I will show you where you find Phuket’s best beaches.
No matter what you are looking for when you go to the beach, there is a good chance you will find it on one of Phuket’s many world-class beaches.
Read on, and discover.
- What is it that makes Phuket beaches so unique
- Where you find the perfect beach
- If there any secret beaches left
- Phuket’s best beaches are on the west coast. I have listed them from north to south
- Map of all the beaches
What is it that makes Phuket beaches unique?
It’s a bit of a challenge to describe Phuket’s beaches without using clichés, but i will try 🙂
In general, all the beaches on the west coast have powdery white sand and crystal-clear turquoise water with amazing views. (the first cliché 🙂
You can find many beautiful beaches in Thailand and around the world. Still, Phuket has more than thirty stunning beaches on a relatively small island.
You can actually visit 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.
It is a little more than a two-hour drive on the road hugging the west coast.
Even if you don’t want to go beach hopping, the drive on the beach road is a breathtaking experience.
Like pearls on a string, you will see one fantastic view after another. (another cliche) 🙂
If you start early in the morning at Nai Harn Beach in the south, you will be in time to enjoy a drink while watching the most incredible sunset at Nai Yang Beach in the north in the evening.
Where to find the perfect beach
Phuket’s east and west coast beaches 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 cliffs.
You can find very nice beaches on the east coast if you are interested in the beautiful views of 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 annually (2019) before COVID, 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, and there are beaches where you can go for a long walk without meeting other people.
But in the low season, many of the famous beaches are almost entirely deserted, and you can get the feeling of being all alone on a secret hidden paradise beach.
I started writing this post in another world and another time; it was before COVID. During the COVID lockdown, there were virtually no tourists in Phuket, and all beaches were practically empty.
I visited all the beaches during COVID and took many pictures, which I will share when I write about each beach.
It wasn’t so much the feeling of a secret paradise beach I got when visiting during COVID; it was more the feeling of being all alone on a ghost beach.
When writing this, COVID is fading out, and the tourists are starting to come back. 🙂 But with a little effort, you can still find a secret hidden paradise beach in Phuket.
Haad Pak Phra Beach
Haad Pak Phra Beach is the northernmost beach in Phuket. When crossing Sarasin bridge from Phang Nga, the first thing you see on your right hand is Haad Pak Phra Beach.
It is not a beach you want to visit for a relaxing day on the beach, it is more like a small fishing village where the local fishers anchor their boats.
But if it is not the perfect beach for swimming, it is the perfect beach if you want to go for a walk and experience the local fishermen’s lifestyle. And the view of the entrance to the strait that separates Phuket and the mainland is spectacular.
You also can 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 very strong, and lost my appetite, but I’ve never been a big jellyfish eater. But I’m sure if I had asked, I could have gotten a sample.
Sai Kaew Beach
Sai Kaew Beach is the next beach around the corner on the west coast. It is a stunning beach that can seem endless; it stretches all the way down to Mai Kao Beach.
When you leave Phuket by car, the road passes close to the beach just before you come to Sarasin Bridge. There are some roadside restaurants where you can have a refreshment while 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. It is not perfect for swimming as the surf can get pretty rough, but it is perfect for a pitstop before you leave Phuket.
Mai Khao Beach
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 another beautiful beach, the main attraction is the planes landing and taking off at Phuket Airport.
They are coming in very low over the beach.
The airport is just behind the beach, so where the small shops and restaurants you usually find behind any beach in Phuket, you will find an airstrip at Mai Khao Beach.
Because of the aircraft noise, I wouldn’t consider Mai Khao Beach one of Phuket’s best beaches if you want a peaceful day relaxing in the sun.
But of course, if you are a plane enthusiast, Mai Khao Beach is probably the best beach in Phuket.
There is usually also a big selfie crowd waiting to get the perfect airplane picture. 🙂
Nai Yang Beach
Nai Yang Beach is one of my favorite sunset beaches. A little island only a few hundred meters from the shoreline at the beach’s southern end creates the perfect setting for the most stunning sunsets. Colors, shapes, and shadows make the perfect drama.
