Khao Lak Beach is north of Phuket along the Andaman Coast. It boasts expansive beaches and ample infrastructure, making this the perfect place to launch island-hopping tours to the Surin and Similan Islands. Khao Lak Bus Station regularly receives passengers from both Phuket and Krabi.
South of the beach is Khao Lak Lum Ru Forest Park, strewn with cliffs and hills that quickly rise to 1,000 meters. Mangrove groves on the coast and the adjoining hills host a wealth of wildlife, including Asiatic bears, monkeys, hornbills and tapirs. Anyone staying at a hotel in Khaolak can easily connect to the forest park for a loop around the three-kilometer nature trail or a visit to the park’s hilltop restaurant.
Khaolak is most popular with divers, who base themselves here while putting together the details of multi-day excursions to the Similan Islands on a live-aboard boat. The highway approaches the beach, but stays a few blocks inland. This is where most of the dive shops and travel agencies are located.
Khaolak Beach itself is refreshingly secluded despite the recent increase in tourist numbers. Khaolak has coastline to spare, and by keeping the commercialism off the beach, guests of hotels in Khaolak get the impression that they have the coastline to themselves. In a way, visitors get the best of both scenarios, with quiet beaches but plenty of commercialism in the area. Above the highway is Khaolak viewpoint, where visitors can get an aerial perspective on how these quiet beaches and busy commercial zones blend together.