Phuket is known by its perfect beaches, is famous by its burning night life and, incidentally, — it is the most popular island among the 1000’s islands of Thailand.
Let’s try to explore the most interesting beaches of Phuket, in terms of the independent traveler, who is not connected to its hotel, who could take a motorbike for rent to explore a wild beauty of this island and could found its own paradise near one of the beaches.
Oh, yeah. I know, You’re tired of boring guides to Phuket, therefore, I’ll try to show You a real picture of this place, in terms of traveller who prefer relaxing beach holiday. So…let’s begin.
The Best beaches of Phuket for a lazy slacker
We’ll starting to explore the beaches of Phuket with Patong Beach. Yes, I know…it is famous, but there is a lot of to discuss.
Patong Beach Phuket
Patong is well known beach of Phuket. A lot of tour agencies sell its tour packages to 2 most famous places in Thailand: to Pattaya and to Phuket, especially to Patong, hence, if you’re independent traveller and you came come to Phuket instead of Pattaya — You Win! You know why? Here is an answer:
Patong was dirty beach some years ago. But today, in the end of 2014 and in the beginning of 2015, you’ll see much more different picture of this beach.
First of all, the government requested the locals to clean this beach of any type of garbage. One more interesting detail — today, there are no chaise-longues. Therefore, for the present time, basically, Patong is a long, clean beach with no chaise-longues, but, on the other hand, with no umbrellas (not so bad news, you can always found the shadow under the palm trees).
Pros and cons of Patong Beach, Phuket
+ Patong Beach is the second largest beach of Phuket, therefore, You’ll always have «your own place under the sun». Yes, it is big. You can walk, run, go in for sports on the Patong Beach, and there is always enough space for You.
+ Patong beach has the best infrastructure among all of the Phuket beaches. Yes, it is a really perfect place to have a fun. At the Patong Beach Walking Street (Bangla Road) You can find anything you want, such as: Pubs, Restaurants, Night Clubs, Go-Go Bars, Shops, Mini-markets, Supermarkets (Such as Jung Ceylon), Hotels, Guest Houses, motorbike rent services, tourist agencies and much, much, much more.
If You want, Patong beach it is an epicenter of Phuket, it is its heart, therefore, If You need fun (and the modern infrastructure), Patong Beach — it is the best place for you.
+ You can always found the clear water on Patong Beach. Yes, you heard right — crystal clear water. Patong beach is not so dirty as You could read all over the internet. There are a lot of clean «parts» on the Patong beach where you could swim in the crystal clear water, where you have always see your feet. Of course, the water is not too clean as you could observe on the Similan Islands,…of course no…But the Similans can compete with the Maldives and the Seychells as for clearness of the water. Here You just need to understand one importuned thing. There is really crystal clear water on the Patong Beach, similar to other Phuket Beaches (that commonly advertised all over the internet).
+ Patong Beach ranks №1 (in my rating) relatively to entry into the water. Do you plan to travel with children? — Patong Beach is the best place for them. You can run into the water, you can go 10-20-30 feet and the water always will be waist-deep.
+ What about the sand? Patong Beach has the most white sand among all of the Phuket beaches! This is not a joke! The sand is maximally white and fine.
You already ready to drop everything and come to Patong Beach??? Don,t be too naive. There are some bad sides of this beach:
– Thousands of people. You know…Phuket is a very popular resort in Thailand a lot of tour packages sold a day to this travel direction and much of this «tour package tourists» living on the Patong Beach, therefore, during the high season, there are thousands of people by all the nationalities on the Patong Beach.
But there is a small trick: if You’ll visit Patong Beach 2-3 weeks before Christmas and New Year celebrating, you have a chance to spend your vacations on a long beach with a crystal clear water with only 100-200 people nearby…7km beach!!! That’s works, believe me!
– It is a little bit noisy. NO IT IS VERY VERY NOISY. If even, you’ll find any Guesthouse or a hotel out of the Bangla Road, don’t think you’re too smart. All the day and all the night, you’ll listen the millions of tuk-tuks, drunken tourists and the locals, loud music, screams and much much more. You have no chance to find any quiet place in any corner of Patong Beach, with the exception of 2-5 5 star hotels on the mountains.
