WHY KHAO LAK?
When someone mentions Thailand, the most well-known areas that spring to mind are usually Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Krabi or even the islands such as Koh Samui or Koh Phi Phi. It was only during a vigorous last minute holiday search that my cousin brought my attention to Khao Lak.
Khao Lak offers a multitude of places to see and things to do with attractions like waterfalls, Buddhist cave shrines, wildlife and 25 km of beautiful beaches, as well as being in close proximity to some world-class diving and snorkelling sites. Travellers of all ages can enjoy a relaxed vibe but still find a buzz around Nang Thong beach.
But for now, I want to highlight why you should consider Khao Lak as an alternative choice for your next trip to Thailand.
Let me begin by sharing whereabouts in Thailand, Khao Lak is to be found – on the south western tip to be precise, surrounded by the Andaman Sea.
Within approximately one hour’s distance from Khao Lak, many other regions can be discovered as mentioned above;
For the adrenalin junkies: Khao Sok National Park, where activities include river rafting, canoeing, kayaking and trekking through dense virgin jungle lands – keep an eye out to spot some unique species of birds, flora and animals!
For the water babies: Diving and snorkelling trips to world-class sites in the Similan Islands and Surin Islands.
Approximately 1.5 hours South of Khao Lak is the ‘Pearl of the Andaman’, Phuket. The perfect area to take a day trip to! There are around 29 Buddhist temples (Wats) in Phuket alone, or for those wanting a more vibrant nightlife scene, Bangla Road is the place to go, a 400-metre section of neon lights, loud music and cheap drinks.
I have so much more to share with you from Phuket, that you will have to wait until another blog post!
Khao Lak makes for the perfect beach/island getaway aimed towards rest and relaxation but with the option of some more cultural and adventurous activities if the desire arises.
We stayed at The Leaf on The Sands, located a short walk to Nang Thong beach; the coastal area that was hardest hit by the devastating tsunami of 2004. The route to the beach however, was not quite as scenic as you may be imagining, rather it felt more like a suffocating maze; the reason being, it is the evacuation route put in place after the tsunami happened. It was astounding that even 13 years after the natural disaster occurred, an eerie sense of what happened could still be felt. Upon reaching the pretty much deserted beach, I suddenly felt a huge sense of compassion not only for all those who suffered, but also for the land itself.
If you are interested to learn more about the devastating effects of the waves, be sure to visit the International Tsunami Museum in Bang Niang, alternatively, the Tsunami Memorial at Baan Nam Khem is about a 40-minute drive north of Khao Lak.
In Thai folklore, turtles are considered a symbol for longevity, prosperity and good fortune.
Their significance along with other external factors brought the development of conservation programmes in Thailand, which have existed for several decades. The Royal Thai Navy has played a role in the conservation of sea turtles in the Gulf of Thailand since 1950 and even Her Majesty the Queen showed an interest in preserving these reptiles by setting up the Queen’s Sea Turtle Conservation project on Man Nai island in 1979.
The Royal Navy Turtle Conservation Unit on the Navy Base at Tap Lamu about 25 minutes south of Khao Lak is a great place to learn about the protection of marine life. In particular, there are 4 endangered turtle species at the centre: Green Turtle, Ridley Sea Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, and Leatherback Turtle, all of which can be found throughout the Andaman Sea. The centre is not only a nursery for baby turtles, it also a place of rehabilitation for sick and injured turtles.
Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles, and quite rightly so!
Khao Lak offers a slower pace of life than neighbouring Phuket, and having since visited other parts of Thailand, I can honestly say that the people in Khao Lak were the most relaxed, friendly and humblest of souls that I came across. Maybe it has something to do with all they have been through as a community, maybe it’s the location.
But one thing’s for sure. That holiday, I was in need of finding some peace and even though there were some emotional moments, peace is exactly what I received. I returned back home with a sense of calm and immense gratitude from my time in Khao Lak. To me, Thailand will always be a destination I seek when in need of peace and perspective.
I hope you too find a piece of the world where you feel at peace x