As you’d imagine, Phuket has plenty of amazing beaches and the destination itself was made famous by ‘The Beach’, but it’s easy to get a little stuck or swayed by the idea that Patong is the best beach destination for a Phuket holiday, and that Maya Bay (Part of Koh Phi Phi off the coast of Phuket, and the location of ‘The Beach’) is the most idyllic spot to visit.
Personally I hate Patong Beach and have to admit that I wince a little when a client requests a hotel around there (and generally do my best to talk them out of it!), and poor Maya Bay is so overrun by tourist boats, that unless you take a private early morning boat to the island before everyone else, you’ll be hard pressed to get a shot of this stunning bay without 1000 other people in the background, so when I found myself in Phuket for a few weeks I was determined to find out more about some of the lesser known beach areas, including what to do, where to stay and who I think would be best suited to the area.
So, below is part 1 of the list of beaches that I was personally able to experience, and I found you can still have the idyllic beach holiday that you see in the brochures, but you might just need to venture a little further than the good old Patong Merlin or Holiday Inn Patong Beach to do it….. (please!).
Located on Phuket’s East coast, Rawai Beach is technically more of a working beach than a swimming beach, and it’s a great place to rent a long tail boat and explore some of the surrounding islands, but what makes this area interesting is the boom in the fitness travel, including yoga retreats, active escapes and Thai Boxing. (Particularly the later)
With organisations like the UFC throwing the spotlight on Thai boxing and MMA in recent years, tourists travel the world to visit the home of Thai boxing, and this side of Phuket has seen the development of multiple internationally renowned Muay Thai boxing facilities, gymnasiums and raw food restaurants, so you’ll definitely find the fitness crowd being drawn to this side of the island.
Recommended for: Singles or couples looking to base themselves close to Thai training camps (AKA Muay Thai, Phuket Top Team and Tiger Muay Thai), whilst still enjoying a beach side location.
Stay: With only a handful of resorts on this side of the island, the two picks that I would have are below:
The Vijiit Resort – A luxury ‘all villa’ property, where you’ll find yourself sitting under the saying palm trees, in tranquil seclusion, overlooking some of the surrounding islands of the Andaman sea. The Vijiit Resort
Serenity Resort and Residences Phuket – A luxury beachfront, boutique property featuring a wide selection of comfortable rooms and suites, combining a traditional Thai element, whilst remaining chic and fresh http://www.serenityphuket.com/
Eat: With plenty of local Thai restaurants lining the beachfront of Rawai there is no shortage of food, but explore a little further and you’ll find some true gems.
Raw Cafe: This was a personal favorite with plenty of fantastic raw meals that aren’t only healthy, but ridiculously tasty and full of essential nutrients. Raw Cafe
Green Tamarind Kitchen: If you get a little sick of Thai Green Curry and Pad Thai, then this is where you’ll find a sensational burger! A cosy space, where they serve up burgers fresh from the grill as well as some other tasty local dishes. Green Tamarind Kitchen
Don’t Miss: With plenty of activities to choose from all over Phuket, you’d look at Rawai Beach specially to check out the following:
The Big Buddha: Whilst technically in Chalong, if you find yourself in Rawai it’s not far away, so make sure you check it out. It offers 360 degree views over the southern tip of Phuket and the Buddha itself is pretty impressive, standing at over 45m high! The Big Buddha
AKA Muay Thai: If training is your thing, then you can’t miss AKA. Phuket’s premier Muay Thai and training facility. AKA Thailand
Whilst technically not a beach itself, Cape Panwa is a tranquil spot located on Phukets southwest coast, and it feels a million miles from the hustle and bustle of Patong. It feels relatively untouched, despite the development of some luxury properties in the past decade, so you’ll find that you’re fairly immersed in local life, with plenty of great places to stay, eat, and relax whilst you get away from it all.
Recommended for: As it’s a little more secluded it would be perfect for second timers to Phuket or anyone looking to get away from it all, including families and couples.
