Khao Lak, Thailand

Khao Lak, Thailand Is A top Choice For A Relaxing Beach Holidays

Posted on Apr 9 2019 — 11:19am by Len Rutledge

It was once one of the fastest growing tourist areas in Thailand. Then it was hit by a massive tsunami. Now it is a charming retreat from the hustle of Phuket. With excellent accommodation options, several interesting attractions, and a growing reputation in the trade, Khao Lak is again proving to be an appealing destination for many travellers.

Before you go, you need to understand the pros and cons of this destination. The pros are nice beachside resorts, white sandy beaches, a laid-back vibe ideal for relaxing, and some enjoyable attractions. The cons are the spread-out nature of the area, a lack of tourist transport, little nightlife outside the resorts, and limited shopping opportunities. Perhaps the last two are actually cons!

Here is what makes the area appealing to me.

Little Amazon

At the Little Amazon entrance. The sign says “Welcome to Thailand river jungle version of the Amazon. Here you will experience ancient Banyan trees, exotic animals, and other beauties Thai nature has to offer.” Perhaps this is overstating it a little bit but the one-hour trip in small inflatable canoes with a paddler/guide was fascinating.

You cruise slowly along a little river which winds gently through the swamp and you can see monkeys, egrets, monitors, mangrove snakes, and mud crabs. The huge banyan trees with their spreading roots are quite spectacular and majestic.

Unfortunately, our trip was dampened by a heavy tropical downpour but in fine weather this would be a photographer’s paradise.

Old Takua Pa town

Well known to local tourists but largely shunned by foreigners, the old Sri Takua Pa district, located about 7 km south of the main Takua Pa town, features picturesque old architecture that comes from Takua Pa’s glory days as a tin mining and port centre.

Both sides of the main Si Takua Pa Road that bisects the old town are dotted with period buildings conspicuous by their Sino-Portuguese architecture, Chinese shrines, and tea houses. The town seems to house mainly elderly people who sit chatting in front of their homes or walk or ride bicycles to the local market.

It is very much a laid-back attraction but if history or architecture have any interest to you, it is easy to spend several hours wandering around absorbing the scene.

Khao Lak beaches

The Khao Lak beaches are the main reason why many people choose this tranquil area of Phang Nga Province as their holiday destination. Khao Lak Beach is the most southerly developed strip of sand and this gives its name to the whole area from here to Banglut Beach many kilometres to the north. Stately trees line the edge of the beach and a headland blocks this beach from its neighbours to the north.

The most peopled beach is Nang Thong Beach – La On Village. The half-dozen resorts that front the beach have sea-view pools so some guests don’t ever make it all the way to the sand.

Bang Niang, immediately to the north, is the second most populous beach. There are a few longtail boats here, while resorts overlook the beach, and basic-but-cheap Thai restaurants and massage huts are found nearby.

Further north again, Khuk Khak Beach, with only a couple resorts tucked among the pine trees and palm groves, runs north to Pakarang Cape.

Police Boat Memorial

Nothing brings home the power of the 2004 Tsunami better for me than seeing Police Boat 813 that was swept 2 kilometres inland and is still sitting on site, now as a memorial. This boat and another that sunk killing all on board was anchored about a kilometre out at sea as a protection to members of the Royal Family who were holidaying in Khao Lak at the time.

Adjacent is a two-storey International Tsunami Museum created by an American university in association with the local authority. A visit here helps to put things in perspective and your entrance fee and anything you buy contributes to help the local community as most of the benefits go to victims.

The Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Centre is further north near the coast in an area that suffered very badly. Unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to be well managed and some visitors are quite disappointed in the faded photographs and cracking concrete.

Accommodation

We stayed for several nights in the excellent and very friendly Khaolak Laguna Resort which fronts the Andaman Sea. The resort has villas and extremely large well-furnished rooms which are set in delightful gardens. There are several restaurants, a spa with excellent service, two beachfront swimming pools, gym, sports facilities, and a lounge with evening entertainment.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time there and we expect that the same could be said for several other resorts in the same general area. There is some budget accommodation in Khao Lak but this tends to be away from the beach.

