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Khao Lak vs Koh Phangan

Washington, DC
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Khao Lak vs Koh Phangan

I've been debating between the 2 areas and can't seem to make a decision. I'm looking at Khuk Khak beach in Khao Lak and Bottle Beach or Haad Yao on Koh Phangan.

I want a really nice beach with white sand and clear blue water to swim in and just a few restaurants and beach bars to have a drink and relax.

I'm going toward the end of April probably 18-25. All opinions are appreciated!

Thanks!

Poulton Le Fylde...
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for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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1. Re: Khao Lak vs Koh Phangan

I don't know Koh Phangan or Bootle Beach or Haad Yao. However, m very familiar with Khao Lak's 25km of glorious beaches. If you haven't seen them already have a look at our photos of all the beaches taken between January and April last year at tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297914-i10908-k25…

We are are in Khao Lak at the moment and I was going to say that they haven't changed. That's not quite true though. Because the coastline is tidal and has currents running in various directions, firstly the water is rarely crystal clear except in a few places sheltered by rocks but the nature of the beaches and the inlets that separates them is constantly changing according to how the incoming and outgoing tides leave them. That, to me, is one of their greatest attractions.

Khuk Khak is one of the more deserted beaches and the sea, although always a beautiful turquoise is often rough with great waves, so never clear. Great for swimming and walking though. It is a long beach, about 5km or more I would think, separated into three parts by the water run offs that you can wade easily at low tide to get across but with difficulty (water upto neck level and fast running) at high tide or more after storms. The period you are considering is just before the start of the Wet Season, so it will be prone to heavy thunderstorms and periods of rain and the ocean very lively.

There are just 3 resorts on Khuk Khak beach, the Orchid (nearest to Bang Niang) with at the moment just the Monkey Bar and adjacent superb Sunset Bar & Restaurant (see http://picasaweb.google.com/Arandora/SunsetBar?authkey=Gv1sRgCMLmi6eGg6-csgE)

The Andamania Resort occupies the central portion. I'm not sure about restaurants/bars there (none I think) as we've not made it across there yet.

Then the most northerly section has the new 5* J W Marriott Cher Fah with a number of restaurants/bars either side (see http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297914-i10908-k3289272-Khuk_Khak_Beach_near_the_J_W_Marriott_December_2009-Khao_Lak.html)

This is then separated from Pakarang Beach which has a cluster of resorts at the northerly Cape end and several restaurants and bars.

If you don't intend staying at one of these resorts, then you will have difficulty getting back to were you are staying, other than by car, motorcycle or saeng thaw, after dark.

Hope this helps.

Edited: 14 January 2010, 01:57
Washington, DC
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64 posts
28 reviews
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2. Re: Khao Lak vs Koh Phangan

Wow thanks for the reply! It was so helpful and your pictures are beautiful. I was planning on staying at the Orchid and taking the hotel shuttle into town. And maybe hire a taxi to beach hop. Good to know there are restaurants on the beach. Will they be open in April though? Also how is the weather toward the end of April? You said there will be thunderstorms? Will it be overcast most of the time? I'm also doing 2 nights of camping on Similan...would end of April not be a good time?

Another area I was looking at was Sunset beach, is this more protected so less waves?

Thanks so much!

Poulton Le Fylde...
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for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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3. Re: Khao Lak vs Koh Phangan

The beach restaurants tend to close in May when the Wet Season sets in, so you should be ok. From our experience of April over the past few years, it has been hot and sunny, and, indeed, most days, with clouds and thunderstorms appearing when they do, mid-afternoon/evening. May tends to bring more cloud. It gets very hot and humid though.

The Similans remain open throughout April but you are subject to the vagaries of the weather on the day as to whether tours go out. The same applies though throughout the Dry Season. If you are flexible it's better to book early when you arrive so that your trip would only be postponed to a later day, rather than cancelled altogether.

Sunset Beach, although a lovely beach, is entirely populated along its length by resorts and there are no beach restaurants on it, only one overlooking it at the southerly end. You are not far (walking distance from the northernmost resorts) from Bang La On, the main township of Khao Lak. The ocean still gets rough there too. Your plan of using the Orchid shuttle and taxi for beach hopping gives you the better option in my view.

At low tide you can walk down Khuk Khak beach and across to Bang Niang Beach where there are loads of restaurants overlooking or on the beach so, again, you have more options and flexibility.

Gloucester, United...
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4. Re: Khao Lak vs Koh Phangan

Hmmm Koh Phangnan is completely different to Khao Lak. The place you are talking about is or was a few years ago exactly as you described in your wish list. There used to be 3 lots of bungalows and each with a restaurant where you could eat and drink quite cheaply. That's it! You get there by long tail boat and there is nothing to do apart from relax on the lovely white sand and swim in the beautiful sea.

The most similar place around Khao Lak is Laem Pakarang and especially Aow Thong Beach where Goon and Gib have their restaurant. The beach there is beautiful and again you can eat and drink at very reasonable prices. I would imagine that the closest priced accommodation to Bottle Beach at Leam Pakarang would be a bungalow for 500 THB per night. There's some right on the beach for 1200 THB.

If you would like the website addresses please let me know.

There's much more to do around Khao Lak and Leam Pakarang so I guess it depends on your energy levels!

Toronto, Canada
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for Ko Pha Ngan
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5. Re: Khao Lak vs Koh Phangan

I have lived in both Khao Lak and Koh Phangan. They are completely different so it is hard to say. Depends what you are interested in doing. Khao Lak is better for excursions. Koh Phangan is better for relaxing on the beach. Also, how much you want to spend on accomodations. Koh Phangan is much cheaper than Khao Lak.

I agree with Chabaaa about Cape Pakarang, aka White sand beach. It is the nicest beach in the Khao Lak area. And you can quite easily get a taxi into Bang Niang for a bigger variety of restaurants.

Good luck and enjoy!

Mount Gambier...
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6. Re: Khao Lak vs Koh Phangan

My vote is for Ko Phangan.. its a great beach destination on a tropical island... and cheap too!

7. Re: Khao Lak vs Koh Phangan

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