But there is also a small trick: You have to be young and like to party…NO…NO — it is a joke, You just have to choose another beach on Phuket Island.
Karon Beach Phuket
Yeah, I know, you’ve been heard a lot of Karon Beach, about its crunchy sand and calm sea. Yes, a lot of descriptions of Karon Beach, which You could read on several travel blogs are correct, but there are some of details.
Pros and cons of Karon Beach, Phuket
+ Karon Beach is very close to Patong. You could ask me, where is a main wisdom of this point? I’ll answer you. If you don’t have a driver license of «A category», or you don’t want to rent a motorbike, or you want to live nearby the epicenter of the events which is Patong Beach, Karon Beach is a good choice for you vacations.
+ Karon Beach is long but almost empty. Expect Surin Beach, Karon Beach is the second longest after Patong Beach and it is also the second for its popularity. There are not so much independent tourists on the Karon Beach, therefore it is not too noisy and you can relaxing on the sand and enjoy the sunbathing. Nobody will disturb you, you’re alone and free and only the Thai sparrows, sometimes will break your peace of mind.
+ Transparency of the water. Yes, Karon Beach have much more clear water, comparing to Patong Beach (if we consider this beach as a whole). You don’t need to be aware abut the garbage, the water is really clear and transparent. You can enjoy the small waves without any discomfort of turbidity of the water.
+ Unique Sand. This is true, the only Karon Beach has creaking underfoot sand, among all of the Phuket beaches (According to my opinion, it is not too big rarity in the world. For example, at least 2 of beaches of Cambodia represents the same sand, anyway for Thailand this sand is rare). A lot of tourist like the sound «made by this sand». You have to try is, it is cool, someone call it «amazing», but this is only thing (in my opinion), which makes Karon Beach unique among all of the Phuket Beaches.
So, Karon Beach is Close to Patong Beach, the water is clear and transparent, this beach is unique, because of its sand, thus…what could be bad??? Here are the answers:
– Karon Beach is dirtier, comparing to Patong. Of course, in general, Karon beach is clean, but you always could find a garbage near the shoreline, for example, in the bushes. May be the government to instruct the locals to clean all of the beaches only in the end of 2014, but, nonetheless, Karon Beach is still dirty (in my opinion). But, still, you’ll observe the garbage only by the way to the sea, not directly near the sea, therefore the beach is still clear (but not quite).
– For someone this point could be more positive than negative, but anyway I have to say about this: Karon Beach has very abrupt entry into the sea. 2 steps and you are in water up to you neck. Some people like this, other people no, but, in any case, I don’t recommend Karon Beach for the travelers with children. Nonetheless, Karon Beach is also good for children, but (my opinion) the parents have to aware, that children should swim in the arm ruffles on this beach.
– Karon Beach as a resort is more expensive for travelers, if we’ll comparing it with Patong Beach. It is not about the prices at all. I mean, that everything on Karon Beach, beginning from the swimming dress and food, ending with tour packages and drink (i mean not only alcohol but also basically bottled water, fruit juices etc.) is much more expensive. I have no answer why. I guess, this situation could be explained by the reason of not too much independent visitors of this beach. Much of tourists booked the hotels helps to travel agencies, therefore we could see the double prices for them. Another reason could demonstrates us that not too much local people live here.
Kata Beach & Kata Noi Beach
According to the common descriptions: «Kata Beach is the paradise where you’ll find white sand beach and crystal clear water». I didn’t. May be I’ve explored this beach and «it’s brother» Kata Noi during wrong time (the end of December), may be it was too many people on the beach but I didn’t find any white sand and any clear water. Anyway, I’ll describe you positive and negative aspects of these 2 beaches.
