With an international airport, access to numerous tropical islands in the Andaman Sea and plenty to offer in its own right, Phuket continues to be an essential stop for both round the world travellers and holiday makers. If you do happen to be spending some time on the island, here are the best beaches you should head to.
The west side of the island is where you’ll find the best beaches in Phuket, indeed the east coast is mostly made up of working beaches and mangroves. Although it is one of Phuket’s most popular beaches, Surin Beach is still worth seeking out due to its small bay shape which keeps the winds away. Developed enough that you can find accommodation for all budgets, but quaint enough to find stalls selling fresh coconuts and Thai pancakes for next to nothing, I also liked Surin Beach for the watersports on offer, though be prepared to negotiate a good price!
Laem Singh Beach
Just south of Surin Beach is the smaller and much less developed Laem Singh Beach which is one of the best spots for watching the sunset. You have to work for that view though as there’s no road access meaning you have to walk down a fairly steep hillside pathway to get down to the beach. It’s worth it though if you plan on staying there for the day. We were pleasantly surprised to find an Italian-Thai beach restaurant Da Ali serving up great food surrounded by hundreds of Italian football scarves! You can burn the food off when you walk back up!
Heading north now and Layan Beach is accessible through the vast Laguna complex which houses luxury resorts and holiday villas. As soon as you get to the beachfront, head north along the road a little further and you’ll eventually see signs for the “Reggae Club” an ex-pat secret that they’ll reluctantly share with you if you’re looking for a relaxed spot for a sun-downer. The beach stays fairly empty, the drinks stay very cold and they even have a couple of paddle boards for SUP if that’s what you’re into. Personally I preferred to just sit back, read my book and wait for sunset.
Nai Thon Beach
Further north is Nai Thon Beach, another popular but still not over-crowded beach lined with a wide range of accommodation and restaurant options. The sand is soft and yellow, the water is warm and blue and again there’s a perfect view for sunsets. If you happen to have your own set of wheels, I’d also recommend driving up the nearby cliffside coastal road (towards Trisara resort) as there are some spectacular views to be enjoyed in small roadside clearings. Don’t forget your camera!
Ao Sane Beach
Near to Nai Thon is Ao Sane beach, one of the best Phuket beaches for snorkelling. This small and leafy beach – when you look back from the sea it almost looks hidden by the tropical forest that surrounds it – is popular with divers, though it also stays relatively calm and quiet (in dry season) for those who simply want to escape the crowds. There are very few sun beds here, but with that means there aren’t any beach front salesmen to bother you. You can even sit up in the trees with a view of the beach at the friendly restaurant found there. Be warned: while the sea is very calm the water is quite rocky so perhaps this isn’t the best spot for kids.
Nai Yang Beach
Further north still is Nai Yang Beach, arguably the closest beach to Phuket airport. While you may think this means regular air traffic and noise, in fact it is fairly minimal because the planes (usually!) take off in the opposite direction. In addition to a range of Thai and international restaurants there are also plenty of beach-shack style bars here and a few competitive diving schools so Nai Yang is a great place to be based for a while. I recommend walking north up the beach and into the untouched National Park. Alternatively, get the adrenaline pumping at the nearby water park.
We don’t know about you, but this makes us want to pack our beach towels and a good book and head over to Thailand! To get you on your way, make sure you look at our Thailand holidays deals!
Frankie is a Londoner turned wanderer who has been travelling since October 2011 with her Australian boyfriend and too many vintage dresses. Frankie’s blog As the Bird flies… documents her travels and her love affairs with cycling cities, flea markets and stylish travel. Frankie is a freelance writer and the author of fiction inspired by travel.