Spending your 2017 winter holiday on Phuket’s beaches? If so, you’ve picked one of the best spots in the world for a tropical getaway! This island is one of the fastest growing regions in the country thanks to its gorgeous settings in the Andaman Sea and easy access from major international cities. We’ll break down some of the best beaches on Phuket for you so you can get away from those crowds and really enjoy your vacation lazing away on the sand!
Phuket is the main international gateway to the Thailand’s Andaman Coast, one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline and home to some of the best beaches in the world. As one of the most heavily touristed parts of Thailand, it has experienced rapid growth for the last few decades, which unfortunately, has led to overdevelopment in many areas of the island. However, Phuket is a big place and travelers will find plenty of different beaches offering a wide variety of activities!
Patong Beach – Best Party Beach
Unless you enjoy overdeveloped beaches, Patong Beach should be avoided. Unfortunately, this area is also where many hotels are located, so most first time visitors end up in Patong for lack of knowledge. The beach is crowded and full of vendors and touts. The water and sand is also not particularly clean. That being said, the nightlife in this area is the best in Phuket. You’ll find the widest range of bars, clubs, restaurants, etc in the streets behind Patong Beach. If you really must stay here and want to find a nice beach close by, Freedom Beach is nearby and accessible by boat, but you are much better off heading to another part of the island. However, for visitors looking to party, Patong is where all the action is.
Kata Beach – Best Beach for Wannabe Surfers
Kata Beach is divided into two sections, Kata and Kata Noi. Kata Beach is larger and more developed, and is one of the only places to surf in Phuket. The waves in Thailand are not as famous as other locations like Bali, so surfing is relatively low key. However, if the waves are on, this is a great place to learn how to surf. Kata Noi is quieter than its larger neighbor, with a few resorts and vendors providing food and drinks to beach users. Although Kata isn’t the most stunning beach, it has lots of facilities to make your day at the beach more convenient, but isn’t as crazy as Patong.
Note: Phuket’s “surf season” only runs during the monsoon months between May and November
Raya (Racha) and Coral Islands – Best White Sand Beaches
Now we’re talking. Just off the southern coast of Phuket, these 2 islands have some of the whitest sand beaches and clearest azure waters in Phuket. The snorkeling here is excellent, tropical fish are everywhere and easy to see in the clear waters. Scuba diving on Raya Island is also possible and can be done with or without a license.These islands make an easy day trip for snorkeling and lazing away on white sand beaches.
Laguna Beach – Best Beach for Families
Laguna Beach is a long stretch of sand that is part of the Laguna complex of Phuket, which includes lots of golf courses, large resorts, and private villas. This area caters more for families and higher end tourism, so the beach is quiet and very well maintained. The beach is very long and some of the best beach clubs in Phuket can be found along the stretch. The Laguna complex also hosts most of Phuket’s sporting events, including the 2017 Phuket Marathon, Triathlon, and Ironman events.
Nai Yang Beach – Best Beach to Learn Kitesurfing
Nai Yang Beach is near the international airport and is one of the premier spots in Thailand for kite surfing, due to its consistent breeze, shallow water, and soft waves. The calm waters here also make it a great spot for some stand up paddle surfing! There are no jet skis here and only a few local boats ply the waters so you can surf to your heart’s content in the protected waters off the beach. The beach itself is also quieter and more serene than other Phuket beaches, with a more local vibe. A great place to relax after a board session or to laze away an afternoon.
Mai Khao Beach – Best Beach for Privacy
Another long stretch of beach north of Phuket International Airport, this area has seen some recent development of tastefully designed international resorts that have preserved the beach. Although not as picturesque as some of the other beaches, the area is very quiet and clean and is one of the best beaches for a family outing. At 9.5 km, this beach is the longest and Phuket and you are guaranteed to find some quiet spots along this stretch of sand.
Further Afield from Phuket
Similan Islands – World Class Diving and Arguably the Best Beaches in Thailand
The Similan Islands are a chain of islands forming a national park off the Khao Lak coast, 1 hour north of Phuket. One of the world’s best diving spots, the islands also have arguably the best beaches in Thailand due to the island’s protected status. Only limited amounts of camping are allowed on the island, so the beaches are beautiful and unspoiled. If you want to get away to an island paradise, this is the place to do it. If you are interested in diving or snorkeling, this is also one of the best dive spots in the world with almost 20 m of visibility and plenty of ocean life to discover. The islands are easily accessible from Phuket and makes a perfect day trip.
Maya Bay on Ko Phi Phi Ley – Escape to “The Beach”
This beach was the filming location for Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Beach” and one of the best beaches in Thailand. Nestled on the marine reserve of Ko Phi Phi Ley, the beach has been preserved from the overdevelopment seen on Phi Phi Don, where the bulk of tourists stay on their visit. The only way to visit Maya Bay is by boat from either Phi Phi Don, or mainland ports on Krabi or Phuket. The easiest way to visit is to join a day trip to the islands, but many tourists have the same idea so the beach can become very crowded at peak times. To see the beach with any privacy, you can charter a private charter boat or find a local longtail boat on Phi Phi Don to take you early in the morning before the crowds get in.