04/10/2019 Sepp Hatzl 2,430 views Phuket Beach Article No Comments
“You have just arrived on the lovely island of Phuket, and you’re going to want to visit a beach as soon as possible.”
With our thorough list of awesome beaches within a short 30-40minute drive (depending traffic) of your hotel in Patong, you won’t waste time driving around and looking for your preferred beach! You will have 10 great beaches to choose from, with directions from Patong Beach for each one.
Before we start, you’re probably wondering –
“Which beaches have snorkeling? Food? Running? Which are good for families? How do I choose one of these 10 beaches based on what I need?”
We’ve got you covered! We summarize under “Reasons to Go” each of the main features of the beach in a list of bullet points. Skim those first to see which Phuket beaches have the features you want, and then read the description for those beaches.
And then what?
Don’t waste any time – grab a towel and swimsuit and get going, the beach is waiting!
If you’re ready to go, I am. Let’s start off with a couple of the best beaches in Phuket…!
Patong Beach is the most popular beach on the island of Phuket because it has the hottest entertainment area in all of Southern Thailand. If part of the reason you came to Phuket was to enjoy the nightlife, there’s no reason to stay anywhere else on the island, just head straight to Patong and book a hotel within walking distance of the beach.
When you stay in Patong, you’re never more than 1.6 kilometers (1-mile) from Patong Beach, and most anyone can walk that distance – right? Well, they have motorbike taxis and tuk-tuks to help if you want to be spoiled.
The sandy beach, depending on tides, is usually around 30 meters (98 feet) wide and the length is 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles). There are lots of people at the beach, sure, but the beach is so massive, with about 75,000 meter2 (89,700 yard2) of space, that there is room for everyone and you’ll be able to find a spot to your liking.
Though the beach is nice, there are dirty spots – and keeping the beach spotless is not anyone’s concern. Most people come to Patong Beach for the nightlife! Soi Bangla is the best spot for entertainment, in my opinion, in the country. Nothing compares. Pattaya is too dirty and low-class, Bangkok is missing one crucial element – the beach! Patong Beach is just right, there is a good feeling one gets standing with feet in the sand and an ice-cold beer in your hand! At night, it’s not out of control, but it could seem to be on the verge of it after midnight when everyone is drunk and the music is blasting!
* Super Convenient. Walking distance from all hotels in Patong.
* Nightlife Awaits! After your day at the beach, shower up and hit one of the restaurants, bars, or discos on Beach Road or Soi Bangla for what might amount to – the ‘Time of Your Life!’
* Restaurants, Shopping, and Bars. Right on Beach Road, running the length of the beach, is just about anything you’d require.
* Run 2.5 Kilometers! Patong Beach is just the right length for a short run up and back.
* People Watching. There is no better place to watch all the different kinds of people who vacation in Patong than at this beach.
* Shade Trees. Many shade trees to get some relief from the sun.
At the south end of Patong Beach is one of the coolest beaches on Phuket, and it comes with a surprise, or two! I first visited Paradise Beach in late 2004, just prior to the Boxing Day Tsunami. Back then it was a bit treacherous to reach it, there was a thin concrete sidewalk, and most of the path was just slippery clay. Today, they’ve built a new road so you can drive right up to it, and you really should make this one of your first stops during your vacation!
Go early! This is a small, secluded beach that has become popular since they rebuilt everything after the tsunami. They have a restaurant, rest rooms, and freshwater showers. There are beach chairs and lounge chairs to relax in. There is a wide assortment of drinks available, including alcohol. The restaurant serves Thai and western favorites.
I mentioned there were a couple of surprises for you at this beach. I know, you didn’t forget. After you enjoy the sandy beach and calm water, you might be ready for a little exploration. Take a walk over the hill behind Paradise Beach. When you do, you’re going to see one of the coolest places to snorkel – ever. This is a little mentioned oasis that will blow your mind. Great for photos! I won’t say more, because you have to see it to take it all in and truly appreciate it. Just GO SEE IT!
The second surprise is that there are a couple of small sandy beaches on the right side of Paradise Beach Phuket. You have to swim around to the right (or walk in low tide) to reach them. This area is called “Lucky Beach.” Pretty cool huh?
I can’t overemphasize the point that you should go early if you want to experience the full charm of Paradise Beach. It is becoming very popular, and it will be crowded by mid-morning on a typical day. Low season would be the best time to come, but don’t let time of year put you off!
