Only a few years back La On consisted of a few mom & pop stores, roadside restaurants and a German ‘imbiss’ establishment. Nowadays you can eat pretty much any international dish here, shop till you drop and even grab a Big Mac 24 hours round the clock. Still, La On isn’t exactly Pattaya or Patong and it’s all the better for it. One thing’s for sure: if you’re looking for cheap sunglasses, beachwear, pirated DVD’s and the like you won’t have far to look in La On.
On the practical side of things, La On has many banks and ATM machines. Banks in Thailand are open from 08:30 – 15:30 (for a Western Union branch you’ll have to go to Takuapa). Most resorts run shuttle services to La On, some free some not.
The good thing about 7-Eleven is that it remains open 24 hours a day and prices remain the same irrespective of whether the shop is in a tourist destination or not. La On’s ‘7’ is on Highway 4 running through the centre. Please note that Thai law allows the sale of alcohol only between 11:00 – 14:00 and 17:00 – 24:00. 7-Eleven strictly adheres to this law so if you are going on a booze run consider this first.
Opening Hours: 24/7
Location: Highway 4, downtown La On
This is the place to go in Khao Lak if you’re looking for a beach read, travel guide or magazines. Air conditioned and well laid out, it’s a pleasure to shop at Book Tree. With a good selection of languages – and taking into account Khao Lak’s many Scandinavian visitors – Book Tree more than fits the bill.
Opening Hours: 09:00 – 24:00
Location: Northern La On by Chok Dee Seafood
A stylish shop, selling good quality cutlery, dishes, vases, tea sets, lamps and other attractive household accessories, Kanyarak has gone to great lengths in making itself one of the classiest stores in the area. Stretching from the street into Nangthong Plaza, Kanyarak is a treasure trove of quality Asian items. Credit cards accepted.
Opening Hours: 17:00 – 23:00
Location: Nangthong Shopping Plaza
Confusingly, Khao Lak has two Center Points: this is the older one and it has seen better days. It houses a standard beachwear/beach toy shop selling all sorts of watersports-related paraphernalia, jeans and T-shirts, pirated DVD’s and lots of stuff you probably don’t need but is so cheap you’d better buy just in case. If you are planning to go on a day trip to nearby islands or to do some kayaking, the snap-shut plastic protection bags to hold your electronic goods in are a good buy. Center Point is also home to a watch repair service, just in case your Rolex Oyster is playing up.
Opening Hours: 12:00 – 23:00
Location: Central La On
Another girlie boutique, but this time with a bit of class, Jaoying deals in upper-market clothing and accessories and even has bolts of “100% Thai silk” and wall hangings along with tasteful knick-knacks such as freshwater pearls and the ubiquitous wooden elephants. Also dealing in Thai silver, Jaoying is a versatile all rounder that’s definitely worth a visit.
Opening Hours: 10:30 – 23:00
Location: Central La On
With literally piles of clothes outside of the boutique, My Style certainly doesn’t lack for stock. The shop sells ladies clothing but you can also pick up fashionable handbags and accessories here. We’re not talking Hi-So, high-quality fashion gear – more like something to pick up as holiday gear.
Opening Hours: 16:00 – 22:00
Location: Main Street (Highway 4)
This two-storey shopping centre features the usual optician shop, several fashion outlets, a gold shop, a jeans-and-T-shirt shop, a ground floor bar/café with live music, a health and beauty shop, a ‘community products’ outlet and several handicrafts and jewelry stores.
Opening Hours: Opening times vary
Location: Central La On
At the last count there were 15+ opticians along the main drag in La On. Even though it looks faintly ridiculous to the western eye to have so many in one strip it’s your gain as their competition means that it’s a buyer’s market. Prices are much cheaper than in the west and two-for-one, or even three-for-the-price-of-one bargains are rife.
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 22:00
Location: Along Highway 4 either side of the road
There are probably more tailors than opticians in La On, and that’s really saying something. Two of the best are located close to each other in the centre of La On and offer excellent quality and a wide range of styles and textiles. The golden rule is to allow enough time for the tailor to make a perfect fit and not to accept rushed jobs. James Fashion and Creative Khao Lak Tailors are both in between the Khao Lak Center (not to be confused with Khao Lak Center Point Bazar further up the road) and Ruen Mai Plaza and they refuse to carry out the infamous 24-hour jobs that some Bangkok tailors are known for.
Opening Hours: 12:00 – 22:00
Location: By Ruen Mai Plaza on Highway 4 and Center Point