No matter what you are looking for, there is a good chance that you will find it on one of Phuket’s many world-class beaches.
Read on, and you will learn.
What is it that makes Phuket beaches so amazing?
To give a general description of Phuket’s beaches without using cliches can be somewhat challenging, so I will keep it short. I will go more in-depth with each beach in separate articles about Phuket’s best beaches.
In general, all the beaches you find on the west coast have powdery white sand and crystal clear turquoise water with amazing views.
It’s probably better to look at the pictures below, they do a much better job of describing how amazingly beautiful beaches you can find in Phuket.
Even though you can find many beautiful beaches around Thailand and worldwide. Then Phuket has more than 40 on a relatively small island. You can actually pop by for a visit to all of Phuket’s best beaches in just one day. It is only a 75 km drive from Nai Harn Beach in the south to Sai Kaew Beach in the north, a little more than a two-hour drive on the road hugging the west coast.
Even if you don’t wanna go beach hopping, then a drive on the beach road is an experience in itself. You will see one fantastic view after another, like pearls on a string. (another cliche) 🙂 If you start early in the morning, you will be in time to enjoy a drink while watching the most incredible sunset at the Nai Yang Beach in the north.
Where to find the perfect beach
The beaches on Phuket’s east coast and west coast are like night and day. The west-cost is where you find all the famous world-class paradise beaches, with cozy beach clubs, white sand, and crystal clear water. (more cliches) 🙂
On the east coast, not so much. Here the water is very shallow, and the bottom is muddy. Much of the coastline is also not accessible because it is covered by mangrove forests or steep cliffs.
You can find very nice beaches on the east coast if you are interested in beautiful views out over Phang Nga Bay and want to experience the mangrove forest. But, if you a looking for the perfect place to swim, you will most likely be disappointed.
Are there any secret beaches left?
With almost 10 million visitors a year (2019), it’s hard to keep something secret or hidden on a small island like Phuket. However, even in the high season, you can still find some beaches that are not overly crowded. There are also beaches where you can go for a long walk without meeting other people.
If you visit Phuket’s best beaches in the low season, it’s a different story. You will find many of the famous beaches almost entirely deserted. Then you can get the feeling of being all alone on a secret hidden beach.
Haad Pak Phra Beach is the northernmost beach in Phuket. When you are crossing Sarasin bridge from Phang Nga, the first you see of Phuket on the right hand is Haad Pak Phra Beach.
It is not really a beach you want to visit for a day on the beach. It is more like a small fishing village where the local fishermen have their boats. If it is not the ideal beach for swimming, it is a perfect beach if you want to take a walk and enjoy the view and have a look at the local fishermen’s lifestyle.
You also have the opportunity to see how Jellyfish is dried and prepared for sale. I am told that Jellyfish is a delicacy and tastes great, but I can not comment on that. The smell was enough to make me lose my appetite, but I’ve never been the big Jellyfish eater either.
Sai Kaew Beach is the next beach around the corner on the east coast. It is a stunning beach, and it can seem endless, it stretches all the way down to Mai Kao Beach.
When you leave Phuket by car, the road passes close by the beach just before you come to Sarasin Bridge. There are some roadside restaurants when you can have a refreshment when enjoying the view. It is not the beach where you find the most action; it is more like a long nature beach with not too much of anything except beautiful nature.
Mai Khao Beach is one of the first beaches when you come from the north, where you start to see hotels and tourists. Besides being a beautiful beach, the main attraction is that planes landing at Phuket Airport are coming in low over the beach.
Due to aircraft noise, I will not consider Mai Khao Beach to be one of Phuket’s best beaches if you want a peaceful day relaxing in the sun. Of course, the exception is if you are an aviation enthusiast, then Mai Khao Beach is probably the best beach in Phuket.
Nai Yang Beach is one of my favorite sunset beaches.
A small island close to the coast at the beach’s southern end creates the perfect setting for the most stunning sunsets.
There are many bars and restaurants behind the beach so you can get a refreshment or a meal of food while enjoying the sunset.