The restaurant on Paradise Beach is rated highly and if you’re staying a while you’ll have to eat there because they check your bags for food and even water! You can’t bring anything into the beach area.
* Secluded Oasis. Unlike any other beach on Phuket, or in Thailand that we’re aware of. That said, it can be loud with music – so if you don’t want that atmosphere, this one’s not for you.
* Great for Families. This beach is small and it will be easy to keep track of young children. The restroom facilities very close by are a welcome sight for parents.
* Incredible Photo Location! The beach is picturesque, you can even see Patong Beach from where you are. Over the hill is a photographer’s paradise.
* Snorkeling or Paddle Boarding. If you’re a snorkeler, you don’t want to miss this place. You’ll understand when you get there – many fish and other aquatic animals!
* Shade Trees. Many shade trees to get some relief from the sun. There are tents over dining tables on the beach to keep you cool and comfortable.
About 330 meters (361 yards) long and 30 meters (33 yards) wide, this remote hidden beach is located in a prime spot, away from the crowds of Patong which is found just a few minutes north. Freedom Beach sits just to the northwest of Le Meridien Beach and southeast of Merlin Beach. Parking is off the main road, and will cost 100 THB. A steep 20-minute downhill hike brings you to this gorgeous beach. This is one of the few beaches on Phuket that charges admission. Upon entrance, they ask for a 200 THB fee.
The water is mostly free of coral and rocks in the shallows, but the further out you go, and the more to the south end of the beach, the coral takes over. Bring rubber shoes to protect your feet if snorkeling.
The sand is golden and fairly soft, the water is clear and clean and emerald green. The beach is quiet, there are not parasailing boats or jet skiing here. October to April are the prime months because the water is calm and just perfect for snorkeling and relaxed swimming or wading. Relaxing on the beach in a lounge chair runs you another 120 THB. I know, you’ve already spent 420 THB here and don’t have anything to eat or drink yet. It is expensive compared to other beaches, but probably worth it because most other beaches don’t have this ambiance.
Yes, there’s trash here in the low shrubs, like every other Thailand beach. This would never fly in Hawaii, and they don’t even charge a fee to visit their beaches! Welcome to Thailand! It’s beautiful when you don’t look too closely.
* Quiet! One of the quietest beaches on the island, it’s worth paying the extra fees just to be able to truly relax at a beach in Phuket. The beach is nice, big enough to accommodate people, and the water is very clean. No jet skiers or parasailing, no highway noise! No beach vendors! NOTE – there can be loud groups that come here, you just never know what you’re going to get. This beach is well worth a stop to see.
* Nice Sunsets! Facing due west, you’re going to see amazing sunsets at this beach if you’re there for dinner at the small restaurant.
* Snorkeling! The water is full of coral and rocks on the south end of the beach, and ideal for snorkelers. Bring your underwater camera!
At 3.3 kilometers (2 miles) in length and more than 30 meters (33 yards) wide in most places, this is a huge beach that gets a lot of traffic, but still, you can easily find a pleasant spot without too many people. The sand here is soft, but not powdery, and there is the occasional piece of trash laying around, but if you’re looking for a beach to go to with easy parking and some shopping or places to eat right across the street, this is a good beach to visit. Just jump on Highway 4233 going south from Patong Beach and you’ll be there in about twenty minutes.
Some clothing stores you might want to shop at are: Anthony’s Boutique or Sunny Boutique. If you’re looking for some pampering, find number one rated Nin Massage on Patak Road. If diving is on your mind, head straight to Sharkey SCUBA on Patak Road.
* Great for Exercise. Running or pushing the baby stroller up and down this beach from end to end will give you a workout and allow you to eat a little extra if you find something delicious for dinner!
* Dino Park Mini Golf! At the south end of this beach is a very highly rated mini-golf course where kids could spend a couple hours while you work on your tan.
* Water Fun! Snorkeling is not so good here except at the south end of the beach is not bad. Jet skis, waterskiing and wakeboarding (behind a boat), windsurfing and parasailing (parachute pulled behind boat) are the main activities here, and yes, the boats can be loud at times.
* Restaurants, Shopping, Bars. After your day at the beach, grab a quick shower, and walk around Karon to find coffee shops or a nice restaurant for dinner.
