For centuries, Thailand has been a magnet for travellers. Early explorers and adventurers made their way here from all over the world, seeking fabled riches, silks and spices. Today, the Royal Kingdom of Thailand attracts millions more visitors – tourists seeking the perfect dream holiday.
If you’re looking for somewhere less crowded and more affordable with the same soft, white beaches as Phuket, with delicious food, water sports galore, tropical islands, and the same gentle, courteous people, then head an hour north from Phuket Airport and make your way to Khao Lak, at the heart of Phang Nga province.
For affordable fun, here are our recommendations for things to do in Khao Lak for less than R300:
1: Spend a day on the beach
Khao Lak’s beaches are pristine. They are in a national park that protects 20km of coastline. Hawkers are not allowed into the area and hotels limit the number of loungers on the sand. Pack your beach bag with lots of sunscreen, a hat, a book and a set of beach bats and settle down for the day, enjoying the turquoise waters and icing-sugar sand while napping, swimming or playing beach games as the hours while away.
2: Take a hike
Khao Lak is bordered by five spectacular rain forest national parks: Khao Lak Lam Ru, Khao Sok, Sri Phang Nga, Tonepariwat, and Manora Forest Park. For approximately 200 baht per person (about R70) for a day pass into a park, you can enjoy a wide range of well marked jungle treks, including coastal trails with spectacular views.
3: Go canoeing
Ask your hotel where to hire canoes, or join one of the many half- or full-day canoeing trips. These include a variety of experiences, including river canoeing, caving, sea canoeing, as well as a temple visit and lunch.
4: Visit the night market
Taste the local food and experience the colour and chaos of a local Thai market. Catch a tuk tuk to Bang Niang Market for approximately 150 Baht (R55) and take a few extra Baht to spend on dinner and shopping. Ogle the insects but it is perhaps safer to devour the satay sticks, fruit smoothies, pad thai, papaya salad and coconut cakes. The options are endless and don’t be afraid to taste everything.
5: Explore an underwater paradise
Life underwater is what brings the majority of tourists to this part of the world as Khao Lak is the closest town to the protected Similan Islands. If scuba-diving is out of your budget, hire a mask, snorkel and fins from your hotel, hop on a local tour boat to Khao Na Yak Reef and explore the magnificent turquoise waters. You’ll see a wide range of tropical fish, beautiful coral gardens and, if you’re a lucky, a turtle or tiny sea-horse.
Make the most of this quiet, secluded area of Thailand before it becomes a tourist hotspot. We’ve got a range of holiday packages to meet your needs. Chat to a consultant or see our deals online.