Nai Yang Beach is also a favorite destination for local Thais. With the many trees just behind the beach, there is ample opportunity to sit in the shade and enjoy the view while the kids play in the water.
As you can see in the picture, Naithon Beach is not a long beach. I am standing at the southern end of the beach and shooting the image towards the north.
The beach road is very close to the beach; one side of the road is lined with stands selling souvenirs, fruits, water, and other kinds of refreshments.
On the other side of the road, you find restaurants, guest houses, and small hotels. It is not one of Phuket’s best beaches, but the swimming is good, and have a nice laid back atmosphere.
White Beach is only a few hundred meters long, but a very nice beach. Just behind the beach is Andaman White Beach Resort, and the only way to get to the beach is through the resort.
Although all beaches are public, there are several places in Phuket where the land behind the beach land is owned by a hotel or resort.
In those cases, you either have to pass through the resort or take a boat there.
I normally have no problems, both at Andaman White Beach Resort and other beaches where I have to go through a resort to get to the beach. I always buy a refreshment, and everything is fine.
But it is actually not a problem you can just visit one of Phuket’s other top beaches.
Banana is truly one of Phuket’s best beaches. It is no more than a few hundred meters long but is located in gorgeous surroundings.
It can be a bit of a challenge to get there; you have to go down a steep hill through a forest. The trail is not very good, so you have to be careful not to fall.
You can also get there by longtail boat, which makes it a little easier. But no matter how cumbersome it is a get it to then you will not regret it.
Banana beach is simply amazing.
Layan Beach is the name of the beach at the northern end of Bangtao Bay, it is more peaceful and relaxed than Bang Tao Beach at the southern end of the bay, but it still has a good selection of beach bars and small cozy restaurants.
Layan Beach is perfect if you want a laid back relaxing day at the beach, with a little privacy away from the crowd.
There is a small island close to the coast at the very northern end of the beach. When it is low-tide, you can, without problems, walk out to the island.
It is also here where you want to sit and watch the sunset while enjoying a refreshment. Just like at Nai Yang Beach, the small island creates the perfect setting for a memorable sunset.
When you come from the north, Bang Tao Beach is the first beach where you start to see serious beach action.
Apart from offering everything in traditional water attractions like Jet-ski Parasailing and so on, it is also on Bang Tao Beach that you can find some of Phuket’s famous beach clubs.
There are several luxury resorts behind the beach. The area has long had a reputation for being the “high-end” part of the island.
Bang Tao Beach is also one of Phuket’s longest beaches, so there is plenty of room for everyone.
The above gives Bang Tao beach a place high on the list of Phuket’s best beaches.
Until 2014, Surin Beach was the beach with the most exclusive beach clubs and restaurants. It was so crowded that you could not see the sand for beach bars, restaurants, sun chairs, and umbrellas.
In several areas, the beach clubs transformed the public beach into VIP areas. They only allowed access for a few select guests.
But then the military came in 2014. They cleared the beach and brought it back to nature, so to speak. Today it is a beautiful and natural beach where everyone is welcome.
Laem Singh Beach is one of Phuket’s most beautiful beaches. You can not call Laem Singh Beach a secret or hidden beach as there is an official view of the beach road overlooking the beach.
But getting down to the beach can be a bit of a challenge as the land behind the beach is privately owned, and the owners have closed access.
You must either go by boat or follow a small path that runs along the coast from Surion beach.
Laem Sing Beach takes one of the top spots on the list of Phuket’s best beaches. If you have the time and opportunity, give Laem Singh Beach a visit; you will not regret it.
Kamala Beach also got a major cleaning by the military in 2014. Going from a messy mix of small primitive beach bars and way too many sunbeds, Kamala beach has now been transformed into something much better.
Today it is a quiet, beautiful, and laidback beach, very popular with families.
In recent years, high-end beach clubs have come to the beach, first Cafe Del Mar beach club and most recently Pine Beach Bar at The Intercontinental Hotel.
Hua Beach is a nice little beach, but not suitable for swimming as the water is shallow and there are many rocks. It is mostly local Thais and ex-pats who visit the beach as it is a peaceful little beach with a good view.
You will also see many locals fishing from the rocks at the south end of the beach.
