If you’re heading to Thailand for a dose of sun, sand, and sea, you’ll find some of the country’s best beaches in Phuket. The largest island in Thailand, Phuket has miles of coastline just waiting to be explored. It is a paradise for snorkeling, sunbathing, and letting the sea wash your stress away. All the beaches have different qualities — from sporty and active, to calm and relaxed, there’s a beach on Phuket for every mood and preference. Which will you choose? Below is a guide to some of our favorites.
Best Beach for Families – Kamala Beach
A long soft sandy beach lined with casuarina and palm trees, Kamala Beach still retains a semblance of a local village setting, and is a perfect place to bring the family. Even though new hotels and bars have sprung up nearby, Kamala hasn’t lost its charm with over-development. The beach itself is quite calm most times of the year— perfect for swimming— and it’s easy to find enough space for the whole family without being too close to your neighbors.
Lots of water sports are on offer at Kamala, including stand up paddleboarding and waterskiing, boat hire and fishing trips, and banana boat rentals. Or you can float out on the water with your own inflatable and let the breeze push you around. Runners will love the paved road that leads to a sandy track, ideal for a sunrise or sunset beach run. If you find yourself hungry, there are lots of local restaurants and cafes to choose from serving both authentic Thai food as well as international fare. There’s also plenty of suitable accommodation near Kamala Beach to suit a family.
Best Beach for Couples – Kata Beach
Kata Beach consists of two main beaches called Kata Yai and Kata Noi. Kata Yai is considered the second most popular beach in Phuket— not surprising when you see its soft sand and beautiful turquoise water. Despite its popularity, Kata Yai is relatively calm compared to the even more popular Patong Beach. This makes it ideal for couples who want to stay in a slightly quieter location for some alone time, but still have lots to eat, see, and do within a short walking distance. There are endless dates options here! Try snorkeling from the northern tip of the beach. If you fall in love with the reefs and colorful fish, you can hire a longtail boat from Kata Noi and take a short ride to Nui Beach, where there is even more snorkeling on offer.
Lots of restaurants at Kata Beach serve delicious food, but don’t expect the most authentic Thai style cuisine as this area mainly caters to tourists. That being said, if you go further away from the beach, you may find a small hidden restaurant serving food to the locals.
Best Beach for Solo Travelers – Patong Beach
Patong Beach is one of the most well-known beaches in Phuket. It is loud, brash, bright, and crowded, but what some people hate about it others love. Patong attracts everyone from locals, tourists, beach bums, foodies, hedonists, clubbers, culture addicts, and digital nomads. If you’re traveling alone and want to meet other people, Patong is the place to be.
The beach itself is one of the largest on Phuket. Plenty of water activities are available, including stand-up paddleboard and jet ski hire. If you simply want to relax, venture towards the southern tip of the beach, and you’ll find it is a little less crowded. Once the sun goes down, there are countless options for a solo traveler. The notorious Bangla Road that runs toward Patong Beach from the central city area is jammed full of bars and clubs. The nightlife starts to hit its stride around 6 pm every night. Patong also has an excellent cinema and a bowling alley for some indoor fun. If you are traveling alone, our suggestion would be to stay in a quieter area of Phuket but to head down to Patong Beach for your beach sessions and some fun nights out.
Best Beaches for Escaping the Crowds
Known locally as Haad Hin Gluai, Banana Beach can only be reached by longtail boat or via a jungle path. Banana Beach is a hidden and remote little beach situated between the Bangtao and Nai Thon beaches. The water is crystal clear and excellent for swimming. There is one local seafood restaurant open only in high season and several masseuses in the shade next to the restaurant offering massage. The location of this beach is a local secret, but if you head to Nai Thon and go for a little walk and you will be surprised by just how easy it is to find.
Nai Thon Beach
Just a stone’s throw from Banana Beach, Nai Thon Beach is a little easier to find, and that makes it a little more crowded. To get to this beach, you will need to take a vehicle through the lush, cool rainforest, and then along the stunning coastline. It’s an impressive introduction to the area. Nai Thon is becoming very popular these days as it hasn’t been touched by developers and the water is extremely clear. There are lots of rocky coves for snorkeling enthusiasts to explore. You can also hire scuba gear, although you must be a qualified scuba diver to do so. A short walk from the beach, you’ll find a few local restaurants, and there is basic accommodation if you want to make Nai Thon a base away from the main tourist hotspots.
