Phuket has long been known as the ‘Pearl of Thailand’. It is probably the second most popular traveling destination in Thailand (besides Bangkok, of course) for tourists.
The reason why Phuket drives so many tourists here is their beaches. Almost every beach in Phuket has its own character and it can be difficult to choose, especially if you are visiting for the first time.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the beaches in Phuket that you must visit.
1. Patong Beach
Patong Beach is far beyond the scale of a ‘beach’. It’s more like a large tourist area.
Patong Beach is, of course, a beach. It is a breezy beach that’s smooth and sandy. The water is calm, making this place perfect for swimming.
Just around the corner, there are plenty of local companies that offer Parakiting, Jet Skiing or Banana Boat services for visitors to embark on their water adventure.
Of course, the beach is not the only thing that attracts people. It is what’s been included and right next to this beach that makes it so popular.
Just next to Patong Beach, there’s ‘Jungceylon’, a mall hosting shops that sell international clothing lines, cosmetics, and a bank where people can change money. Not far away is the Banzaan Fresh Market, a seafood market where visitors can shop seafood on the first floor and request restaurants on the second floor to prepare for them.
When the night comes, Patong Beach kicks into another gear. The Bangla Walking Street opens at night. It’s filled with tourists drinking a pint on one of the many bars. If they are not drinking, then they must be dancing in one of the many discos here. You can say that Patong Beach’s nightlife is as vibrant and as exciting as you would have hope for.
2. Karon Beach
Karon Beach is the longest beach on Phuket. The northern end of Karon Beach is slightly less crowded, which is suitable for those who are seeking solitude. The southern end side is the busier side, with a few Thai restaurants nearby. While the southern end is usually busier than the northern end, It should not be difficult for you to find a quiet spot to rest on any parts of Karon Beach.
The weather of Karon Beach depends on your time of arrival. From November to April each year, Karon Beach is usually calm, with water as clear as a piece of polished crystal. It is the perfect place and perfect time for water activities such as Windsurfing, Kayaking, Snorkelling (in the shallow waters) or Banana Boat Riding. It is, however, not suitable for surfing, since the waves here are usually too calm for any wave riders to be thrilled.
If you arrive during the rest of the year, there’s a great chance you won’t be able to enjoy the beach as much as you would want to. You can still stay on the beach, but there’s a great chance you won’t be able to get onto the water.
If you decided to stay up till night at Karon Beach, you might witness sea turtles laying eggs. You should only watch the sea turtles from a distance, while immediately contact your hotel for help. After all, sea turtles are endangered species protected by the local government, and any help towards the preservation of sea turtles would be greatly appreciated.
3. Kata Beach
Kata Beach could be divided into the main beach and Kata Noi. Kata Noi, which is Thai for ‘small Kata’, is partially private and not open to the general public; The main beach has even less visitors than Karon Beach and Patong Beach.
Compared to Karon Beach and Patong Beach, Kata Beach’s biggest selling point is the waves. The waves here are larger, making Kata Beach the location for surfing. If you don’t know how to surf, there are surfing lessons nearby to teach beginners basics.
A quick five-minute walk from Kata Beach and you will find Kata Night Market, opening every Monday and Thursday. Like any other night markets in Phuket, it sells all kinds of clothing, accessories, spices, hand-decorated artifacts, and most importantly, Thai street food. The night market might look a bit scrappy to some, but it is a great place for tourists to experience the local grassroots culture.
4. Laem Singh Beach
Compared to our three beaches that we’ve introduced earlier, Laem Singh Beach can really be described as a secret location. It’s not very accessible and therefore isn’t frequently visited by many tourists. At the same time, Laem Singh Beach is often praised by locals as the most beautiful beach in Phuket.
Besides the beach itself, another great thing about Laem Singh Beach is the Laem Singh Beach Viewpoint here. It is a small pavilion located 10 minutes away from the beach, just the perfect place to capture and witness the sunset.
5. Rawai Beach
Rawai Beach is located in the southern part of Phuket. You’re more likely to find locals enjoy their holiday and fishermen fishing here than finding a bunch of English speaking tourists, which should say a lot about the localness of this location.
The most famous thing here is not the beach, but the seafood market right next to it. They sold catches that have just been pulled from the ocean. As soon as a deal has been struck, they will cook it right in front of your eyes. You really can’t get any fresher seafood then this.
Not far away, there is a gypsy village. The gypsies here are sea-based, often fishing and on boats. The villages sell craftworks made from pearls and shells, so if you are looking for something unique as a present, this might be the place to do.
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Conclusions, other factors to consider,
Beside most of the large open beaches that any visitors can visit, there are actually other options.
Many of the large resorts or hotels on the island have their own private beach. For example, most of Bang Tao Beach is owned by the resorts next to the beach. If you are worrying about privacy, or that you feel like most of the places in Phuket are overcrowded, staying in one of those resorts might not be a bad idea.
Having said that, even if you are mostly staying in private beaches, you should still visit some of the public beaches, for these are what make Phuket so famous.