Thailand may attract many visitors with its night markets, ornate temples, and elephant sanctuaries, but equally popular are the stunning beaches found through its many islands. One of the most popular of these islands is Phuket, a tourist-friendly spot with hotels of all categories, delicious food, and beautiful turquoise water. Numerous stretches of sand can be found here, from bustling areas to secluded retreats, but to help you narrow it down, we rounded up the nine best beaches in Phuket, Thailand. Read on!
1. Freedom Beach
Secluded, peaceful, and beautiful, Freedom Beach is a stunning public stretch of sand between buzzing Patong and Karon. The small, crescent-shaped beach has white sand and striking clear blue water. However, it lacks sunbeds and has only one restaurant, so it’s best for low-key travelers. Additionally, reaching Freedom Beach requires either a pricey long-tail boat ride or taking a road where some hiking is needed.
Our Pick for a Beachfront Hotel in Karon: Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort
2. Karon Beach
Located on the southwestern coast of Phuket, Karon Beach is a four-kilometer (or two-and-a-half-mile) stretch of sand. This is the third-longest beach in Phuket and a popular spot for all types of travelers, thanks to its central setting, array of available water sports (including parasailing), and calm water during certain times of the year. Visitors either lay a towel directly on the sand or rent one of the umbrella-shaded loungers from various vendors. Ample hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops sit across the road, and the beach becomes particularly packed at sunset.
Our Pick for a Luxury Hotel in Karon Beach: Mandarava Resort and Spa
Set in the center of Phuket’s western coast, equidistant from the airport and Patong, Bang Tao Beach is a six-kilometer (or four-mile) stretch of sand. Most hotels sit near the southern section of the beach, while the northern area is a bit more undeveloped, though many beach bars can be found here. The pretty water is generally calm between the months of November to April, while the sea can get a bit more rough during the rest of the year. Vendors are kept to a minimum, as are visitors, and sunbeds can be rented.
Our Pick for a Boutique Hotel in Bang Tao Beach: Movenpick Resort Bangtao Beach Phuket
A quick 15-minute drive from Phuket International Airport, Mai Khao Beach is a long, tranquil expanse of sand. The beach spans a whopping 11 kilometers (or 6.8 miles), and stretches are often free of tourists, allowing for a quiet escape. The beach sits next to Sirinat National Park, adding to the peaceful feel. The water is safe for swimming during the peak season, but the sea can get rough and have strong currents during the low tourist months. Several large resorts line the beach, and most do a good job of blocking noise from passing planes.
Our Pick for a Luxury Hotel in Mai Khao: Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas
5. Kata Beach
Situated just a five-minute drive south of Karon Beach, Kata Beach is a lovely, albeit popular, beach in Phuket. Vendors have loungers and umbrellas set up along the sand, and the water is generally calm and warm. The parallel Kata Road is lined with cafes, massage parlors, and hotels, plus there’s ample cheap street food. In terms of water sports, jet-skiing and parasailing are available, though most visitors are content to sit along the beach.
Our Pick for a Beachfront Hotel in Kata Beach: The Boathouse Phuket
6. Surin Beach
Just south of Bang Tao Beach, Surin Beach is a smaller, though still lovely, beach with striking white sand and turquoise water. It appeals to both locals and visitors, and has limited restaurants and shops, which keeps it from feeling crowded. The area used to be known for its buzzing beach clubs, but they were removed a couple of years ago at the government’s order. The result is now a more relaxed atmosphere. An added pro: Everything from budget-friendly inns to luxury hotels are available in the area.
Our Pick for a Mid-Range Hotel in Surin Beach: Pen Villa Hotel
7. Ao Yon Beach
Small, tranquil, and calm, Ao Yon Beach is an ideal spot for travelers wanting a low-key vacation spot. Although the beach is narrow, it’s beautiful and the water is particularly still throughout the year. Restaurants are limited on the beach, but there are some lovely oceanfront eateries and bars, and massages are available as well. A pearl farm sits off the shore, and a naval base lies in the distance.
Our Pick for a Romantic Hotel Near Ao Yon Beach: Bandara Villas Phuket
8. Rawai Beach
Once upon a time, Rawai Beach was one of the most heavily visited beaches in Phuket, largely due to it being easily accessible from Phuket Town. It’s located on the southeastern coast of Phuket, and today, it’s a “working beach,” as the shore is lined with fishing boats, making it unsuitable for swimming. However, long-tail boats are available for hire for those looking to explore other islands, snorkel, or fish. Tons of seafood restaurants and an open-air seafood market are also on offer.
Our Pick for a Boutique Hotel in Rawai: Navatara Phuket Resort
9. Kamala Beach
South of Surin Beach, Kamala Beach sits in a lovely, protected bay. It provides a more laid-back alternative to nearby Patong, though it still offers a good range of restaurants and bars. Vendors provide loungers and umbrellas for rent, plus there’s tons of room to set up towels along the sand. It’s also a good spot for surfing from May to November, and surfboards, Jet Skis, and additional water sports equipment are available for hire. Hotels in the area range from budget to luxury properties.
Our Pick for a Luxury Hotel in Kamala: Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort
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