This lovely little beach is on the way to Surin Beach just north of Patong Beach, but it has one little problem I’ll tell you about in a minute. After you climb the hill just after Kamala Beach on Highway 4025, you’ll come to a parking lot on the top of the hill. There’s a mountain view lookout point a little further down the road, but this parking lot is for Laem Sing Beach. Park here!
Weirdly, this small, 280-meter-long (306 yards) by 45-meter-wide (49 yards) beach isn’t even labeled in Google maps as a beach. Strange, right? People have been going since the island was discovered, and it’s a lovely beach, but why isn’t it on the map?
Anyway, you know where this hidden beach is now. Park and walk down the hill to this amazing beach, hauling whatever you need the first time so you don’t need to make another trip.
Sadly, and yes, this is the ‘little problem’ I mentioned above… there are times when, without explanation, this perfect little beach is closed to the public. This is a privately-owned beach and one of the nicest on the island. Why it closes, is anyone’s guess.
If you do go by, and it’s open, there is a 100 THB fee per person, and you can rent a lounge chair on the beach for another 100 THB. You can find out if it’s open fastest by just reading the latest review at TripAdvisor. Someone is sure to post if they went there and it was closed. Another way you could find out of the beach is open during a weekday is to call the Tourist Authority for Thailand (TAT) at this phone number first: +66 76.211.036 (outside Thailand) or dial 076.211.036 if inside Thailand.
* Less People! Though it’s a picture-perfect beach, there are plenty of people who don’t go to Laem Sing because they must pay a fee. That, and the fact that it shows on Google Business as ‘permanently closed’ even at times when it is open. Find out if it’s open per the instructions above, and go see it! Definitely worth the short trip!
* Plenty of Shady Trees! The entire area behind the beach is full of big trees offering shade for your picnic or nap time. One extra you should consider bringing on your trip is a parachute fabric hammock that can be setup between two trees!
* Snorkeler’s Paradise! Clear and clean water. No need to go far away from the beach, there are fish at your feet as soon as you enter the water. One woman we know found a small squid along with heaps of other marine life during her short snorkeling session. There are few rocks under the water in the middle of the beach, there are some big rocks on the sides – better for snorkeling there. Buy your own gear at Central Festival Phuket before you visit the beaches!
* White Sand, Calm Water. During the off-season from May to October the water may be rough. During high-season is best for calm waters. The sand here is really nice, not full of shells that hurt when you walk barefoot on it.
* Massage on the Beach! This beach always has massage women to put your muscles at ease with a thorough Thai massage. Some people love them so much, they get massages daily – will you?
This tree-lined beach on Phuket’s west side just south of Patong Beach is a popular favorite because of its proximity to Patong. Many travelers choose to stay here and avoid the busy streets of Patong Beach. Kata Beach is 1.5 kilometers (almost 1 mile) long and around 25 meters (27 yards) wide. This is a big beach with a lot of sand!
Kata Beach is the third largest on Phuket, and the water is clean. However, it’s like a circus out on the water with banana boats, parasailing, and jet skis taking over. It can be loud, and it’s more a beach of convenience, not privacy or quiet relaxation.
* Convenient. Only 16-minutes from Patong Beach, Kata beach is preferred by those who want to get further away than Karon Beach. Usually the visitors at this beach are staying in hotels close by, so it doesn’t get overcrowded. Choose one of the hotels we recommend above for your best experience.
* Surfing! During low season, this beach has some nice and fairly consistent surf breaks. Even if you don’t surf or bodyboard, you can have fun watching and shooting video for a while.
* Running! A good spot to run up and down the beach about 1.5 kilometers (almost a mile) from top to bottom.
Know what this beach is best for? We’ll tell you in a minute… At 700+ meters (almost a half-mile) long, this is the smaller sibling of Kata Beach just next to it. Though the beach is large and many people visit, you can still get away from the crowds here because the beach-goers are from the hotels near the beach, not from all over the island. The beach is about the same width as others on the west coast – 30 meters (33 yards), and the sand isn’t very soft. The beach is cleaned once a week or so, depending on the season.
Don’t miss Karon Viewpoint – a little-known spot where you can see over the beaches, and there are some fantastic photos to be taken!
* Not Crowded! Have a look at the Google Earth photo for this beach and you’ll see few people about. This is the normal state of things at this small beach. Many people choose to take their honeymoon here because the views are nice and Kata Noi is convenient to other areas of Phuket. Central Festival – the massive shopping center in Phuket Town is only 28 minutes away!
