Southern Phuket beaches
PhuketSpace customers are near some of the best beaches on Phuket, with plenty of local choices. The idyllic Nai Harn Beach is just a few minutes away from the Rawai apartments, with Rawai Beach within walking distance. The Chalong apartments are a few minutes drive away from Chalong Bay. You’re never far from the sea in any of our apartments in Phuket.
Ao Sane Beach
This beach is in the headland at the north end of Nai Harn Beach. You need to go through the Royal Phuket Yacht Club’s car park (and under the hotel) to reach it, but the hotel security guards will wave you through. There is a restaurant at Ao Sane and some budget bungalows by the beach. There are usually a few people around but it is never busy.
Ao Sane is actually a series of three small beaches split by little rocky headlands. None of them is good for swimming due to rocks and corals close to shore. There is some excellent snorkelling.
This relatively unknown little beach is a favourite with Thai locals, at the southern end of Phuket between Rawai and Friendship Beach. It is not signposted and a somewhat difficult to find but a beautiful spot.
There is a five-star resort and a small bungalow resort nearby but still the beach remains quiet. It is one of the few eastern beaches where you can enjoy a swim and there are excellent views out to the southern islands.
Laemka Beach is what many Phuket beaches used to be like!
Chalong is a large bay with a pier that is the main departure point for diving and fishing trips from Phuket. The pier is a good place to charter boats for fishing, diving or snorkelling trips to nearby islands. Chalong also has some great seafood restaurants along the seafront.
Chalong Bay does not have a beach ideal for swimming due to the muddy bottom and large number of boats moored here.
Just inland is Chalong traffic circle. This area is popular among expats living in Phuket and there are some good restaurants and bars nearby.
Just south of Chalong, there are several low-key and peaceful bungalows at Friendship beach, also known as Mittrapap beach. As the beach is part of Chalong bay, it becomes muddy at low tide. However, the view of the bay is delightful and the bar at Friendship Beach Resort is a lovely spot to sip cocktails by the pool at sunset.
The Chalong area is home to numerous tour operators, yachting companies, game fishing charters and dive shops so you easily organise any trips or tours. There are also herbal saunas, yoga classes and a Reiki centre in the Chalong Circle area.
Nai Harn Beach
A picturesque and quiet beach near the southern tip of the island, Nai Harn Beach is the best of the southern Phuket beaches and one of the loveliest beaches in Phuket. Nai Harn is relatively undeveloped; as the Samnak Song Nai Harn monastery dominates much of the beachfront land, it can never be built on.
There aren’t many places to stay here but the beach is easy to get to from Kata and Karon. Nai Harn is the closest swimming beach to Rawai (a few minutes away by motorcycle or car), so is a popular destination for PhuketSpace customers. At its northern end is the Royal Phuket Yacht Club which has several restaurants just before it, and there are a few excellent seafood restaurants behind the casuarina trees overlooking the beach.
Close the beach is Nai Harn lagoon where there are a few more good bars and restaurants.
During the dry season, the sea here is excellent for swimming. However, the waves during the rainy season can be quite big with strong currents. Check the flags for swimming conditions. This is probably the best spot for surfing in Phuket although few surfers make it this far south.
Rawai Beach is a popular destination for Thais who come to enjoy seafood and the lovely view of the islands from the shore. In the days before Phuket became a popular holiday destination, Rawai Beach was where locals from Phuket Town would come to enjoy the seaside. These days, the beach itself is mainly used to park small boats anchored off the shore, although it is safe to swim all year round due to its position facing Phang Nga Bay.
At the eastern end of the beach is a sea-gypsy village which has a small fish market. Here you can also buy local handicrafts and assorted Thai snacks. The nearby viewpoint at Laem Phrom Thep, the southernmost tip of the island, is particularly popular at sunset.
Rawai is a centre for chartering boats for fishing and diving trips as well as for trips to the nearby islands such as Koh Lon, Koh Kaew, Koh Aeo, Coral Island and Koh Racha. There is also good snorkelling and diving round Laem Phrom Thep which is a short boat ride away. At low tide, collectors often come to Rawai looking for seashells.
Ya Nui Beach
A small and quiet beach tucked away at the bottom of the hill between Laem Prom Thep and the next hill to the west with the wind turbines, Ya Nui Beach is an undiscovered jewel among southern Phuket beaches, with fine, clean sand and very little development. There is a small reef that is good for snorkelling during the dry season.
Considering Ya Nui’s proximity to many of the island’s hotels in the south of the island, the beach still remains of Phuket’s best kept secrets.
Just south of the Kata viewpoint, Nui Beach offers the opportunity to enjoy a quiet idyllic beach only a few minutes drive from the busy resort areas of Phuket.
This beach is possibly best known for how difficult it is to reach by land! Located between Kata and Nai Harn, the only way to reach it by land is down a two-kilometer dirt track that is almost impossible to traverse in a car. You can just about do it on a motorbike or in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, but it is better to walk or let one of the locals take you down on their ATV for a small fee. If you do decide to drive, you should drive down the red dirt track for about 1km, then park and walk the rest of the way. The section of the road leading down to the beach is very steep.
It is also known as the most expensive beach in Phuket because you have to cross private land to reach it and they charge 250 baht for the privilege. This fee does get you a sun lounger and drink. Although all beaches in Thailand are public property, access to the beach is over private land, which means the landowner can charge people to get to the beach. For some this is a small price to pay for a beautiful secluded beach, where you don’t have to listen to the whir of jet-skis or be bothered by vendors.
When you do arrive, it is a beautiful secluded spot with good swimming and snorkeling. There is a rustic restaurant overlooking the beach but no accommodation. It is never crowded.
Cape Panwa is located to the south of Phuket Town, where lush hills provide magnificent views of the Andaman Sea. Apart from a few resorts and bungalows there is very little tourist development here. However, the area is seeing an increasing amount of high-end property developments. Dining and nightlife options outside of the hotels are relatively limited, although Phuket Town is not too far away.
The Marine Biological Research Centre and Phuket Aquarium at Cape Panwa is home to a large variety of beautiful and exotic sea creatures, with their tanks full of turtles in various stages of development available for the public to see. For those who plan to dive or snorkel during their stay on the island, a visit to the Phuket Aquarium will serve as an excellent introduction to the local marine life as most of their specimens are found in the waters off Phuket.