Warm waters and beautiful beach in Khao Lak on a sunny day

Khao Lak

Khao Lak’s beaches are straight out of central casting: pearlescent white sand, deep blue skies, and rustling palm trees leaning out towards glittering, turquoise seas. Add to this three national parks and the coral reefs of the Similan and Surin Islands — both within easy day-tripping reach — and you have one of our favorite spots in all of Thailand.

The scenery is so stereotypically paradisiacal that it’s hard to believe this stretch of coast was completely destroyed by the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004. Today, Khao Lak has not just rebuilt — it’s booming. Continuing tourism to the region has played a significant part in its recovery, and yet despite its popularity, Khao Lak retains a wholesome, family-friendly vibe that enhances rather than spoils its charms.

In fact, if you ask us, Khao Lak has everything you could wish for in a beach getaway. Sprawling along 20 miles of balmy Andaman coast, it has bustling beaches with lively nightlife, but it also has secluded stretches lined with sleepy villages. It has friendly budget guesthouses as well as upmarket resorts, and superb snorkelling and diving opportunities as well as foreigner-friendly restaurants and pristine jungle hikes. It’s fun without a trace of seediness, and foreigner-friendly without losing its local character. Such balance is rare, so take it from us: Khao Lak is a find.

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