The Khao Lak province is located North West of Phuket Island. and can be a good alternative to busy Phuket. There is a wide range of activities from lying down on your hotel mat facing the sea to half day elephant or turtles experiences to full-day diving or hiking excursions. The sea is beautiful and some beaches are amazing. Hotels and small travel agencies arrange tours. You could easily ask a local pick up taxi to arrange something for you (they can wait for you during your activity). Exploring the region on a motorbike can also be very fun. Khao Lak can also be a great base to visit the Similan islands .
How accessible is it from Singapore?
Khao Lak is easy to reach from Singapore. The total door-to-door journey from (your home/office in) Singapore to your hotel in Khao Lak will take you about 5 hours and 10 minutes. This estimate includes the flights, connections and taxi transfers. You can go to Khao Lak for a 2 day weekend (or more if you plan many activities in the region).
How much is this going to cost us?
Transport wise, the total return trip will cost about SGD 650 for 2 persons. This estimate includes flights and taxi transfers.
Accommodation wise, you will find a wide range of options: from cheap guesthouses (from SGD 20 a night) to really really nice hotels (up to SGD 500 a night).
Once there, costs for food and drinks are very reasonable. Excursions can significantly increase your total bill as a full day excursion to Similan Islands or Khao Sok (trekking) will cost you a few Thousands thai Bath per person (between SGD 100 and SGD 300 per pax).
How remote and risky is it?
It’s a safe destination. Basic Medical infrastructure can be found in Phuket and you will be able to go easily to a decent hospital in Bangkok or back home in Singapore in case of serious problems. Roads are in excellent condition.
What about the kids?
Your kids will love playing on the beach and see elephants, turtles, waterfalls… Just be aware very young kids (toddlers for instance) won’t be accepted on excursions such as mangrove kayak (because of the absence of facilities in this remote location and presence of nice little creatures such as snakes and mosquitoes to name a few).
Don’t forget your baby carrier to if you want to go on small treks. A stroller will not be very useful. If you are concerned of moving around in pick up taxis (no seatbelts) you can rent a proper car instead.
When should we go?
Connections from Khao Lak
Similan Islands are the obvious pick. Phuket is also obviously a good combination as you fly through Phujet airport. From Khao Lak you can also go on a day trip excursion to Khao Sok but it might be better to spend more time there and avoid the 4h drive for the full day excursion. If you need more seaside time, you can also go to other islands near Phuket Kho Yao Yai & Koh Yao Noi and Krabi. But if you need a busy city flavor head to Bangkok.
Did you know?
Khao Lak is known for the terrific 2004 India Ocean tsunami. This area was hit very hard and an estimated 4000 people lost their lives then. You will see tsunami evacuation route signs everywhere. You can visit the memorial and museum.
Getting from Singapore to Khao Lak
There are several direct flights from Singapore to Phuket Airport (HKT). Jetstar, and Tiger have conveniently timed flights.
Getting there: Tigerair – 18:20 PM SIN – 19:10 PM HKT (1h55 flight), You can also fly at 9 in the morning.
Coming back: etstar – 22:00 PM HKT – 00:50 (+1) PM SIN.
Return ticket from SGD 190
Get your ticket NOW to enjoy the best fares.
Getting from Phuket airport to Khao Lak
The international airport in Phuket is brand new (October 2016), it is much easier now to go through immigration and customs. You will find money changers, restaurants and shops at the airport. Taxis are available at the airport. You will need about 1h30 to reach Khao Lak and it will cost about THB 1800 per taxi (fixed rate at taxi counters). Check with your hotels are most can also arrange transfers.
Where to stay in Khao Lak
There are more than 190 accommodation options in Khao Lak from back packer inns to luxury hotels. We stayed at Ramada Resort but we were a disappointed, the food was not good which is a shame when you know how delicious Thai food can be and our room on the ground floor was smelling like an old basement house. Large tourist groups were there probably on full package tours from Europe. Not our style. For the same price range (approx. 200 SGD / night) we would recommend the hotel next door La Flora where we had dinner during our stay (delicious food) and where we rented kayak / sailing boat.
or, if you prefer, you can book with
To see & to do in Khao Lak
A few ideas of things to do and see:
around Khao Lak
- ChongFah Waterfall (10 min EAST): About 10min drive from Khao Lak. To reach the waterfall you have to walk approx. 1km in the jungle. We enjoyed it this nice walk, even though we are not waterfall lovers – The walk was nice, especially with kids. Entrance fees to the waterfall: 200 THB per adult
- Sairung Waterfall (15 min EAST): access directly from the carpark, no entrance fees.
