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On Phuket, there's a beach to suit everyone. This is Nai Thon

Phuket's Beaches: How to Find the Best One

Saturday, December 25, 2010
Phuket Holidays Special

NOSE and toes tell it best. If the ozone flavor of a particular beach wafts up your nostrils and zings like a good wine, and if your toes curl in appreciation as your foot hits sand, perhaps you've discovered the best beach on Phuket.

The choice is so wide and so beautiful and so addictive that it could be a mistake to settle for just one. Like a good wife tempted by a succession of boyfriends seeking more intimacy, when it comes to beaches it always pays to dally and flirt.

Each Phuket sandy curve and arc has its own character, shaped by nature and repute. Exploration is the only essential.

Although the island's tiara of sandy treasures tilts to the west, a sunrise at high tide on an east coast beach can be postcard perfection. Cherished moments can roll on into hours, or even a whole day.

Time of the year can be important, too. At the peak of high season, some Phuket beaches in full sun produce tiered shades of brilliant blues, often of the kind only found elsewhere in the plumage of exotic birds.

At other times, the best moment comes when a beach produces wave after wave that is perfect for uplifting a body of any size and condition and hurling it gently shorewards. No beachfront masseuse ever matches the sea.

For those addicted to sun, sand and nature's salty massage, Phuket provides a greater range of choices within easy reach than any other destination we've seen. There is no black sand volcano beach, rare even in the Philippines, no giant breakers to match Hawaii, no masses of European pebbles where sand should be.

Kata, Karon, Kamala, Nai Harn, Surin and even Patong when the crowd has gone and the sun's dying embers blaze off the waves . . . every one of the popular beaches is superb on its day and in the right mood.

Sadly, there are times when a good beach must be shared. Somehow, the view from a sunlounger never really takes in the neighbors. They too are imagining that they are alone, and you aren't really there.

More reflective and isolated dream moments are easier to find when a sea breeze tingles the trees in the wide open spaces at Bang Tao or Mai Khao, and it's still possible to imagine a vast stretch of beach that is yours alone.

Torn between two loves, a friend swims regularly from Surin to Laem Sing, or back the other way, depending on the wind and current. And when conditions are right, the small crescents at Ao Sane, Laem Ka, Paradise Beach and other quiet corners can be absolute perfection.

Food and salt definitely go together, and the best places to enjoy a real Phuket meal, Thai-style, is on picnic mats under the trees at Kata or on the grass at Loma Park in Patong, or on low tables in the woods at Nai Yang or anywhere along the shorefront at Rawai.

A great view makes everything taste twice as good. And as long as there is someone not too far away who can bring you a fleshy young coconut, juicy and ready to drink, a Phuket beach experience is hard to beat.

Spend two weeks of a holiday at the rate of one Phuket beach a day, and you're about halfway to finding your dream beach. Go with what your nose and toes tell you, and you will never be disappointed.

Phuket's Big Six


Natural rating: 7
Phuket's best known and most popular beach. Jet-skis and parasailing require a careful choice about where to sit along the beach. If you want to watch the action, the central section is best. If not, head south or north. Best to swim where the lifeguards fly their red and yellow flags, and that applies at all beaches.


Natural rating: 8
This is a beautiful long beach, with squeaky sand. It was declared one of the top family beaches in the world by Lonely Planet, which is certainly true in high season. In low season, though, it can be extremely dangerous. The ideal beach for long walks. Restaurants at the south end provide a place to eat in comfort within looking and listening distance of the sea.


Natural rating: 9
Kata is probably Phuket's best beach for board surfing during the low season, so best to choose a section that is free from boards and sanctioned by lifeguards. In high season, Thai families picnic under the casuarias while tourists mostly use the sun loungers. Kata Noi is a smaller version nearby.

Nai Harn

Natural rating: 9
Phuket's most popular southern beach, with a relaxed local feel to it. Plenty of restaurants do a good trade under the trees. Ao Sane, Phuket's quirkiest beach, can be found by driving through and under (yes that's right, under) the large resort at the beach's northern end.


Natural rating: 8
A village north of Patong with a broad expanse of sand but fewer visitors. People swear by Kamala and its less crowded atmosphere. If you like fishing, this is a good place to hire a boat. While Kamala is less crowded, prices rival Patong.


Natural rating: 7
This five-star beach is in danger of being taken over by beach restaurants. No other beach has private businesses in such numbers on public sand right down to the water's edge. Great place to eat, but not so great if you want to enjoy the sand, the sea and an unobstructed view. Once you hit the water, it doesn't seem to matter.

More on Phuket's beaches in the latest issue of The Phuket Post, still only 20 baht, on sale now
Patong's Beach Road Parking: New Deal Agreed
Latest Phuket's big bonus for 2011's arrival is expected to be the reshaping of Patong's beach road parking to allow the public to have back almost three quarters of space monopolised by renters.
Patong's Beach Road Parking: New Deal Agreed

Karon's Construction Era 'Almost at an End'
Latest Earthworks that have placed electricity and telephone lines underground - and driven away some tourists in the process - are almost at an end, says the Mayor of Karon beach.
Karon's Construction Era 'Almost at an End'

Phuket Retailers, Hospitals Offer Tsunami Support
Latest A memorandum of understanding with big retailers and among hospitals in response to a disaster on Phuket was the highlight of a drill close to the anniversary of the 2004 tsunami.
Phuket Retailers, Hospitals Offer Tsunami Support

Phuket Governor Reassures Tourists on Tsunami
Latest Predictions of a tsunami have led to Phuket's governor issuing a statement citing the precautions now being taken to provide adequate warnings in the unlikely event of another big wave.
Phuket Governor Reassures Tourists on Tsunami


Comments have been disabled for this article.


I miss the two best beaches of Patong area. Tri Trang and Paradise Beach. Both nice and perfectly sheltered with trees. Marvelous views, almost no jet-skis and both great food.

Posted by PhuketExpat on December 25, 2010 09:58


Nai Harn
Natural rating: 9
Not for a long time: the actual and the future building developments allow nearby the lake will drastically reduce its ranking and subsequently the number of the tourists, like in Patong. Thais are not able to preserve their treasures and the mother load of their livelihood. Unfortunately in their culture there is not space, right now, for the word "future= next years= next generations".

Posted by Dave on December 28, 2010 02:10

Tuesday September 28, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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