There are many bars and restaurants behind the beach so you can get a refreshment or something to eat when you enjoy 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 beach’s southern end 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.
You find restaurants, guest houses, and small hotels on the other side of the road. It is not one of Phuket’s best beaches, but the swimming is good and has a friendly, laid-back atmosphere.
White Beach is only a few hundred meters long, but a lovely beach. Andaman White Beach Resort is just behind the beach, 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 must either pass through the resort, take or follow the coastline from the beach south to north of the beach you want to visit. At the beaches, the cost lines are also public.
I usually have no problems 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 if there is a problem you can just visit one of Phuket’s other top beaches. Like Banana Beach, only a few hundred meters to the south.
There are three options to get to Banana Beach; it can be a bit of a challenge to get there; if you choose the wrong route.
The first and most challenging: When you get to Banana beach from the south, you can’t avoid seeing all the parked motorbikes and cars. You will naturally think you have found it… and you have 🙂
Once you’ve found a place to park, you’ll have to go down a steep hill through a forest to get to the beach. The path is slippery and not very good, so you must be careful not to fall.
The other option is to continue past where most people have parked. Then, when you come down the hill, you will see a small parking lot, here you can find a footpath leads into the forest.
Follow the path through the woods over a small stream, and you will come to the north end of Banana beach. This is a lot easier than hiking down the hill through the woods.
The third option is to take a longtail boat. All longtail boats on Phuket have tours to Banana beach. This is the perfect beach to visit; if you are going on a day tour with a longtail boat anyway.
But no matter how you get to Banana beach, you won’t regret it. It’s absolutely a stunning beach.
I visited the beach in early 2022, and the beach bar/restaurant has returned, so now you can buy refreshments at the beach.
Trisara Beach is located in a small bay in front of Triasara resort. It is hard to get to because Trisara is not interested in providing public access to the beach via the resort.
The beach is nothing special compared to all the other beaches in Phuket. I don’t rank very high on the list; of Phuket’s best beaches, so you’re not missing out if you are not going.
But since it is my goal to visit all the beaches in Phuket, I also had to drop by Trisara Beach.
But that was easier said than done… I had to take the coastline route, and as coastlines are public in Thailand, although resorts may prohibit access through their resort, they can’t deny you from walking along the coast.
So I started from Layan Beach and followed the coastline around the cape that separates Layan and Trisara beach.
The track was no more than an almost kilometer. Still, it was a very hard climb over the large boulders and cliffs that make up the shoreline, especially in the baking sun at 40 degrees Celsius.
But after an hour I succeeded and arrived at the beach. It was one of the places I wanted to visit, mainly to be able to say I’ve been there 🙂
And now I have saved you the trip 🙂
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 bit of 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 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 tiny island creates the perfect setting for the perfect sunset.
Bang Tao Beach
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 been known 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 facts give Bang Tao beach a place high on the list of Phuket’s best beaches.
Pansea Beach is one of the most exclusive beaches in Phuket, if not the most exclusive, so a top ranking among Phuket’s best beaches.
It is located in front of and is the “private” beach for the luxury resorts Amanpuri and The Surin. The beach itself is top-notch, and due to the luxury hotels just behind the beach, it is super well maintained.
The sand is raked daily, so you do not see leaves or plastic floating ashore as you see on 99% of the other beaches in Thailand. Garbage is removed right away.
I visited the beach during the COVID closure, so I was there all alone. It was a very surreal experience. It’s probably one of the most beautiful beach experiences I’ve had.
But Pansea Beach should also be well maintained and in super condition as Amanpuri, in particular, is a super luxury and expensive resort.
If you’re not staying at one of the resorts but still want to visit Pansea Beach, you can always follow the shoreline over rocks and cliffs from the north end of Surin Beach.
It’s not that far, but it’s a pretty challenging hike. It’s worth it, but don’t expect to be greeted with open arms and big smiles.
Pansea Beach, beautiful as it is, is a beach where privacy is taken very seriously. You are not welcome if you are not staying at one of the resorts. But as long as you stay on the beach and follow the shore, you are on public land.
Until 2014, Surin Beach was home to some of the island’s 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.