Although Hua Beach does not get a top spot on the list of Phuket’s best beaches, it still has its charm and is worth visiting if you are in the area.
You find Yae Beach in front of The Naka, which is one of Phuket’s top hotels. You could say that Yae Beach is one of Phuket’s hidden beaches, as you have to go through the hotel to get to it.
Yae Beach is like most of the other beaches you will find on the peninsula between Kamala and Patong, not the best beach to swim from. So it does not matter so much that it is difficult to get to, Phuket has enough top beaches to choose from.
But should you feel like visit Yea beach, it can be done if you buy a day pass or are a guest in The Naka’s beach restaurant.
Kalim Beach is not your first choice if you want to spend a day on the beach unless you stay in one of the hotels just behind the beach.
Although it is a very picturesque beach, the beach is not good for swimming. The seabed is very rocky and has many dead corals.
If you visit Kalin street food market, which is one of Phuket’s largest, then you can sit and enjoy your meal while enjoying the view. You will have a five-star view and a delicious meal for a bargain.
In the low season, the beach is popular with local surfers as this is where they can find Phuket’s biggest waves.
However, these are tiny waves compared to those you find elsewhere globally, so do not expect much in surfing, except for some dinner entertainment.
Patong Beach is the most famous beach in Phuket and also the most visited.
It is not the most popular beach because it is one of Phuket’s best beaches. Even though it is a beautiful long beach, other beaches are far better.
Patong Beach is so popular because it was one of the first tourist destinations in Phuket. Virtually all of Phuket’s tourist industry originates from Patong Beach.
You can find everything from small stalls selling refreshments, to international beach clubs and restaurants on Patong Beach.
You will not be bored if you decide to spend a day on Patong beach.
Tri Trang Beach, GPS coordinates for Google maps: 7.886219, 98.275180
Tri Trang Beach is not high on Phuket’s best beaches list.
The beach is nice, though, but without being beautiful and not a beach where you want to go swimming, the water is shallow, and there are many dead corals on the sea bed.
It is an ok beach if you only want to lie in the sand and relax or go for a walk and enjoy the sea, away from Patong noise and hustle, without having to travel too far. But there is not much to do on the beach.
Tri Trang’s biggest problem is probably that it is so close to many super beaches. If it had been without competition from Phuket’s top beaches, it would probably have gotten a better rating.
Paradise Beach one of the top scorers on the list of Phuket’s best Beaches. It is located very close to Patong Beach but has been difficult to get to, but the beach has been very well visited after a road has been made.
Just behind the beach is a hip Beach club which you have to go through to get down to the beach. You have to pay a fee to get in, but it does include a sun lounger, so you do not have to lie in the sand.
If you have the opportunity to spend a day on Paradise Beach, do it, you will not regret it.
Merlin Beach is a small charming beach located right in front of the Marriott Resort Merlin Beach. There is a small path on one side of the resort, so you can easily get down to the beach without going through the resort.
There are some dead corals and rocks on the seabed, so you have to be careful if you want to go for a swim.
When it is not the best beach for swimming, then there is good snorkeling instead.
It may not be Phuket’s largest and most interesting beach. But it is peaceful, there is a friendly atmosphere, and if you stay at the Marriott Resort Merlin Beach, you have everything you could want from a beach.
Freedom Beach is definitely one of Phuket’s best beaches. It’s not a secret or hidden beach, but it can be hard to find and there are only two ways to get there.
The easy way is by longtail boat from one of the nearby beaches, and you have to pay for it. The other way is you can take the stairs. There are two to choose from, and none of them are easy.
The stairs are three to four hundred meters long and go down a steep hill through a forest. The stairs are in reasonably good condition and shade so you do not have to walk in direct sun.
But it does not make it any easier. The trip down to the beach is easier than going back up. The hike back there is the real killer. If you choose the stairs, then remember to bring water and take breaks along the way. It is a tough ride.
But Freedom beach that worth all the hassle, and you can always take a longtail boat if you are not into an “extended Stairmaster” in the heat.
Yanui Beach, GPS coordinates for Google maps: 7.767519, 98.306091