NangThong Khao Lak
Khao Lak centre
Nangthong beach is Khao Lak’s main beach area. Sometimes referred to as Khao Lak centre, or Khao Lak beach or Bang La-on. This was the first part of Khao Lak to be developed and has some very nice resorts on the beach such as the Nangthong bay resort or the Sands. Up on the main road you’ll find cheaper accommodation in the form of hostels and guesthouses. You’ll also find plenty of restaurants, a few bars (Khao Lak is not a party place), dive shops, a bank, Nangthong minimart, a few massage places and some other small shops selling beach towels, t-shirts and the like.
Nangthong is about 70 minutes drive north of Phuket airport, it’s the first beach you’ll come to. It’s about 10 minutes drive to Thap Lamu pier which is where most boats to the Similan Islands depart from.
Not too busy, not too quiet
While Nangthong beach is definitely the busiest area of Khao Lak it is far from crowded. In comparison to Phuket it can feel deserted. For most people Nangthong strikes a nice balance between being quiet but not isolated (some of the luxury resorts that say they are in Khao Lak are actually 20-30 km north with nothing else around). If you stay in Nagthong you can have a nice resort but go out to eat at a local restaurant which will be cheaper and probably tastier.
Bangniang beach is 2.5 km south of Nangthong, local songthaew taxis ply the route. It’s worth heading to Bangniang one evening for the night market.
Nangthong beach itself is very quiet. Most people seem to be either out on tours or in their resorts during the day so it’s easy to find a stretch of beach to yourself. The beach is perfect for an early morning stroll, or for a sunset drink at a beach restaurant. It’s ok for swimming, just watch out for drop offs and undertows in places because there are no lifeguards.
Khao Lak season
The main season for Khao Lak is Nov to late April with Dec to Feb being the busiest months. In the low season from May to October hotels will entice you with too good to be true prices. They really are a bargain if all you want to do is relax in a resort because there are no island tours running during these months and some businesses simply shut up shop.