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Monday, December 11, 2023

Phang Nga retains its natural beauty for quiet beach holidays

Phang Nga on the Andaman Coast just north of Phuket is an excellent vacation spot for beach-lovers, boasting a family-friendly atmosphere, and numerous beaches that are ideal for quiet holidays and peaceful relaxation.

Holidaymakers staying in Phang Nga in the new normal are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches to choose from. Among the most popular ones especially in the Khao Lak area are Nang Thong, Bang Niang, Pakarang, Khuk Khak, Pak Wip and Bang Sak Beaches.

Nang Thong Beach is considered by many as the most popular of all Khao Lak’s beaches. Its golden sand is lined with casuarina and palm trees that offer picturesque shady spots, while the waters offshore are dotted with rocks providing great opportunities for snorkelling when the sea is calm.

Bang Niang Beach has been called the mother of all ‘sleepy beaches’ for good reason. This particular spot is quiet and peaceful, and there’s a wide range of accommodation positioned right near the waterfront. The long Bang Niang coastline has lots of tracks leading to the beach, which has clear and calm waters during high season that makes for good swimming and snorkelling as well.

When it comes to surfers, they’ll have probably heard of the surf scene at Khao Lak, which has become all the rage on social media during the new normal. Pakarang Beach and nearby Cape Pakarang have become the centre of Thailand’s fast growing surf culture.

The waves pick up during the annual monsoon, and the area features gentle beach breaks great for beginners, plus reef and point breaks for more experienced surfers. Surfing lessons and surfboards for rent are easy to find, as is local knowledge of which surf spots are breaking best.

For divers, the natural harbour in Thap Lamu just south of Khao Lak is the departure point for most day trips and liveaboard scuba dive boats heading for the Similan Islands. As these islands are only open during the high season, Khao Lak’s burgeoning surf scene nicely rounds out the tourism calendar and keeps people coming during the rainy season from May through early November.

Just four kilometres north of Pakarang Cape is Bang Sak Beach. Extremely quiet and with gorgeous white sand and clear waters, the shore here is also lined with casuarina trees that provide shade for the locals and international visitors who come to picnic during the afternoon. There are only a few shops and restaurants in the area making it popular with those looking for peace and quiet, while the central Khao Lak area is still only around 20 minutes away.

A little south of Pakarang and four kilometres north of ‘sleepy’ Bang Niang Beach is Khuk Khak beach. This great spot offers much in the way of natural appeal, with its white sand, palm trees, and panoramic views to be enjoyed unhindered from resort development.

One kilometre to the north of Pakarang Cape is Pak Wip Beach, which offers all-year round swimming on its gentle sloping frontage. Being quite isolated as it is, it’s a great choice for those looking for a place to ‘call their own’. Adding to the beach appeal, is the location inland of nearby Pak Wip, Sai Rai Rung and Bor Hin Waterfalls, which make for a wonderful afternoon’s excursion.

In fact, when it comes to taking a break from the beach for a bit, Phang Nga province is rich in biodiversity and natural splendour. Extending inland are no less than three national parks in close proximity to Khao Lak, all offering lush tropical forest to explore.

Elephant Care Tourism is also a major attraction here, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with these majestic beasts. The ‘Dad’s Field’ Elephant Camp is a hidden elephant sanctuary tucked into a rarely visited area near Takua Pa north of Khao Lak. This elephant sanctuary provides guests an opportunity to experience elephants in a more natural habitat, while also helping raise understanding and awareness of these amazing animals.

Phang Nga’s image was bolstered in the culinary sense by the Michelin Guide Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket & Phang Nga 2021 that lists 14 eateries in Phang Nga province, officially putting the destination on the travel foodie map.

For those who fancy a Michelin restaurant experience that does not break the bank, well recommended is Nai Mueang restaurant in Khao Lak, a Bib Gourmand eatery offering authentic local Southern Thai cuisine, and which isn’t toned down for international visitors.

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