Beaches in Phuket

phuket beaches

Patong Beach

Patong Beach of Phuket, Thailand, is the most favored beach among tourists coming to the country. The beach area has modern buildings and offers various entertainments for the visitors like bars, nightclubs and discos. All visitors to Thailand come here and chances of meeting your friends back home are very high.

Karon Beach

Lying 6kms to the south of Patong beach is Karon beach with its soft golden sand. The 3kms long beach is separated from the road by a stretch of sand dunes. The beach is ideal for all water activities like swimming, parasailing, jet skiing and banana boat. The beach is a hit with visitors due to its crystalline water and clean sand that makes snow-like squeaking sound when walked upon.

Kata Beach

Kata beach is a picture-perfect beach nestled among the panoramic greenery. The beach has shallow waters, which makes it safe even for children. The water is clear and the sand white and soft. The perfect picture is completed by the green island located at a short distance into the bay. The beach stretches for 1.4km along a curved path. This beach has many water sports like jet skiing, wind surfing, banana boats, Hobie Cats and parasailing. Families favor Kata beach, as waterbed is shallow and hence safer than Karon beach.

Kamala Beach

Kamala beach offers ideal conditions for snorkeling and scuba diving. The beautiful coral reefs and underwater life are just off the coast and this makes it all the more attractive. The water here is clean and clear and the northern end of the beach is quite safe for swimming. Families prefer this beach due to this. A fishing village lies in the middle of the beach and anglers casting their nets are a usual sight. There are also a few resorts along the beach for visitors. If you are planning for a long stay, this beach is perfect. The restaurants and bars lining the beach cater to the needs of tourists.

Bangtao Beach

Bangtao beach lies in the old tin mining country. With the advent of tourists, a major portion of the beach has been converted into a five star resort, Laguna Complex, which boasts of a golf course. For budget travelers there are other options in the southern side of the beach. This second longest beach of Phuket offers excellent swimming opportunities during dry season. The north end of the beach has a small bay with exquisite coral. Tourist infrastructure is well developed with many options for eating-places and sightseeing in both Laguna and nearby Choeng Thale.

Phuket Town

Phuket town was developed by Malaysian and Chinese merchants to cater to the tin miners almost a century back. In those days, Thalang was the capital and its port was insufficient to handle big ships. Phuket town prospered in spite of the initial hitches and the big fire that destroyed much of it. It became a major center for social, commercial and political activities. Most of the ancient buildings that you see today dates back a century, when the town was initially formed. The main attractions are the grand Thai and Chinese temples, ancient Sino-Portuguese constructions and public markets.

Cape Panwa

Cape Panwa, located to the south of Phuket, is a not frequented by tourists and is nestled among rubber and palm plantations. The Naval base and Phuket’s deep-sea port are located here. As you drive along the lonely, winding roads to Cape Panwa, you can stop by the roadside to enjoy the excellent views of the landscape and Andaman Sea. As the place is not on a regular tourist’s itinerary, those coming here get to enjoy the seclusion, away from the maddening crowds. Recently, property developers are eyeing the place. Not many entertainment options are available in Cape Panwa.

Ao Por Bay

Ao Por is a favorite destination for tourists due to its easy accessibility and closeness to International Airport and major tourist places. It lies on the northeastern Phuket and is barely 20 minutes from Phuket town. There is also a golf course nearby.

Nai Harn

Nai Harn beach lies close to Kamala beach and Kata beach, in the southern end of Phuket. The beach is lovely and not crowded. However, accommodation facilities are sparse here. This is mainly due to the Samnak SongNai Harn monastery, which is spread over a major portion of the beach. There are some restaurants, bars and accommodation available behind the beach near the lagoon.

Surin Beach

Surin beach is a beautiful beach, located north of Laem Sing beach and preferred by locals. A line of Casuarina trees form a backdrop instead of palms, which is unusual for a tropical beach. This calm and secluded beach comes alive during weekends and holidays with local people. The beach boasts of excellent Thai-style seafood restaurants. During the north beach safari, Surin beach is the lunch halt, as the beaches ahead on the itinerary do not have restaurants. There are many beachside villas for rent near Surin beach.

