Khao Lak is a beautiful tourist destination nestled between the blue waters of the Andaman Sea and the lush tropical forest of the Lam Ru National Park. Originally a small village to the south of the mountain road, Khao Lak has now developed into a generic name for a number of villages spaced along a 25 kilometre stretch of Route 4 on the west coast of Takua Pa District. With Khao Lak (proper) to the south, leading in to La On and Bang Niang, and up to Bang Sak and Pakarang Cape to the north of Khuk Khak, the area boasts stunning unspoilt beaches that run the whole length of the 25 kilometre coast line. ‘Lak Mountain’ (Khao Lak) and the numerous hilly peaks that start to rise a kilometre or so inland act as an emerald green back drop to the ocean blue and soft white sand shores.
Khao Lak is located 60 kilometres north of Phuket and has convenient transfers of just over an hour from Phuket International Airport. For those-in-the-know, its uncrowded beaches, quiet and upscale resorts, along with a family friendly environment have made it a favourite alternative to its better known and busier resort areas to the south in Phuket. Local regulation prohibits the building of structures taller than the height of a palm tree and this also adds to the appeal as there are no high-rise resorts or hotels to obstruct the views.
The tragic 2004 Tsunami devastated the fast growing local economy and many newly built resorts and hotels were destroyed that fateful day. Since then, the area has recovered strongly and the town can provide accommodation options for all holiday maker budgets. Cheap, clean, and comfortable hostels are numerous for the short stay and backpacker community. In contrast, 3, 4, and 5 Star resorts are providing first class services for those seeking their dream paradise vacation.
The Similan Islands
As if the majestic mainland scenery wasn’t enough for the average sun seeker, Khao Lak also acts as the main gateway to the Similan Islands. These famous tropical islands sit some 57 kilometres west of the Khao Lak coastline and provide what is widely regarded as the best scuba diving sites in Thailand. Scuba Diving and Snorkelling day trips are popular activities for many visiting Khao Lak and allow holiday makers a great opportunity to grab a quick impression of these stunningly beautiful islands. For the full experience however, a Diving or Snorkelling Liveaboard cruise on-board MV Oktavia is the only way to fully immerse yourself in the underwater dream world that surrounds the islands and also explore the breath taking islands themselves.
A Similan Islands Liveaboard Cruise on-board MV Oktavia starts from as little as THB 14,300 per person for a 2 Day/2 Night trip for certified divers. The full 5 Day/5 Day scheduled trip – which includes the Similans Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, and Richelieu Rock offers great value at THB 32,800. Fully inclusive of full board, equipment rental, and National Park fees, there can’t be many better ways to spend the first or second week of your holiday in Thailand!
Full Open Water Diver training is available for anyone wishing to learn to dive and a dedicated snorkel guide is provided for those who prefer to stay on the surface.
The Liveaboard Season starts on the 15th October each year and runs through until the 15th May. During the ‘low season’ months the National Marine Parks are closed to the public in the interest of preservation for the Islands and safety.
Full information on MV Oktavia’s Similan Island Liveaboard cruises can be found on the Oktavia Dive Center website.