Saturday, November 2, 2013

Khao Lak

With a few days between contracts we headed south to the beach.  There are flights from Vientiane & Udon Thani (across the border in Thailand) down to Phuket – so it made it easy for us to fly 2 hours south.  We had been to Kata Beach in Phuket previously and enjoyed it, but it was over-run with tourists.  So this time the destination was Khao Lak about an hour’s drive north of Phuket International airport.  We arranged for a taxi to drive us there at the standard rate of 1500 baht (or NZ $60)

thailand-map

Khao Lak was badly hit by the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.  80% of the casualties in Thailand were in the Khao Lak area, from along the coast from Phuket to the Burmese border.  The official number was more than 4,000, but was estimated to be closer to 10,000 due to the lack of censuses and the large number of unrecorded Burmese workers. The effects were worst here due to the topography of the land and the sea floor - very flat, so the wave could just keep going. In places, the tsunami reached over 1km inland.

There are many Tsunami warning signs around the village and markers showing how high the water was on Boxing day.  Near the beach the marker says the water was 5 metres high.  Since 2004 warning sirens have been installed.  In 2012 following an earthquake, there was a Tsunami warning – but luckily the tsunami didn't eventuate – however the warnings gave people two hours to get to the shelters and higher ground. 

tsunami


The grandson of the Thai king was killed in the 2004 Tsunmai.  A large Thai police boat was patrolling the waters near where he & his mother were staying.  the boat was swept 1 kilometre inland and has been left there as a memorial to the event and lives lost.

lifeboat

We had a fantastic break on Bang Niang beach, Khao Lak.  Our hotel (Fanari) was a short walk to the beach and a comfortable 10 minute wander away from the restaurant street or night market for evening meals.  For lunch we ate on the beach watching the blue Andaman sea.

eating

The beaches were relaxed and so uncrowded – it was blissful.

no crowds 2

The picture below is from probably the busiest day on the beach we saw – it was frantic!

no crowds

And in a relaxed manner we pretty much followed the same routine each day.  Breakfast – walk, swim – sit on verandah for an hour – walk lunch & swim,– sit on the verandah – walk & another swim – sit – dinner – sit – sleep.  Next day, do it again.

Apart from all the swimming going on, the busiest things on the beach were the crabs tunneling in the sand

crabs

crabs2

We were there late October so it was the end of the low season so the prices for accommodation were a bargain pre-high-season.  The high season started 1 November. 

It rained in the afternoon 50% of the days we were there but the rain was short and sweet, and brought the temperatures down a couple of degrees.  The only exception was the one day when the rain was torrential and lasted for a number of hours.  Sadly that day an afternoon swim was not possible.
 weather

We sat at lunch one day and waited for the rain to arrive and it was all over in 30 minutes.

weather2

The torrential day was a bit wet. 

no guns

And we can confirm we encountered none of the above.

le hair

Since returning to Vientiane, Andrew's sea swept locks have been cut back into a more manageable style at his $10 hairdresser.

1 comment:

  1. Good to see that Khao Lak is well into recovery . On Boxing Day 2004 we were preparing to go to Khao Lak for a week. Needless to say we watched the news in horror along with the rest of the world. I still want to go as lit looks like a total relax.
    Loving your posts!
    Alison x

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