The beach clubs transformed the public beach into VIP areas in several 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.
There are still stalls selling food and drink behind the beach, and there’s still a restaurant at the southern end.
Laem Singh Beach
Laem Singh Beach is one of Phuket’s most beautiful beaches. You can not call Laem Singh Beach a secret or hidden beach because there is a viewpoint above with the perfect view of 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 along the coast from Surin beach. It is easy to find; just follow the signs from the southern end of Surin 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, then give Laem Singh Beach a visit; you will not regret it.
Kamala Beach also got a significant 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.
Rayee Beach GPS coordinates 7.947730, 98.270651
Hua Beach is a lovely little beach but not suitable for swimming, the water is shallow, and there are many rocks. It is mostly local Thais and ex-pats who visit the beach.
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. All in all, it is a peaceful little beach with a good view.
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, it is not the best beach if you want to go swimming. 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 visiting Yea beach, it can be done if you buy a day pass or are a guest in The Naka’s beach restaurant or resort.
Thavorn Beach GPS coordinates 7.925194, 98.273534
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 suitable for swimming. The seabed is very rocky and has many dead corals.
If you visit Kalin street food market, one of Phuket’s largest, 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, it is here you can find Phuket’s biggest waves.
However, these are tiny waves compared to those you can find worldwide, 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 famous because it was one of the first tourist destinations in Phuket and the island’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
Tri Trang Beach is not high on Phuket’s best beaches list. The beach is ok, but without being beautiful and not the beach where you want to go swimming, the water is shallow, and there are many dead corals on the sea bed.
But it´s 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´s noise and hustle, without traveling 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. It would probably have been more popular if it had been without competition from Phuket’ many top beaches.
Mee sook beach
Mee sook beach, GPS coordinates 7.912980, 98.294035
Paradise Beach is one of the top scorers on Phuket’s best beaches list. It is located very close to Patong Beach; it has been difficult to get to in the past, but after a road has been made, it has a lot of visitors and is very popular.
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 choose 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, you can go snorkeling instead.
It may not be Phuket’s largest and most exciting beach. But it is peaceful, there is a friendly atmosphere, and if you stay at the Marriott Resort Merlin Beach, you will have everything you could want from a beach.
Freedom Beach is 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 reasonably good and lay in the 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. It is 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 challenging ride.
But Freedom beach is worth all the hassle, and you can always take a longtail boat if you are not into an “extended Stairmaster” in the sun.
Karon Noi Beach
Karon Noi Beach is another of the superb beaches where there is no direct public access… unless you pay.
The land behind the beach is owned by Le Méridien Phuket, so to get to the beach, you have to walk through the hotel.
There are six-seven restaurants to choose from at Le Méridien, so there should be something for everyone.
So if you want to visit the beach, you can have lunch at one of them and enjoy the day on the beach-
But, if you’re not up for lunch in a five-star luxury hotel, you can buy a day pass.
Next to the road going south from Karon Noi Beach, a viewpoint overlooks the beach.
Here you’ve had a look and decide if Karon Noi Beach is a “must” visit, or you can continue to the next super beach, where there is free entry and a more relaxed atmosphere. 🙂
Karon Beach is one of the longest of Phuket’s best beaches; I think only Mai Khao Beach and Bang Tao Beach are longer.
Although there are some huge hotels along the beach road in Karon, this is not a problem.
The hotels are on the opposite side of the road, so they can’t block access to the beach.
Between the beach and the road is a park-like area of trees and grass. It runs almost the entire length of the beach.
Here you can sit and relax in the shade while enjoying the beach and sea view.
Kata beach is a kilometer and a half of white soft sand and crystal clear water.
Club Med, one of Phuket’s oldest resorts, is located behind the beach, stretching almost the entire length of the beach.
But the beach road that runs between the resort and the beach is public so getting down to Kata Beach is no problem.
Just, keep in mind that you can only access the beach road at either end of Kata Beach bay, as Club Med is in the middle.
The south end of the beach is where you’ll find most restaurants and a few beach bars.
Here you’ll also find Kata beach park, where several outdoor fitness machines are available if you’re craving a little exercise. 🙂
Just be aware the machines are made of stainless steel, so they can be a little hot to the touch in the middle of the day.
