Sandy bays in Phuket, Thailand

One of Thailand’s most visited destinations and large enough to accommodate all types of vacation, Phuket island is served by an international airport and provides everything the modern beach holidaymaker could possibly need. The natural beauty, beautiful beaches, good facilities and a lovely climate conspire to ensure a thriving market in holiday homes among wealthy foreigners and Thais alike. 

With a string of very fine beaches along its western coast, two National Parks, and some truly fabulous outer islands to visit, Phuket is simply incomparable as a destination, and is highly popular as a base for island hoppers, divers and snorkelers venturing into the corals and sands of its myriad worlds beyond. 

PHUKET’S BEACHES 

With premier hotels, resorts and spacious beach bungalows in abundance, fronting many fine white sand beaches and the sparkling blue clarity of the Indian Ocean, you can immerse yourself in everything from serene quietude to unabashed play with jet skis and lively nightlife. Getting around Phuket's blessed array of beaches is easy, with an abundance of taxis, buses and tuk-tuks plying their trade along the coastal fringe.

Nai Yang Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Starting at Phuket’s northern tip, at 17 kilometres (11 miles), Hat Mai Khao is Phuket’s quietest and longest beach, with only two luxury hotels occupying its long reach. Combined with the beaches at Hat Nai Yang, and Hat Nai Thon, the nearby mangrove forests and pristine offshore reefs, these features together make up Sirinat National Park, a haven for birds, land animals and marine life.

Laem Singh Beach, Phuket, Thailand
 

Travelling further south along the coast, Ao Bang Thao, one of Phuket’s most beautiful beaches, sports an 18-hole golf course and a cluster of luxury hotels at the top of its 8km (5 mile) stretch. Next, the short but exclusive Ao Pansea is followed by the smaller Hat Surin and Laem Singh beaches and the peaceful bay of Hat Kamala, also known the popular night shows at the Fantasea cultural theme park.

Kamala beach, Phuket, Thailand

In contrast to its predecessor, Hat Patong is both noisy and busy, and though a beautiful 3km (2 mile) stretch of sand, is full of the bustle of all the water-sport accoutrements associated with the most developed of beaches. Backing the beach, Patong town has a wide selection of restaurants and shops and a highly developed nightlife which is in places, however, marred for some by a certain degree of seediness after dark. 

Kata beach in Phuket, Thailand

Tucked away from the road in a cove just below Patong's southern end, Freedom beach is bypassed by the main road, making it less obviously accessible, and a good hideaway.

With only one hotel, the beautiful crescent beach at Karon Noi provides another relaxed haven, before leading on to the 3km (2mile) gold sand stretch at Hat Karon which, despite being Phuket’s second most popular beach, is seldom overcrowded.

Karon Beach, Phuket ,Thailand

These are followed by the smaller but pretty beaches of Hat Kata Yai and Hat Kata Noi which, because of their excellent swimming and snorkelling, can occasionally be quite busy. The western beaches end with the lovely Hat Nai Harn close to Phuket’s southern tip, situated on Phromtep Cape.  

Phromthep Cape, Phuket, Thailand

OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN PHUKET 

Phuket town, though not particularly a visitor attraction in itself, has on its outskirts Phuket Butterfly Garden and Insect World, Crocodile World and Sea Aquarium, and the Phuket Orchid Garden and Thai Village. Elsewhere inland are Wat Chalong, the Thalang Museum, dedicated to the history of Phuket, Khao Phra Taew National Park and its Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre. 

Wat Chalong, Phuket, Thailand

The beach at Hat Rawai, on Phuket’s southeastern tip is not particularly suitable for the usual beach activities, but is good if you're a fan of fresh seafood and remarkable for its Sea Gypsy village.

There are several islands surrounding Phuket which offer pleasant day trips, including Ko Bon, Ko Hae, Ko Kaeo, all of which are also good for snorkelling and swimming. The particular clarity of the waters around the fine sands of Ko Racha Yai and its rocky neighbour Ko Racha Noi additionally offer some of the best diving around Phuket.

For those staying in Phuket for several days or more, excursions to the nearby majestic Phi Phi islands, Phang Nha Bay, the Surin and Similan Islands, and the sculptural coves and beaches of Krabi are all easily arranged and will greatly enhance your stay with a deep encounter of the truly stunning oceanic topography of this region of Thailand.

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