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Just Back from Khao Lak

Durham, United...
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Just Back from Khao Lak

Our bodies are back in England but a part of us has stayed behind in Thailand and in particular Khao Lak.

We flew out with Thai and it was ‘As smooth as silk’ Last year we went though immigration in Phuket which took over an hour. This year transit passengers went through in Bangkok and there were just 2 people in front of us so it was a breeze.

Le Meredian

was as friendly as ever and it was good to see it was pretty full and in most respects everything was perfect apart from the service in the restaurants. No problem with the food itself! they have a lot of young inexperienced staff serving and we experienced long waits, wrong orders, wine turning up halfway through the main course, no soup spoon (twice) had to ask for a finger bowl after seafood, incorrect bills. Nothing to get really upset about and always sorted out with sincere apologies. Fed it back to management and hopefully should improve in time. They also put on a celebration for St Martins day where we assembled on the beach in the evening and lit Khom Loy lanterns which were then released into the sky it was a lovely sight seeing lots of lanterns floating ‘carrying your wishes to heaven’

We love walking along the beach, there are a few more shacks in business and the boatyard has now gone to be replaced with a beach massage/ restaurant, no sign of any customers as it is a good way from any of the hotels. We had several great meals at Au Thong the middle restaurant outside The Sarojin They will also collect and return you to your hotel at night which saves a dodgy walk along the beach.

We booked trips at the hotel Similan Islands snorkelling, first time with a snorkel for me and I loved it, wore a life jacket and felt quite safe and the fish and coral are amazing.

Also rafting /elephant trekking and a canoe trip which was good for bird watching and

included a visit to Takuapa market and lunch by a waterfall, this was with Eco Adventure Tours

We did get several heavy tropical storms, mainly late afternoon which meant we only got in two visits to Bang La On and Jai’s. Sorry we missed out on Takieng but that another good reason to return. The town is certainly busier than a year ago and taxi fares seemed higher and non negotiable?

We then moved on to The Dusit Laguna Phuket Had a great day out with Captain Mark on his boat. He leaves from the same jetty as John Grey Sea Canoe so his trip could be done from Khao Lak although it is closer from Phuket. Also a day with Mr Sam touring Phuket, he will also collect from the Khao Lak area. Sam’s a great guy and will tailor an day to suit whatever you are interested in. It was then on to Bangkok for shopping and Loy Krathong.

We had a problem on the way home with duty free booze, we bought in Bangkok put into a sealed bag with receipt as done previously. However because we were transiting to Teeside new regulations meant we had to go through immigration at Heathrow pack the duty free into our hand luggage and check the bag into the hold luggage for the flight up. Would not have bothered if I had realised!

Thanks to everybody on the forum for the help and chat and if I can help anyone please ask

Pete

Auchterarder...
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1. Re: Just Back from Khao Lak

Hi Pete, great review. I forgot about the heavy downpours, we had them most days too. It was torrential and what amazed me was how the temperature dropped so much. We saw one guy in a restaurant with a sweater on and I was so jealous! We got caught out one night and ended up just walking home, wasn't going to make a difference if we were 1 minute or 5 in the rain - had to have a hot shower to warm up afterwards!

Isn't it just so depressing to be back? I yearn for the blue skies and warmth on my skin, and the ability to have bare feet and legs....Are you going back next year?

London, United...
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2. Re: Just Back from Khao Lak

Nice report Pete. No doubt there will be some excellent photographs posted somewhere?

Who was your guide with Eco Adventure Tours?

We heard that the boatyard may have been turned into a restaurant, so a visit on our next trip may be in order, did it look OK?

Thanks.

Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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3. Re: Just Back from Khao Lak

Hi Pete,

Glad you enjoyed your return visit to KL and Le Meridien. Pity about the rain "dampening" the dinner trips. Is the Rim Lay (ex Tsunami Victims) still operating and/or was Kai still there? He told us last time he was opening his own restaurant near the Royal Bang Sak Beach Resort at about this time.

