Decide which Phuket beach is right for you with this quick guide to the atmosphere and ambience of each of Phuket’s major beaches
Widely regarded as Phuket’s best beach, Naithon Beach is what the rest of Phuket could look like if the development had been more thoughtful. There is a single street facing the beach. There is white sand (pleasantly squeaky). There are restaurants and there are hotels. In fact there is everything there to serve your needs unless you want lots of noise, booming nightlife and gridlocked traffic.
Naiharn Beach remains underdeveloped due to the presence of the temple Wat Naiharn right by the beach. Although Naiharn can get quite crowded, the lack of development actually on the beach means that it feels quieter. A few restaurants sit behind the expanse of beautiful white sand and at either end of the beach are rocks around which one can snorkel.
Technically part of Naiharn beach, Ao Sen is an idyllic tiny bay that is hidden away from most visitors to Phuket and so provides the perfect holiday hidey-hole
In the far north of Phuket is Nai Yang beach. It is near enough to the airport that one can sit and watch the planes arriving and departing although one is not close enough to be disturbed by the noise they make. It is far away from being a typical tourist brochure, antiseptic, palm fringed paradise, but it is very pleasant the huge expanses of white sand lined by weirdly shaggy Casuarina trees.
Patong is the main beach on Phuket and thirty years ago it must have been absolutely beautiful. Now it is a textbook example of tourism overdevelopment. Whilst the sand is still white it is now home to throngs of people, polluted water, legions of jet-skis and armies of touts.
Karon Beach is now overdeveloped being a solid wall of resorts and antiseptic shopping malls. The beach itself remains pleasant although there is almost no shelter to be had from the sun.
Similar to Karon in levels of over development, Kata Beach is very much a family destination. As with Karon, the beach is so vast that one can usually find a relatively secluded spot but, as with Karon it is very open and there is very little shade.
Yanui beach is very small and easy to overlook. This is a good reason to hang out there since development has passed it by and most of the hotels and restaurants (which are one and the same) are run and owned by the same families who have been here for generations.
Surin is a relatively quiet place and is very much the haunt of the super rich. The area behind it is leafy and the resorts are spread relatively thinly compared to beaches further south. The town behind it is a genuine place that does not exist for tourism alone and is a pleasant village to stay in itself.
Separated from Patong by a veritable mountain, Kamala beach is infected by some of the tackiness that wafts from over the hill, but remains pleasant in parts. The beach is small enough to become uncomfortably crowded during high season.
Obviously not a beach, Phuket town is a wonderfully atmospheric place, with its colonnaded, Sino-Portuguese architecture, its traditional coffee shops and medicine stores and its pleasantly laid back feel. If you also want to get out of the package tour environment for a while, it is a great place to watch the normal life of southern Thailand go by.
Phuket Travel Guide
- Phuket: A Very Quick Travel Guide
- How To Get To Phuket
- Getting Around Phuket
- Phuket's Best Beaches
- Phuket's Beaches - A Brief Guide
- Things To Do In Phuket
- Phuket Town
- Phuket Hotels - Where To Stay
- Check Phuket Hotel Availability
- Phuket Map
- Phuket Vegetarian Festival
- Phuket Daytrips
- Phuket Nightlife