There is much to see and to do in Khao Lak. You can sunbathe in beautiful beaches, swim in the pristine waters of the Andaman Sea, visit picturesque waterfalls and national parks, ride elephants, shop for souvenirs in the local markets, eat tasty Thai food in the local restaurants, and go snorkeling and diving in the world famous Similan Islands. There are horse ranches where you can learn to ride and go on nature trails or riding on the beach. There is a golf driving range near the camp and an 18-hole golf course in Thap Lamu, about a 15-minute car drive from the camp.
KHAO LAK BEACHES
KHUK KAK BEACH
On Saturday mornings Rawai Muay Thai students train in the beach. When the weather is sunny, we hop on our scooters and pick-up trucks and head to Khuk Kak Beach, about 2 KM from the camp. It is a quiet beach, next to the Orchid Beach Resort. Here are some photos of Khuk Kak beach.
Memories beach, about 15 minutes from the gym. This beach is located about 15 minutes from the gym, down a winding dirt road, until you reach the beautiful beach. There is a laid back bar, Memories Bar, restaurant and surf club.
Coconut beach is located a few kilometers North of Memories Beach. It is a quiet beach, seldom visited by tourists, making it the perfect place enjoy your solitude. Bring a towel, a book and relax. There is a nice restaurant that offers Thai Food at reasonable prices.
WHITE SAND BEACH
White Sand beach is next to Coconut Beach and is a favorite spot for our guests. You can eat in the restaurant, get a relaxing Thai massage or just lay in the sun beds and look at the Andaman Sea. Even in high season, it is not too busy. This is one of the reasons people come to Khao Lak: it is less busy than it’s famous neighbor to the South, Phuket.
ISLANDS NEAR KHAO LAK
Snorkeling and diving trips to the nearby Similan Islands is by far the most spectacular thing you can do while visiting Khao Lak. This archipelago of nine islands is located about 60 KM from Khao Lak. It is a favorite destination for tourists and considered one of the top ten dive sites in the world. These tropical islands are open to tourists only during high season (mid October to Mid May). Our good friend, Olov, offers live aboard trips to the Similan Islands where you can see marine life at its best. For more information you can visit the Poseidon Similan Tours site.
There are many diving companies in town that organize day trips as well as liveaboards to the islands. You can book trips in the gym office.
A bit further North, about 90 KM from Khao Lak, you will find the Surin Islands. They are less well known and therefore, less visited than the Similan Islands, but not less beautiful. You will get to experience one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Thailand here, Mai Ngam beach. You can camp on the beach but don’t expect to see a hotel here.
We can recommend the Greenview tour to Surin. You leave in the morning from Greenview Pier (near Ranong) and get to Surin in about 30 minutes. You can stay the day and even spend the night in the park tents and bungalows.
KHAO LAK MARKETS
BANG NIANG MARKET
The biggest market in Khao Lak is in Bang Niang, across from the Tsunami Memorial. This afternoon and evening market is open on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. You can find street food, fruit, vegetables, fish and meat, clothing, souvenirs and more.
A specialty of the area is fresh juices like coconut, sugarcane, and Roselle. For the more adventurous travelers, you can try the smoked insects, including crickets, scorpions, larvae, etc. The market hours are 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Around Bang Niang market you find restaurants and bars. Bang Niang is a nice place to spend the afternoon. You can also go visit the tsunami museum and memorial at the same time. There you will see the famous 813 Boat.
The 813 Boat is a police boat that was patrolling the coast of Khao Lak when the 2004 Tsunami hit the area. The devastating wave thrust the boat 2 KM inland. Khao Lak was rebuilt but the authorities left the boat where they found it as a reminder of the tragedy.
KHUK KAK MARKET
Khuk Kak market is the closest to the camp. It is a fresh food market, held from early morning to 12:00 noon. This is not a tourist market. It is where the locals buy their food: fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. The market opens early in the morning and closes at around noon.
Next to the market is next to the bus station, where buses make the long trip to Bangkok daily. Buses leave in the afternoons/evenings. Tickets range from around 700 – 1,000 Baht per person.
This is the newest addition to town. The market is located next to Build Factory night club. It is open in the afternoons on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Here you will find fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and fish. There are prepared food stalls as well as a restaurant and bar at the market.
About 7 KM South of the gym is Nang Thong village, the main downtown area. This is where you find the banks, restaurants, hotels, pharmacies, tailor shops, massage shops, tattoo shops.
During the high season, from mid October to mid April, the immigration office has a mobile office every Wednesday. It is located in front of Jai Restaurant in Nang Thong. Here you can extend your visa, in case you want to stay longer in Thailand.
In Nang Thong there are medical clinics. A good one is Dr. Chusak’s Clinic. Run by a husband and wife team, this clinic has been treating patients for over 15 years. They give vaccines, do blood tests, and treat their patients’ needs. The clinic itself is open every day from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm.
KHAO LAK PARKS AND WATERFALLS
There are beautiful waterfalls near the gym worth visiting. A local favorite is Sai Rung Waterfall (also known as Pak Weep waterfall or Rainbow Waterfall). Is it located near the Pullman Resort hotel and Beyond Resort Hotel, about 15 minutes from the camp. The best time to visit is in the rainy season, from June-October, when the waterfall is at its fullest splendor.
About 1 hour away from the camp you can reach Khao Sok National Park. It is immense and offers everything from elephant trekking, cave and river tours, floating bungalows and beautiful flora to gaze at. The best time of the year to visit is from November to May.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
KHAO LAK RESTAURANTS
In Bang Niang, about 5 KM from the camp, there are lots of restaurants to choose from. We recommend: Green Pepper near Bang Niang Market. Their Thai dishes are delicious, made fresh daily with the best quality ingredients.
Further down the road toward Bang Niang beach, you can try The Rusty Pelican for Mexican dishes, Pinocchio’s for Italian food or Enzo, for Japanese fusion fare. If you are missing a nice piece of grilled beef, head to Joe’s Steakhouse. The meat is Australian and they serve hearty portions. The meat is cooked perfectly, melts in your mouth. Try the beef steak with horseradish sauce. It’s amazing!
In Nangthong area, there are many more restaurants to choose from. For fresh dishes, like salads and sandwiches, try Qcumber. For the best pasta and pizza though, you have to try La Piccola Maria. And ask for the tiramisu, it’s to die for.
For coffee lovers, head straight to any of these nice little coffee houses to quench your caffeine craving.
BARS AND NIGHT CLUBS
Most of the bars are located either in Nang Thong or Bang Niang. Compared to Phuket, Khao Lak has less to offer in terms of night life. But that’s one reason we decided to locate the gym here. There are fewer distractions than in Phuket and our students end up doing more training and less partying.
HORSE RIDING IN KHAO LAK
Khaolak Horse Club is located 5 KM from Rawai Muay Thai camp, on the road to Chongfah Waterfall. Khun Ju, the owner of the club, has a beautiful horse ranch and offers horseback riding lessons and trails. You can ride the horses through mountain trails and on the beach! For more information and to make a booking call: 093-727-1552.
Some of the trainers in the gym really like to go fishing. If you want to join them just ask Tuk or Fin. They can organize fishing tours for you. You can go on a long tail boat or on a speed boat, depends on the destination.
GOLF IN KHAO LAK
You can play golf at the Navy Golf Course in Thap Lamu which is located about 15 minutes South of the the gym. This beautiful 18 hole golf course has a stunning view of the Andaman Sea.
Further South you find Katathong Golf Course, a championship golf course with first rate accommodation on site.