Thailand Culture & Koh Samui Holiday
Unearth this culture rich itinerary that visits both Thailand's most historic destinations and its luxury island paradise, Koh Samui.
Located just an easy hour and a half's drive from Phuket's airport, Khao Lak is Thailand's quieter beach paradise. With a charming coastal village at its heart, Khao Lak encompasses a 30km stretch of gorgeous white sandy shoreline.
Here you can roam through picturesque beaches unspoiled by mass development. For the most secluded spots head to Pak Weep Beach, a five kilometre expanse of soft white sand and swaying palm trees.
Khuk Khak Beach is a three kilometre stretch of pure white sands that you'll likely have all to yourself, while Bang Sak Beach is a staggeringly beautiful spot with very few shops and restaurants around. For excellent swimming and snorkelling, head to Bang Niang Beach, with calm waters and plenty of shady spots.
For a livelier atmosphere, head to the Nang Thong Beach, the busiest spot in the area. With great swimming, snorkelling, restaurants and bars, this is a stunning place to watch the sunset.
Besides its brilliant strip of beaches, Khao Lak is the prime gateway to the surrounding national parks and world class diving spots.
Take a day trip to the Similan Islands, an archipelago of eleven small islands of rock formations cloaked in lush greenery. The islands plunge deep below the surface and hold some of Thailand's best dive sites.
Just an hour and a half's boat ride from Khao Lak, the Similan Islands are home to turtles, moray eels, zebra sharks and shoals of fish in the surrounding coral reef.
The Surin Islands are another fantastic day trip and are perfect for snorkelling with shallow waters, dazzling coral reefs and the chance to see leatherback turtles.
Venture back inland to Khao Lak/Lam Ru National Park, where you can trek through a pristine expanse of lush jungle. You'll find enchanting waterfalls, mountain peaks and the winding Phang Nga River.
You may even be lucky to spot the endangered Malayan tapir, an oriental pied hornbill, a petite scarlet minivet, or some incredible flora including rare orchids.
For even more time in the forest, head to Khao Sok National Park, only an hour's drive away. Here you can cruise and kayak along ancient lakes strewn with soaring limestone karsts and go trekking through the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world to see elephants, tigers, gibbons, and the rare giant Rafflesia flower.
Khao Lak is the perfect scenic retreat for those looking to escape the bustling towns of Thailand's busier beach destinations.
Khao Lak has the same three distinct seasons as the surrounding areas of Phuket and Phang Nga. The best time to visit is from November to February when blue skies reign and the temperatures are pleasantly warm. Snorkelling and diving conditions are at their best during this period with calm, clear seas. It can get quite busy during December and January with holiday crowds arriving.
The hot season arrives in March and lasts until May, bringing soaring temperatures and increasing humidity. The monsoon season runs from May to October, characterised by afternoon showers and sunny days. This is the least crowded time and June and July are still quiet pleasant, however August and September are the wettest months with heavy downpours.
Located only an hour and a half drive from Phuket, an hour from Khao Sok National Park, and just a boat ride away from the Similan and Surin Islands and Phang Nga Bay, Khao Lak is the perfect base to explore the Andaman Sea region. It's superb position means you can easily make a stop to explore the tranquil beaches, or you can settle in Khao Lak for longer and make day trips to the surrounding sights. Visit Khao Lak as you move south on our Thailand Explorer, Thailand Highlights, Thailand Family Adventure, and our Elephants & Islands holiday. Any our of our suggested luxury Thailand itineraries can be customised to include time in Khao Lak.
Khao Lak offers secluded, tranquil beach retreats. Stay at Kantary Beach Hotel, a quiet, natural oasis set on an unspoiled stretch of beach. Enjoy the sunset from the roof-top bar, sip cocktails in the swim-up bar, and enjoy a romantic candelit dinner on the beach. Beyond Resort is a luxurious sanctuary offering private pool villas, five swimming pools, four restaurants and bars including a pool bar, and plenty of water activities like scuba diving, sea kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.