Hi everyone, I posted regularly for most of my trip but thought I'd do a summary for those who search for JBR's.
Our group was myself and my husband, our 21 year old daughter and her partner, his sister and parents. So we had ages 21-69 and all loved it. Daughter's in-laws had never travelled outside Australia so they were very nervous but had a fantastic time.
We all needed a good break to rest and relax so didn't rush around doing a heap of things. We stayed at NTBR1 again in garden bungalows and it felt like coming home. Staff lovely as ever and it was a really good time to go as it is just before it gets busy and there was no trouble getting a lounger around the pool or on the beachfront. I've seen comments a couple of times in reviews about people coming from other non-beachfront resorts using the beachchairs but in our 3 visits I've never seen this, seems to be a low season thing?
Weather was fantastic. Hot and sunny mostly with some intermittent (welcome) cloud. I don't ever check the weather forecasts but the newbies with us were and of course were worried. in our 16 full days we had rain on 8 of those days. The longest was a couple of hours, the rest was for about 30 minutes late afternoon which cleared quickly to lovely clear nights.
Some of the highlights:
** Dinner at Memories. We got a taxi to arrive about 5pm so we could walk along the beach and then watch the sunset. It was a stunning night with awesome food, great service, heaps of cocktails and some fire dancing. We had 3 entrees, and 6 mains (including 2 deep fried whole fish) with rice plus 23 cocktails & 2 beers between 7 people for 4660 baht.
** The Loy Krathong festival in Bang Niang. We bought our krathongs there for between 40 & 100 baht. It was lovely to see all the Thai families out on this special day. We found it a very spectacular and moving experience.
**Elephant Fly zipline. Most of did the zip line - I wasn't sure about it and was a bit sceptical but I l loved it. There were 2 safety guys (very strict and I felt safe all the time) plus a photographer for our group and we all had a ball. We did the Medium one for 1500 baht each and that was plenty.
**Day tour with Mr A. Thanks to the person who posted his details, he was fantastic. You can contact him via Facebook at A-sirisak ketkaew or telephone +66998 962 9567. It was 3000 baht for up to 10 people for 8 hours. We could set our own itinerary and then he topped it up. We went to the Naval base turtle sanctuary, did river rafting (our request) in that same area (extra 500 baht each) which was just beautiful and tranquil, went to the temples nearby, stopped at a fishing shop for the guys, Tsunami memorial at Ban Nam Khen, waterfall in the Bang Sak area, lunch at The Boatyard etc. Mr A drives a lux minivan and is quite a character. He was very informative as well as joking etc with us. He likes the Aussie humour. He also took 5 of our party to the airport for 1500 baht. Tell him Allie from Australia recommended him.
**Dolphin cruise with Khao Lak Land Discovery. 2500 baht each for a full day on a large wooden boat. https:/… it was a great trip for us as no-one really wanted to do a speedboat trip and the guys love fishing so we were all happy. It is a relaxed day with a flexible itinerary on a big comfortable boat with plenty of sunbathing or shady areas. It's a good trip if you have young kids as there is plenty of room for them and a much more relaxed day. The snorkelling isn't as good as the Surin/Similians obviously so go there if that is your priority but for us it was about having a nice day out with a bit of everything.
The rest of the days we chilled out around the pool, the guys went fishing off the lighhouse or around the rocks, we went to the markets a few times, walked along the beach etc.
A few other places we ate:
Everday2 for a great dinner. 4 entrees, 6 mains plus a drink each (cocktail, beer) - 2290 baht for 7 people so around 320 baht each.
We ate at Cafe O quite a few times for lunch. At the end of our trip each person named their favourite meals and all of ours came from there. I think they were penang curry, massaman curry, green chicken curry, Tom Yum, various stir-fries. You really can't beat it. Cheap and cheerful and great laundry service too. Mains are around 100-150 baht.
Lucky in Bang Niang was fab with big serves and very good prawns. Loved my mojito there too.
Larn Deo was disappointing unfortunately. We've been there a few times each trip and loved it but they had an off night for our visit.
The Boatyard was excellent as usual as was Memories. We ate at the market a few times as well. We loved the fresh cooked dishes at the first place on the left as you go in. My chicken with basil was the best I had on our trip.
Best cocktails were at Happy Snapper - their frozen strawberry daiquiris are legendary. Not cheap at 200 baht but they are huge and so good. Khao Lak Beer Garden does good cocktails at 100 baht each, Dream Bar were good too at 99 baht and there are quite a few places with cocktails around that price. Pineapple mojito from the Toilet Bar (yes that is what it is called LOL) at Bang Niang Market was amazing @ 80 baht.
On a not so great note, my husband slipped on a boat ramp and fractured the L3 in his lower back. We went to Andaman Hub Medical - excellent mini hospital in Kuk Khak (government I think as mainly Thais there) who saw him quickly, dressed his cuts/grazes, gave him Tetanus shot and X-rayed his back and knee. Bill was about 4000 baht including Tramadol. We followed up with Dr Chusak who was fantastic also. This was mainly for more painkillers for the trip home. 400 baht for the visit plus medication. Travel insurance 1Cover were excellent. We weren't worried about the medical costs it was getting him home in reasonable comfort. They upgraded us both to business class and arranged wheelchair assistance at the airports and were in constant contact. Highly recommend them.
After the rest of our travel party left, hubby and I moved to Chong Fah for 3 nights. We wanted to experience staying in Bang Niang and have a treat for my birthday. We booked a seaview room which was lovely and the view from the bed was amazing. We loved it there but with hubby not very mobile and I was unwell for half of the time we really didn't get to get out and about much. Buy one, get one cocktails as the sun was setting was a beautiful way to end the days and the pool area is lovely. Each time I was in the pool I had it to myself, it is definitely a place to stay if you are wanting a quiet resort and it is very couple oriented. As lovely as it was we both said that we preferred NTBR1 (which is less than half the price) - just the overall atmosphere and staff (although my hubby did love being called Sir Russell!) and we like the Bang La On area better.
Overall, it was another lovely trip to Khao Lak. Our newbies had never been able to understand why people go to the same place over and over but a few days in they were talking about their next trip :)
Special mention to the staff at NTBR1 who went above and beyond after the accident. They took us to the hospital, would drive him to Cafe O for lunch in the golf cart and also do the usual trip up to the supermarket. They would also ask where we were going and a couple of times when we had doctor visits would tell us to get the supermarket to ring the resort when we were ready to come back and they would pick us up. They couldn't do enough for "Papa" and nothing was too much trouble.
Apologies for the long post, hopefully it is helpful :)Edited: 07 December 2018, 17:10