What to do in Khao Lak is a question often asked by potential visitors to the Khao Lak region. This question is, naturally, one of the most obvious ones to ask when wanting to spend time in a place that has not been previously visited. As it turns out, there are many things to do in the Khao Lak region itself. However, a short trip north to its nearest neighbour, Takua Pa, is well worth the visit. Takua Pa is one of the major towns in the Phang Nga province, containing several governmental facilities, such as the Phang Nga Provincial Land Transport Office and the Takua Pa District Transport Station (otherwise known as the Takua Pa Bus Terminal). The former facility is where people in Phang Nga go to register their motor-vehicles and/or get drivers’ licenses. If you intend living in Khao Lak, and you want to legally drive a motor-vehicle, then this is the office to go to.
Takua Pa also has a large produce market behind the bus terminal. Alongside the market is the main river of Takua Pa. And it is an event here that this post is mainly about. Thailand has a population with the greatest percentage of Buddhists in the world. Approximately 94% of the 69 million people are Buddhist, while 4% consider themselves as Muslim and about 1% as Christians. Buddhism differs from the other religions in that it is considered to, primarily, be a practice, not a set of beliefs as represented by the theistic religions of the world. One of the main Buddhist practices is the making of merit. The results obtained from this practice depend on 3 things: what type of offering is made, who has made the offering, and who is the receiver of the offering. Thus, as an example, a person who offers a gift to a devout Buddhist monk will receive, in return, greater merit than if the same offering was made to someone who does not practice the 5 moral Buddhist precepts. The 5 principles are: the non-use of intoxicating substances, not stealing, not killing or harming animate beings, desisting from gossip or lying, and not indulging in sexual misconducts. (There are lots of other regulations that Buddhist monks and nuns must adhere to as well. In the Theravada Buddhist tradition, to which the King of Thailand must subscribe to, monks are required to follow 227 rules, whereas nuns are required to follow 311 rules!)
The freeing of fish back into the river or sea, is a well-known practice that makes merit. In the above video, a Thai Lady who is a practicing Buddhist, has bought several eels from the Takua Pa market and is releasing them into the Takua Pa river. Prior to their release, she performs a short ceremony of lighting incense and saying prayers. There is a Buddhist belief that giving eels back their freedom will result in good economic fortunes in addition to helping work and study efforts.
Takua Pa is the nearest main town north of the Khao Lak center, and is located approximately 32 kms away. Even though there are sufficient things to do in Khao Lak to last an entire holiday, taking a trip to Takua Pa (by bus or taxi) is well worth the effort.