Saturday, 5 March 2016

How to Get from Khao Lak to Pattaya by Road

For those planning on doing a tour of Thailand it is often useful to do some research into travel routes. The Khao Lak to Pattaya route is a little more difficult than others in Thailand as the 2 destinations are not joined by rail links or tourist bus links.

The journey from Khao Lak to Pattaya by road takes about 18 hours. The distance is 560 Km. It takes about 2 hours in a vehicle to get to Phuket and then on another vehicle it takes 16 hours to make it to Pattaya. Currently there is only 1 journey that can be booked online in advance.

Use this link to study travel details and book online

This route involves taking a taxi with PGS either in a 3 seat Toyota Camry or 9 seat Toyota Commuter. You can leave at your convenience but you have to arrive at Phuket Number 2 Bus Terminal before 17.00. At 17.00 Pattaya Sawadee Tour bus departs for Pattaya. It arrives the following morning in Pattaya at 8.50.

The PGS taxi link in the 3 seater vehicle is about 400 Thai Baht more expensive than taking the mini bus 9 seater option.

As of February 2016 the journey price is either 3,198 Thai Baht or 3,598 Thai Baht.

Map Showing Location of Phuket Bus Terminal 2



On Arrival

The Pattaya Sawasdee Tour bus disembarks passengers at its depot at Pattaya Sai 3 Alley, just off North Pattaya Road which is one of the main thoroughfares of the city. See the map below.


We recommend booking Pattaya accommodation in advance as you are going to be tired after a night on a bus and probably in no mood for getting round the city looking for suitable hotel.

By Air

If time is more an issue than cost than of course the quickest way to get from Khao Lak to Pattaya is to get an airplane from Phuket to Bangkok and then minibus or taxi from Bangkok to Pattaya. Bangkok Airways has 1 flight a day direct from Phuket to Pattaya that takes 1 hour 40 minutes.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Parisia Guesthouse



One of the better budget options in Bang Niang Village is Parisia Guesthouse. It is a traditional Thai style guesthouse that is great value for money and has friendly helpful staff.

For some people the phrase 'guesthouse' is a bit confusing. What is a 'guesthouse' and how is it different to a budget hotel? Well the answer to that is that a guesthouse is typically a small hotel with only 10 or so rooms. Moreover, the owner usually lives and runs the guesthouse. This means guesthouses are normally well maintained. Moreover, they are smaller and more friendly places where you can plenty of chances to chat to the staff and family as well as the other guests.

In contrast budget hotels normally try and pack as many people in as possible. They are big and often a bit impersonal. Furthermore, budget hotels are normally not managed by the owner. This means the staff do not have a vested interest in the business and the cleaners have no one checking the quality of their work.

And of course the best thing about guesthouses is that they are cheaper than hotels and often comparable in price to hostels.

The Parisia Guesthouse is one of the best guesthouses in Khao Lak. It has just 5 rooms. It has a small restaurant downstairs with an attached bar. The guesthouse offers free wifi internet. The rooms are clean and comfortable. They have air-con, hot water, en suite bathroom and balcony. All rooms also have a TV and a fridge.

The rooms are in neutral tones and spacious. They are not going to win any prizes for interior design but that is what guesthouses should be - comfortable and practical.

Prices for Parisia Guesthouse start at 750 Thai Baht a night.

The guesthouse is located near the Tsunami Memorial and just a few minutes away from the beach.

Address: 57/8 Moo 5, Bang Niang Beach, Phang Nga, Bang Niang Beach, 82190 Khao Lak, Thailand


Saturday, 26 September 2015

Khao Lak Horse Club

Khao Lak Horse club is 4 Kilometres from the beach. The trail is through a beautiful wooded area and then down an unpaved track. It is a pleasant ride in itself taking in the local natural scenery far from cars and roads. It is a chance to see the natural beauty of the area away from the resorts, bars and shops.

Eventually the track gives way to a quiet road. The horseback ride goes past the Bang Niang Temple complex. After that Bang Niang’s golden sands are reached. The horseback tour takes you cantering at the water’s edge. Life doesn’t get much better. It is a wide beach and so there is little worry about having to pick a path between people enjoying the beach. Instead you can take in the immense beauty of the beach and those happily using the beach. There is time to dismount, re-hydrate and get on the horse for more riding.

You can see the horseback ride to Bang Niang Beach on the video above.

