North west Phuket beaches
The quietest beaches on Phuket are located in the north-western part of the island. These are the furthest away from the our apartments in Phuket, but if it’s solitude you’re looking for, some of the north-west beaches will be perfect for you.
The following is a summary of most of the north-west beaches in Phuket, in no particular order:
Bang Tao Beach
Bang Tao is a large open bay with one of Phuket’s longest beaches. The 8km long beach never feels crowded, especially at its northern end. Five luxury hotels and an 18-hole golf course dominate a large area of Bang Tao, but it’s not difficult to find a quiet spot to enjoy the crystal clear water and stunning white sand.
The southern end of the beach is more developed, so if you want the beach to yourself, walk to the northern end where it’s much quieter. There are a number of shops, restaurants and bars near the entrance to Laguna Phuket, as well as those within the resort complex. The nearby town of Cherng Talay has a few shops as well as a fresh market. Canal Village within Laguna Phuket comprises about 30 shops, mostly selling handicrafts and clothing items.
To the northern end of the beach are some fine reefs that are good for snorkelling, while the steady breeze makes Bang Tao an excellent place to windsurf.
There are over 30 bars and restaurants located within the Laguna Phuket. However, there is also a growing number of good restaurants around the Bang Tao and Cherng Talay area. Although close to the Laguna area to cater to guests of the hotels, they are proving to be popular with expats and locals as well.
Nightlife in Bang Tao is relatively subdued when compared to other popular tourist areas in Phuket. The atmosphere is fairly low-key and family oriented, which is part of the attraction for the many tourists and expats who choose to spend time in the area. There are bars within the Laguna as well as a good selection just outside the entrance and a few bars on the beach.
Kamala is only a few minutes drive from the bustle of Patong, but you wouldn’t know it. A beautiful, serene beach, Kamala is perfect for those looking for a relaxed and laid back spot. The southern end of this beautiful bay has a coral reef just a few metres offshore. Kamala is not over-developed yet, although there are some guesthouses and a few resorts.
There is a good selection of Thai restaurants, noodle shops and a few western restaurants in the area. The local people are mostly ethnic Malay and there are some good local restaurants serving tasty Muslim food.
Kamala is a great area for water sports, with a number of dive shops can in the village. The reef at the southern end is a pleasant spot for snorkelling and the water is perfect for swimming during the dry season. Bear in mind that because the beach drops sharply into the sea, the currents can be quite dangerous during the rainy season. As if to make up for it, the northern end of the beach can be a decent surf spot at that time of the year.
The main attraction in Kamala is the Phuket Fantasea, where you can enjoy a buffet dinner as well as an evening of lively cultural entertainment.
There are a few decent bars along the beach road as it snakes inland. The atmosphere here is quite relaxed and chilled out, providing a contrast to the hectic pace over in Patong. There is also a sprinkling of beer bars along the main road.
Laem Singh Beach
Laem Singh beach is located a few minutes drive north of Kamala in a small curving bay at the foot of forest-fringed cliffs. This is a small secluded beach that can get quite crowded during the high season. There is no accommodation here and not much other development except a few restaurants.
It is quite easy to miss Laem Singh – you wouldn’t really know it’s there. The only indication of the entrances are small signs on the road between Kamala and Surin. Both entrances to the beach have car parks, for which there is usually a small charge. If you don’t fancy a steep walk down, head for the second car park on the road coming from Kamala heading north. The path here is a longer but not as steep.
Because the beach can only be accessed by foot via long paths, Laem Singh has a more private feel than many other beaches on Phuket. Probably for this reason, it can get quite busy on the weekends.
The southern part of Laem Singh beach has some good coral which is worth exploring with a mask and snorkel. This can be rented from one of the shops on the beach. There are usually some sea kayaks for rent too.
Mai Kao Beach
Mai Kao beach, located just north of the airport is a long and relatively deserted stretch of sand.
There is no tourist development here except for the JW Marriott Resort & Spa. Mai Kao is the longest beach on the island and probably the quietest. If you really want to get away from it all this is the beach for you.
Mai Kao is part of the Sirinath National Park, which also includes Nai Yang and Nai Thon, the next beaches along to the south. The area was declared a national park in 1981 to protect the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles that lay their eggs here from November to February.
The sea here is fine for swimming during the dry season but a strong undertow and large waves make Mai Kao somewhat dangerous for swimmers between May and October, and there are no lifeguards.
Nai Thon Beach
Nai Thon beach lies about 15km south of the airport. The beach is still quite undeveloped and is a pleasantly quiet place to sit in the sun, have a swim or get away from the crowds. Although it’s quiet, the beach is not completely deserted and there are a few sunbeds available for hire. There are also a few small restaurants that serve fresh seafood and local dishes.
Nai Thon is part of the Sirinath Marine National Park, which also includes Mai Kao and Nai Yang, the next beaches along to the north. Sea Turtles also lay their eggs here from November to February.
Part of the reason Nai Thon has managed to remain so peaceful is that it is quite isolated. The road leading to the beach winds through jungle and rubber plantations as well as over a few hills. There are a few places to stay, including some bungalows and guesthouses.
Nai Yang Beach
Nai Yang is a long curved bay fringed with tall casuarinas trees, providing an ideal spot for the many local picnickers who frequent this beach. There are also a few local seafood stalls and restaurants along part of the beach. Camping is allowed on the beach.
Nai Yang is part of the Sirinath National Park, which also includes Mai Kao, the next beach along to the north, and Nai Thon, the next beach along to the south.
A fairly undeveloped beach with more of a local feel to it, Surin is an ideal spot to enjoy some local seafood right on the beach. Located just north of Kamala, it’s an undeveloped stretch of sand lined with casuarina trees. Although there a few hotels have appeared recently, Surin is still quiet and peaceful.
Surin is quite popular with locals who frequent the seafood stalls and restaurants that line the beach under the shade of the casuarina trees. This can get a little busy during the weekends during the high season.
Inland from the beach is Surin Village, a predominantly Muslim area of Phuket. There is a small market here and some restaurants where you can sample delicious massaman curry.
There is fine snorkelling offshore when the sea is calm. Popular activities here are sea kayaking, surfing and body boarding. During the rainy season (from June to October) there is a strong rip current and the waves can be quite big making it a dangerous beach to go swimming.
Pansea is located just to the north of Surin beach and is one of the most beautiful beaches on Phuket. Unfortunately, the beach can only be reached through the grounds of two exclusive resorts that occupy the beachfront land.
The luxurious Chedi and Amanpuri resorts share this magnificent cove at the northern end of Surin beach. With the beach only accessible through the grounds of either hotel, it’s effectively a private beach, which makes Pansea particularly appealing to the international jet-set who frequent these resorts.