Boasting the nickname the Pearl of the Andaman, it is little wonder that Phuket’s beaches are stunning and instrumental in drawing millions of visitors to the Thai island each year. There is something for all tastes. These range from the ambient Laem Sing Beach to watersports hubs and party destination extraordinaire Patong. Despite the size of the beach collection, Phuket is not big and it is easy to go beach-hopping on your own with a hire car or motorcycle, or on a private tour.
The eastern shoreline of Phuket does not offer a lot in the way of beaches and the best choices are on the west coast. Due to its legendary status as the nightlife and dining hub of Phuket, Patong is the most popular vacation base for many. Visitors who want to enjoy watersports and the comfort of the best island infrastructure will find Patong the top choice.
Just to the south of Patong, the beach at Karon is longer and quieter. Karon’s nightlife is less raucous while its accommodation choices are quite high-class. Continuing south, Kata Beach is geared towards families and imbued with a peaceful aura. The crescent-shaped bay here is lined with shade trees which give a respite from the midday sun. Between May and October, Kata offers great surfing and companies like Phuketsurf.com provide board hire and tuition for beginners.
Kata Noi Beach is a stone’s throw from Kata and famed for its beauty. It is quiet though and not the best choice for party animals. Nai Harn Beach is not far from the southwest tip of Phuket. Upmarket holiday resorts and yachts gently bobbing on the bay are the most common sightings here. Rawai, Chalong and Cape Panwa are southward facing beaches and each comes with its own inimitable draws.
Travelling down the west coast from Phuket’s airport, Nai Yang is the first beach of import. Nai Yang’s soft sands are long and lined with tall casuarina trees. Bang Tao is the next major beach when heading south and resembles a desert island as it is almost never crowded. Surin Beach is next and is famed for its seafood eateries and shopping options.
Secluded Laem Sing is only accessible on paths leading down from the main road. Despite this, Laem Sing’s gorgeous appearance has placed it firmly on the Phuket tourist trail. Kamala is the last beach of any size before hitting the bright lights of Patong. Kamala is the preferred choice for visitors who want to be near the nightlife, but somewhere more chilled during the day.