Phuket boasts some of the best beaches in the world, so it’s little wonder thousands of visitors flock to this island paradise to enjoy some sand, sun and surf. Grab a towel and pick out your deckchair, because Phuket’s stunning beaches will not disappoint.
1. Patong Beach
A colossus among Phuket beaches, there’s not much that hasn’t already been written about Patong Beach. Either one of the world’s best beaches or a garish tourist trap, depending on your point of view, Patong is undoubtedly a party beach. It is nevertheless a great place to enjoy a dip and remains packed with eager revellers well into the night.
2. Karon Beach
Not quite as hectic as Patong but busy nonetheless, Karon Beach is a three-kilometre stretch of coastline sprawling out along the Andaman Sea. It’s popular enough that beach chairs are laid out three-deep along its bustling middle, but the beach gets less crowded as it tapers out towards its edges. It’s here you’ll find Karon at its most relaxing, with its soft white sand and calm swells luring visitors from all the world.
3. Kata Beach
On an island ringed by beautiful beaches, the luminous white sand and cool blue waters of Kata Beach make it as picturesque as any. A popular beach not just for relaxing on the sand but also for diving, Kata is located in close proximity to many of Phuket’s most popular haunts, without attracting the hordes of revellers who frequent them.
4. Kata Noi Beach
More than a mere extension of Kata, the somewhat secluded Kata Noi is cut off from the main beach by the Mon Tri’s Villa Royale resort. That gives this pristine, tree-lined beachfront a guarded, private air and it’s a great place to escape the crowds of Kata while still enjoying all the amenities it affords.
5. Nai Harn Beach
With its sheltered, almost secret location and charming outlook dotted with tropical isles, Nai Harn Beach is one of Phuket’s true hidden gems. Make a splash in some of Phuket’s clearest waters and stretch out on your own secluded patch of sand in what is undoubtedly one of the island’s best-kept beach secrets.
6. Surin Beach
A popular destination for couples, Surin Beach is renowned for being a quieter alternative to some of Phuket’s more vibrant locales. Fringed by some of the island’s most upscale beachside resorts, Surin is the perfect place to enjoy Phuket’s soft white sands and clear water without being surrounded by crowds.
7. Bang Tao Beach
Draped across the fringe of a broad, sweeping bay which cascades sharply towards the Andaman Sea, Bang Tao is set against a more dramatic backdrop than many Phuket beaches. Dip your toes in the water and you’ll nevertheless enjoy a similar experience to those found on most of the island’s beaches, with clear waters lapping at soft sands while tourists soak up the sun on rented deck chairs.
8. Ya Nui Beach
Accessed via a long dirt track, Ya Nui Beach may take some time to reach, but the end result is well worth the effort. Boasting a serene, well-protected beachfront and plenty of pristine sand to pitch up on, Ya Nui is situated at the southern tip of Phuket. Located just far enough from Patong to attract a relaxed, sophisticated clientele, this is one of the island’s more upmarket beachside retreats.
9. Tri Tra Beach
Is it an Emerald? Is it a Crystal? Is it Tri Tra Beach? Though there is plenty of confusion about the name – this sublime stretch of sand has been called all three – Tri Tra Beach is undoubtedly one of Phuket’s finest. A shady, sheltered beach packed with just the right amount of amenities, Tri Tra even offers beachside hut accommodation, making it the perfect place to unwind for a week or two.
10. Paradise Beach
The secret is out and the crowds are plentiful, but Paradise Beach still exudes its fair share of charm. Head down early to stake out a patch of sand and you’ll be rewarded with one of the most picturesque beachside views in Thailand, with Paradise Beach offering a sweeping panorama over crystal-clear waters and the looming mountains which rise up spectacularly in the distance.
Words by Mike Tuckerman