Top 15 Phuket Beaches

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Thailand has long been established as Asia's go to beach destination and this is particularly true of the country's biggest island, Phuket. Mountainous and tropical, the island has an ample coastline that is home to some of Thailand's best-known beaches. Fine white sand, clear turquoise / green water and a fringing of palm trees make these beaches the very essence of paradise.

The most popular tend to be centered around the southwest coast and include Karon, Kata and Patong. Perhaps a little brash and busy these beaches are at risk of becoming a victim of their own success with wall-to-wall beach bars, the constant drone of jet-skis and non-stop partying.

But there is another side to Phuket, with any number of idyllic and pristine beaches dotted around the coast. More low-key, up-market beaches are to be found on the sheltered west coast, including gems like Surin and Bangtao.

Whatever your checklist, there is enough choice on this beach-lover's island to guarantee you'll find your perfect beach in Phuket.

  • 1. Freedom Beach

    Freedom Beach

    Freedom Beach is one of the most beautiful with a 300m crescent of soft white sand and clear blue water backed by lush green mountains. Located on the west coast of Phuket, you can reach this private beach by longtail boat from Patong which lies just to the south. You can also take a strenuous hike down the cliffs path from the beach parking lot at the top of Patong… read more »

  • 2. Bang Tao Beach

    Bang Tao Beach
    © khellon

    Bang Tao (Bangtao) Beach is in a contrasting area of modern resorts and villas at the south end and a quieter area at the north end near the rustic Cherngtalay village.

    Once a settlement of Chinese immigrants, there is an interesting historic shrine here. It has 8 statues of Chinese mythology on the rooftop guarded by dragons. Inside the hall is decorated with artwork and has a main altar and… read more »

  • 3. Nai Harn Beach

    Nai Harn Beach
    © Chonnatun Sirikunkrittaphuk

    Located as much off the beaten track as anywhere can be in Phuket is one of the island's best beaches. The largely rocky coastline of the southernmost tip of Phuket gives way to this pristine strip of soft white sand with its backdrop of lushly vegetated hillsides. As you would expect the waters of this small sheltered bay are warm and crystal clear.

    Whilst this may sound like practically every… read more »

  • 4. Kata Noi

    Kata Noi

    Set just to the south of Kata beach, Kata Noi is like a smaller, undeveloped version of its bigger, brasher neighbour. It has the same golden-white sands that gently slope down to the clear blue waters of the Andaman Sea, and as you would expect from a tropical island, the beach is lined with palm trees.

    Kata Noi beach is a great spot to relax, as frankly there isn't a… read more »

  • 5. Kata Beach

    Kata Beach
    Jacek Lesniowski

    Kata Beach is a laid-back sandy crescent stretching for around 1km along the southwest coast of Phuket. Although it can be busy, it is nowhere near as crowded as Patong. It has a more local "villagey" atmosphere making it popular with families and couples looking for a relaxing place to spend the day. It's also known as Kata Bay or Kata Yai.

    Protruding tree-covered headlands separate it from read more »

  • 6. Karon Beach

    Karon Beach
    © pretoperola

    Karon Beach is popular and busy but still manages to deliver that feeling of paradise on earth when you visit. The 3-mile long beach has powder-soft white sand lapped by clear blue waters edged with white waves.

    It’s a popular scene with artists who often sit at their easels and recreate the view. The beach is also home to a beautiful temple known locally as Wat Suwan Khiri Ket. The… read more »

  • 7. Surin Beach

    Surin Beach
    Mark Leo

    Surin Beach oozes luxury and is overlooked by some of the most expensive real estate on Phuket Island. Popular with celebrities, this beautiful beach has clean white sand, turquoise waters and a nice mix of activities. It remains quieter than Patong Beach with an air of upscale exclusivity.

    Swimming on Surin Beach is best between November and April. At other times the rough waves develop a dangerous undertow, when red… read more »

  • 8. Ao Sane Beach

    Ao Sane Beach
    © Thomas Tangelder

    If you're looking for a small sandy spot in Phuket, look no further than Ao Sane, a quiet 200m long cove tucked away and reasonably uncrowded. It is not easy to find, hence it remains something of a hidden gem.

    Although the cove is visible from the road and from Nai Harn Beach, it is only accessible by driving through the Nai Harn Resort. There are a few beach bungalows… read more »

  • 9. Patong Beach

    Patong Beach
    Valeria Bolotova

    Located on the southwest coast of Phuket Island, Patong Beach is by far the busiest and most popular beach in Phuket, especially loved by partygoers and youngsters in search of a good time. The curving 3km long sandy beach is lined with numerous shops and services and is bold and vibrant.

    Unless you arrive early there's nowhere to park your motorbike, never mind a car! After dark, it's popular with… read more »

  • 10. Paradise Beach

    Paradise Beach
    Roma Neus

    The name Paradise Beach could apply to many beaches in Thailand, but it is appropriately assigned to a small cove 4 km west of Patong at the end of the road. Tucked away and not easy to find, it consists of two idyllic sandy coves each with soft sand, clear blue waters and leaning coconut palms. What more could you ask for in paradise?

    The 90 metre main beach… read more »

  • 11. Ya Nui Beach

    Ya Nui Beach
    © sergwsq

    Ya Nui Beach is a compact but pretty cove beneath Phromthep Viewpoint. Tranquil and relaxing, it has golden sands which are often scattered with seashells washed ashore by the turquoise waves. At the centre of the beach is a large rock just offshore and views to Koh Kaeo Noi Island.

    Swimming is generally safe all year round at Ya Nui, although red flags will warn of dangerous conditions and should… read more »

  • 12. Kamala Beach

    Kamala Beach
    David Johnson

    Located right next to Patong, but a world apart when it comes to ambience, Kamala Beach is laid back, less crowded and generally frequented with couples, retirees and expats. Of course, it has the same gorgeous soft sand and shimmering waters as it's better known neighbour but it is more enjoyable with less commotion.

    Kamala Beach is accessible from a small street at the bottom of the hill off the… read more »

  • 13. Nai Yang Beach

    Nai Yang Beach
    Andy Mitchell

    Popular with locals, Nai Yang Beach is the closest beach to Phuket International Airport, located just south of Mai Khao Beach. It's a good place to mingle, join in a game of volleyball or just relax and people-watch. The vast stretch of white sand and shallow turquoise waters are stunningly scenic, backed by waving casuarina trees and relatively little development.

    Swimming is pleasant and safe from November to April… read more »

  • 14. Rawai Beach

    Rawai Beach
    Colm Britton

    Gateway to the scenic offshore islands, Rawai Beach is at the southern tip of Phuket between Chalong Bay and Promthep Cape, incidentally the best viewpoint on the island.

    Rawai Beach is a peaceful haven compared with other beaches in the area, although it is a working beach with a pier. There are no sunbed rentals or jet skis so bring your own towel and find a quiet spot beneath the… read more »

  • 15. Ao Yon Beach

    Ao Yon Beach
    © Sunantam

    Ao Yon Beach is near Cape Panwa in Phuket. It is actually two coves divided by a rocky headland. Park your car on the road and walk down one of the paths to the beach – you will come to the larger Ao Yon Beach first.

    The leaning coconut palms offer shade along the narrow white sandy beach and there's a stream running down from the hills at the extreme… read more »