* Swimming, Relaxation! When the waves are not rough, this is a nice beach to swim at. There are some rocks under the water, so be careful, but in general – a nice swimming beach! Bodyboarding can be good if there are waves. Use the middle and north side of the beach for the cleanest experience! South end has a small sewage discharge.
* Honeymoon! A good spot for a honeymoon, and many visitors choose this as their honeymoon destination. Choose one of the resorts above for a spectacular view and pleasing amenities! This is what Kata Noi is best for!
Just north of Laguna Beach on Phuket’s amazing west side is Banana Beach! OK, admittedly, this beach might take just over 30-minutes to reach from Patong, but as you know, everything depends on traffic. If you’re going during low-season you’ll probably arrive much quicker than during high-season! Google maps lists this as a ‘mellow beach in a remote locale.’ That sums it up! Sixty-five visitors rated it 4.4 stars out of 5, and it is telling that there are not more ratings. This beach really doesn’t get the heavy traffic like some others on Phuket.
The entrance for this beach is hard to find. Use Google maps to make sure you’re in the right spot. There is a steep path down the hill to reach this hidden gem. There is a wooden sign with “Banana Beach” on it. Park there and walk downhill through the wooded area. Cross the stream and there is a trail which leads to Banana Beach.
There’s a small bar with food and drinks right on the beach, but many prefer to bring their own beer with ice because the prices are higher than usual here.
Usually this stretch of sand is not crowded in the mornings before noon, and during low-season is the best. The waves from May to October can be rough, so swimming may not be advised during this time. Snorkeling is good during the other months, and of course bring your camera because this is a stunning little oasis rather isolated from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Phuket. Still, this beach suffers the typical problem in Thailand – it can be dirty with trash piled up at ends of the beach at certain times of year. The water and sand is usually clean, and beautiful though!
Tip: If you’re close to Rawai Beach, you can just take a longtail boat to Banana Beach. Yes, it will cost you, but some people prefer the convenience of the boat trip. The boat driver should understand, but if not, use Thai language – Hat Hin Gloo-i.
* One of Phuket’s Most Hidden Beaches. A bit hard to find, even when you know where it is! There are few hard to find beaches on the island, but they’re all worth finding. If you’re looking for a beach with less people, also check out Yanui Beach down near Promthep Cape.
* Ultra-Clean Water and Sand! As mentioned, there might be some trash that hasn’t been taken out, but that’s the norm for the entire country. The sand and water here is very clean, and it would be an off-day if you didn’t find it very clean.
* Great Snorkeling! Some large rocks under the water make this one of the best spots to snorkel on Phuket without taking a boat anywhere. Bring your own equipment – it’s much better to buy it at a dive-shop than rent.
* Perfect for Kids! Kids will enjoy the clean sand and water, and small waves during off-season. Bring water floats and snorkeling gear to be well prepared.
Just 20 kilometers south of Patong Beach is Nai Harn Beach, a quiet and lovely spot for a picnic with family! One of our favorites, as you can tell by this list of amazing features.
This quiet beach has many shade trees, soft sand, and is quiet in the mornings – so get there early. Most guests are from the nearby hotels – so you will probably find few people there, especially during low-season. Lifeguards are present most days, and the water can become dangerous. Pay attention to lifeguard warnings. Do not let your children play in the water when the waves are big, the undercurrents are very strong and drownings have occurred often.
Nai Harn is one of the most beautiful beaches on Phuket Island. The sand stretches for 670 meters (about half-a-mile), and the beach is about 30 meters (33 yards) wide on average. The atmosphere is nice, and the people there are intent on relaxation – not blasting music or drinking and getting rowdy. The sand is super clean – without large shells or stones. There are beach chairs available for 100 THB.
Nai Harn Beach Phuket is protected from winds blowing from the east, and offers a good place to anchor catamarans, yachts, speedboats, and longtail boats.
The water is clean and clear, the bottom is mostly sand, and nice for swimming from November to April when the water is calmer. There are no public showers or restrooms, but you can go behind the restaurants and use theirs for a small fee of 10-20 THB.
From the beach, you can see the white windmill up on the top of the hill near Promthep Cape. When you’re up at the cape, looking down, you can clearly see Nai Harn beach and dozens or even more than a hundred boats anchored in the sand close to the beach.
* Quiet Beach in Phuket?! Perhaps the quietest beach on Phuket, this is well worth your time to visit for a day or two. Many people report it is their favorite beach!
