The best things to do in Khao Lak include watching sublime sunsets and surfing the waves that lap the area’s pristine beaches. Sea and sand aside, Khao Lak boasts museums, national parks, night markets and delicious seafood restaurants. You can even visit the likes of a miniature rainforest and a sanctuary for turtles.

    When you want to explore rather than relax, we highly recommend visiting Khao Lak’s landmarks that commemorate the victims of the tsunami that hit the region in 2004. Whether you’re looking for history, hiking or just a palm-shaded beach on which to unwind, Khao Lak has something right up your street.

    What are the best things to do in Khao Lak?


    White Sand Beach

    Idyllic sunset views, delicious food and fine white sand

    • Families
    • Food
    • Photo
    • Budget

    White Sand Beach is a great place to enjoy local Thai and seafood dishes while taking in the view of the Andaman Sea. When you’re not sunbathing, you can paddle in the warm water and look out for marine life. There are also facilities such as beach massages, a spa, and plenty of bars.

    If you’ve packed light for your stay in Khao Lak, you can rent towels, deck chairs and parasols from vendors on the beach. The beach looks especially mesmerising during sunset. We recommend arriving early to secure a spot with an unobstructed view. If you don’t fancy sipping affordable cocktails, you can fill up on healthy smoothies.


    Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park

    Quiet beaches, lush forests and diverse wildlife habitats

    • Families
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    The Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park comprises coastal cliffs and rattan forests, with the peaks of Khao Lak and Lam Ru dominating the landscape. The 125-sq-km park is a great place for hiking and spotting various reptiles, birds, and butterflies. You’ll also see native plants like ferns and orchids.

    If you prefer relaxing over hiking, you can lay down a towel on one of the park's secluded and quiet beaches. We highly recommend checking out waterfalls like Lam Phrao, Ton Chong Fa and Lam Ru (the largest falls in the national park).

    Location: 7 Petchkasem Rd, Khuekkhak, Takua Pa District, Phang-nga 82210, Thailand

    Phone: +66 (0)76 485 243


    Surfing at Khuk Khak Beach

    A hotspot for local surfers and seclusion-seeking sunbathers

    • Adventure

    Khuk Khak Beach is actually 2 stretches of sand that are connected at low tide and separated at high tide. Together, they span about 3 km in length, so there’s plenty of space for sunbathers who like some peace. It’s also a hotspot for local surfers in Khao Lak.

    You’ll find plenty of restaurants, cafés and bars overlooking Khuk Khak Beach. Alternatively, you can bring a picnic, take in the view, and enjoy a relaxing massage. There are a few hotels if you want to stay near the beach.


    International Tsunami Museum

    Insights into the tragic tsunami of 2004

    • History
    • Photo

    The International Tsunami Museum honours and preserves the memories of the victims of the tsunami that devastated Khao Lak in 2004. A patrol boat just outside the museum was carried over 2 km inland as a result of the tragedy. While browsing the museum’s exhibits, you’ll also learn about the science behind tsunamis.

    A visit to the International Tsunami Museum can be emotional, but it’s a must-see attraction when staying in Khao Lak for those interested in the area’s tragic history. Memorials and monuments dedicated to the tsunami victims are found throughout Khao Lak.

    Location: 47 Khuekkhak, Takua Pa District, Phang-nga 82190, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)81 442 5660


    Royal Thai Navy Third Fleet Turtle Nursery

    A sanctuary for sea turtles that are born on Khao Lak’s beaches

    • Families

    The Royal Thai Navy Third Fleet Turtle Nursery rehabilitates turtles before releasing them back into the wild. It has an experienced team who will gladly tell you about different turtle species and the sanctuary’s setup.

    Sea turtles lay eggs on various Khao Lak beaches every year. You might be lucky enough to see turtles laying eggs between November and April. If you want to see these turtles being released, visit Thai Muang National Park Beach during the first week of March’s Turtle Festival.

