SCUBA DIVING KHAO LAK
Khao Lak is a tourist-oriented destination in Thailand, which is part of Takua Pa District in Phang Nga Province. The name “Khao Lak” literally translates to “Lak Mountain”. As a site that is popular with tourists, it has plenty to offer its tourists in terms of things to see or do. Aside from the beautiful natural resources found within the Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park, but the major attraction is definitely diving.
KHAO LAK DIVING
Khao Lak is recognized as one of the most popular diving destinations in Thailand, among a long list of options. Its proximity to the famous Similan Islands can be attributed to that. Since most of the dive sites in Khao Lak are located offshore, it will require a full day trip to be able to maximize the dive experience, or if you want to venture a little farther away.
Khao Lak is a great choice for divers who wanted to see manta rays during their dive. Whale sharks are also among those you can spot, aside from manta rays. The timing of your dive has a lot to do with what you can encounter underwater during your exploration.
The proximity of this diving destination to Andaman Sea means that it is strongly affected by the conditions on this ocean. The water temperature comes with an average of 28-31 degrees Celsius throughout the year. From February to March, expect colder water temperatures as the nutrient-rich currents from the deeper portions of the ocean swell up.
The good thing when the water temperature gets cold is that it is when manta rays and whale sharks tend to show up.
BEST DIVE SITES
The 1950’s ship sunk to the bottom of the ocean floor in 1980s, which has since been transformed into an artificial reef underwater. If you explore this shipwreck underwater, you will find a teeming macro life filled with a variety of species such as pipefish, moray eels, nudibranch, seahorses, and more. You can also find a rich collection of crustacean species.
There is so much to see here that you can dive it a few times and see something new each time.
This dive site is located approximately 200 kilometers to the north of Phuket. Still, it is a noteworthy destination if you are taking off from your dive in Khao Lak. It is arguably the most famous dive site in the Andaman Sea. You can find an abundance of the following species if you explore the underwater environment: barracuda tornadoes, groupers, lumbering whole sharks, and many other tropical fish species.
Another popular dive site to add to your list when diving in Khao Lak is the Similan Islands. Aside from rich marine life, the kaleidoscope of colors from the reefs and corals will surely delight even experienced divers.
MV Seahart Wreck
This is another shipwreck that is a famous dive site in Khao Lak. This cargo ship was built in the 1970s in Germany until it shipwrecked in Thailand in 2009 due to unexpected weather. This dive site is best suited for experienced divers, though. Among the rich marine life that has built a home in this shipwreck are lionfish, batfish, nudibranch, ghost pipefish, frogfish, and many more.
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BEST TIME TO DIVE
The best time to visit Khao Lak for diving is from late October to early May. Since Thailand is in a tropical region, it has a hot and humid climate for most times of the year. But the monsoon season can significantly impact the quality of your diving experience.
Monsoon season is anywhere from May to September. During this season, the rain can lower the water visibility. If you want to get optimal diving conditions, you should dive in Khao Lak on the months recommended above.
HOW TO GET TO KHAO LAK
To get to Khao Lak by air, you must fly into either Phuket International Airport or Krabi Airport. From the airport, you can either ride the bus or taxi to reach Khao Lak.
Traveling to Khao Lak by land will offer you many transportation options. From Phuket Airport, you can take the taxi to Khao Lak, but this can be quite expensive (up to 1,800 THB). If you want a more affordable option, you can take a bus via Highway Number 4 (or any route headed to Surat Thani, Ranong, or Takuapa).
Khao Lak is about 100 kilometers from the Phuket Airport, which would take roughly 1.5-2 hours’ drive.
HIGHLIGHTS OF KHAO LAK
Khao Lak is a beautiful holiday region in Thailand. Its proximity to Phuket also means that many tourists who visit the said tourist destination spend some of their holidays here, especially those seeking an alternative from the crowds. Many of the visitors of Khao Lak has fallen in love with its idyllic setting filled with tropical forests, lush greenery, and many gorgeous beaches.
But Khao Lak is also a haven for the nature lovers, particularly those who like to hike. There are plenty of hiking trails in Khao Lak, some of which can lead to waterfalls. The Chong Fah Waterfall is something that tourists to this area seek out. The trail to this waterfall is scenic and very accessible, making it a must. Another notable destination for hikers is the Lampi Waterfall.
If you want to marvel at the natural beauty of Khao Lak some more, you have quite a few options for national parks to visit and explore. The Khao Sok National Park and Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park are some of them. For superb views of limestone ridges, you can take a boat tour along the Cheow Lan Lake and Rachaphrapa Dam.
If you want something cultural, head to the Takuapa and Old Town. You can talk a walk at the town and wander at the Sino-Portuguese architecture. You can also visit the quaint shops that are scattered all over, or see the locals go about at the Takuapa Market.
WHERE TO STAY
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Khao Lak is located about 60 kilometers north of Phuket. It is on the western coast of Thailand and measures at about 20 kilometers on the Andaman Coast. The area is known for having low, coastal areas.
This area was one of the ones seriously devastated by the tsunami that mainly hit Phuket in 2004. However, the island has since recovered and is slowly gaining its ground as far as preserving the natural beauty of the ground. Unlike Phuket, this has more of a family-friendly environment (whereas Phuket is more suited for party-goers). It offers a completely relaxed feel with the mountains serving as a beautiful natural backdrop to the tree-lined shore. There are also several protected areas in Khao Lak.