa

Cape Pakarang, also called Pakarang Beach or Coral Beach, has a few beach resorts nearby. The long stretch of quiet beach is great for idle walks and quiet explorations. Surfing and kayaking are popular activities between May and October when the waves are bigger and more frequent. Memories Beach Bar has a surfing school, surfboard and kayak rentals, and Pakarang Surf School.

Pakarang Surf School
Surfboard and Kayak Rental: 200 baht/hour
Surfing Lessons: 1,000 baht/hour

10. Bang Sak Beach

Le Menara-Khao lak
Le Menara-Khao lak

The beach of the locals is what Bang Sak Beach is sometimes referred to because of the lack of hotels and tourist accommodations near it. One of the most visited beaches by tourists, Bang Sak Beach is located just north of Cape Pakarang. The beach is ideal for those looking for a relaxing beach to idle to and a relatively quiet place to learn about the local cuisine.

11. Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving photo by Jesse van Vliet via Unsplash
Scuba Diving photo by Jesse van Vliet via Unsplash

Just opposite Khao Lak is one of the world’s premier diving destinations, Similan Island. That’s why it comes as no surprise why diving, snorkeling, and swimming are popular activities in Khao Lak and why the area is the premier destination for several other underwater sports. Visitors can see the immaculate beauty of the region’s underwater paradise through these activities. Some of the best snorkeling sites are in Bang Niang Beach, Nang Thong Beach, and Similan Islands, while the best diving sites are Premchai Wreck, Boonsang Wreck, and Similan Islands.

12. Ton Chong Fa and Lam Ru Waterfall

Lam Ru Waterfall and Ton Chong Fa Waterfall are 5-level waterfalls located inside the Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park. Both are “Free Natural Showers” with several natural swimming pools at the bottom. Both waterfalls are located inside the Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park and boast a challenging hiking trail. Visitors hiking to the waterfalls should be mindful of the rocks, especially during the monsoon season, and to remember to wear comfortable shoes. Bring garbage bags and to clean as you go.

13. Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park

Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park is known for the waterfalls found inside and the several stunning beaches near it. Thai wildlife flourishes within the park, with hundreds of species of birds and mammals making the national park it’s home. Some of the native species found are the Malayan Tapir and the Burmese bush frog. The national park is named after two of the highest peaks in the area, Khao Lak and Lam Ru, and was established as a national park in 1995 because of the natural resources found in the area. Visitors can set camps on the campgrounds during the park’s visiting hours, dine at the restaurant near the visitor center, hike to the waterfalls, or simply explore and discover the wildlife inside.

Operating Hours: 8AM to 4:30PM, Daily
Entrance Rates (Foreigners): 100 Baht, Adults; 50 Baht, Children aged 3 to 14 years
Entrance Rates (Thai Citizens): 20 Baht, Adults; 10 Baht, Children aged 3 to 14 years
Camping Rates: 225 Baht, Tents good for 3pax; 60 Baht, Sleeping sets per person

14. Thai Cooking Class

Thai Fried Rice
Thai Fried Rice

One of the best ways to learn about a new culture is through learning about their cuisine, and Khao Lak has several cooking classes available for booking to offer its foreign visitors. These classes often start with sourcing ingredients from farmers’ markets and showing guests traditional cooking techniques of local dishes. Some Thai Cooking Classes also offer foodie tours to local markets and restaurants.

15. Khao Lak Cycling Tours

Cycling Tours are one of the engaging ways to tour the town of Khao Lak, apart from the popular underwater sports the area offers. These tours can be tailored to the participants’ capabilities as cyclists or the number of tourist sites that will be visited. Through cycling tours, visitors can explore Khao Lak’s nature, get to know the local community, and learn more about the town’s heritage.

How to get there

The easiest way to get to Khao Lak is to fly into Phuket International Airport and take a taxi or bus from there. Mini-buses are available to get around Khao Lak and run throughout the day. Although minibusses cost more, they are faster than regular buses.

Our Top Hotel Picks for Khao Lak, Thailand

Khao Lak Travel, and Tour Packages

Check out our list of cheap Khao Lak hotels, and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

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