* Ideal for Families! – Quiet, soft and clean sand, trees for shade, and restroom and shower availability makes this a perfect place for travelers with children. Again, remember that the undertow is very strong. Kids shouldn’t play in water when waves are present.
* Food Stalls and Restaurant. Convenient snacks or meals when you get hungry. No need to leave the beach. Reportedly, the fried mushrooms are incredibly delicious!
* Ideal Anchorage for Boats. If you’re coming to Phuket in your boat, this is usually a good place to drop anchor. There are plenty of other boats here and the community aspect is nice – you’ll meet many other boaters at the beach, and restaurants.
Just before you reach Nai Harn Beach from Patong, you can stop at Ao Sane Beach, a small 175-meter-long (191 yards) beach ideal for families who want to lay on towels on the beach, and also for people wanting to snorkel and explore the underwater world. There are not usually many people at this beach in the early morning, but as the day wears on, it can get crowded because it isn’t large.
Ao Sen Restaurant is located right on the sands of Ao Sane Beach. There is always quite a difference in Thai spelling English and foreigners spelling it – so, don’t let that bother you! The restaurant gets better than average ratings, and it is very convenient in the middle of the beach. There are showers and restrooms here.
Snorkeling here is exceptional during good weather and no waves, like you’ll find from November to April most years. There are partially submerged rocks and underwater rocks where fish and other marine-life congregate. Not great for wading or swimming – protect feet!
* Snorkeling Mecca! If you’re interested in snorkeling the best spots on Phuket, you should stop here – there are some big and small submerged rocks that collect fish and other marine creatures – big hermit crabs, eels, octopus, and large groups of tropical fish. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to buy your own snorkel gear – it’s cleaner, works, and you’ll get better equipment and save money in the long-run if you’re an avid snorkeler.
* Ideal Family Beach. Quiet and lots of shady spots if you arrive early in the morning. There are shower and toilet facilities at the restaurant, and you won’t be annoyed by touts interrupting your nap as they try to sell you some useless trinket. Beach chairs available for a small fee.
* Picturesque! A really pretty landscape which reminds me of some of the beaches on Koh Samui Island. If you stop at this beach, you should continue down the road to see Nai Harn Beach as well – both spots are worth a visit. Fully 97% of reviewers on TripAdvisor rated this beach ‘very good’ or ‘excellent.’
And finally, don’t worry, we are ending on a very positive note – this is a beautiful beach you’re going to be excited about as soon as you arrive!
Between Nai Harn Beach and Promthep Cape is this tiny and so lovely little beach about 175 meters (191 yards) in length and around 15 meters (16 yards) wide on average. It is set in a little cove with a hill on each end, and has emerald green water and jagged rocks you can explore while snorkeling. There is a rocky bottom and some coral under the water, so bring protective rubber shoes for this spot. There are kayaks for rent here you can use to paddle out to the small island, Ko Man, about 350 meters (almost a quarter-mile) away.
Yanui Beach is a local’s favorite, and you’ll find as many Thais here as you will foreigners. You can rent beach mats with umbrellas for 200 THB for the day. There is snorkel rental gear, and kayaks. Umbrellas and beach chairs are available for a small fee.
There are some small cafes with outdoor seating under big trees across the main road behind the beach where they serve Thai food, pasta, pizza, and sandwiches – and of course alcohol.
* Awesome Snorkeling! A snorkeling haven. This spot is ideal for snorkeling because you don’t need to take a boat out away from Phuket, it’s right here at the beach for you. Bring your own gear for best experience, the rental equipment is never up to par if you’re a serious snorkeler.
* Good Family Beach. Quiet during low-season and not overly crowded during high-season if you arrive early. Some shady spots available. There can be trash on the beach, depending whether local businesses cleaned up the trash from the incoming tide. Do be careful of submerged rocks which can be sharp, and also have sea urchins.
* Picturesque. A stunning spot, this is ideal for photos from the road, or at beach level. The water can be crystal clear, so bring your underwater camera if you have one.
Again, don’t waste any time – get going, the best beaches in Phuket are waiting!
Please Note – the driving times mentioned here will vary, depending on many variables. Motorbikes are faster than cars, and tuk-tuks are sometimes faster than cars. The amount of traffic also plays a role in how fast you can reach one of Phuket’s beaches. High season brings thousands more tourists and the roads are worse than low season. Take your time and get there alive!
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