Well, Khao Lak continues to develop, some might say overdevelop - but this is Thailand! Last March when we left we thought the main centre, Bang La On, had gone perhaps as far as it could with the addition of new restaurants, bars and shops. But, no, now there is even more choice with a Mr.India, Indian restaurant on your left as you enter La On to a Mrs. India (keep it in the family) on your right as you leave, Peter Pan steakhouse to give a bit of competition to the ever popular Viking and several more.
Bang Niang, though where we are staying, shows the biggest development with both sides of the Beach Road from the highway down to the beach boasting many new additions, some new restaurants, again in the Thai way, being in direct competition to other established ones - a risky strategy in these uncertain times, particularly when some that tried this last year being closed this. Those opening with a "Thai fusion" menu run the greatest risk as their prices are higher than other restaurants whose prices are higher than last year and many diners (like us Brits) being faced with a lot less baht for their home currency. But the Thai way is if there are less people you put up your prices to get more money not reduce them to encourage more!
The previously undeveloped top (northern) end of Bang Niang Beach now is filling up with beach massage places, beach bars and lounger/deck chair hire. A lovely new bungalow resort, the Golden Sands, has apperared next to the Sudala Beach, and several of the existing resorts mow boast enhanced sea defences following last year's storms.
Going across the creek onto the beautiful Khuk Khak Beach, last year there was one lonly guy selling (or trying to) cold drinks for the beach walkers. Now there are the massage and drinks places all along up to the Orchid Beach Resort (a popular turn around for walkers). Great alternative beach rest for the day and finish off with a massage.
Pakarang Beach by the Asparas, South Sea Grand, Toklaburi and Palm Galleria has more massage beds than sun beds almost!
Even the wonderful Pak weeb Beach has a lounger hire place now adjacent to and no doubt living off the popularity of the still excellent Boatyard Restaurant.
Not been on Nang Thong or the more southern beaches yet. Plenty of time for that!
So Khao lak is getting busier albeit with visitor attractions than visitors!