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Beach Hotel with Snorkeling?

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Beach Hotel with Snorkeling?

I've been researching and reading through so many posts that all seem to indicate that there isn't good off shore snorkeling in Khao Lak (no house reef). We intend to make a trip to the Surin Islands of course to experience snorkeling however, I am looking for a recommendation for a hotel that has a good clean beach where the water is clear, calm (not many tides) and perhaps you can see some fish. We are going in early mid-Jan with children.

I've been looking at Haadson Resort, Khao Lak Seaview, KIB and Golden Buddha (although that one is a little further afield). Our style and budget is mid-range. Maybe 4star. Suggestions?

Thanks!

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Khao Lak
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Poulton Le Fylde...
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for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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1. Re: Beach Hotel with Snorkeling?

Hi,

None of the resorts you have identified are located on a beach "where the water is clear, calm (not many tides) and perhaps you can see some fish" although each beach is good and clean. The entire Khao Lak coastline is tidal and has an equal number of tides every day, which as everywhere else in the world depends on season and rotation during the month. The ocean is calmer in some locations compared with others, the water usually being a glorious turquoise colour but because of the constant movement and stirring up of the sand rarely clear. There are some areas around rocks where there is limited snorkelling, such as near the Seaview (but quite far out for small children) or at the top end of the adjacent Sunset Beach.

As for the location of the resorts you are considering, the Seaview is on Nang Thong Beach which is within easy walking distance of restaurants and shops just up the road in Bang La On (often referred to just as Khao Lak or Khao Lak Town), the main township of Khao Lak.

The Haadson Resort is a very nice resort built around a small lagoon just across the promenade from the lovely Bang Sak Beach. There are a handful of restaurants on this promenade but otherwise it is a 15 minute taxi/shuttle ride into Bang Niang, 20 minutes to Bang La On.

The KIB is a further 15 minutes north from the Haadson and a 10 minute ferry across to Koh Kho Khao (KKK - Kho Khao Island) where it is located. KKK is a lovely small island with only a few resorts and restaurants nearby and very limited shopping. For that you would need to go across to the mainland and taxi into Khao Lak.

The Golden Buddha Resort is located further north on the small fishing village island of Koh Phra Thong and so is in the most isolated of the locations you are considering and offers a near to nature, beach based vacation within the confines of what the resort and location offer.

The Khao Lak Resort and Wanaburee on Sunset Beach and FX Resort one road back from Bang Niang Beach may be worth considering.

What dates are you looking at?

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San Francisco...
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2. Re: Beach Hotel with Snorkeling?

Thank you so much for your reply and your explanation. We are going in mid Jan.

I also looked at your post with the listing of the beaches with corresponding pictures to try to get an idea. Ao Thong looked interesting and I've since sent an inquiry. I also read your post referring to the Andaman Snorkel Discovery which also looks interesting, but not sure the children would like being a boat over night.

I've stayed at Koh Ra in the past (March) and the beach front was very nice, clear, lots of fish (not really snorkeling worthy, but just nice to see some fish in the clear water). The current wasn't too strong and I felt comfortable swimming around. The lodging was very, very basic so this time I'm looking for something a slightly more "upscale" as we are traveling with children.

Our main goal is to get to Surin (and possibly Similan) so I'm looking for someplace that minimizes the boat travel time, is clean, comfortable, with a nice beach for the kids and us to enjoy between the day trips. We prefer boutique style lodging over larger hotels which is why Haadson interested me, but it doesn't look like it has a great beach front.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I'll keep reading through the forum as well. Thank you!!

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Poulton Le Fylde...
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for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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3. Re: Beach Hotel with Snorkeling?

Speedboat travel time to both the Similans and the Surins from their relative departure piers (Tab Lamu for Similans about 15 minutes from Khao Lak, Kuraburi for Surins about 75 minutes from Khao Lak) is about the same at 75 minutes.

January is a busy month with accommodation in smaller, popular resorts fully booked.

The newecently opened Kantary Beach Resort just up from Aow Thong (White Sand Beach) is located on the best beach in Khao Lak, Pak Weeb, and could have good offers on. The ocean though, I'm afraid, still not clear and no snorkelling.

If clear water, lots of fish and snorkelling from the beach is a high priority then sadly this is not one of KL's many attributes.

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Khao Lak
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San Francisco...
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4. Re: Beach Hotel with Snorkeling?

Thanks for your suggestion. I read the long thread about the Kantary and it seems like your last post indicated you were checking it out this week and would post some pictures. Curious to see how complete it is.

Laura

Poulton Le Fylde...
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5. Re: Beach Hotel with Snorkeling?

Nort long now before my and others curiosity is satisfied, I hope!

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Beach Hotel with Snorkeling?

If you are planning to go to Surin Islands, Golden Buddha is a great choice as it's just off Kuraburi, the jumping point to the national park. I've never stayed there but have been on the island, which is very unique as there aren't many tourists around. But food would be relatively more expensive compare to other destinations as food has to be brought in from the mainland. The waves can be big though as it's directly facing the Andaman Sea.

If you are looking for a quiet location, this is definitely one of the best ones.

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San Francisco...
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7. Re: Beach Hotel with Snorkeling?

Thanks for all the suggestions. I've been reading (and reading and reading...) and have narrowed it down but still would appreciate some sage advice. I've elimitated the snorkel criteria s here's the criteria.

1) proximity to Surin and Similan (I think that probably includes every hotel!) so as to minimize travel

2) 3-4* accommodation - (ruling out Golden Buddha - as I think it might be just a little to basic - I've stayed at Kho Ra and so have an idea of what it might be like)

3) more authentic Thai with plenty of greenery rather than new/modern (ruling out Kantary and likely ruling out Briza)

So here are my final choices. Suggestions? Also note we are traveling with 8/10yr children (fairly adventurous travelers, but appreciate hanging at a nice pool or beach).

I've gotten it down to: Mukdara, Merlin, Haadson, Emerald, Seaview.

Thanks in advance!!! I appreciate it.

Laura

Edited: 28 November 2010, 09:34
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San Francisco...
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46 posts
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8. Re: Beach Hotel with Snorkeling?

PS. I realize that Emerald and Seaview are not quite Thai style so they are lower on the list. Thanks again!!

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Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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45,450 posts
107 reviews
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9. Re: Beach Hotel with Snorkeling?

Of your latest choices my preferences would be Merlin, Haadson, Emerald, Seaview, Mukdara with Merlin having the edge because of its children's facilities.

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San Francisco...
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46 posts
17 reviews
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10. Re: Beach Hotel with Snorkeling?

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!! Will book today :)