Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Julie's Khao Lak trip report - late Nov 2010

The southern headland of the main Khao Lak beach strip. This section is known as Sunset Beach. Our Baan Krating resort has a sun-deck at the end of the beach with bungalows aligned to the right progressively higher up the headland. If you click this image you will see these more clearly.

We reached Khao Lak at the end of a long day after flying into Phuket from Sydney. The one advantage of arriving late was the absence of traffic on the roads - the transfer from the airport by car from limo counter only took one hour - cost 1500Bt bargained down from list 2000. Note that if returning from Khao Lak to Phuket airport, a driver on the main street advertises a fare of 1000Bt, a good discount on the going rate.

Bungalows in steep hillside rainforest.

Our hotel, the Baan Krating, is perched on a steep hill on the sea side of the main road at the far southern end of Khao Lak beach. These days we seem to choose elevated accommodation quite often, partly because we need the exercise of climbing hundreds of stairs a day, and our family likes to know we can't be swept away in our beds in the event of another tsunami, but mainly because the Beach Blogger is crazy about panoramic views.

Chez Julie at Baan Krating

This place didn't disappoint, with over 160 steps from our door up and down an undulating path to the sand, and maybe 80 or so up to reception in the other direction. The steepness of the site guaranteed the second tier bungalows like ours had great views above the front rowers down below. No bungalow would be without views.

Tree filtered views of Sunset and the other Khao Lak beaches progressively north. More expensive bungalows closer the beach have more open but not as lofty views.

This hotel is oceanfront, but the beach doesn't start till the end of the path at the far northern corner. There's an infinity pool below reception in the other direction, but it's no problem walking through the rainforest grounds down to the sand. I enjoyed swimming here at all tide levels - no waves, clean, warm water.
There is also a shorter steepish boardwalk down to a rock beach more or less directly below the pool. This beach is a bit tricky for swimming, but would be okay for a careful entry to water by snorkellers.

Elevated infinity pool from near reception.

We lost the first day with all the travelling, but there's not much to do at Khao Lak except relax, and three nights/2 days were enough. We walked into town and back on both full days, checking out the length of the beach one way and the street front on the way back. Basically it is a ribbon of expensive looking resorts side by side, with just one rather sad three storey block which hasn't been fixed after the tsunami.

Restaurants in town were surprisingly expensive, it turned out that our hotel's 2nd restaurant, the Muan Lai (also open to the public with easy access from the main road) was better value. This restaurant is really elevated with a fantastic view, and seemed popular with Thai diners, which generally moderates menu prices.

Great views, nice food and very competitive prices from Baan Krating's Muan Lai restaurant which is adjacent the main road maybe 200m down hill from the main entrance to the resort.

Not far from the entrance to our hotel in the opposite direction to Khao Lak town is the National Park, and its restaurant was one of the cheapest I've encountered in Thailand. If you fancy a change from swimming at Khao Lak beach, there is a 2 km rainforest track through the National Park to a small white sand beach. Stick to the track rather than taking a short cut through the jungle as Beach Blogger did, managing to be gone 2 hours longer than anticipated. Though it seems that if you can still see/hear the ocean, technically you aren't lost. Glad I chose to sleep off the jet lag rather than go with him on this little jaunt.

National Park white sand beach at low tide - Beach Blogger tells me there is plenty of sand left at full tide.

Back to the main Khao Lak page.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you nice article.
    your next trip…Phuket is the best choice for you!!
    I love here Surin Beach Phuket This hotel is very nice clean and the people are friendly. VERY nice hotel with helpful staff.
    And I really love white sand, crystal clear waters at Surin Beach too.
    Thank again.