Rawai Beach

Rawai beach is popular among the local population for its excellent seafood and panoramic views of other islands. Nowadays, not many come here and the beach is used more by fishermen. This is a safe beach for swimming throughout the year. There is a village located on the eastern end of the beach, where there are shops selling local artifacts and snacks. Another attraction here is the fish market. Tourists come here to visit the nearby Laem Phrom Thep viewpoint, which offers excellent sunset views.

Chalong Bay

Chalong bay is home to a large pier, which is the docking place for boats for fishing and diving expeditions. If you are looking to hire a boat for diving, fishing or snorkeling trips, this is the place. Due to the active movement of boats here, Chalong bay is not good for swimming or other beach activities. Inland near the Chalong Circle, you will find good restaurants and bars frequented by expats and tourists.

Nai Thon Beach

Nai Thon beach, which lies in North West Phuket, is a tourist’s favorite. It is sandwiched between Bang Tao beach in north and Nai Yang beach in south. It is mostly unspoiled by development activities and hence not many facilities are there except some hotels and beach chairs. This small quiet beach offers superb views of green hills and valleys dotted with plantations. The drive along the winding roads to the beach is overwhelming. The squeaky beach sand is amusing.

Mai Khao Beach

Mai Khao beach is dominated by JW Marriott. It is a long deserted beach with little or no developmental activities. In spite of its proximity to the International Airport, it is not much frequented by tourists. If you are looking for a vast beach for yourself, this is it. This beach is a protected area for Olive Ridley Turtles. They come here to leave eggs during the months of November to February. The national park also includes Nai Yang beach and Nai Thon beach, which lie just south of Mai Khao beach.

Nai Yang Beach

Nai Yang beach is a beautiful unexplored beach, included in Sirinath National Park, which has its headquarters here. The beach has a row of pine trees forming an impressive backdrop. The beach sand here is the whitest in Phuket. The beach has exquisite coral reefs with colorful fishes close to the land. During low tide, this is easily accessible. Due to the variety of sea life in this area, beautiful seashells are washed up here after rainstorms.

Pansea Beach

Pansea beach, said to be the best beach of Phuket, is a small-secluded beach with white sparkling sand. The clear aquamarine blue sea, exotic coral reefs and the special rock formation at the ends of the beach make it a picture-perfect tropical paradise. Due to its exquisite beauty, super luxury Chedi Resort and Amanpuri Hotel have encroached the small beach. International celebrities make a beeline to these places, which charge a ransom for the privacy and exclusivity it offers.

Cape Yamu

Cape Yamu is a peninsula located on eastern Phuket. It lies north of the famous Boat Lagoon Marina. This is a preferred location for five star residential accommodations. It is valued high as an investment option. Its proximity to other famous landmarks like Royal Phuket Marina, Mission Hills and Blue Canyon golf courses make it a dream location. More and more super-deluxe residential facilities are coming up here.

Nearby Islands

Though Phuket has much to offer to tourists, there are a host of small islands located at a short distance, which offer excellent views and sporting opportunities. Visitors prefer some for their exclusivity, while some others offer ideal conditions for diving and snorkeling expeditions. You can reach these islands in an hour or two by hiring a boat. Some of these islands have state-of-the-art accommodations, while some others have on offer simple facilities.

Bars and night life in Phuket

phuket nightlifePhuket is famous for its nightlife that attracts many tourists from all over the world. It is found mostly in and around the busiest beaches of Phuket – Patong, Kata, Karon and Rawai. The choices are vast for a night out after an active day at the beach – Western-style discos with dance floors, Thai-style nightclubs with live music, tranquil pubs, small bars dotting the beaches and go-go clubs that offer good ‘company’.

Nightlife in Patong

Bangla Road in Patong Beach is the hub of Phuket’s nightlife. This area has closely packed mini bars as well as sprawling western-style nightclubs. The entrance fee at the discos here is around 400 baht, which includes two drinks. Go-go bars are mostly located in Soi Seadragon. The popular strip clubs are Soi Tiger, Soi Eric and Soi Crocodile. Safari Bar on the city outskirts is a popular nightspot. The highlights here are food stands, dance floors and a rock-climbing facility.

