We stayed at The Emerald for the second time in two years in May, 2011. I'd recommend emailing the resort to get accommodation quotes. The staff are always quick to reply and you can organise airport transfers and pay online. The prices from the manager were better than any I could find on the internet and unlike other resorts, they will offer a genuine quote and a good rate. We stayed at a neighbouring resort in 2009, and The Emerald beat their prices hands down.
We stayed in Villa 16, the same room we had in 2010, which has a private pool, overlooks the beach and is a short walk to the beach bar and grill. We had a lounge room and outdoor shower, but spent most of the time in the pool, at the beach, at the bar or exploring the surrounding area.
The beach bar and grill has a huge menu with food from all over the world, though I'd stick to Thai for taste and value for money. Happy hour is 4pm-6pm and you'll be very happy after a stunning sunset and a few free-pour cocktails. The buffet breakfast is as good as any around the world and the international buffet dinner is designed with families in mind. Again, I'd stick to the beach bar and grill for dinner. The BBQ seafood platter is an experience in itself.
The staff are great fun and always happy to have a chat. You'll make friends in no time – hello to Nui! Yes, there is the occasional problem with the language barrier, but this has absolutely nothing to do with the staff being rude or incompetent. As one of the cheeky locals said to me, "you don't have very good English!" These things happen, and no one is at fault.
There’s heaps of little bars and restaurants within walking distance of The Emerald. Try Mr Tiger’s Tiger Bar – literally 10m from reception – and Mr Paub’s Elephant Bar. You’ll also find everything from Thai food to pasta. The more you walk the cheaper it gets, so check out some of the places along the main highway. Don’t be put off by what you see from the outside, these humble kitchens turn out the best Thai food you’ll ever have.
The Emerald has an ATM and Turtle Mart next to it and there’s a money exchange up the road. There’s the usual array of shirt, suit and massage salespeople trying to get a bit of business, but they’re all good natured and enjoy a joke. There’s probably five tailors in the street, compared to 500 in Phuket. Khao Lak is not your stereotypical Thai holiday. You won’t get The Hangover experience here, but that’s not to say you won’t wake up sore and sorry. Thai beer packs a punch and at AUS$1 each it’s kinda hard to say no.
You can rent a car and drive to the tsunami memorial, elephant treks, White Sand Beach, golf courses, waterfalls and national parks. Driving can be a little daunting at first, but after 20 minutes you’ll have the local road rules – or lack of – sorted and be on your way. Tours can take you to James Bond Island, Krabi and beyond. The Emerald has a free daily shuttle bus to the city centre, where you’ll find produce markets, restaurants, bars, convenience stores and souvenir shops.
All in all, The Emerald was the perfect place for a value-for-money holiday. Travelling in low season means even better rates and fewer guests – there were about 50 people in the entire resort when we stayed in 2011 – but low season coincides with wet season, so you’re rolling the dice on the weather. It's well worth it though.
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- Also Known As:
- Khao Lak Emerald Beach Hotel Khao Lak
- Khao Lak Emerald Beach Resort And Spa