Like most of the places in this area, the best way to get to Khao Lak is from Phuket, or to come by road from the north. Bangkok has fantastic air services to Phuket and there are lots of good VIP buses making the journey south from the countries capital.
Flying to Phuket couldn't be easier from Bangkok, as well as Chiang Mai, Koh Samui , Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and even direct from Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and Australia. Make sure you know where your plane flies from since some leave from Don Muang, not Suvarnabhumi Airport
The local airlines coming from Bangkok are: Thai international - from Suvarnabhumi
Air Asia - from Suvarnabhumi
Bangkok Airways - from Suvarnabhumi. Also from Koh Samui and Utapoa ( Rayong/Pattaya)
Nok Air - From Don Muang
One2Go - from Don Muang
Car Rental from Phuket Airport
The journey from Phuket airport is also quite easy since it is right on the northern point of the island and not far from the bridge which crosses over to the mainland. A good way to go is to fly to Phuket and rent a car at the airport.
Time is then your own and you can use your car to explore lots of other places along the coast. There are plenty of car rental agents waiting at the exit from the airport. Some are good, some are OK, but price is the key to a decent vehicle.
The 800 Baht a day jeep may be cheap, but you could be in for a rough ride in an old jeep which needs some effort to keep in a straight line. All the big operators are here such as Avis, Hertz, Budget and National.
They are pre booked vehicles costing around 2500 a day, but as always there is something in between with operators such as Sunny Car Rent and the interestingly named Tsunami Car Rental companies. They have their offices a little way from the airport but will drive you there to do the paper work and collect the car. Expect a price of about 1200 - 1800 Baht a day for a compact car.
To get to Khao Lak, simply head north following the signs for Phang Nga and then once across the bridge, go left north towards Khao Lak. Its only a matter of 84 Kilometres or 58 miles.
By Taxi transfer from Phuket airport
There are bookable taxis and shared vans from the Phuket airport to Khao Lak. Costs are from 1400 Baht to 2000 Baht depending on which part of Khao Lak you are visiting. www.khaolaktravelcenter.com has the full information.
Lots of buses leave from the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok for the overnight trip to Phuket. The bus terminal is in Phuket town, at the southern end of the island so from there it's another bus journey back towards the mainland to get to Khao Lak. It is possible to ask the bus driver to drop you off at Khao Lak, but make sure the question gets asked well in advance, preferably by someone who speaks Thai.
The cost varies between 600 and 900 Baht from Bangkok on the air conditioned VIP buses. They are comfortable enough but it is still a long journey. The shorter bus routes come from Krabi, Suratthani, and Trang and around the region.
By Car from Bangkok
It's a fair drive of around 800 Kilometers from Bangkok and worth doing over 2 days. Take a rest in Hua Hin or somewhere along the way. Driving on Thailand's roads is usually fine, but the first part of the journey, that is, getting out of Bangkok, is not so good.
It can take a while to get on to the Route 4 and the journey south. Simply follow this road number all the way, making sure to keep to it at Chumpon were it heads west towards the coast, whilst the road going south to Trang changes to the 41. From there, drive along the coast and past Khunburi until you reach Khao Lak.