- White Sands Beach / Coconut Beach (20 min NORTH): These 2 beaches are close to each other, Coconut beach is less busy and this is where we had a great time swimming with the kids, walking on the beach towards the long tail boats, having a swing on the swing hanged from the top of a coconut tree over the beach. There is a beach restaurant (basic but OK food) offering sun beds (for free if you have lunch there)
- Mangrove kayaking. Tours can be arranged. Longtail boat transfer and then kayaking in the mangroves.
- The Chulabhorn Underwater Park Conservation Centre (20min SOUTH): Located in a military zone, there is the Turtle Conservation Centre. You can see turtles from almost newborn to big ones (8 years old and more). There in small swimming pools grouped by sized. Once you’ve looked at the turtle have a look at the beach, nice sceneries to be offered on a white sand beach (free of tourists). Entrance fees: 30 THB per adult.
- Tsunami Memorial Park / Museum: In Khao Lak city. Need to check the opening hours as it varies between the high and low seasons.
- Market Fair (Tue, Thu, Sun) and Bang Niang Market (Mon, Wed, Sat): mainly a tourist market, opened from 3pm to 7pm.
- Fresh Local Market: every day from early morning till noon
- Thai boxing
- Cooking class
For half day and full day excursion you need to organize it with an agency. Most probably you’ll find an agency in your hotel or in the street nearby (or simply ask a taxi driver he will recommend you someone).
Half day excursion
- Khao Lak Mangrove explorers: Long tail boat will bring you to the deep of the mangrove where you will take a kayak to explore this eco system. THB 2450 / pax. Check their website
- Elephant bathing
Full day excursion
- Similan Islands: Most tourists will come to Khao Lak to explore the marine park of Similan Islands. Both divers and snorkelers will enjoy it. Usually it is full day trips starting early morning getting back at the hotel at sunset. You can also find multiple day liveboard trips with diving clubs. Tours run only from November to April. It’s a popular destination so expect loads of tourists. Many agencies arrange such tours. Some friends recommended this one.
- Khao Sok tour: Bamboo rafting, explore the lake by longtail boat. Around THB 4000 per pax.
- Hong Island and Sea Cave Canoe. Caves, limestone cliffs on a canoe.
Here are the taxi fares (pick up style – can take up to 8 pax)
More info to prepare your trip
Wifi is available in most restaurants and hotels.
What to pack for Khao Lak
Your main bag
That’s the one you leave at the hotel. Ideally you want to avoid checking in your luggage when flying. So check the weight and dimensions for hand carry luggage with your airlines (some airlines will allow only 7kg, some will allow up to 10kg). From head to toes.
- Short sleeves tops: your main outfit. Everybody will see them on all your pictures. You really want to take that old Mickey Mouse T-shirt? Be mindful that you will be in a different environment so it might be a good idea to adjust your wardrobe.
- Long sleeves tops: to protect yourself from the sun (if you’ve stayed for 5 hours on a motorbike with short sleeves you know what I mean) or to enter religious buildings or to protect yourself from mosquitoes in the evening.
- Pullover. Yes I know, you’re going to a country where the temperature never goes down below 25 degrees and you need to pack a pullover? You will thank us when you’re back. Remember that flight during which you were freezing? Or this museum where the aircon is set to the “polar bear” temperature?
- Short/skirt (you should be able to chose the appropriate one by yourself).
- Trousers for the same reasons you need to take long sleeves tops. Jeans are usually not a good option. They are heavy and keep you too warm.
- Underwear: well, you know. If you plan to walk or ride motorbikes for long hours, take something comfortable as the combination heat + friction can make you regret this sophisticated silk underwear. Cotton is good.