The horses used by Khao Lak Horse Club are fairly small and of course very docile. Even those with little riding experience can soon master the animals. Of course, the horses tend to follow the lead horse and the guide so there is little problem controlling the horse.

You get the chance to practice trotting around the paddock before heading out on your ride.

You can get riding sessions of 2 hours or more. The club offers mountain or beach rides. There are a total of 10 horses at the club. Some are Arabian and some Quarter.

Prices


Mountain Trail .............. 2,000 - 3,000
Beach Trail ................................. 3,000
1 hour  lesson ........................... 1,500
5 Hour introductory class: ....... 5,000

Reviews

The club is fairly new and only has 9 reviews on Trip Advisor at the time of writing. So far Khao Lak Horse Club has only got ‘excellent’ and ‘very good’ ratings.

One reviewer mentions how well the horses are looked after. This is an important consideration for many tourists. For many who visit elephant camps, snake farms etc. there is often a feeling the animals are not treated as well as they could be.

Contact


Telephone: +66 93 727 1552

Address: Soi Chongfah Waterfall, Ban Khao Lak, Phangnga, Thailand

The Khaolak Horse Club is located on the road to Chongfah Waterfall, about 2 KM from the main road. The ranch is open every day.

The main man is called ‘Ju’.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Khao Nayak

Khao Nayak is the name of a rock and coral reef off the coast of Khao Lak. It is considered by dive companies as an alternative to diving at the Similian Islands. It is much closer to the coast and offers an easy dive with the guarantee of plenty to see.

There are two main advantages to diving or snorkelling in Khao Nayak. Firstly, the dive site is only 45 minutes away from Khao Lak by longtail boat (and of course just 25 minutes by speedboat). And secondly, that it is a shallow dive.

Many people would like to experience the colourful and diverse marine eco-system made up of corals and a vast array of fish but are put off by the commitment necessary in terms of time and money to sign up for a liveaboard trip to the Similan Islands.

Khao Nayak is in Thap Lamu Bay at the entrance to a river. It is close to the shoreline. It is a convenient spot to get to and will appeal to those who don’t like long boat journeys. Lots of dive shops and tour companies organise day trips to the coral reef. You can find both snorkelling trips as well as dive trips to the area.

For divers the main advantage of Khao Nayak is the shallow depth. It is only 12 meters deep. This is great for beginners still learning for their PADI qualifications as well as experienced divers who want more time under the water exploring.

The dive spot has plenty of colourful nudibranchs. It is also home to ghost pipefish, lion fish and lots of other colourful fish. If you are lucky you might see a ray or even a leopard shark.

Many tours will include a trip to Khao Nayak Beach. Because of the mountain behind this beach is only accessed by sea. It is a stunning white sand beach. The sea is great for swimming and the beach for relaxing. Due to its location this beach is completely undeveloped – there are no shops, restaurants or resorts here. Not even a beach vendor. Tours will usually provide refreshments and food but be sure to bring your towel and plenty of sun cream.

Exploring Khao Nayak makes a great day out and gives you the experience of visiting an area devoid of tourist development. This in itself can be a real treat in Thailand.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Koh Prathong - Golden Monk Island


Koh Prathong is one of the least visited islands in Thai waters. It is located just north of Koh Kho Khao, just off the Andaman coast at the northern end of the Khao Lak area. It is possible to travel independently to Koh Prathong or to take a tour. Either way, if you are in the area you should make time in your schedule to visit this island with unspoiled nature.

While plenty of tourists make the small trip over from the Andaman coast mainland to Koh Kho Khao, few make it on to the neighbouring island of Koh Prathong. It is reached by a 1.5 hour boat journey from Kuraburi. Alternatively, you can join a tour group that leaves from Baan Nam Kem Pier. If you are staying in Khao Lak it is easy to find a tour going to Koh Prathong. The price of these tours usually includes free transfers to and from your hotel.

Koh Prathong was granted National Park Status in 2001. As a result it is protected against development that encroaches on the natural environment. The west coast has a series of golden sand beaches. The interior contains ‘Thailand’s Savannah’ composed of grass land and forests containing Melaleuca trees. Tours divide the island into four zones: coastal, savannah, mangrove and marine jungle

The island has a rich diversity of flora and fauna. There are over 100 species of birds. Other animals include the Lesser Adjutant Stork, Sambar Deer, the nocturnal Fishing Cat and Red Muntjak.