Nightlife in Kara-Karon area

This area is much smaller compared to Patong and the atmosphere here is calmer. It is frequented by Scandinavian tourists. A few bars located here, cater to the night customers, but there are no discos. The nearby Rawai looks sleepy during the day, but becomes active at night. There are around ten medium-sized bars here that flout closing time rules every now and then. There are activities for families as well. Latest English movies can be seen at the theaters in Jung Ceylon and Central Festival Walk. Other attractions are facilities for go-karting, shooting, bowling and mini golf. Music Matter, a small jazz spot, hosts Live Jazz Jams every Wednesday night. A quiz show is conducted by The Green Man British Pub on Thursday nights.

Nightlife in Phuket Town

Thai-style nightclubs are the major attraction of Phuket Town. Locals and expats are regulars at these places. The live bands play a mix of Thai and western music. Though you are expected to pay corkage fees for bringing in liquor bottles from outside, it is normally overlooked. There are no separate dance floors in most of these places. Karaoke is a popular feature in many of Thailand’s bars. The facilities at different places depend on the standard of the bar. The high-end restaurants even have private booths or hotel rooms with a hostess taking care of your needs. Hostess expenses are extra and they charge per hour. There is no guarantee that the hostess will come with you later. Thailand has an open approach towards Girlie Bars, where you can find girls and gay boys to spend the evening with. Some bars in specific localities specialize in this field. Many tourists come to Thailand to enjoy this feature. Even if you are not interested in the affairs there, there is no harm in visiting the place to see how it operates. The atmosphere is friendly and approachable. The girls in these bars will come with you outside, if you are willing to pay a ‘fine’ of around 400 baht. Some are even willing to overlook this, if there is a possibility for a long-term arrangement. Most villas allow you to bring girls to your room from outside. Some villas even charge extra for this. However, some luxury villas in Phuket do not allow this. So to save any awkward situation, check their rules before trying.

Discos in Phuket Island

Phuket City and Patong are the major hubs of discos in the island. However, other beach areas also have joints with bars and sometimes dance floors. The atmosphere at these places are normally relaxed and the music played here are good, but cannot be called disco music. These kinds of places are found at crowded areas frequented by tourists.

Discos in Phuket City

Q-Spot: This is a new Thai-style nightclub, with a dance floor and posh décor. Located off Ratsada Road, Phuket Town, it is open from 7.00pm to 1.00am. Address: 34 Phang-Nga Rd, A Muang, Phuket 83000 Telephone: +66 76 256 588 Email: [email protected] Timber Hut: It is a popular nightclub with live band and good food. Address: 118/1 Yaowarat Rd., A. Muang, Phuket 83000, Telephone: +66 76 211 839 Blue Marina: Live music and great atmosphere are the highlights of this nightclub. It is usually jam-packed with tourists by 10.00-11.00. It is attached to Blue Marlin Hotel in Phuket Town and occupies the basement. Address: 158/1 Yaowaraj Rd., T. Taladayai, A. Muang, Phuket 83000, Telephone: 076 212866-70

Discos in Patong

Patong discos are livelier, blaring out music till 2.00am. They usually charge 400 baht as admission fee, in which two drinks are also included. FBI: This is a highly popular bar with friendly staff. The place is located at one end of the Bangla Road and entry is free here. Banana: Excellent music, friendly crowd and great drinks are the attractions of Banana. Like elsewhere, they charge 400 baht for admission, which includes two drinks. Address: 124 Thaweewong Rd., Patong, A. Kathu, Phuket 83150, Telephone: +66 76 340 306 Tiger: Located at the heart of Bangla Road, it comes alive after midnight. Address: 49 Bangla Rd., Patong, A. Kathu, Phuket 83150, Telephone: +66 76 345 112, Email: [email protected] Seduction: Spacious dance floor and weekly beach parties on Wednesdays are the highlights. Admission is free before 12.00. Drinks are expensive at 200 baht. Address: 39/1 Bangla Rd., Patong Beach, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Telephone: +66 76 340 215, Email: [email protected] Baya Beach: Located at the end of Bangla Road, adjacent to FBI, it comes to life after 2.00am. It is well known as a good pick-up spot in Phuket. Safari: This is an open-air nightclub with facilities for games like rock-climbing. Located on the road to Karon, it opens at midnight and stays open till morning hours. Address: 28 Sirirat Rd., Patong, A. Kathu, Phuket 83150 Clublime: This fairly new joint is more patronized by locals and is said to be a clean place. Located on the road to Patong Beach, close to Rock City, it opens at 9.00pm and closes late at night. Address: Thaweewong Rd., Telephone: 076 341613, 085 7871195, Email: [email protected]