Kata Noi Beach
In 2016, Tripadvisor ranked Kata Noi Beach as the best beach in Thailand, three in Asia, and 19 worldwide.
It is a small, lovely beach with powdery white soft sand and crystal clear blue water. But I wouldn’t rank it as the number one beach in Thailand.
It’s fantastic ok, but it’s not super wow. It’s just a perfectly straight strip of sand next to the water. Granted, it’s good quality sand and all that jazz.
But it lacks the view, among other things, to get top marks from me. Just looking out at the seemingly endless sea makes me kind of seasick.
Also, Kata Noi beach is a bit tricky to get to. Just behind the beach is the Katathani Resort, and they are not too keen on letting you walk through their land to get to the beach.
But there is access from the north end. And a path leads down to the beach at about the middle of the beach.
Nui Beach is one of the beaches that I rank higher than Kata Noi beach.
It’s a charming little beach and probably one of Phuket’s most hidden and secret beaches, and one of the beaches at the top of the list of Phuket’s best beaches.
It is a hidden secret beach, mainly because it is one of the most challenging beaches to get to.
It’s not because a big resort behind Nui Beach is blocking access. But because you must drive more than two kilometers down a terrible dirt road.
Only four-wheelers are allowed on the road, even motorbikes are forbidden as it is too dangerous. But there is a shuttle service that can take you.
Noi Beach itself is a very stunning beach in beautiful surroundings. There are a few restaurants, beach bars, and a beach club.
Noi Beach is also a real “selfie” beach. There are all the gimmicks you need to make the perfect Instagram selfie.
Everything from swings, and hearts to even a bathtub, all with the most gorgeous view.
Noi Beach makes for the perfect day on the Beach.
Ao Sane Beach
Ao Sane Beach is a charming, very laid-back little beach. But if you don’t know how to get there, it can be challenging, in a funny way, to find.
To get to Ao Sane Beach, you must follow the small narrow road from the northern end of Naiharn Beach to The Rai Harn resort.
You continue through the resort until you come out on the other side; you actually have to drive under the resort itself.
When you get to the other side, you follow the narrow mountain road that hugs the cliffs for about 800 meters.
Then you come to a small parking lot with a staircase leading down to the beach.
You can’t call Ao Sane Beach a world-class beach; there are too many corals and rocks on the bottom, nor will you find the whitest, softest sand here.
But it’s an incredibly scenic, charming little beach with crystal clear water. And the whole atmosphere is lovely.
There is a restaurant so you can get something to eat and drink.
There are also cabins you can rent.
Nai Harn Beach
Nai Harn Beach is a very nice beach. It is located in a bay protected from storms, so it also attracts a lot of small sailboats.
There is no town just behind the beach like there is at many of the other beaches on Phuket.
However, several stalls and restaurants are just behind the beach where you can buy food and drink.
Although the beach is about 600 meters long, it is often crowded because it is the southernmost beach on the island there has a decent size.
Many people, a mix of Thais, tourists, and ex-pats, live in the southern part of Phuket, both on the west and east coast. Because the east coast has no good beaches, people from there also go to Nai Harn beach.
There is also a relatively large area behind the beach where you can sit under the trees in the shade. This is where the restaurants are located.
You can also find a temple next to a small lake here. There is a little bridge so you can easily visit the island.
It is an excellent place for a short walk in the shadows under the trees; if you want to take a break from the beach.
Yanui Beach is the southernmost beach on Phuket; it is a tiny but gorgeous beach.
It is divided in two by a small sandbar that goes out to a small island that is 20 meters out from the beach.
Because it’s a beautiful beach, next to the road, and impossible to miss, combined whit it’s tiny, it’s almost always crowded, or so it feels anyway. No privacy here. 🙂
It’s an excellent place for snorkeling and kayaking. There are also a few restaurants.
It’s not a beach I will choose for a day on the beach. Yanui Beach is more of a beach I stop at and have a refreshment while I enjoy the view.
As you can see in the picture, there are great views of the beach from Windmill Viewpoint, which is just above the beach.