Khao Lak certainly has more than 10 things to see, but we’ve tried to narrow it down to just the most notable attractions and places to discover in this superb region of southern Thailand. Khao Lak is something of a newcomer on the radars of international tourism, although this destination has seen a strong increase of visitors through the past 10 years.
Khao Lak must-see attractions and places offers a decidedly eclectic choice of items. From the virgin tropical islands such as the Similans or the Surins that lie off its coast to its endless beaches to the pristine rainforests that cover its hinterland, Khao Lak is not short in natural wonders. Discover below the 10 best attractions in Khao Lak, which are sure to be the highpoints of your holiday in the province of Phang Nga.
The Similan Islands are located some 50km off the Khao Lak coast. Belonging to a national park since 1982, they offer their visitor a preserved natural environment made of white powder sand beaches, crystal-clear warm waters, and primary growth forest. Apart from the rangers’ camp established on island #9, they are uninhabited. They became famous as a prime scuba diving spot in the ‘80s, before being opened to tourism for day and short overnight trips (under tents). They are simply one of the most beautiful places you could visit in southern Thailand, if not the world. Read More...
Phang Nga Bay is one of the prime destinations in southern Thailand. Similar to Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, Phang Nga Bay features tall limestone karsts rising from the sea, pierced by caves and tunnels. There are about 50 of these islands in the bay. The most popular way to visit the bay is by sea kayak, as this is the only means of transportation that can enter the tunnels and reach the hongs. A hong (which means ‘room’ in Thai) is a lagoon enclosed by the limestone cliffs, featuring mangrove trees, tropical plants, and fabulous local fauna. Read More...
The Surin Islands are located a short distance from the border with Burma, some 100km northwest of Khao Lak. As with the Similans, they belong to a national park and offer great scuba diving and snorkelling spots. Inhabited by the Chao Leh people, a sea gypsy tribe, they also host a rangers’ camp as well as basic infrastructure and accommodation. Several trails through the jungle permit great hiking in a virgin environment. Read More...
Khao Sok National Park is located some 40km northeast of Khao Lak. Covering an area of over 700 km², it is known as the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world. Its national park status has protected it pretty well through the years, and the addition of the Cheow Lan Lake by the construction of the Ratchaprapha Dam in 1987 has even increased its attractiveness. Hiking, kayaking, and cruising on the lake are the main activities to enjoy in this unspoiled area of southern Thailand, which almost offers a journey back to time to its visitors. Read More...
Located about 12km to the north of La On Village between Pakarang Cape and Pak Weep, White Sand Beach is the perfect spot for a relaxing day with your toes in the sand. Hosting only a few high-end resorts such as the Sarojin as well as newly-added cool joints serving fresh drinks and food at affordable prices, this 2.6km stretch of sand permits you to comfortably enjoy a day on the beach in outstanding natural settings and far from the crowd. Read More...
Ton Chong Fa Waterfall
Ton Chong Fa Waterfall is a five-level waterfall located some 7km from Bang Niang. A 20-minute walk through the rainforest is necessary to reach the first level of the waterfall, which features a large pond where you can refresh yourself. Getting to the other four levels requires you to be fit as the trail is narrow and steep. As there’s no infrastructure on site (after all, it’s in the middle of the jungle), so it is best to bring drinks and snacks with you, as well as mosquito spray if you go there at the end of afternoon.
Royal Thai Navy boat 813 is one of the most notable remnants of the tragedy that occurred on 26 December 2004. It was carried almost 2km inland by the tsunami issued from the 9.1 magnitude earthquake that hit the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. It is the silent witness of the devastating power unleashed across Southeast Asia on that baleful morning. The International Tsunami Museum, located nearby, helps visitors to learn about tsunamis in general, and about the consequences that this particular one had on Khao Lak and its inhabitants. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00-21:00
Royal Thai Navy Third Fleet Turtle Nursery
Located a mere 15 minutes’ drive south of Bang La On (Nang Thong Beach), the Royal Thai Navy Third Fleet Turtle Nursery offers a very educational attraction for the whole family. As its name implies, the turtle nursery is located on a military base, so you’ll need to have your passport with you to be allowed to enter, as well as the 30 baht entrance fee. The nursery features turtles ranging from one week to many years old. The lack of written information in English is a bit of a pity, but the people who take care of the nursery are friendly enough and enjoy sharing their knowledge with visitors. You also have the opportunity to feed the turtles, but mind your fingers!
- Opening Hours: Daily from 07:00 - 17:00
- Location: At the Royal Thai Navy Third Fleet Base in Thap Lamu
Samed Nang She Viewpoint
Completely unknown until January 2016, Samed Nang She Viewpoint became a very popular place in just a matter of weeks. Located in the deep countryside of Phang Nga Province (80km south of Khao Lak), this natural terrace offering an outstanding view east to the limestone karst islands of Phang Nga Bay was discovered by a Thai photographer. The best time to visit it is for sunrise, but don’t expect to be alone on the site. You can even sleep there to be sure that you’re there on time for the first rays of sun enlightening this stunning vista. The remote location of Samed Nang She Viewpoint also allows you to see and photograph the Milky Way on some nights.
Wat Tham (aka Wat Suwan Khuha – ‘Temple Cave’ in Thai) is one of the many landmarks in Phang Nga Province. Located off the highway that links Phuket and Phang Nga Town, only 6km before to reach the capital city of Phang Nga Province. It features a large reclining Buddha statue inside a pretty big limestone cave. At the entrance, dozens of macaques wait for tourists to feed them of bananas and peanuts sold by vendors on the parking lot. A second cave can be visited by climbing a staircase at the back of the first grotto. It takes about one hour to get there from Khao Lak.
- Opening Hours: 08:00 – 18:00