Getting to Khao Lak

There are buses and vans from Phuket International Airport. It takes about one hour to reach the main part of Khao Lak. There are also buses travelling the long route 4 from Bangkok. These take about 14 hours and generally travel at night.

Images: Phensri Rutledge

New for 2018

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Take a look at these three new travel guidebooks which cover all the information you will need to decide if these destinations are right for you. With details on how to get around, what to see, experiences not to miss, food and restaurants, shopping, nightlife,  accommodation, and much more these books are indispensable before you leave home and while you are away.

Check them out at

Northern Italy — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078GRH3HW

Thailand — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078GDR17N

Ireland — https://www.amazon.coSmall Italy 2018Small Ireland 2018m/dp/B078GJW7JK

Small Thailand 2018

All books now available

This is just a reminder that the eight 2016 editions of Experience Guides are available as e-books and paperbacks. Probably the easiest way to find them is to go to www.amazon.com then type Len Rutledge into the search bar. All the books in both formats should then appear. Amazon allows about 10% of the book to be read free for those who are interested.

Experience Guides books pics

New listings on Amazon

Amazon has changed its way of identifying books. This is how to find these four Experience Guides.

Experience Thailand e-book; http://www.amazon.com/Experience-Thailand-2016-Guides-ebook/dp/B01911VVBU/

Experience Norway e-book; http://www.amazon.com/Experience-Norway-2016-Guides-ebook/dp/B01A2PHMQM/

Experience Norway paperback; http://www.amazon.com/Experience-Norway-2016-Guides/dp/151958959X/

Experience Northern Italy e-book; http://www.amazon.com/Experience-Northern-Italy-2016-Guides-ebook/dp/B01BA6E526/

Experience Northern Italy paperback; http://www.amazon.com/Experience-Northern-Italy-2016-Guides/dp/1523809949/

Experience Myanmar (Burma) e-book; http://www.amazon.com/Experience-Myanmar-Burma-2016-Guides-ebook/dp/B01A2X781S/

Experience Myanmar (Burma) paperback; http://www.amazon.com/Experience-Myanmar-Burma-2016-Guides/dp/1522829652/

Collage 2016-02-19 14_27_55

Experience Thailand 2016

It is that time of the year again when new editions of the various Experience Guides start appearing. Experience Thailand 2016 is the first cab off the rank in Kindle format for computers, tablets and smartphones. It is larger and contains more photographs and maps than the last edition and has been brought right up to date with all the latest happenings in south-east Asia’s most popular country.

If you are planning a trip involving any part of Thailand this is a valuable resourse both before and during your trip. Check it out at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01911VVBU

Thailand 2016

Bangkok Bargain Shopping app interest

Asiatique

The web continues to display articles about this app. If you know of someone heading to Bangkok, recommend that they spend $2, buy this app, and potentially save hundreds.

Here are some recent references:

http://appcircus.com/apps/bangkok-bargain-shopping

http://www.eglobaltravelmedia.com.au/accor-promotes-bangkok-through-bangkok-bargain-shopping-app/

http://www.appbrain.com/app/bangkok-bargain-shopping/com.map2app.BangkokBargainShopping

http://filedir.com/ios/travel/bangkok-bargain-shopping-3781669.html

http://www.pdablogs.com/1–99-Bangkok-Bargain-Shopping-v0-73b201304230809708-By-map2app

http://www.thefreetravelguide.com/bangkok/Shopping at Chatuchak Market

Bangkok Bargain Shopping

Accor promotes Bangkok through Bangkok Bargain Shopping App

Accor and veteran travel writer Len Rutledge introduce the new “what” and “where” of Bangkok with a new mobile travel application

Bangkok is consistently named one of the best places to shop in the world and visitors travel from all over to enjoy its delights. The selection is excellent, the prices good, and travellers can choose between modern, air-conditioned malls, exciting markets or sophisticated boutiques. To help visitors sort out where to go and what to buy, Accor has joined hands with experienced travel writer and author Len Rutledge to introduce a new version of the popular Bangkok Bargain Shopping app for Android and Apple iOS devices to help visitors navigate this City of Angels.

