When you’re comparing Phuket hotels online, it’s easy to get lost in all of the options. Nearly every hotel, motel and inn offers accommodations near the legendary beaches of this Thai island — and if you’re simply looking for a sandy place to relax and enjoy a tropical holiday, you really can’t go wrong.
However, if you have something more specific in mind, it would be helpful to know the differences between the beaches. Not all of Phuket’s beaches are created equal, and depending on what you’re looking for (a family-friendly beach, a good place for snorkelling, etc.) some locations are better than others.
To help with the planning of your dream holiday, consider booking a hotel near one of these beaches.
Best Overall Beach
Patong Beach is perhaps the best known — and most visited — beach in Phuket. In fact, by some accounts this is the most popular beach in all of Thailand. It offers a wide, white-sand beach and warm, clear waters with plenty of activities for all ages. At Patong, you can relax in the sand or soar above the water on a parasail; you can also rent a Jet Ski or banana boat for water fun. Patong is most popular with people in their 20s, who often hit the clubs along the beach after dark, but you’ll also find families and older people at the beach as well.
Best Beaches for Families
Families who aren’t looking for a raucous party scene or vibrant nightlife flock to Kata Beach, a white sand beach ringing a tranquil bay. Most of the hotels and resorts of the Kata area are a short walk from the beach, making it ideal for families with kids. There are some activities here; for example, you can take a ride on a longtail boat or go parasailing, but for the most part, this area is calm and laid back, with families relaxing in the sand or swimming in the clear blue water.
Best Beaches for Privacy and Romance
If you want absolute solitude and very little chance of seeing anyone else, head to Mai Khao beach on the northwest coast of the island. As part of a national park, with only one hotel (the JW Marriott) nearby, Mai Khao is about as secluded as it gets in Phuket. The 11km beach has coarser sand than the rest of the beaches in the area, but it’s not uncommon to spend the entire day there and not see another soul. The waters aren’t ideal for swimming during monsoon season thanks to a significant drop in the sea floor close to shore, but the area is perfect for privacy and romance.
At first glance, Bangtao beach may appear to be a slightly-less-busy version of the crowded Patong beach, but at the north end of the 6km stretch, you’ll find very few people and plenty of space and privacy.
Most Scenic Beaches
Bang Tao is known for its natural beauty and spectacular sunsets in addition to its openness, but other beaches are just as scenic. Nai Thon, for example, during the high season, is a beautiful and tranquil beach resort town — and getting there is just as scenic as the beach itself. On the way to Nai Thon from the south, you’ll drive through a jungle and along a picturesque coast; the northern route takes you through the village and a green valley. Banana Beach, which is right between the beaches of Bang Tao and Nai Thon, is a small, hidden gem of a beach. Though small (only about 180 m long), lined by trees and not easy to find, this beach is still worth the trip.
Best Beaches for Snorkelling and Diving
One of the main reasons that visitors come to Phuket is for the snorkelling, and several beaches offer easily accessed reefs to explore. Kamala Beach, for example, offers snorkelling at the north end of the beach, and Rawai Beach is the place to catch a boat trip to Koh Lone or Racha Island for some of the best snorkelling in Phuket. Nai Yang Beach — the most secluded beach on the island — offers access to the Sirinath National Park and a protected reef for snorkelling at the north end of the beach.
With so many beaches in Phuket, you aren’t limited to spending your entire holiday in one spot. Take some time to explore a few of the beaches during your holiday, and you might just find your own “best beach” and personal paradise.
These are just a few of the reasons that Phuket is such a popular tourist destination. Travelers from all over the world come to this beautiful city, as the weather is always warm and inviting. Tourists from Australia, however, seem to especially enjoy what Phuket has to offer, and for a number of good reasons. It is a great place to visit if you’re from New Zealand and looking for some new vacation ideas. Visit the exotic Koh Haie Island or the breathtaking Phromthep Cape for a chance to relax and experience some of the many beautiful beaches in Phuket.
About the Author: Jessica Stacey has been to beaches all over the world and considers the beaches of Phuket to be the most beautiful she’s ever seen. A writer and photographer, she is known to spend hours on Expedia looking for deals on her next adventure.