Ao Sane Beach
Another small beach worth checking out is Ao Sane Beach. This is one for those who want to get off the beaten track. There are not many facilities serving this beach except for a shower and toilet. If you’re going to visit Ao Sane Beach, pack a picnic and anything else you need for a day trip. Don’t forget your towel and sunscreen! Check the local tide times for the best opportunity to visit Ao Sane.
Once you arrive, you’ll see there are lots of granite boulders dotted about in the water. This makes for great snorkeling exploration on the high tide. Try to avoid low tide when the water is sucked away, leaving lots of exposed rocks. Due to its natural geographical character, the beach itself is very small. Space on Ao Sane can fill up pretty fast, so it is best to arrive here early in the day.
Laem Singh Beach
This now deserted beach was once inaccessible due to a land dispute a few years ago, but it has recently opened back up thanks to some local entrepreneurial skills. Before Laem Sighn’s closure, it was full of crowded sun-worshippers, restaurants, and bars. Today, that memory has faded, and the beach now has a mood of abandoned tranquillity. Getting there is the adventurous part. Head to Surin Beach and walk to the southern end until you find a local man with a sign saying, “Boat to Laem Singh.” The cost for a boat ride is 100 baht per person, or if you don’t want to wait for other passengers, you can pay 400 baht, and you will get dropped off right on Leam Singh Beach. The driver will give you his number so you can call him when you are ready to leave.
Arriving at Laem Sighn, you would be forgiven for thinking that you are in the Caribbean. Swaying tropical palm trees will greet you, and a delightful soft sandy beach is all yours to share with a handful of people who are ‘in the know.’ Take advantage of this secret place before the word gets out, and the crowds once again return.
Best Beach for Luxury and Privacy – Laguna Beach
For those who prefer to esconce themselves in luxury and a more intimate setting, Laguna Beach in Bang Tao is the place. A short distance from the main international airport and halfway to Patong Beach, Bang Tao is the second longest beach in Phuket. It is known for its cluster of high-end exclusive resorts. Formerly an old tin mine site, Laguna Beach has been redeveloped into a luxurious eco-friendly resort, praised internationally for its environmental approach.
Surrounded by exclusive 5-star hotels, Laguna Beach has no shortage of high-end shopping, fine dining, and luxurious spa treatments. Of course, you can still get outside the resorts for some local culture, as there are plenty of Thai restaurants, bars, and local markets nearby. The beach itself has plenty of options for water sport activities. As it is such a long beach, romantic sunset walks should not be forgotten. In Bangtao, you can enjoy the best of all worlds.
Best Beach for Easy Airport Access – Mai Khao Beach
If you are coming to Phuket and only have a short time available, you can maximize your beach time by staying at Mai Khao Beach. Nestled practically behind Phuket’s International Airport, Mai Khao Beach is located next to Sirinath National Park and runs eleven kilometers all the way to the north of Phuket Island and Haad Sai Keow Beach. Mai Khao Beach remains untouched compared to other areas in Phuket, and you can find canopies of shade under the trees to chill out.
For accomodation, you can choose from five-star resorts or alternatively go for a medium budget but family-friendly lodging. Some water activities are organized by the resorts, but Mai Khao Beach is not very hectic. Mostly it’s just you, the sand and the water. Local restaurants and a few cafes are found on the southern end close to Nai Yang Beach, a popular place for locals and tourists alike. One of the least expected beach activities on Mai Khao Beach is watching aircraft land at Phuket International Airport. The planes fly low to the water, and the feeling of these giant birds overhead can be quite a thrill.
Tips for your Phuket Beach Trip:
- Every beach in Phuket is worth a visit for its unique natural attributes. One way to narrow it down is to consider where you want to stay. Choose the beach where you want to spend most of your time before booking your accommodation. Phuket is a big island, and beach days are the most relaxing when you don’t have a long journey back to your hotel.
- The cost of a taxi in Phuket is not the cheapest in Thailand. In fact, the expense of getting around by cab is comparable to that in Bangkok. If budget is a consideration for you, plan to stay close to your beaches of choice.
- When swimming, pay attention to the conditions. If there is a red flag on the beach, this is a warning not to swim there.
- Consider what time of year you plan to travel. November to February are the coolest, driest months and also the busiest time of the year for travelers. April to October is the monsoon season when it gets a lot hotter, and there is more rain. Don’t let that put you off traveling as you will have the advantage of fewer crowds, and the beaches are still perfect.
Going to the beach in Thailand should be a stress-free experience! Add Phuket to your instant itinerary at Go Real Travel, and take the hassle out of travel planning.