Khao Lak is based 100 km north of Phuket in Takua Pa district, Phang Nga province and is very popular as a departure point for scuba diving trips. The sands are fairly popular as a resort beach, westward facing, with rubber plantations and tropical forest on the hillside framing the area. A beach road runs parallel to the beach, featuring accommodation, shops and other businesses catering to tourists.
Khao Lak still retains a quiet Thai village feel with enough existing locals and small town life to balance out the influx of tourism from abroad.
There are many tourist hotels, small shops and restaurants, plus services relating to the diving trade. Most of the tourists are European, particularly from Scandinavia, Germany and the U.K. Explore the wider area which produces rubber and palm oil and view Thai agriculture at work.
Khao Lak is considered to be "upper class" compared to some lower budget accommodation on Phuket. This is mainly a recent development – post tsunami – when damaged hotels were rebuilt and improved at the same time. Villas have responded with a higher level of architecture and service.
The coastal vegetation is mostly new and replanted, and continues to be added to with funds from various missions. As a result, Khao Lak is a reflection of the artistic and personal vision of the locals and experts who have restored the island to a level higher than its original state.
Khao Lak is accessible via Phutet Airport. Head to the transfer counter and book a one way direct for around 600 baht rather than bartering with taxi drivers outside. A budget option is to share a mini van, for around 150 Baht. These are also booked at the transfer counter but take a little longer because you'll be dropping of passengers along the way.
The villas on Khao Lak are close by the main restaurants of the beach area. These restaurants have a Scandinavian leaning with fresh fish from the Andaman and Phuket lobster being ubiquitous. There's plenty of range to keep you satisfied during a longer stay.
Khao Lak Villas are based around the sandy white beach with crystal blue waters, and a luxury, high end places to stay.