Len Rutledge has produced an app that gives a wealth of shopping advice, including costs and prices, bargaining, VAT refunds and information on getting around. The Bangkok Bargain Shopping app offers suggestions on what to buy and gives descriptions of the city’s major shopping areas. Information is provided for 16 shopping malls, the best markets and some specialty shops and other unique shopping experiences. The latest release of the app includes a new feature that can suggest Accor hotels near these shopping attractions to help fashionistas and bargain-hunters maximise their Bangkok shopping experience. The app can help travellers locate a comfortable bed within striking distance of their favourite shopping mecca, or a place to break for snacks to help them recharge their batteries between retail therapy sessions. With 14 featured Accor hotels, ranging from luxury to economy, the app offers something for everyone.

Addresses, telephone numbers, and websites are given and each location is shown on a map. This mobile application is a perfect companion for those planning a shopping trip in Bangkok, whether it’s their first time or their tenth.

To download the app, visit http://bit.ly/18Ivmig

Accor, the world’s leading hotel operator and market leader in Europe, is present in 92 countries with more than 3,500 hotels and 450,000 rooms. Accor’s broad portfolio of hotel brands — Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Grand Mercure, Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercure, Adagio, ibis, ibis Styles, ibis budget and hotelF1 — provide an extensive offer from luxury to budget. With more than 160,000 employees in Accor brand hotels worldwide, the Group offers its clients and partners 45 years of know-how and expertise.

www.accor.com | www.accorhotels.com

Media Contact

Vasu Thirasak

Regional Director of Communications

Accor Southeast and Northeast Asia

T: + 66 2 659 4500

E: vasu.thirasak@accor.com

Experience Thailand

The morning is a tumultuous blur of traffic, shops and people. Bangkok is overwhelming and confusing. I don’t have a map of the city and have no idea which road we are on. All I know is that we are on bicycles going in the opposite direction to all the other traffic. It is scary.

When I had told friends at home that I was planning on doing a bicycle tour in Bangkok, they thought I was crazy. Now faced with some of the world’s worst traffic, I am starting to agree. Why would anyone do this?

I have joined about seven others at the Intrepid tour office in Bangkok. We are given helmets, a bottle of cold water and bicycles and briefly told that for the next five or so hours we will be on an adventure. I sheepishly look around. Which end of this helmet points forward? Will I make a fool of myself when I try to ride? The twenty years since I have been on a bicycle seems an awfully long time.

There are many people around so I wheel the bike down the road a little and find a kerb about the right height to enable me to mount in relative dignity. I push off and am pleased that after ten metres I haven’t fallen off. I feel the need for a short practice before we head off and this quiet lane is perfect.

I was taught to ride by my father when I was seven or eight. We had an old bicycle that belonged to my grandfather and one day my father brought it out and said I could try to ride. In reality it was too big for me but he lowered the seat and I could sit and just reach the pedals.

He told me to pedal and he would hold the back of the seat to make sure I didn’t fall. We went up and down the driveway several times with him supporting me and then suddenly I was on my own. While I kept moving I was OK but when I wanted to stop I sort of crumbled in a heap. I feel pretty much the same now.

I am back with the group and everyone seems more or less organised. We have a guide and are about to head off. The adventure is about to begin. We start off down a quiet street but then quickly hit a main road. Miraculously, I manage to miss pedestrians, tuk-tuks, delivery trolleys, cars and trucks and make a half dignified exit at the next corner.

This brings only temporary relief because I suddenly realise that we are going down a one-way street – the wrong way. Interestingly no one is blowing their horns at us and pedestrians even get out of our way. Thailand is living up to its reputation as a tolerant country.

 

This is a short extract from Experience Thailand.