Khao Lak Packrafting, Thailand Undeveloped beach for camping

I love this open flat water/hike combo south of Khao Lak. About 16kms of water and land. Check for currents, tides and winds before you go. Look at google maps satellite. Bring snorkel equipment. Avoid monsoon season (rough seas) or just opt for a paddle in the bay to the incredible 15k long undeveloped beach. Tie boat and paddle in case you flip so you don’t loose boat in windy conditions. I used an umbrella to sail across the bay using paddle as a rudder.

Start at a mangrove settlement of your choice on Thung Maphrao bay. You can reach them from Hwy 4, best is from road just north of 4240 going west. Alternatively for an easier loop paddle (but less scenic) leave from pier at Thap Lamu where all the tours to the Similans leave from. You can walk (assuredly without showing hesitation) into the Navy base and launch from the beach. Venture through the bay to the edge/tip of the peninsula where you can either cross over to the sea on an overgrown path or walk around the point. (This is a Navy training ground so be discreet)

The current and wind were mild in early February. Launch at sea, watch out for very sharp oysters and coral. Head south along peninsula. There are buoys where there is some decent snorkeling also some bat caves (flashlight). Beware of oyster shells: many thai fishermen have been lacerated.

Continue along peninsula until end of cliffs. Here the peninsula narrows and you can cross over land back to the bay. Watch out for the quarry looking area, it is a Navy firing range and there may be unexploded ordinance (info I was told by a Thai navy seal guy I met). You can also climb up the ridge from here to a military helipad.

Cross peninsula to bay and either head back up North to pier in Thap Lamu or go about 3k south to cross mangrove peninsula in the middle of the bay where you see the lagoon on Google maps. You can then return to your eastern shore take off point.

There are many variations in this area. I loved the isolation on the 15k long uninhabited beach south on the peninsula where you cross over. You could easily camp here a few days it would be a highlight to a Thailand trip! If the sea is rough you can reach this incredible beach from the bay (you’ll see a small breach in the mangrove where the navy have made a road for training, look at google maps) and camp under the low trees that line the beach. No drinking water so bring all you need. Have fun!

Several other options in the bay including a launch under bridge on Thung Muang river. Watch out for strong tides and winds. Got really close to spending the night out in the mangroves. Go prepared.