How to get to Khao Lak in 2024: A comprehensive Guide By A Local

If you have decided you should spend some time in Khao Lak on your next trip to Thailand, then the next question on your list is how to get to Khao Lak? There are as many ways to get here as there are reasons to visit, so we have asked former Khao Lak resident Kyle Barnes to explain all your options to help you choose the best one for your situation.

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Khao Lak is only about 85 kilometres north of Phuket. The journey along the bright blue waters of the Andaman Sea is a wonderful start to your trip. Below, we explore all the different ways you can make this journey from speedy private transfers to local buses.

Travelling to Khao Lak from Phuket Airport

Phuket International Airport (HKT) is one of the largest and long-standing airports in Thailand receiving both domestic and international. It’s also the closest airport to Khao Lak, being roughly 80km south of Khao Lak Centre. 

TIp: If you are not using an e-sim, be sure to purchase a SIM card at one of the vendors here. It will make your entire trip easier; from calling taxis or hotels, to checking locations on Google Maps, having access to data and phone service will be worth the investment. 

Taking a Taxi to Khao Lak from Phuket Airport

Phuket Airport has a steady stream of taxis waiting right outside of its terminals, ignore any of the eager taxi drivers that may approach you the second your feet touch the ground and head over to the taxi kiosks instead, they offer rides at fixed rates, and reasonable prices.

Keep in mind, if you do get into a taxi without agreeing on a price first, make sure that the meter is running, this is quite a common piece of travel advice but you shouldn’t have to worry too much as Phuket taxis are usually very fair to their passengers.

On average, a taxi from Phuket Airport to Khao Lak will cost you around 1300 baht for a smaller car, or 1800 baht for a larger one. The taxis are convenient, fast, and will drop you off anywhere you want. 

Private Transfers from Phuket Airport

Many hotels and travel agencies can arrange transportation from the airport straight to the hotel’s front door. If you just want to get to your hotel as fast as possible upon arrival, with no extra hassle, then booking this private option could make your life a lot easier.

Be sure to check with your hotel as they’ll have their own set prices. There is also the option to book a private transfer without using your hotel, getting in touch with an independent company can ensure that a driver will be waiting for you when you land and you can just jump straight in and go. This is often a cheaper option than the hotel transfer.

Renting a car at Phuket Airport

If you are used to driving overseas or come from somewhere that drives on the left-hand side of the road (hello Aussie’s and Brits) you might want to consider renting a car for your trip to Khao Lak.

Many car rental companies have desks at the airport. The options can be quite staggering at first, but keep in mind that two rentals are usually reliable and found throughout Thailand, these are Avis and Sixt.

On most occasion you can get one without a booking, but if you are visiting in high season or arriving very early or very late in the day pre-booking your car will give you peace of mind. We have also rented multiple times with Budget and always had good experiences.

Renting a car can cost anywhere between 700 baht a day and 8000 baht a day depending on which car and company you choose, this in with insurance included.

With renting comes the ability to drive wherever you please, use your very own private A/C, and store any and all items you might need to take with you for your day trips. 

Taking a Bus to Khao Lak from Phuket Airport

Hopping on a bus is the cheapest way to get to Khao Lak, it’s also the least efficient for both time and effort. It’s a good option for backpackers on a lower budget who don’t mind taking their time and aren’t carrying giant suitcases.

The bus station isn’t located at the airport, it instead can be found 5 kilometers down the road on highway number 4.

You can take the airport shuttle to the bus station to make your life easier or decide to walk it if you’ve got Google Maps.

The red buses that pass through Khao Lak will have ‘Takuapa’, ‘Ranong’, or ‘Surat Thani’ written on the front of them. Flag one down, inform them you’re heading to the Khao Lak area, buy a ticket for roughly 80 baht, keep an eye on your Google Maps and enjoy the views of the Andaman Sea. 

Travelling from Krabi to Khao Lak offers a stunning overland journey of about 155 kilometres around the beautiful Andaman Sea. We have covered the best ways to get there, making your travel planning utterly stress-free. Whether you prefer using a taxi, private transfers, hiring a car, or catching a bus, we’ve got you covered. The following sections give you step-by-step instructions to help you navigate your adventure to Khao Lak with ease.

How To Get To Khao Lak From Krabi Airport

Krabi International Airport (KBV) is the second closest airport to Khao Lak, with 132km of road separating the two.

Upon arriving at the small terminal you’ll find many ATMs all bunched together, take this opportunity to pull out some local currency, they’ll charge you a withdrawal fee but it’ll be less than the exchange fee applied at any of the money exchange vendors. 

Taking a Taxi to Khao Lak from Krabi Airport

The airport at Krabi has several taxi kiosks set up and ready for anyone done collecting their luggage and ready to head out.

Krabi Airport

Taxi prices for a trip to Khao Lak will can be anywhere from 4200 baht to 5500 baht depending on the size of the car and the number of people with you, the journey takes about two hours and you’ll be able to take in a lot of Southern Thailand’s countryside during your journey. 

