We have just arrived home from our first visit to Khao Lak. We spent 6 nights at Nang Thong Bay Resort which was wonderful, we had a family room with 2 huge bedrooms and a massive bathroom, 2 tvs (altho we didn't need them), 2 fridges and it was only $55AUD/night. The resort was also happy to let us have the room until 3pm on the day we left with no additional charge. Unbelievable for the price. As it was off season there weren't many people around, most of the time we had the pool to ourselves.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Spent a lot of days at White Sand Beach which was gorgeous, although like the entire area the water is not crystal clear. We often went there in the morning for breakfast and the lady at the Goon & Gib Restaurant would make us banana pancakes. Although they don't have a breakfast menu they are happy to cook up whatever you ask for. Great food, we ate there a fair bit for both breakfast and lunch.
We tried lots of restaurants in Khao Lak and must say we didn't have a bad meal. Stand outs were Tiffys Café for breakfast and great ice cold beer at lunch time, Sala Thai which had fabulous food, terrible service but the food made up for it, Smile Restaurant which was amazing altho a bit more upmarket so tiny bit pricier and smaller meals but great for something a bit more special. The restaurant at Nang Thong Bay Resort was great too and right on the beach.
Nothing can beat the banana pancake lady who sets up in front of the taxi stand across from Nang Thong Bay Supermarket, I believe it is entirely her fault that I have come home with my clothes feeling much more snug than when I left!
My husband had a suit and some shirts made at The Best Tailors. Krishna and his brother did a great job and we would highly recommend them. They are located on the road that heads down to Nang Thong Bay and Nang Thong Beach Resorts.
We were originally a bit disappointed in the beach in front of Nang Thong Bay Resort, in the mornings when the tide was high there was a lot of rubbish and made swimming pretty undesirable. After a few days tho we worked out later in the afternoon when the tide was low there were fantastic waves for boogie boarding (bought a board cheap in town) and although the water is really rough we had some great times catching the waves without having to go very deep at all. Not sure whether the beach gets cleaned during the day or whether the tide just takes all the rubbish out to sea but by mid afternoon there was no rubbish at all. We have two young girls (11 and 9) and there's no way I would let them out any deeper than their waist, the water there is just way too rough, possibly just because of the time of the year we were there but still plenty of fun to be had in the shallows.
We went to Khao Lak Elephant Camp and this is the only downside we had to our holiday. I really wish I had researched this before we left. Looking on trip advisor now there seems to be several other elephant experiences which look much better. My youngest daughter loved it but the whole set up seemed pretty touristy with a monkey show as well. The cages the monkeys were kept in were so small and without being able to substantiate this we just got the feeling the well being of the elephants wasn't really a priority over the money making side of the business.
This is our third trip to Thailand, we have also travelled extensively through the Pacific and we totally loved Khao Lak. Would go back today if we could.
Many thanks to everyone who gave us advice before we went. Don't know what I would do without Trip Advisor!