So, you’re wondering which Phuket beach is best? There are a whopping 40+ to pick from on this island, which just so happens to be the largest in all of Thailand. Each has its own unique character and style too. Take Patong, where the pumping nightlife spills onto the sand. Or, consider luxury Kata Noi, which is all about deluxe villa resorts hiding between the lanky coconut palms on the coastal hills.
Yep, there’s all sorts to choose from when it comes to the medley of famous beaches in Phuket. The vast majority of the most popular bays can be found on the west coast of the island. There, they slope softly into the Andaman Sea with powdery sands, usually tucked between rugged rocks and pockets of shoreline jungle. The south coast also has some jewels, but the west coast is more developed and given over to fishing ports and harbors.
This guide will range across the whole island. It’s aim? To reveal which Phuket beach is best for you this year. You’ll find options for families, lively beach towns for the hedonists who can’t quite make it to Koh Phangan, and chilled-out inlets where you can soak up the tropical sun and snorkel your days away.
Best for: Escaping from Patong
With a name like that, you can’t possibly be disappointing, right? Right.
Running for 150 meters in an arc of golden sand and tall green palm trees, Paradise lives up to its moniker with the looks of something plucked from a Condé Nast cover page. It’s peaceful and pretty, with fig trees sprouting on the hills behind and clusters of boulders tumbling into the Andaman on either side.
What makes Paradise Beach even more amazing is the fact that it’s just a stone’s throw from the pumping resort of Patong. It’s just 8-10 minutes in a taxi from the wild go-go bars to the beach, so expect to find plenty of people sizzling off the hangover in these parts. These days, you’ll need to pay 200 THB entry fee. It’s used for the overall upkeep of the beach.
- Stay at: Rosewood Phuket – There’s no hotel in Paradise Beach itself. That’s the reason it’s a great escape! However, the gorgeous Rosewood is close. It’s a five-star spot at the south end of Patong, offering seriously opulent beachfront pavilion suites and villas with private pools. Not cheap, but a stay you’ll always remember!
Kata Noi Beach
Best for: Honeymoons
Kata Noi Beach is one of the jewels of Phuket’s west coast. It’s got that sugar-soft sand you came to Thailand for, along with crystal blue waters. The beach is often coupled together with larger Kata Beach, which stretches in curve past the headland just to the north. They’re similar in looks, but Noi (meaning ‘little’ in Thai) has a more secluded, Robinson Crusoe feel to it.
Kata Noi is also famed for its clutch of deluxe hotel resorts. They are among some of the most stunning on the whole island if you ask us; perfect for honeymooners and loved-up duos looking to escape the buzzing crowds of Patong for days of sunsets and cocktails by the side of the infinity pool.
- Stay at: The Shore At Katathani – Adult Only – Wowza. This five-star hotel has all the bells and whistles. You’ll stay in a gorgeous sea-view bungalow perched on the hillside and gather each morning by the infinity pool that’s only meters from the Andaman.
Best for: Seeing celebrities
Surin Beach used to be one of the go-to vacation beaches in Phuket. That was until around 2016, when the island’s authorities and local businesses got into a dispute about something or other and the whole place was abandoned. Of course, there are two sides to that coin. On the one hand, there aren’t any beachfront hotels or sizzling Thai restaurants to enjoy. On the other, Surin is now left to nature.
We’re pretty thrilled about the way it’s panned out. You can mosey down to Surin to laze on sands that would once have been dominated by row upon row of sunbed. It’s possible to wander the groves of palms and casuarina trees behind without trespassing onto the grounds of big hotels every step of the way.
There are still some upmarket hotels and a speckling of casual eateries in the area. Many of them focus around so-called Millionaire’s Row, one of the most expensive quarters in Phuket where you’re just as likely to see Leo DiCaprio as a crab-eating macaque!
- Stay at: Twinpalms Phuket – A perfect example of the sort of ultra-lux stays on offer in Surin. Come here to live the life of the 1% on your trip to Thailand’s largest isle.
Ya Nui Beach
Best for: Clear water (snorkeling, kayaking, diving)
At less than 200 meters from end to end, Ya Nui is one of Phuket’s smallest strands. But size hardly matters when you look like this. Greenish-blue waters, tropical palms, sun-bleached sand – it’s all here!
Ya Nui Beach is actually one of the last Phuket beaches you’ll come to as you head southwards down the famous west coast. For that reason, it boasts some of the cleanest and clearest waters on the island. Combine that with patches of rock reef and the dramatic contours of the stony shoreline and it’s easy to see why it’s such a haven for snorkelers and divers and sea kayakers.
There is only one restaurant nearby, which goes by the name Ya Nui Bungalow. You will find all the traditional Thai dishes at very affordable prices.
- Stay at: Ya Nui Resort – A three-star resort with fantastic reviews, this elegant hotel is built with a touch of colonial style about it, all centered on a lovely pool that’s shaded by high palm trees.
Nai Harn Beach
Best for: Families
Located in the South of Phuket, 660-meter-long Nai Harn Beach is where this corner of the Andaman does its best impression of the Greek Aegean. Seriously, there’s something undeniably Mediterranean about this cove. It could be on Mykonos if it weren’t for the smell of ginger and soy from the local pad Thai cooks and the occasional coconut palm!
Once known only to the locals, the beach is now a regular mention in the Phuket travel brochures. However, due to the modest size of the bay, it remains relatively undeveloped, retaining its natural charm and quiet beauty.
Nai Harn Beach boasts soft white sands, translucent clear waters, and lifeguards on duty, making it particularly attractive for families. It can get lively in the evenings, when local volleyball players come to compete on the sands. There’s also a fun market behind selling saris and tie-dye tees – just what’s needed.
- Stay at: The Nai Harn – A beach bungalow resort with a boutique edge. Wake up. Open the windows. Viola: There’s the turquoise Andaman Sea glowing below you. Perfect, eh?
Best for: Partying
No guide to which Phuket beach is best could possibly miss out Patong.
Some love it. Some hate it. Truthfully, we tend towards the latter group, but we also know that there are some travelers who will love the heady atmosphere in Phuket’s most happening resort town.
It’s essentially a nightlife mecca – the Andaman’s answer to Pattaya but also with enough backpacker bars and hostels to bring a touch of Koh Phangan into the mix. Head to Bangla Road in the evening to see what we mean. That long strip is filled to bursting with dance bars and expat drinking holes.
The beach in Patong isn’t a tropical paradise. It’s far too built up for that. What it can offer is energy, bars, and plenty of places to stay. It’s also not a bad beach. It’s got regular lifeguard coverage and loads of sunbathing space.
- Stay at: Amari Phuket – Beach lovers should always look to the south end of Patong Beach. It’s prettier and more pristine. The hotels will cost more, but they also offer some luxury, with big pools spas, and beachfront locations just like the lovely Amari Phuket.
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— Travel Itinerary (@Coolmon2009) January 17, 2019