    Location: Tambon Lam Kaem, Amphoe Thai Mueang, Chang Wat Phang-Nga 82210, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 5 pm


    Bang Niang Market

    Local handicrafts and delicious street food at a night market

    • Shoppers
    • Food
    • Nightlife
    • Budget

    Bang Niang Market is one of Khao Lak’s most popular night markets. Over 300 vendors sell handicrafts, clothes and souvenirs at bargain prices. There’s also a buzzing street food section where you can fill up on seafood, meat skewers, and local treats like spring rolls. You’ll see lots of fruit and veg here, much of which are only found in Thailand.

    Bang Niang Market opens as early as 2 pm, though we recommend visiting during the evening to make the most of the vibrant atmosphere (it keeps going until 10 pm). On the days it closes – Tuesday, Friday and Sunday – you can shop for local goods and bites at the nearby Build Market.

    Location: Petchkasem Rd, Khuekkhak, Takua Pa District, Phang-nga 82220, Thailand

    Open: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10 am to 10 pm


    photo by Stéphane Audiger (CC0 1.0) modified


    Pak Weep Beach

    A paradisiacal beach with sublime sunsets

    • Families
    • Photo
    • Budget

    Pak Weep Beach (Coconut Beach) is one of Khao Lak’s most idyllic beaches, boasting fine sand, tall palms, and warm ocean water that appears turquoise under a clear sky. Behind the sandy stretch are restaurants that offer unobstructed views of the coast, which is also one of Khao Lak’s best sunset spots.

    If you’re travelling with family, Pak Weep Beach is a fun place to take the kids in search of colourful shells and hermit crabs. It’s best to visit between November and February, when Thailand’s weather is at its most inviting. This period is also when you’re least likely to encounter jellyfish.


    Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park

    A memorial to the tragic 2004 tsunami

    • History

    The Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park commemorates the victims of the 2004 tsunami in Khao Lak. In the memorial area, you’ll see a curved wall that represents the tsunami, a ceramic and brick-tiled wall with the names of over 1,400 victims, along with statues of a Buddha and Admiral Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse (founder of the Royal Thai Navy).

    The Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park is steeped in history, but it’s also an excellent place to enjoy a family picnic. There's also a health area, a resting area, a playground area, and a beautiful beach. If you’d rather let somebody else prepare the food, you can order local dishes at seafood restaurants near the park.

    Location: Takua Pa District, Phang-nga 82190, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)93 757 7621


    The Little Amazon Takuapa (Sang Ne Canal)

    Canal tours in a mini rainforest

    • Families
    • Photo

    The Little Amazon is a small mangrove jungle with the Sang Ne Canal running through it. While sailing onboard a traditional canoe-like boat, you can look out for animals including owls, pythons, monitor lizards, kingfishers, and macaques. There’s also a beautiful temple and a waterfall in the jungle.

    The Little Amazon is about a 25-minute drive from Khao Lak. Follow Route 4 north for about 25 km, and you’ll see a turning on your left. Nearby attractions include the Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park and the ruins of the Ban Thung Tuek Ancient City.

    Location: 41/1 Moo 9, Bangnaisee Takua Pa District, Phang-nga 82110, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)87 280 7009


    Samet Nangshe Viewpoint

    Unbeatable views of Phang Nga Bay

    • Nightlife
    • Photo
    • Budget

    The Samet Nangshe Viewpoint offers panoramic views over hundreds of limestone islets and formations scattered in Phang Nga Bay – a landscape that was featured in 2 James Bond films. The bay appears otherworldly at sunrise, with the sun climbing out from behind the rocks, though daytime and sunset views are equally stunning. At night, the low levels of light pollution mean that the overhead view of the stars is a sight to behold.

    The Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is accessible via a 15-minute dirt trail to the peak of an outcrop. Even this relatively short climb can prove challenging in the tropical heat, but the rewarding view makes the hike more than worthwhile. Plenty of photographers spend hours snapping shots of Phang Nga Bay from this vantage point.

    Location: Khlong Khian, Takua Thung District, Phang-nga 82130, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 4 am to midnight

    Phone: +66 (0)81 894 1159

    Joshua Saunders | Contributing Writer

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