Tap Lamu Town is something of a surprise as a tourist destination. Not widely known, it is a very local place, quite unlike the renowned resort destinations of Phuket, nearly an hour’s drive south. It is a great place to experience genuine Thai food as well as stretches of beach which have not yet been overrun by touts and vendors – or anything except wildlife, for that matter.
The town is mostly built around a naval base, which would ordinarily be a huge turn-off where tourism is concerned. However, this is a base with a bit of a difference: one of its primary roles is the study, conservation and protection of sea turtles. The town’s pier is also noteworthy as being the nearest departure point for trips to the Similian Islands.
Tap Lamu Town Facilities
Tap Lamu Town is home of the Royal Thai Navy Third Fleet’s Sea Turtle Nursery. Regular patrols along the nearby coastlines protect the important breeding grounds of green, hawksbill, Olive Ridley and leatherback turtles. Once born, the infant reptiles are brought to the base where they are nursed for six months before being released into the sea, thereby increasing their survival rate. The conservation centre at Phang Nga Naval Base is open to the public and is a very popular attraction in the region.
The town is also home to the Similan Islands National Park Headquarters, as well as the nearest pier for taking visitors to these truly stunning desert islands. With perfect white-sand beaches, weird and wonderful rock formations and gin-clear seas over amazing coral reefs; the Similan Islands are particularly popular with scuba divers and snorkelers.
To learn more about the remarkable underwater ecosystems around the Khaolak coast and the Similans, a visit to the Chulabhorn Underwater Park Conservation Centre is recommended. Close to the Tap Lamu Pier, the two-storey centre has exhibits about the undersea natural resources in the area and on the importance of preserving them.
Tap Lamu Town Restaurants & Food
Tap Lamu Town has plenty of local restaurants to choose from. It is a major fishing port in the region, so be on the lookout for super-fresh seafood, particularly close to the pier. As the area has been largely overlooked by global tourism, you can be assured of genuine Thai cuisine and genuine Thai prices as opposed to the westernised flavours and artificially inflated prices found in the busier resort destinations.
Where to Stay in Tap Lamu Town
The town itself has very little in the way of holiday accommodation, but there is a small selection of hotels in the northernmost part, which is slightly separated from the main conurbation. These include the Khaolak Emerald Beach Resort & Spa, Khao Lak Diamond Beach Resort & Spa, The Briza Beach Resort and Khaolak Merlin Resort. They are all four-star properties, conveniently close to the beach (if not right on it) with large swimming pools and other impressive facilities.
Recommended Hotel in Tap Lamu
The Briza Beach Resort
The Briza Beach Resort Khao Lak, awarded with a certificate of excellence for the last two years, is a deluxe four-star resort, situated on the unspoilt shores of Khao Lak.The resort offers remarkable tranquillity and seclusion, whilst also maintaining easy access to Phuket International Airport, which is only 45 minutes drive away.Whilst in the area, guests can relax on the sandy beaches, or visit the nearby Similan Islands, which are renowned for their coral reefs and excellent diving opportunities.Alternatively, Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park is only ten minutes walk away and has many hiking trails and fascinating local wildlife. Read More...
Tap Lamu Town
Tap Lamu Town is about 50km north of Phuket and 6km south of Khaolak. To reach it from Phuket International Airport, head for mainland Thailand by crossing the Sarasin Bridge, then follow the road on the other side to Khok Kloi village. Join Route 4 and it will take you first to Thai Muang Beach, then on to Tap Lamu Town.