Khao Lak: Travel There and Around
Getting in Khao Lak by Air and by Road – Getting Around Khaolak
Situated on south Thailand’s western coast, between Phuket to the south and Ranong at the Burmese border to the north, Khao Lak can be reached only by road. The two closest airports are Phuket and Krabi international airports. From these airports, it takes roughly one and three hours respectively to get to Khao Lak.
Getting around Khao Lak could not be easier. The more adventurous travellers will prefer to keep a certain independence by renting a moped, motorbike or car, while those who stray from their resort only occasionally could use the shuttle services often available from most hotels, or one of the many taxi services at hand in the area.
From Bangkok, the easiest option for travel to Khao Lak is by air to either of Phuket or Krabi International Airports, then continue the trip overland (see below).
Daily flights from Bangkok to Krabi and Bangkok to Phuket (and return) are conducted by Thai Airways in both high and low seasons.
Flight schedules can be found on the Thai Airways web page or by Tel: (02) 232 8000 (Bangkok office).
From Bangkok, travel via Highway 4 down through Prachuap Khirikhan, Chumphon, Ranong to Phang-Nga province. Khao Lak lies 30 kms past the town of Takua Pa on the main highway. Travel time from Bangkok is about 12 hours. Daily bus services running from Bangkok to Phang-Nga leave from the southern bus terminal in Thonburi, and there are many private services available from almost any travel agent and hotel tour desk in the city.
From Phuket, take route 402, over the bridge to Phang-Nga province. Turn onto Highway 4 and head towards Thai Muang and Thap Lamu – Khao Lak lies just beyond at La On Village. Travel time is about 90 minutes. Bus services from Phuket to Phang-Nga town are also available hourly from the Phuket bus terminal. The trip takes about 2 hours. From Phang-Nga Town catch a local bus to Takua Pa and asked to be set down at Khao Lak, or Ban La-on.
From Krabi , take Route 4 up to Phang-Nga, through the town and continue on Route 4 through Takua Thung, Thai Muang, up to Khao Lak. The trip can take up to 2 hours depending on weather and road conditions. If going by bus from Krabi, take one heading towards Phuket, and change at Kochloi to a bus heading for Takua Pa and Ranong. Ask to be dropped at Khao Lak or Ban La-on.
There are two basic categories of transportation in Khao Lak: those that you steer, and those that someone else steers.
In the first category are cars, motorbikes, and bicycles. Rental cars are available at the airports; sticking with a known international company is suggested. Many hotels can arrange for motorbike rentals, and some also have mountain bikes available for those that prefer peddle power.
Choosing to let someone else do the driving is also popular. Resorts away from the action will have shuttles running at designated times – usually for a nominal fee. Local taxi trucks are also an option. If you take the hotel’s bus to town, this is often the most convenient way to return – though you might have to negotiate front door service for out of the way destinations.
Trips out to small islands off the main land are easily made by longtail boat - arranged through agents at any of the hotels and guesthouses in the area.
For ventures futher afield, local bus services will take you to any district you want to go. The most convenient method of travel around however is by songtaew or taxi truck, easily hired from any town by the trip or for the entire day. Jeep and motorbike rentals are also widely available.