- Shoes: one pair of flip flap and one pair of confortable shoes. Remember that you are going to spend most of the time on your feet. Forget about high heels and leave your Westons at home.
- Swimsuit: even if you don’t plan to go to the beach, you never know. A nice river, a swimming pool, a heavy rain? Always have one with you.
- Raincoat and protection for your bag. Even if you are visiting the country during the “best season”, you never know what the sky will be like.
- Torch: take a pocket torch with you if you visit countries where the power is not reliable… Can come very handy when stuck in the dark in your room.
- Toilet bag: Shampoo, soap, toothbrush & toothpath, deodorant, sun screen, tiger balm. Ideally, all these in miniature formats.
- Sleeping bag liner (if you plan to stay in very cheap or dirty places, not required if you are staying in a 5-star hotel…)
- Your IT stuff: iPad, eBook, laptop, chargers, memory card, batteries, etc.
- Dryer sheets: they will help keep a fresh smell in your bag.
Your small bag
That’s the one you keep with you, all the time. Hence, a backpack is the best option.
- Your passport, cash, credit cards and other life saving items like your insurance card with emergency contact details. Not a bad idea to put them in a zip-lock bag in case it rains. It will keep your documents dry.
- Your driver’s licence if you plan to rent a car or a motorbike (some countries are quite particular about this so take it with you in case you are not sure, even for a motorbike rental).
- Your emergency medical kit: painkillers, mosquitoes repellent, dressing/plaster, disinfectant, anti diarrhea, eyewash
- Tissues and toilet paper (you will thank me later). Remember that in a lot of countries, you will not be provided napkins when having a meal.
- Water – plastic bottles are a good option as they are lighter than a gourd/flask.
- Biscuits (always buy some before you go when you are not sure what you will find. Always have “emergency” biscuit and water in case you cannot find food around and need to recharge batteries)
- Sunglasses: you’ll need them. Take them even if it’s raining. Weather can change very fast in the region.
- Scarf (krama, or any kind of fabric that you can use to put around your neck, put on your head to protect it from the sun, cover your shoulders in temples, dry your sweat, etc). Can come very handy in some situation. It will not stay clean for long so it’s wise to pick a dark color…
- Camera and its protection.
Remember that this one comes on top of the Regular pack (above)
- Beach towel or equivalent (pareos / sarongs are lighter)
- Snorkeling equipment: mask, scuba, (fins?)
- Shoes you can wear on the beach or in the water (to protect your feet from being cut by corals)
- Dry bag if you plan to go on a boat and want to keep your stuff dry.
Well, you will probably adjust your bag after a few trips. Remove the stuff that you have not used and add the one that you missed. Post a comment to share your tips!
Happy packing (it’s the worse part of the trip but it’s worth it…) and travelling!
- Language: Thai.
- Time zone: Bangkok and across the country GMT +7 hours.
1h behind Singapore
- Currency: Thai Baht (THB)
- Phone: + 66
- Electricity: 220V 60 Hz
Immigration and airport taxes on arrival
If you are a citizen from the following countries, you possess a passport with at least 6 months validity, and you are staying up to 30 days, then you do NOT need any Tourist visa to enter Thailand.
- Visa exemption rule applies for: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam.
- If you hold a passport from another country, you will need to apply for a visa on arrival at the airport customs. A visa for 15 days costs 1000 Bahts.
National Public Holidays in Thailand
|January 1||New Years Day|
|March 4 *||Makha Bucha Day|
|April 6 *||Chakri Day|
|April 13||Thai New Year|
|April 14||Thai New Year|
|April 15||Thai New Year|
|April 16||Thai New Year|
|April 17||Thai New Year|
|May 1||Labour Day|
|May 5 *||Coronation Day|
|June 1 *||Visakha Bucha Day|
|July 30 *||Asahna Bucha Day|
|August 12||H.M. Queen’s Birthday|
|October 23||Chulalongkorn Day|
|December 5||H.M. King’s Birthday|
|December 10||Constitution Day|
|December 31||New Year’s Eve|
* check the exact date on this website as it varies from one year to another.