The ocean off the coast has coral reefs that are home to lobsters and numerous types of fish. You can snorkel the reefs.

The main village is called Ta Pae Yoi. It is a small community of Thais and Moken (sea gypsies). They lead traditional lives of farming, fishing and boat building. Near the village is a turtle nursery. Koh Prathong is one of the best places in Thailand to witness the turtles laying their eggs and also the eggs hatching and the younglings attempting their epic journey to the sea for the first time.

For those who want to spend some time exploring Koh Prathong and enjoying its great beaches there are a few small bungalow resorts on the north-west coast. They are simple wooden bungalows made from local and sustainable materials. A bungalow for 2 people including breakfast for 2 costs 800 Thai Baht.

This is an island without any concrete roads. It is sparsely populated and easily one of the ‘wildest’ places in Thailand that is accessible to tourists. It is ideal for those with an interest in eco-tourism. There are no cars or trucks on the island. People get about in homemade tractors pulling a trailer for passengers. These charming vehicles are called Tak Tak Cars.

Koh Prathong translates as ‘Golden Monk Island’. It is believed to refer to a golden statue or deity that was once housed in a temple on the island. The golden statue has gone but the golden beaches remain as does the natural environment. It is a place worthy of reverence.

For more inoformartion go to  www.kohphrathong.com

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Silk Spa

The best rated (at the moment) spa in Khao Lak according to Trip Advisor is Silk Spa. The spa offers a range of massages as well as beauty packages. The spa is well decorated and comfortable and does the basic things well; and, as a result it comes out top of the pile.

The Silk Spa is located in Khao Lak Village, very close to the JW Marriot Hotel.  It is an unassuming place. There is a small sign above sliding glass doors. The place is easy to miss as it doesn’t look like a spa from the outside.

Inside there are tiled and air-con therapy rooms. The place is clean and uncluttered, but it is best described as ‘practical’ rather than ‘luxurious’. The price list comprises of Thai massages, foot reflexology, scrubs, oil massage, coconut massage, manicures and pedicures. Here is a sample of the prices at Silk Spa for 1 hour:

Foot Reflexology 350 Thai Baht
Traditional Thai Massage 400 THB
Oil Massage 500 THB
Coconut Oil Massage 600 THB
Body Scrub 850 THB
Manicure 300 THB
Pedicure 350 THB

Reviews of the Silk Spa repeatedly say two things – one that the staff are really friendly, and two that the massages are really good. The masseuses clearly know what they are doing. Those who visit the spa more than once benefit in that the masseuse will remember the right spots to give extra attention to.

It goes to show that you don’t have to have the most spectacular ‘boutique’ ambience and facilities, you don’t need to offer unusual therapies and treatments in order to be voted the best. All you need is to get the basics right – namely giving a good traditional Thai massage.

Contact Details

41/48 Moo 3, Khuk Khak Beach | Khao Lak Village (next to the JW Marriot Resort)
Telephone: 0818402448

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Best English Pub Grub in Khao Lak

If you are like me then you will find eating Thai food all the time difficult. I love Thai curries and other dishes like somtum, but my stomach won’t take 3 doses of chili a day. Especially in the morning I enjoy a Western style breakfast – either yoghurt, fruit and muesli or a cooked breakfast such as scrambled eggs. However, I am often disappointed with Western food: the bread is sweet, the eggs are greasy and the bacon is paper thin.

To avoid this type of disappointment I usually head to the Mars Bar for some great pub grub. Mars Bar Café is a popular bar on the main road next to Bang Niang beach. It is the orange place on the opposite side of the road from the 7-11.

The bar is the brainchild of Mars from the UK. He moved to Thailand in 2007 and soon fell in love with the country. He got married to a local girl and started his own bar. Unlike many other ex-pats who set up a bar in the land of smiles, this is a special place that draws a good crowd.

Mars takes a keen interest in his bar and is a great raconteur: always ready to share a travel story. He is also a keen music fan who puts on a great selection of rock music. You can find some of his playlists on the bar website: www.marsbarcafe.com

What I like most about Mars Bar Café is the pub grub. It is excellent. The menu offers, fish, chips, mushy peas, jacket potatoes and homemade bread. The Sunday roast is a massive plate of food and well worth the price.

The bar has a number of events on such as ladies night when drinks for the fairer sex are half price. Unlike the other bars in Khao Lak, Mars makes the effort to keep the bar website up-to-date. So it is worth checking out for promotions and events.