It might not be an island, but with miles of unspoiled beaches unfurling in front you, Khao Lak has all the best parts of a deserted island escape – without the high costs or sacrificed material pleasures.
The chance to pack a picnic and find a your own plot of paradise – just the crash of the waves, a few scurrying crab, and that special someone – is very much a reality. While each beach has ample supplies of the ‘big three’ – sun, sand, and surf – they also have minor differences in personality.
We’ve done the tough work of inspecting every last one, but that shouldn’t stop you from doing the same; second opinions are always valuable in matters of extreme importance.
The second most populous beach, Bang Niang, like Nang Thong, is still nowhere near crowded. A few longtails putter about in the sea, a small assembly of resorts overlook the beach, and basic-but-cheap Thai restaurants and massage huts – with paradise-perfect views – perch on the small sand hill that slopes down to meet the incoming surf. (Read more about Bang Niang Beach...)
Woods and waves come together at the southernmost beach in Khao Lak. Quite possibly the area’s most shaded stretch of sand, stately trees line the edge of the beach, their branches reaching for the sea. A headland, impassable on foot, blocks this beach from it’s neighbours to the north, resulting in periods of absolute vacancy.
Please note that there are no beach chairs for rent, no wandering vendors, and not much nearby but a few resorts. (Read more about Khao Lak Beach...)
Khuk Khak Beach, with only a couple resorts tucked among the pine trees and palm groves, marks the end of civilization and the beginning of endless stretches of near-nothingness.
Following the signs from Khuk Khak Village to the beach of the same name, jump off the main road on any trail that leads to toward the water and enjoy the tranquility of isolation. Here, you’re more likely to encounter local fisherman going about their business than other travelers.
The most peopled beach is by no means crowded; that adjective is laughable in Khao Lak. The half-dozen resorts that front the beach explain the presence of people, and the sea view pools at those resorts explain why most guests don’t quite make it all the way to the sand. Check out the Nang Thong’s hotel restaurants for late afternoon drinks under the massive canopy of orange sky. (Read more about La On Village...)
While nobody actually calls Pakarang Cape the Horn of Khao Lak, they could. Jutting into the sea, it provides a great vantage point to view the beaches to both the north and south.
Sparsely treed and littered with shells and broken coral, it’s not the most sun-bather-friendly, but it’s definitely interesting, easily accessed by car or motorbike, and amazingly unpopulated.
Hotels in Pakarang Beach: Palm Galleria Resort
Some of Khao Laks most sumptuous resorts are spread out on Pakweeb (pronounce Pakweep) Beach’s several kilometers worth of prime coastline, and for good reason.
The beach is lovely, though it may take a moment to realize what sets this beach apart. National park status means no motorboats; a fact so refreshing you’ll be hard pressed to find a more peaceful location. As an added bonus, resorts here know how important a clean beach is, and go to great lengths to keep the sand in tip-top shape.