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A Guide to Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park

A Guide to Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park

Without a doubt, Khao Lak and its paradise beaches are enchanting, but if you’re like us who can’t beat the call of the wild, then a trip to the fauna-rich Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park should be in the cards.

With over 170 bird species, this nature reserve is a fan favorite among local and international birdwatchers. Here’s more: this park is also home to unique species of animals and plants — Indochinese tigers and Asiatic black bears including!

Certainly, taking account of such an abundant ecosystem can be daunting. That’s why this guide can be a shot in the arm: showing you the thrills and adventure that await and ways to navigate the 125 square kilometers (48 sq mi) reserve best.

Things to Know

Time Zone: Indochina Time (UTC/GMT+7)

Currency: Thai Baht
(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: Thai (Central Thai)

Calling Code: (+66), (032)

Location: หมู่ที่ 7 Phet Kasem Rd, Khuekkhak, Takua Pa District, Phang-nga 82210, Thailand

Nearest Airport: Phuket International Airport (73.2 km)

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 76 485 243

Admission Fee: 100 baht


Best Time to Visit Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park

The ideal time to visit Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park is between December and January to best enjoy animal spotting and hiking activities. There’s not much rain and the temperature is generally cooler during these months.

However, you can still go to the park during the rainy season which is particularly ideal for visiting its waterfalls. Amphibians are also easier to spot in this season, and it’s worth considering if you’re a fan of these rain-loving critters.

Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park in a Nutshell

With an area of 125 square kilometers (48 sq mi), Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park is immense. Named after two of its mountain peaks, Khao Lak and Lam Ru, the reserve is located 115 kilometers from Phuket City and the stunning beaches nearby

There are many places to explore in this national park. Not only is the area filled with rainforests and jungles, but also it boasts numerous waterfalls (of which the Lam Ru Waterfall is the biggest) and pristine, white-sand beaches facing the Andaman Sea.

What’s more, the park’s tropical rainforest is home to distinct flora and fauna. Top of the list are the over 170 bird species and a host of unique animals: the Malayan pit viper, black giant squirrel, Asiatic black bear, Bengal monitor and so much more. 

How to Get to Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park

Rental Car or Motorbike: Renting a vehicle is the best way to get to Khao Lak-La Run National Park and explore its numerous attractions. Driving to the park also gives you the freedom to make as many stops and detours along the way.

Just make sure you have an International Driving Permit and your driving license to rent a car.

Private Nature Tours: The nature tours offered by Viator and GetYourGuide to Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park are solid options. With their special pick-up service, you can reach the park straight from your doorstep in Phuket or Khao Lak.

Travel agencies like Viator also offer bamboo raft tours in the park’s rivers, and we think it’s a must-try. The only issue is you have to follow their strict itinerary, so you won’t experience everything the park has to offer.

Private Taxi: Hiring a private taxi is a good alternative for tourists who are not confident about driving in Thailand. Though this service is expensive, it also gives you the freedom to explore various places along the way which makes it worth your money.

Plus, a private taxi will pick you up from any location and take you straight to Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park. And it can even take you to any of the attractions within the park that a car can get to.

Bus: There are buses from Phuket, Surat Thani, and Bangkok with daily trips to Khao Lak. Public buses will drop you off at the bus stops along PhetKasem Road across Khao Lak Beach.

If you’re from Phuket, the bus will pass through the Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park before the bus stops and you can request a stop at the entrance. 

Minivan: Minivans are the best alternative if there are no available buses to Khao Lak. You can also find them in bus terminals in Phuket, Bangkok, and Surat Thani and the ticket prices are typically the same as public buses.

Public minivans use the same bus stop in Khao Lak as drop-off points so you can also request a stop at the park’s entrance if your starting location is Phuket.

Plane: If you don’t want to travel 16 hours by bus from Bangkok, you can book a 1-hour flight from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Phuket International Airport instead. Once you arrive in Phuket, you can board a bus, taxi, or minivan to Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park.

What to See and Do in Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park

Set up a beachside camp at Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park

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The camping site near the Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park’s office and south of Khao Lak Beach is perfect if you want to explore its borders for several days. Tents that can fit up to 3 people are available for rent at the park’s entrance.

However, it’s even cheaper to bring a tent since you only have to pay a minimal fee to set up camp on the beachside campsite.

You don’t need to rough it so much while camping here, though, because there’s a visitor’s center decked with shower and toilet facilities, plus a nearby restaurant. 

