Good for a night or two, a bit of vitamin sea and some quiet beach time. So, on a day off earlier this year, I thought we could make a little family trip up there with some stops on the way. Just the four of us, plus one extra friend of our daughter.
It normally takes about 45 minutes from our house to reach the very north of Phuket and drive over Sarasin Bridge. It was a lovely, hot, sunny high season day and we had planned to leave late and stop for lunch on the way at a place called Nern Khao View Talay just north of the small town of Khok Kloi.
But the restaurant was closed for a wedding! Luckily, nearby is the Wat Khao Waterfall which has a restaurant right next to it called Krua Klang Dong.
We have eaten here before, it does very tasty local food at a good price.
Although we do prefer the slightly fancier Nern Khao View Talay. It was busy (lunchtime on the weekend) and we had to wait a little while for a table before ordering too much food, as we normally do!
Wat Khao Waterfall itself is not huge, but when we came in low season it had quite a flow of water. This time – not much going on, but still people were splashing around in pools of water.
High season is not the ideal time to visit waterfalls! We planned to stop at a bigger waterfall later. I hoped that either Lampi or Ton Prai waterfall would be worth a visit. But first we carried on to Khao Lak. We could have stopped at Thai Mueang Beach on the way, but we’d spent a long time eating so needed to dash a little.
Arriving in Khao Lak we drove down Soi Nangthong to the beach. We have stayed at the Nangthong Bay Resort before which has a nice restaurant by the sea – it looked busy. We just played around on the sand and rocks for a while. There are miles of beaches around Khao Lak and compared to the busier beaches in Phuket it feels very relaxed. Phuket does of course have quieter beaches, but Khao Lak just seems more peaceful.
We used to do this more often, but the kids are getting older and have their own things to do and friends to hang out with… plus in high season I have only one day off per week and I often appreciate a lazy day.
On this sunny day we left Khao Lak after 3pm and drove south again. Ton Prai Waterfall is about 30km from Khao Lak. The national park staff at the entrance said they have to close by 4:30pm so we walked as speedily as possible along the path to the waterfall, about 650 metres up and down steps and picking your way through tree roots.
We arrived at the waterfall and the only other people there were four Thai teenagers who asked my son to take a photo of them, then they left, so we had the waterfall to ourselves.
On a hot day, the water in the waterfall was surprisingly cold! We splashed around for about half an hour before the walk back to the rangers’ station where, thankfully, they have some cold drinks for sale.
Time to drive home again. I like having these days out with the family. I like family time. I like having my kids around. We got home just before sunset. This is the kind of day we enjoy. No particular plan, enjoy the scenery, enjoy the company of family and it makes me very happy to be living here in Phuket.
Jamie Monk works at liveaboard dive specialists Sunrise Divers. For more information call: 084 626 4646 or visit: sunrise-divers.com