Inevitable I suppose, but still disappointing news about taxi fares, particularly as customer numbers are up.

Cheers

Alan

UK
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4. Re: Just Back from Khao Lak

Hi Pete, I enjoyed your review. It's a shame the same problems at the Meridien are still occurring! I'd hoped they may have got better since we were there last year! Still, the hotel does have some very positive things about it so we're looking forward to returning in 2 weeks time after Phuket.

Presumably you can get to Au Thong restaurant just by going into the Sarojin and walking through and out to the beach? We'll have a car so will be driving ourselves.

Holly

Durham, United...
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5. Re: Just Back from Khao Lak

Hi Russetsprint

To be honest I just took a waterproof compact camera away for fun (and to keep my other half happy) rather than serious photography. Did take my big binoculars though!

Can't remember the guides name but he was good fun and very informative.

The new restaurant at the boat yard is set back under the canopy where they used to build the boats so it was not easy to check it out, there seemed to be some local people eating but no tourists. To be honest it dosn't look as inviting as the other beach bars yet but it's early days.

Alan

Rim Lay still going strong but not sure if Kai still there, there is also competition on the other side of the hotel for the massage ladies.

Pete

Durham, United...
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135 posts
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6. Re: Just Back from Khao Lak

Hi Holly

Sure you can get to Au Thong via The Sarojin but there is a turning before, which I think it will lead to the Similana, but it was dark and didnt't take it in, that takes you to the back door.

We will go back to Le Meridian as the good points far out weigh the bad and as when your are on holiday a bit of a wait in nice surroundings is not the end of the world.

Pete

Cambridgeshire...
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7. Re: Just Back from Khao Lak

Hi Pete,

Fantastic trip report. Shame about the tropical storms but didn't seem to spoil your trip.

We have organised transfers with Mr Sam and also a day out whilst we are in Phuket - he's a really nice guy, isn't he.

Did you enoy your trip to Takuapa market? We plan to organise a taxi to take us there, hopefully won't be too difficult?

Sarah

xx

Khao Lak
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8. Re: Just Back from Khao Lak

Hi,

thanks for the nice report.

Due to your and other complaints about taxi fares, here are the official taxi fares as negotiated between the police and the taxi cooperative.

This example is for trips startig at Bang Niang Market (copied from a sheet distributed there):

To Khao Lak (=Ban La On = Nang Thong): 100 Baht per person

(Extra persons picked up on the way have to pay too)

Following prices are per trip of min. 2 persons (further persons have to pay 50 Baht per person)

To Merlin Resort: 200 Baht

To Poseidon: 300 Baht

To Pakarang: 300 Baht

To Similana: 300 Baht

To Sarojin: 300 Baht

To Bang Sak: 400 Baht

To Ban Nam Khem: 500 Baht

To Takua Pa: 600 Baht

Public songthaews ply the main road ONLY, they are not allowed to drop passengers off at resorts at other roads near the beach.

Have fun in Khao Lak,

J.

Liverpool
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9. Re: Just Back from Khao Lak

Hi

Can anyone tell me how much I should expect to pay for a taxi from Phuket Airport to Gerd & Noi's ?

Thanks

Durham, United...
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135 posts
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10. Re: Just Back from Khao Lak

Hi Sarah

Sam is a fantastic guy!

On our day out with him we mentioned in conversation that my wifes birthday was in a couple of days time. The next day he came to the hotel and left her a beautifully wrapped gift of a bracelet, not the crown jewels but to us it is priceless and will be treasured.

Takuapa market is a local market mainly food we spent about 45 minutes wandering around and enjoyed seeing all the different foods. Wished we could have stocked up as soooo cheep. It was good to have a guide as he was able to explain what some of the things were and got us a few samples to taste.

Bet you are on countdown now!

Hope you have a great trip and will look forward to hearing all about it

Pete

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