Bang Niang, three kilometres north of Khao Lak, is a strange little place that looks a bit dusty when you arrive and then in hardly any time at all it charms you into not wanting to leave.
It is such a mixture: the dusty market area, with some of the best local restaurants nearby; the brand new shops; and the big resort hotels carefully
On the long road to the beach, pavements put in after the tsunami are overgrown and yet every building is new or renovated and you can find all sorts of things from eco-tours on bikes to maybe the only shop in the area to give you medical cover with your motorcycle rental.
Nearer the beach, there are the four and five star resort hotels. Everyone can afford to eat at the restaurants on and by the beach, one of the great experiences of Bang Niang where the shoreline faces west and gives spectacular natural sunset shows.
It has not got the shops of Khao Lak but, on the other hand, it is beautifully relaxing and it has enough restaurants - including Italian
And, on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday afternoons and evenings the area's market is held. Buy your fruit, try the food stalls, have a look for clothes ... or just wander through with your camera.