Pros and cons of Kata Beach, Phuket
+ You know, Kata beach could be a romantic place for some of you. It is a small bay in Andman Sea…we can discuss it like a «more private» beach is we’ll compare it with Patong Beach and Karon Beach. I don’t want to lie, but I didn’t find too much guest houses on Kata Beach, but I’m pretty sure it have more than enough. Kata Beach is a compact beach and resort, like a small village on the paradise island. Therefore for me, the most compelling reason to recommend this place…it is if you want to feel yourself inside some closed community…You need to understand me right. Kata Beach is not Patong, but it has some of it. Kata Beach is not Karon but you could fell a part of its spirit. I’d like to recommend Kata Beach for the young couples who want to spend unforgettable holidays on Phuket, but who don’t like too much noise, but, anyway would to be inside the party…I hope You’ll understand me right.
+ Kata Beach have a good sand (nothing special), normally clear water. It is not dirty, I didn’t see any garbage. There are not too much tourists, but anyway you have to know, that the beach is not too big, therefore, the concentration of tourists is also high. Thus, is we’ll look at Kata Beach without fear or favor — is is a «Small Patong Beach» with all of its with all the ins and outs, expect of course the Bangla Road.
+ I’ve seen something resembling a surfing training center, therefore I suppose that Kata Yai (Kata Beach) is a good place for surfing in some season. If we’ll read other travel blogs, a lot of bloggers give us an information about the Season northeast monsoon, when this beach is an ideal place for the surfers. I can’t compare the waves of Kata Beach with Bali waves because I didn’t visit this beach in this special season, nonetheless, I still think we have to believe all of the bloggers community who tell us — «Kata Beach is good for surfers». But, anyway, for the place for relax, Kat beach is not an excellent (in my opinion).
– Kata Beach is far from the civilization. No, it is not a wild beach as you can see in the movie «the Blue Lagoon», not of course. What I mean? — There is no big shopping center, it is far from Patong. There is not too much night life. May be, it is the surfers community beach, I don’t know and also I don’t want to lie.
– The water is not too clear. The sand is not too white. A lot of people. Not enough space.
Kata Noi Beach
Kata Noi Beach is «almost» private beach for 2 (may be 3-5) 5* hotels. May be there are some 4* hotels, may be even 3*…I don’t know (you better look it on Booking.com or Agoda), but, anyway we have to explore this beach for relaxing.
Pros and cons of Kata Beach & Kata Noi Beach, Phuket
+ Why I said Kata Noi is almost private? Because it is! But, according to Thai laws, «each beach have to be FREE for entrance», therefore You can’t go inside the hotel area, but anyway you can visit this beach as an independent traveler.
Сourteous security guard will show you the «right» way if you are not a customer of the hotel, and you’ll visit the same beach.
+ Not too much people. May be 100 people on whole beach. You’ll always find a place for your towel.
+ You’ll feel yourself in privacy and safety. It is your private beach. Why not? You’re almost a resident of a 5* Hotel. Not so bad!
+ Of course, Kata Noi beach is completely clean, as a part of 5* resort. It couldn’t be dirty, do you understand? Obviously – it is a big plus!
And finally, what could be wrong with this beach?
– The same beach as Kata beach. Kata Noi Beach, as a younger brother of Kata beach has nothing special in contrast of its elder brother. Same sand, same sea.
– No infrastructure yet! You could only stay in these 4-5* hotels and to use their infrastructure. Yeah, these hotels have their own restaurants, bars, accommodations, jacuzzi, swimming pools…everything that people wants, but, unfortunately, not for you, ha ha ha…Of course, you always can book this hotel and use all of its privileges, it is depends only of the size of your pocket! No Problem! It is yours!
– No night life yet. No nearby markets, shops, trade centers, travel agencies, pharmacy, motorbike rental stations. All the services you have to book in your hotel. Everything for your money.
Of course there is a small trick. You could walk to nearby Kata Bech and try to find something fun. But if you paid money to book exactly one of (2) these hotels…may be you dreamed about silence and the absence of any civilization. Besides, if you’ve reached this beach, this means you’ve rent motorbike already! Therefore you’re smart, heh!
So, finally, where is the paradise?!?!?!?
