Khao Lak Area

Khao Lak (Thai: เขาหลัก (Pronunciation)) is a seaside resort located in the Takua Pa district in the Phang Nga province, Thailand and popular as a departure point for liveaboard scuba diving trips to the Similan Islands.

Located approximately 60 kilometers north of the island of Phuket along Phetkasem Road, (Thai Route 4), one of four major highways in Thailand. Khao Lak is serviced regularly by bus and taxi services. Phuket International Airport (HKT) is situated 74 kilometers south on the island of Phuket. Though Thailand’s economy is mostly export-dependent, Khao Lak remains mostly tourist-dependent, with surrounding agriculture and commercial fishing making up a small contribution to Thailand’s overall economy.

What differentiates Khao Lak from neighboring tourist destinations like Phuket, is its quiet up-scale secluded coastal resorts; lack of over-crowded masses; family-friendly nighttime environment and the provincial ordinances prohibiting structures to build beyond the height of a coconut palm (albeit, more or less), keeping Khao Lak pristine.

Beach boundaries vary with local hearsay, official government documents and resort claims, but it can be agreed that Khao Lak beaches extend from south of Khao Lak mountain south of downtown proper (near the Merlin Resort) and extending north to Bang Niang Beach, just two kilometers north of downtown proper. All beaches are public.

The local economy in the town is based on the tourist hotels, local shops and restaurants, and the diving trade. Most of the foreign tourists are European, many from Scandinavia, Germany and the United Kingdom. The wider area produces some rubber and palm oil; there is also a small amount of subsistence agriculture.

Following the tsunami of December 2004 (see below) the local economy was devastated as it was in nearly all coastal towns hit by the wave. It is estimated that 60 percent of the resorts were mid-construction, with nearly 4,000 rooms already available. Most coastal resorts were either heavily damaged or completely demolished, resulting in a great loss of life and a major setback to the local tourist economy. At the time of the tsunami, Khao Lak was Thailand’s fastest growing tourist destination.

December 2009 has marked the fifth anniversary of the tsunami and Khao Lak’s economy has nearly bounced back. Most of the coastal resorts have completed their reconstruction or repairs and the tourism has flourished. Seaside and inland resorts are indicating full bookings during high seasonal months of November to March. Local population not affected or reliant on tourism have all but returned to normal lives. Fisheries and rubber plantations are thriving at levels equal to pre-tsunami.

The district Takua Pa is subdivided into 8 subdistricts (tambon), which are further subdivided into 51 villages (muban). Takua Pa itself has town (thesaban mueang) status and covers the complete tambon Takua Pa. There are 6 tambon administrative organizations TAO – tambon Takua Pa is administrated by the town council, and Tam Tua by a neighboring TAO. Khao Lak is a village within the Khuekkhak sub district.

(information source: Wikipedia)

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