Hike to the ten checkpoints in Hat Lek Nature Trail

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If you love hiking on nature trails, you’ll enjoy traversing the park’s Hat Lek Nature Trail. The trail starts near the park’s on-site restaurant and features ten checkpoints which makes it more fun and satisfying to complete.

Going to this trail also gives you a good chance to encounter some of the commonly seen animals within the park’s borders. The critters you’ll likely spot here are geckos, monitor lizards, spiders, pigeons, and kingfishers.

Enjoy the cool ocean breeze at the Small Sandy Beach

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This hidden gem is perfect for park visitors who want to enjoy a stunning beach area while also avoiding huge crowds. The tranquil Small Sandy Beach is a great place because it has fine golden sands and numerous Instagrammable rock formations.

It’s part jungle, so expect to see trees growing near this beach’s shoreline. There’s even a tree swing that you can sit on to better enjoy the refreshing ocean breeze from the Andaman Sea.

You’ll reach this secluded beach by following the checkpoints on Hat Lek Nature Trail. Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park has another entrance along Phet Kasem Road with a shorter route to this beach.

Visit the park’s largest waterfall in Kapong

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Lam Ru Waterfall is Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park’s largest and arguably most beautiful cascade, so it’s definitely worth the 46-minute drive from their headquarters. 

It’s especially stunning during the rainy season because of its more vigorous stream.

During this time, the cascade’s pool will also be deeper and cooler. That makes it ideal for swimming and picnicking activities. It’s in Kapong District so it’s best to book a rental car or motorbike to reach this waterfall.

To get there, use Highway 4090 and turn at Rural Road 3045. Your final turn will be at the park’s brown signboard that says “Lam Ru Waterfall” mid-way through this rural road.

Check out the 5-tier cascade of Ton Chong Fa Waterfall

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Though not the most impressive, Ton Chong Fa Waterfall’s 5-tier cascade is one of the more popular attractions within Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park. 

If you visit during the rainy season, this multi-level waterfall’s stronger streams become a one-of-a-kind sight.

The second level is this waterfall’s best swimming spot so go here if that’s what you’re after. Meanwhile, the other levels are good for dipping your toes and photo ops.

This waterfall is at the end of the winding road that starts next to the 7-Eleven in Phet Kasem Road. It takes an hour to walk or 10 minutes with a scooter.

Take a cold plunge at Hin Lad Waterfall’s swimming pond

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If you’re looking for the cascade with the best swimming pond, there’s Hin Lad Waterfall. While not very spacious, its cool and refreshing water is definitely worth traveling 54 minutes from the park’s headquarters.

You can find Hin Lad Waterfall using the road south of the Office of the Village Headman in Kapong. 

Keep following this until you reach a dam where you can park your vehicle. Follow the road near this dam that leads to the forest until you reach the waterfall.

Ride a bamboo raft through the park’s rivers

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The numerous rivers within Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park’s borders are perfect for bamboo raft tours. It’s an adventurous way to explore the park’s natural beauty and observe its diverse wildlife.

Bamboo raft tours are available through third-party travel agencies like Viator and BookingKhaoLak. You can even use these tours to reach the park since they have pick-up locations in Phuket.

Survey the park’s fruit trees to watch for birds

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Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park has over 170 recorded bird species which makes it an excellent birdwatching spot. To increase your odds of seeing more birds, it’s best to survey the numerous fig trees near the park’s entrance and office areas.

Here, you’re more likely to spot brahminy kites, red-breasted parakeets, and white-bellied sea eagles on most days. During the migration season in October, you might even spot rare black bazas, greyfaced buzzards, and Japanese sparrows.

If you’re particularly fond of doves and pigeons, lurk near the casuarina trees along the park’s beachfront areas. It’s where you’ll find pink-necked pigeons, green imperial pigeons, pied imperial pigeons, red-collared doves, zebra doves, and more.

Meet wild animals

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Khao Lak is home to a wide array of wild animals, from monitor lizards (Bengal), flying lemurs, Malayan weasels to snakes (Malayan pit viper) to name a few. You can go on your own or jump into a jungle tour to get a first-hand look!

To improve your chances of seeing these animals, leave as early as you can in the morning. 

Take note that trekking through the jungle is not for the fainthearted and you need to be in good physical condition with the path rising and falling along cliffs so a good pair of shoes is a must.

Also, err on the side of caution when dealing with animals. For one, stay at a safe distance and never touch them when meeting monkeys along the way as they could be triggered to attack. 

FAQs about Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park

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