Stay: With quite a few accommodation choices, there is something for everyone in the Cape Panwa area, but if you’re up for a little indulgence then you can’t go past the Sri Panwa.
A luxury villa property, perched at the very tip of the cape and built into the hillside with panoramic views right over the ocean.
The villas are some of the best i’ve experienced in the world, and you truly feel like a rock star staying in one. From the private infinity plunge pools, to the outdoor jacuzzi and steam room, this property is worth every single penny and perfect for a special occasion or to just indulge a little. Sri Panwa
Eat: Whilst it’s easy to recommended the resort restaurants and bars, as many of them are world class, I’m going to focus on some of my personal favourite experiences.
BabaNest (At Sri Panwa): Whilst this should be technically under ‘drink’, BabaNest has been voted as the #3 best beach bar worldwide, by CNNGo in 2011, and it’s pretty impressive. Offering 360 degree views over the peninsula it’s perfect for sunset cocktails. BabaNest
Sawasdee: A traditional and locally owned Thai restaurant, right on the waterfront. Great value, smiley and friendly staff and fantastic food.
Don’t Miss: Cape Panwa is for relaxing (especially if you’ve checked into one of Sri Panwa’s spectacular pool villas), but if you get a little tired of that, then you can arrange to rent a long tail boat to visit Koh Lone, one of the smaller islands just of the coast.
One of my personal favourites, Surin Beach is more like a coastal village than a town, and that’s the way I like it. Still only about 15-20mins Northwest of Patong, you are within easy reach of the ‘sites’ if you want to be, but still on a much quieter stretch of beach, where you’ll find great local dining and massage options and some of Phuket’s most stunning luxury properties.
Though, the Thai government have recently done a cleanup of Phuket’s beaches, removing sun beds and umbrellas from the sand, Surin Beach have sorted that out with a selection of great Beach clubs set right along the beach.
Recommended for: Families, Couples or groups of friends looking to be just outside the madness of Patong, but still on a quieter stretch of beach.
Stay: Here are two of my personal favourites:
Twin Palms: A small luxury property set back off the beach, Twin Palms offers a chic yet understated modern experience that won’t leave your pockets empty. Great value rooms and residences for larger groups, it has an intimate feel and offers some rooms with direct pool access. Twin Palms
Amanpuri: Is Aman Resorts flagship property, having been established in Phuket over 20 years ago. Set amongst coconut palms on a private beach, kissing the turquoise Andaman sea, this property offers you the ultimate in refined luxury. From padding barefoot around your own private ‘pavilion’, to the world class fitness centre and the delightful afternoon tea served daily by the wonderful Amanpuri team, staying here is like turning off your connection to the world, allowing you to truly sink into the bliss of being away from home. Amanpuri
Taste: This is a great beach side dining experience, with a Thai and Mediterranean themed menu. Fresh seafood, locally farmed meats, fab deserts and of course happy hour, this restaurant also has a bit of style to it as well, with a cosy atmosphere. Taste Surin Beach
Palm Seafood: A fairly new addition to the Surin Beach area, this is a restaurant run by Twin Palms and offers a contemporary dining experience, right on the beachfront (which makes it perfect for sunset cocktails). It’s also a live seafood restaurant, where you select your choice of seafood from their specifically designed tanks.
Don’t Miss: Surin Beach is the quintessential beach location, so taking advantage of the beautiful beach with Kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling gear or even your surf board (if you’re there between May – October).
So, there you have part 1 of my Phuket beaches focus, and I’ll be sharing more of the beaches that I’ve visited over the coming week (I didn’t’ want to bombard you all at once). Hopefully you have found it helpful in perhaps finding yourself a more idyllic beach to spend your Phuket holiday, but if you’ve got any questions at all, feel free to drop me a message or comment.
Also, don’t forget that I have exclusive contacts at all of the properties I mentioned, ensuring that you get special rates and VIP experience whichever resort you choose, so if you’re planning your own trip get in touch.
Thanks for reading!