Returned home last week after spending 10 days in Khao Lak and 4 days in Patong. We stayed at Cousins Resort in Bang Niang in a family room (me, my husband and 3 kids 7, 5 & 2yrs old). My parents also travelled with us and stayed in a standard bungalow which was overlooking the pool. Cousins was perfect for us and our room was plenty big to fit us all in – the family room consists of two bedrooms, two bathrooms, small kitchen type area (no cooking facilities but who needs them in Thailand!!) and a sitting area. We also had a toaster and kettle which was perfect for a quick breaky. Cousins had also included a cot for our 2yr old which we put in between the two single beds in the kids room. The kids loved this small resort and could run around with a bit of freedom and you didn't have to worry about them breaking something or annoying too many other people. Perfect price too – around Aud$120 per night. Definitely recommend this resort to anyone who is after a quiet little place with great service but not too ritzy :) Also located only a short stroll to the beach through the Sudala Resort or walk up past Ayara Resort to the quieter and nicer in my opinion northern end of Bang Niang near the Power Restaurant etc.
We did a Similan Islands tour with a company called Thapluma Andaman Tours (booked through Cousins) paid 1700baht per adult and 1000baht per child – so cheap for a great day out at this amazing place. The last stop you have is on island no.4 and this has to top my best beach that I have ever been too – water soooo clear and soft white sand. Unfortunately with 3 kids in tow didn't get to do much snorkelling but others raved about it and we did see a turtle from the boat. 1Hr 20min via speedboat and didn't feel sick at all....Well worth doing!
We were very lucky to have Alan (Arandora) and his wife Barbara staying in the bungalow next door to us and who is an absolute wealth of information when in comes to Khao Lak – I'm sure they got sick of all my questions but certainly made our holiday a better one because of them! One day we went up to Pak Weeb beach with them to Mama's restaurant and had a beautiful day on the beach and enjoying the BEST food that I had in thailand – Those prawn spring rolls and yellow chicken curry yum yum yum – also the mango shakes were so nice! Alan & Barbara also introduced us to the Sunset Bar – walk up to the Power Restaurant and cross over the little inlet and its the first Bar/restaurant you come to on the southern end of Khuk Khuk beach (pls correct me if I'm wrong Alan) This place was beautiful and was certainly a highlight of our trip. Spent a couple of days lazing away on the free sunbeds provided (buy a drink or two) and having great lunches. We were also lucky enough on our last night to go for sunset drinks and dinner with Alan & Barbara and it was one of the best nights I have ever had – amazing food and Nop the owner has an imagination with the way he presents his food that I have never seen anywhere else – he has a special talent!! Then after dinner setting of the laterns into the sky – what a way to end a holiday!!
Other places we ate were:
Chong Fah Restaurant - very nice and easy with the kids for them to run around a bit.
Coconut Grove – ok food – certainly wasn't a highlight though.
Sunny Restaurant – part of the Sudala Resort but located on the beach – good food and nice service but more expensive also.
Cousins Restaurant – good to grab the odd breakfast and satay sticks etc – cheap.
Jade's - Cute little cafe located next to Cousins on the back road - great breakfasts with yummy german type bread.
As you can see we tended to favour the beach restaurants where your feet are in the sand – can't do this where we live so thought we would make the most of it! Next time (March 2011) definitely want to head further a field and try a few more like Hill Tribes etc. We will also hire a car next time for the ease of getting to the out of the way little places like Mama's & Sunset Bar (after dark) which were the highlights of our trip.
Also we had perfect weather for our whole stay – no rain but Khao Lak was certainly in need of some. And didn't do much shopping as we were heading to Patong for the last few days where we did all our shopping.
A big big thank you to Alan (Dennis) and Barbara for putting up with us and also my kids coming to annoy you every morning and Tilly trying on all Barbara's shoes:) See you next year for longer this time!!!