Private Transfer from Krabi Airport

Having someone waiting for you when you arrive at the airport is a time saver, and it makes you feel like a celebrity. They’ll be holding a sign with your name on it and all you have to do is say hello and jump in some transport.

No kiosks, no bartering, no hassle. If you’re staying in a hotel that offers this service, then you can arrange a private transfer in advance with them, they’ll have their set prices depending on whichever hotel you’re staying at.

Alternatively, the taxi service ‘Boss of Cheaper Than Hotel Taxis’ can arrange a private transfer for you, they’re widely known around Southern Thailand and have a good reputation. 

Renting a car at Krabi Airport

Car rental will cost you anywhere between 700 baht and 8000 baht a day, including insurance. Renting a car will give you the ability to go wherever you please, alongside extra storage and transportable A/C, you’ll be giving yourself the most independence and adaptability during your stay.

Krabi Airport offers a smaller selection of car rental options than Phuket Airport provides, but it still has some well-known reputable brands like Sixt.

Tip: Be sure to stop off at Phangnga view point en-route for spectacular views of this incredible landscape.

The drive to Khao Lak will take roughly two hours, that’s double the amount of time it would take from Phuket Airport, but with the quieter highways and the long, winding roads, you’ll be able to enjoy the views without worrying about any big city traffic.

Taking a bus to Khao Lak from Krabi Airport

Krabi Airport has a bus station outside that can take you to the Krabi Bus Terminal for the low price of 80 baht. From there you can jump onto a new bus that will take you straight to Khao Lak Center for 160 baht. All-in-all the bus journey to Khao Lak will take roughly six and a half hours, making it the most affordable but most time-consuming way to visit Khao Lak.

Travellers on a budget or those who love a bit of slow travel the train journey from Bangkok to Surat Thani is quite the worthwhile adventure! The train makes several stops before reaching Surat Thani.

These include:

  • Hua Hin: Known for its spectacular beaches, night markets and golf courses, Hua Hin is where the city meets the sea.
  • Chumphon: Often considered the gateway to Southern Thailand, Chumphon is a port city with a relaxed coastal vibe.
  • Surat Thani: The final stop before you head towards Khao Lak. Surat Thani is a vibrant city with bustling night markets and a variety of local attractions.

Compete the 13 hour journey in one go or break it over a few days and jump off and take advantage of a chance to different aspects of Thai life and culture enroute.

How to get from Surat Thani to khao Lak

The nearest train station to Khao Lak is found in Surat Thani, a city resting 200km northeast of Khao Lak. Depending on where you got your train from, it might be worth spending a night or two in Surat Thani. If you stay overnight, then be sure to stop by the night market.

Tip: Surat Thani has some of the best street food in Thailand, including a unique Pad Thai from Tha Chang that gets served up in a deliciously thick sauce packed with flavour.

Taking a bus to Khao Lak from Surat Thani

The bus to Khao Lak can be boarded outside Surat Thani Train Station. It’ll take between four to five hours to arrive in the Khao Lak area and should cost 270 baht per ticket.

The buses are kept in good condition and most have A/C available so the trip should be a comfortable one. Just keep in mind that the stop for Khao Lak is ‘Nang Thong Supermarket’, as Khao Lak doesn’t have a stop under its name.

Getting to Khao Lak from the Airports nearby is one thing, but what if you want to get to Khao Lak from other areas around the country? Don’t worry, there’s a bus for all occasions.

Just know that the bus terminals in Thailand charge 3 baht to use the restrooms, so be sure to have some cash on hand.

Bus to Khao Lak from BangkoK

Bangkok has a Southern Bus Terminal called ‘Sai Tai Mai’. There’s a bus that sets off from there and takes you across the country to Phuket Town.

It leaves Bangkok in the evening and takes around 12 hours to get to Phuket, stopping in Khao Lak along the way.

The stop for Khao Lak is called ‘Nang Thong Supermarket’, keep that in mind to avoid confusion as there won’t be a stop that actually says ‘Khao Lak’.

The price for a ticket is 970 baht, and the bus is a comfortable air-conditioned 24-seat coach, complete with cushioned seats.

Bus to Khao Lak from Chumphon

Chumphon Bus Terminal is found in West Chumphon and offers a couch journey to Phuket Town, making a stop in Khao Lak on the way there.

Once again, the bus stop for Khao Lak will be called ‘Nang Thong Supermarket’, you’ll be wanting to get off there as it’s located directly in the centre of Khao Lak. Tickets cost 270 baht and the coach journey takes roughly six hours.

How to get to Khao Lak from Koh Samui

If you are splitting your time between Koh Samui and Khao Lak, you could turn the journey into a mini road trip.

Take the ferry services from Koh Samui to Donsak Pier in Surat Thani. From Donsak Pier, you can hire a car and drive to Khao Lak — a journey of about 3-4 hours through scenic routes. 

Alternatively, opt for a combination of ferry and bus service. Take the ferry from Koh Samui to Donsak Pier, followed by a bus ride to Khao Lak.  

Kyle Barnes writer

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