Exploring the Beaches in Khao Lak: A Complete Travel Guide

The beaches in Khao Lak Beaches are some of the most beautiful in Southern Thailand, however they rarely get a mention thanks to the areas other stunning landscapes like Khao Sok National Park. In this handy guide, we ask Kyle Barnes, who spent three years living in Khao Lak, to share his views on the top-rated beaches in the area and unveil some less known gems worth exploring. He has added some tips on what to eat, see and do at each beach to help you decide where to head for your day in the sun. 

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Khao Lak has no shortage of sandy shore options for beach-lovers and holiday-goers alike. Today I wanted to share what I think are some of the most beautiful beaches in the entire area.

Nang Thong Beach

Arguably the most popular beach for anybody and everybody arriving in Khao Lak. Just a stone’s throw away from a variety of accommodations, restaurants, and bars, the 3km stretch of sun-soaked sand provides facilities and conveniences for all who come to experience it.

Nang Thong Beach in Khao Lak
Nang Thong Beach in Khao Lak

Do: Sunbeds are available at a cheap cost so that you can claim your portion of the beach and sunbathe in style. The shallow waters of the coast are great for a spot of snorkeling, and upon crashing onto the shores the waters give way to several rock pools, perfect for searching out some pint-sized sea creatures within. 

Eat: After a full day filled with sand, sun, and sea, we usually grab a bite to eat at the Happy Snapper, they offer up high-quality food for a fraction of the price of Western restaurants.

Bang Niang Beach

Bang Niang is a fantastic spot for shopping, dining, and a drink or two. With a quieter atmosphere than that of Nang Thong Beach, Bang Niang offers several massage huts ready for you to relax right there by the ocean.

Bang Niang Beach Khao Lak
Bang Niang Beach

The same opportunities for swimming and snorkeling are available due to the warm, shallow waters of the coastline.

Do: Once the day is done, you can take the chance to check out Bang Niang’s Night Market, found just off the coast, and open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. The night market has a vibrant and busy atmosphere that is a lot of fun to take a stroll in. The clothing options are at a higher price than usual for Thailand, still cheap by Western standards, but considered expensive by the locals. 

Eat: The street food available at the market is the real treat; it’s reasonably priced and full of flavor, all while surrounded by the sights and sounds of the Thai Night Market. A worthwhile experience.

Khuk Khak Beach

Just north of Bang Niang Beach, separated by a tributary, you will find Khuk Khak Beach. This neighboring beach is the busier of the two, with a vast selection of luxury resorts, local restaurants, and beach-side bars. When I am looking for a bit more action this is the place I head to.

Khuk Khak Beach Khao Lak
Khuk Khak Beach

Do: Khuk Khak Beach is a great spot for a long walk, a bite to eat, and a relaxing massage. The beach is enjoyed by quite a few surfers and even contains a couple of surf schools if you are looking to learn. 

Eat: Memories Bar is the place to be on the north side of the beach, it offers affordable food, delicious cocktails, and can be found right there on the sand.

Not every beach is a hot spot for tourism, packed with an array of facilities and choices for shopping or dining. I love to head to the quieter, secluded stretches of sand where you can escape the crowds and hear nothing but the ocean? Khao Lak has some gems hidden away for those who go out and find them.

White Sand Beach

White Sand Beach is a sub-section of the Pak Weep Coast, simply head on over to Pak Weep Beach and then keep going south until you arrive at White Beach.

Do: There’s a reef just offshore which makes the beach more suitable for sunbathing as opposed to swimming, be sure to bring your sunglasses and sunscreen as the fine, powder-like sand here is a stunning shade of white and can light up as it reflects the sun.

Eat: One end of the beach has a handful of hotels, complete with Thai food and chilled drinks for anyone who’d like to drop by. Simply taking a short walk down the beach however will take you away from any of the buildings, allowing you to relax to the sound of the waves gently rolling in.

Eat: There are fewer options for food and drinks out here, but there are few to find; I usually head to Nok Bounty Restaurant. They make a delicious smoothie worthy of a beach walk any day.

Coconut Beach

Coconut Beach is further south from White Sand Beach. Still a sub-section to Pak Weep Beach, and much like its neighbor White Sand Beach, it’s not widely known by tourists. I like that there are fewer shopping stalls in comparison to some other beaches in Khao Lak that have been fully capitalised on with hotels.

Coconut Beach in Khal Lak Thailand
Coconut Beach

Do: Coconut Beach is recognised as a national park, which means that no engine-driven boats are allowed on the water and no sunbeds are available on the beach, so bring a towel!

There are a few swings hidden among the trees and plenty of shells to find during low tide, making this a fantastic spot for romantic getaways, photoshoots, and peaceful lounging. 

Small Sandy Beach

Possibly one of the most hidden beaches in Khao Lak, just waiting to be discovered. Found inside Lam-Ru National Park and only accessible by a ten-minute hike through the jungle, this natural treasure is so picturesque that it feels like something from out of a movie. I see very few tourists when I visit this one, making it an extra special treat when you discover it.

Khao Lak small sandy beach
Khao Lak’s Small Sandy Beach

Do: You’ll have to pay 200 baht at the entrance to the National Park, but this will get you hiking on a short trail through the jungle, then walking on an absolutely gorgeous and brilliantly named Small Sandy Beach, and will also include a visit to one of the largest waterfalls in the area.

Eat: There will be a tourism center towards the end of the journey, which provides a restaurant with food and drinks. With this in mind, still be sure to bring some bottles of water with you just to keep yourself comfortable throughout the trip.

If you’re a night owl seeking vibrant nightlife, Khao Lak doesn’t disappoint. Nang Thong Beach, with its array of buzzing bars and beachside restaurants, is a crowd-puller. Bang Niang Beach is another hotspot, known for its lively night markets and beach parties. Yet Khao Lak has kept its natural charm, offering a wonderful balance between tranquil days and a bit of a buzz at night.

You might be wondering when the most opportune time to visit is. Although the beaches of Khao Lak draw visitors throughout the year, there are certain periods when their charm kicks up a notch. 

The prime time to visit Khao Lak is during the dry season, which falls between November and March.

This time of the year is marked by calm, sunny days that are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and other beach activities.

The temperatures are pleasing, ranging from 33-35°C  (77-86°F) making it an ideal period for exploring the sandy shores. In addition, the waters are calmer and cleaner, forming ideal conditions for snorkelling and diving. 

Pink soft coral and fish at Richelieu Rock dive site, North Andaman. Exotic underwater landscape in Thailand
Pink soft coral and fish at Richelieu Rock dive site.

However, if you love more of a upbeat atmosphere, the high season running from December to January might be your best bet. Be warned though, these are the busiest months, with hotels and resorts often fully booked and beaches bustling with both local and international tourists. 

But don’t be disheartened if you’re planning a visit outside these periods. The monsoon season, which is typically between May and October, brings with it rain. Yet, even amid the showers, the beaches retain their enchanting appeal, providing a tranquil escape, often with fewer tourists. 

Check out our guide to why we think you should visit Khao Lak and our guide on the best ways to get here.  

If you are looking for a quieter getaway in Thailand or just want something different to add to your Phuket experience than consider Khao Lak. I think you will likely love it as much as I do!

About the author: An avid traveler with over a decade of globetrotting adventures, Kyle Barnes crafts captivating travel articles fueled by a profound love for exploration and the art of storytelling.