Khao Lak is a nice place with many dive shops to choose from and they have small night markets with mini food streets to satisfy your Thai food cravings.
Khao Lak Scuba Adventures
Khao Lak Scuba Adventures are the operators for the manta queen fleet, if you ever searched for LOBs in Thailand from liveaboard.com you would most probably find the name manta queen familiar. I did a 5 days 4 night on Manta Queen 1, the boat was amazing for the price I paid. From the moment I arrived at Phuket airport, the pickup location was stated clearly which was located with ease. The transport to KSA was not dreadful either as they did not over utilize the transport [or maybe I was just lucky]. I remember when I first arrived at the shop prior boarding the LOB, the operator handled the registration process really well. They were really clear on what information we had to provide (E.g. Identification, Insurance etc), this is based on comparison to one other LOB I did where the whole registration process upon arrival was quite messy. Prior the departure from the shop to the pier, they would inform us that there should not be any 1 time use plastic bottles/bags in sight, they were afraid that it might fly into the sea and pollute the marine life which I believe to be a superb practice (If you ever dived in Pulau Hantu - Singapore, you will know what I love this practice they have).
On manta queen 1 there was only 3 shared toilets instead of toilets being attached to rooms. I was lucky that the entire boat of people from all over the world were all really nice with the usage of toilets. The meals on board were great as well, the food was mainly Asian style which suit my taste buds perfectly. Lastly, the rooms on the boat was also very clean and the space utilization despite the constraint (I was in a twin share room) was wonderful.
The following are the dive sites which I visited during my LOB in the Andaman Sea:
- Elephant Head Rock
- Hideaway Bat Similan Island No. 5
- Christmas Point (The coldest dive site in this trip)
- Whale Back Rock
- North Point
- Hin Luang
- Koh Bon West/ Northridge
- Koh Tachai - The Dome
- Richelieu Rock
- Phratong Wreck
- Boonsung Wreck (Bad visibility but better visibility compared to pulau hantu)
More about Khao Lak
I did not do much in the area itself other than diving so please pardon me for the lack of information. I only stayed one night in Khao Lak prior flying to Bali for more dives. Khao Lak was hit by the tsunami in 2004, but when you see the area now you will never know that it was once a victim to the natural disaster. They also have a tsunami evacuation route in place if it were to happen again. One thing that amazed me was that the sand was black, never did I chance upon black sand ever in my life and that was my first, nope it's not dirty, it's just rich in minerals. There were tons of massage parlors around the area, I would say the distance from one massage parlor to the other is less than 700m. If you were to suffer from sunburn, I strongly recommend the aloe vera massage (not sure if all is good), it might just save you from peeling like a snake. Hit me up if you have any queries :)