Nai Harn Beach
You must have a long way to find something special, which will seems to you as a paradise on Phuket, and I’ll show you this way.
First of all, you have to rent a motorbike to reach this beach. There is no other ways to reach it. Of course, you could try to rent taxi, but it will cost you too much. Motorbike for rent will cost for you just 200 bath / day, but this way, you’ll have all the chances to explore all of these beaches, described in this guide, include the last one.
But, be careful, it is not to easy to drive motorbike on a streamer, especially for a first time, therefore…if you’re not sure, think about it, before do it.
Pros and cons of Nai Harn Beach, Phuket
+ Yeah! Nai Harn Beach is extremely clear. This beach is almost wild, but nonetheless, there is already one building of a brand new hotel (another one under construction). Some people booked especially this hotel to spend their time on this perfect beach.
+ The water is pretty good. I don’t think you’ll find such good water anywhere on Phuket, expect may be some very small and wild beaches and also one paid beach located at the territory of one hotel (The owner of this hotel is very smart and he built the hotel in this way, that it is always unreal to reach this beach without entrance to the hotel’s territory, therefore, anyway you have to pay for visiting this beach!).
+ The sand is not all white, but the «whiteness» of its color is more than enough for the «paradise beach» reputation.
+ There are some beautiful stones on this beach, hence you can make the beautiful photos, not just basic «sand and sea» (by the way, there are same stones in the right and of the Patong Beach).
+ There are not too much people on this beach, and despite its small size, you’ll always find a free place for your towel.
+ This beach is not belonging to any of the hotels. Yes, there is one, but it is located on the mountain. There also is a building of one new hotel, but it is under construction.
– The location. To reach this beach for example from Patong, you have to rent any transport. It is not easy way. Besides, Nai Harn beach far from any «civilization». Of course, there are some local cafes & restaurants and also a small local market, but you can’t stay here for a night if you didn’t care to book the hotel before.
– The «dirty» river at the left side of Nai Harn beach. In real, this river is not too dirty, but it has a different color, therefore the left side of this beach is not too clean. Nonetheless, the river is a good place to pick a photo shoot, as I made for my wife, for example, so some of you could find a positive side in this situation.
– Finally, you have to be aware about one more detail (underwater …) about Nai Harn. During the certain season, the water is dangerous, not because of the big waves, but because of hidden but very powerful XXXXX. Nai Harn beach has also very abrupt entry into the sea (as we can observe on Karon Beach), therefore I’m recommending You to study the seasonal information about this beach.
There are also a lot of beaches, not included into my top list, such as: Surin Beach, Ravai Beach, Bang Tao Beach, Kamala Beach, Freedom Beech, Paradise Beach and much of them located at the East Phuket (there is common information, that these beaches are not to swim). I’ve tried to forecast the situation, where your first stop on the Phuket could be Patong Beach or nearby one, therefore I made my rating, based on this rule.
Of course, Phuket has it famous Surin Beach, where you can found the best 5* hotels on the Phuket, but I think that you, being the one of the customers of this hotels, will not have a necessary time to travel the Island, hence this guide could be not interesting for you. Also there are such great small beaches, described above.
But, of course, You can explore the island by yourself, therefore you can represent an additional information for this post. If you have one, please include it in your comments. of course, Phuket island is too big, therefore it is a good place to find much more unique beaches on it.
But! I have to inform you about one important thing: If you’ve never been in Thailand and you’ve seen the beautiful pictures of Thailand Beaches and most of them tagged as Phuket, — don’t believe these photos!
Yes, of course, Phuket Beaches are the great, but not the best!!! Thailand is a country of 1000 islands, therefore, be careful, when your travel agent (may be not this one :-)) will show you the pictures of Phuket Island.
The real beauty of «Wild Thailand» hidden on the small islands, such as for example (and usually using): Similan Islands, Phi Phi Islands, Poda Island, Samui Island. Also, You can see a lot of beaches of Krabi Province, such as: Ao Nang, Pra Nang, Railey Beach on the pictures.
So, Phuket is only one of 1000’s islands of Thailand. But it is a very good place to visit!