A Guide to Phuket Town

Phuket Town is the largest town and economic center of Phuket province. In Thai language, it is known as Muang Phuket. It has an estimated population of 63,000. It is not a great tourist destination, with all the exotic beaches lying close by. However, accommodation and food is cheaper here than the nearby beaches. In addition, Phuket has a Chinatown offering a great Thai-style shopping experience. phuket town Phuket had an important place in history and many a battle was waged to possess it. This town was an important halt in the India – East Asia sea route. Tradesmen used this route for centuries to transport goods. Burmese, Portuguese and the Dutch have tried at various times during the history to take over this small town. After this came the tin mining boom, which brought with it thousands of Chinese immigrants. They settled here and infused their culture, cuisine and architecture into the local scene. Phuket Town has excellent examples of Sino-colonial architecture, Chinese temples and houses dating back a century. If you are interested in the history of Phuket, this town has more to offer than the beach areas.

How to reach

Local buses and songthaews run between Phuket Town and other beaches from 7.00am to 6.00pm. In Phuket Town, the buses start from Thanon Ranong at Ranong market. Services to Patong Beach run every 30 minutes and takes 45 minutes to cover the distance. The fare is 20 baht. To other beaches, the fare is in the range of 15 to 30 baht. Taxis charge anywhere from 200 to 400 baht – less if you bargain hard. Phuket International Airport is towards the north of Phuket Town, lying at a distance of 30kms. By taxi, it takes 30 minutes and 500 baht and by shared minibus, it takes 45 minutes and 100 baht to cover the distance.

Getting around

The ideal means of transport around the town is tuk-tuks, which are available in plenty. Decide on the fare before boarding, as they tend to overcharge. Motorbike taxis are also available for hire. There are no public bus services in the town. Phuket Town is too big to travel on foot.

Places to see

Phuket Town has many interesting buildings dating back a century, which will interest students of architecture. Even ordinary tourists can enjoy visiting the well-preserved buildings. Some of the most important tourist attractions are:
  • Put Jaw and Jui Tui Temples: These are located near the Ranong bus terminus, on the corner of Soi Phuthon and Thanon Ranong. Put Jaw temple, built almost two centuries ago, is the oldest Chinese Taoist temple in Phuket. It is dedicated to Kwun Im, the Goddess of Mercy. The neighboring Jui Tui temple is a later addition and is bigger. Here, devotees find answer to their questions by throwing two red-colored mango-shaped blocks up in the air in front of the altar. If the blocks fall on different sides the answer is taken as ‘yes’ and if they fall on the same sides, the answer to your puzzling question is ‘no’. There is no entry fee, but donations are welcome.
  • Sino-Portuguese mansions: These mansions, located in Thanon Krabi, were built by the tin tycoons during the tin mining boom in late 19th century. They look impressive even today.
  • Wat Mongkol Nimit: This Thai-style temple, located in Thanon Dibuk, has a beautiful towering roof and colorful glass tiling.
  • Phuket Cultural Museum: This museum, located at Rajabhat University, displays information about Phuket’s history through pictures and tableaus. Entry to the museum is free.

Things to do

Phuket Town is popular among tourists as a shopping destination. Other than department stores, malls and local markets, Chinatown’s Thanon Thalang provides an incredible shopping experience. Here you will find local handicrafts, antiques and art as well as apparels ranging from designer wear to cheap stuff. Phuket Night Bazaar is another shopping location favored by tourists. However, you will get the same products at cheaper rates at the supermarket, Big C.


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