My wife and I traveled to Khao Lak mostly for a liveaboard diving trip to the Similan Islands. The dive shop (Wicked Diving) suggested the Phu Khao Lak Resort. It is right down the street from the dive shop (about a four minute walk), and in an area of town with many restaurants, bars, and shops. We stayed for one night before the liveaboard trip, and for two nights afterward. Our first night was in an A/C room, the second two nights were in a fan room. A/C rooms were 1800 baht, the fan only rooms were 700 baht. We found the rooms to be very clean, and the grounds to be peaceful and attractive.
The staff at the hotel were fantastic. Not everyone spoke superb English, but they were very attentive. Because our liveaboard did not leave until 6 PM on the day of checkout, we asked to stay in the room several hours beyond checkout and they were willing to let us stay for a few hundred extra baht, as the place was not crowded. They then drove us and our luggage over to the dive shop using a motorbike with large sidecar at no charge, and held some of our luggage until we returned. The luggage was already in our new room when we checked back in.
You can get a sense of the place from the photos posted by other travelers. The setting is a large grassy area with palm trees planted in rows and guest cabanas placed in clusters beneath them. I tried to do a little birding there the first morning and saw a few species, including a beautiful White-Throated Kingfisher. Chinese Pond Herons seem to live on the property semi-permanently, and can be seen all times of day.
There were 15 A/C cabanas placed in a long, curving line toward the edge of the property, farthest from the reception and restaurant area. Behind them was some wild, undeveloped land, where I saw an eagle land briefly. The A/C cabanas have large windows and glassed doors for a nice view of the palm trees. Each cabana is separate from its neighbor by a few meters, and they are arranged such that they all have views out toward the property and not of each other. The A/C rooms are fairly large, and the restroom/shower rooms are as well. The restrooms include an area with some shelving and hangers for clothing and places to put your suitcases. It is like a little dressing area beside the fairly large space with the sink, shower, and toilet. Because the wardrobe is not in the main room, that room seems larger and less cluttered. The A/C rooms have TVs, but we could not find any English stations when we did a quick check. I believe they had one French and one German channel though. The room comes with two small bottles of water each day, and the shower has shampoo and body wash. We thought the rooms were excellent, but a bit pricey at 1800 baht with no breakfast included.
One negative point is that the Resort's free Wi-Fi only covers the restaurant and pool areas. You can purchase city-wide TOT Wi-Fi for 60 baht for three hours, or 100 baht for something like 15 hours. This Wi-Fi has broader coverage of Khao Lak and some of the resort grounds, but we could not get it to work with our ipods or ipads at our cabana. Our devices would recognize the signal, but we couldn't get a log in page until we were about halfway to the reception building. When we told the hotel, they refunded the money for the Wi-Fi card. A computer might have better luck, or perhaps we simply tried it on a bad day. We simply visited the restaurant whenever we needed to get online.
The fan only rooms are also fairly large. They are situated somewhat closer to the reception area and restaurant, and are set up as duplexes. The entrances to each pair of rooms are semi-private because the restroom part of the duplex justs out in front of the building separating the two entrances. The landscaping also includes plants that grow around the entrance area to each room and partially shield the porch. The entrance to our room faced toward the setting sun. We were partially shaded by plants, but this still warmed the porch (and room) late in the afternoon. We found the room to be a little too warm for relaxing in the late afternoon/early evening even with the fan on. The room did not cool as quickly as the air outside, either. Our solution was to turn off the lights after dark and open the door for about an hour with the fan on to allow some of that cooler air inside, while keeping any light-seeking insects out. It is too bad the rooms don't have screen doors to allow a little more air flow without having to worry about insects. Conditions improved later in the evening and overnight and the heat did not affect our sleep. The fan rooms are 1100 baht cheaper than the A/C rooms and are probably best during the cooler season (if there is one), or for folks who plan to be busy during the afternoon and evening, and who will mostly use the rooms to sleep. The rooms were plenty cool in the morning. We thought these rooms were good to very good and the price was great.
Aside from no A/C, the fan only rooms differ from the A/C rooms by having no TV, a smaller bathroom (though still a decent size), a toilet that is flushed by pouring a bowl of water directly into the toilet bowl (it actually works very well), a shower area that is not separated from the sink and toilet area, and small screened windows with semi-opaque glass in the main room instead of large picture windows. We did not get bottles of water in this room, and no shampoo was supplied, though they did supply little bars of soap. Our fan-only room seemed to be close enough to the TOT Wi-Fi that it could be used from the room, however.
The restaurant is first rate. Prices are similar to several nearby restaurants, and we noticed many people coming to the restaurant from other places. I had two excellent curries (massaman and yellow curry with pineapple) and we enjoyed our breakfasts as well. Among the better scrambled eggs I've had after months of living and traveling in Thailand. Breakfast is NOT included in the room price, however.
- Also Known As:
- Phu Khao Lak Hotel Khao Lak