But it would be a great shame to come all this way and not explore other beaches the island has to offer. Here is a roundup of our favourites.
You might also be interested in our special feature on Phuket’s lessor known beaches and viewpoints.
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Patong ป่าตอง beach (and town) is located towards the middle of the west coast of Phuket island. It is home to the lively gay nightlife at the Paradise Complex.
Patong Beach is about 3.5 km long, and there is a ‘gay beach’ section located in the middle, just behind La Flora Resort Patong (next to the orange observation tower – look for the relatively small gay flag). The area attracts many gay expats and visitors as well as the local guys who work the scene.
Patong Beach gay area – Feb 2016
Just under the trees, behind the beach there is a stall that rents out umbrellas and sells cold drinks. Most evenings, around 5pm the volleyball net goes up. Everyone is welcome to take part.
Patong Beach (out of season) Nov 2015
Recent cleanup efforts have seen commercial sun bed rental operations banned along all of Phuket’s beaches, including Patong. Illegal food vendors who had encroached onto public beach spaces were removed.
Most tourists are delighted to see Phuket’s fabulous sandy beaches restored to a natural condition not seen for many years. Sunbathers are permitted to bring (or rent) an umbrella.
Located about 15 km north of Patong, Surin is sometimes called ‘millionaire’s row’ due the nearby fabulous luxury hotels Twinpalms and The Surin, upscale restaurants, shops, wine bars and beach clubs.
The beach itself has clear water and beautiful white sand, and is lined with tall trees. Just north of Surin is Pansea Bay, a scenic enclave occupied by luxury resorts. Surin is one of our favourite Phuket beaches and well worth a visit.
north end of Surin Beach – November 2015
view south along Surin Beach – Feb 2016
Laem Sing is regarded as one of Phuket’s most beautiful beaches. Located north of Patong between Kamala and Surin beaches, this cape and its 150-metre beach is nestled in a hidden bay fringed with palm trees and lush green surroundings.
Despite being a bit off the beaten track, the beach does get crowded during peak season and parking can be a challenge.
Great location. Near gay beach & bars. Modern rooms. Includes breakfast. Was $904 USD. Now $80 USD. | click here
Popular choice. Walk to Patong Beach and gay bars. Includes breakfast. Was $183 USD. Now $76 USD. | click here
Next to the gay beach. Fabulous bar & dining. Luxury choice. Includes breakfast. Was $330 USD. Now $178 USD. | click here
Walk to the beach. Modern facilities. Great value. Includes breakfast. Was $142 USD. Now $95 USD. | click here
Gay guesthouse. Rooftop sun terrace. Free sauna access. Includes breakfast. Was $50 USD. Now $32 USD. | click here
Near the gay beach area. Sea views, excellent value. Includes breakfast. Was $406 USD. Now $165 USD. | click here
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second longest beach on Phuket, three miles south of Patong
one of the nicest beaches on Phuket, located south of Patong
excellent beach, located nine miles north of Patong
Kamala Beach is located just 5 miles north of Patong, but it is much quieter. The beach is popular with longer-term visitors staying in small resorts, villas and apartments around the village.
There is a great choice of cheap restaurants, bars and market stalls on the main Kamala Road. The southern end of the beach can get busy during the high season, but the northern part is usually peaceful all year round.
Bangtao (Bang Thao), also known as Laguna Beach, is one of Phuket’s longest beaches. It is located a few miles north of Surin Beach and can be reached by car from Patong in about 20 minutes.
At the far north end of the beach is the ultra exclusive DREAM Beach club.
Looking south along Bang Tao Beach from near DREAM Beach Club – Feb 2016
Nai Thon Beach is a very peaceful beach, reminiscent of what Phuket’s more famous beaches were like 20 years ago. The fine sandy beach is a great spot for those who want a quiet swim away from the crowds.
The beach is located on the west coast, a few miles south of the airport (although you are not going to see or hear any airplanes) and about a 40 minute drive from Patong.
Immediately behind beach are tall trees providing nice shady spots. Behind the trees is an equally quiet village with some good value for money restaurants and shops renting umbrellas. At the north end of Nai Thon beach is the new Pullman Phuket Arcadia Resort.
Going south from Nai Thon, the road winds through hills, passing a number of beautiful sandy coves, the luxury Trisara resort and continues on towards Bang Tao beach.
The excellent Karon Beach is located just a few miles south of Patong.
This is the third longest and one of the more popular beaches in Phuket. The beach has good snorkelling spots and a great choice of dining, shopping and nightlife nearby. Due to its length, the beach rarely feels too crowded.
Karon Beach – November 2015
Kata Beach is another favourite spot for sunbathers. The beach is 10 kilometres south of Patong Beach (about 2o minutes by taxi) just beyond Karon Beach. The white sandy Kata Beach has clear waters and a great selection of shops and restaurants along the road that runs behind this palm tree-lined beach.
The beach is divided by a headland into two sections, Kata Yai and the smaller Kata Noi. Kata Noi, to the south of the headland, is usually the quietest of the two sections.
Kata Noi Beach – November 2015
This nice, quieter beach is tucked between grassy hills and small islands. Popular among expats and locals with its laid-back atmosphere, Nai Han Beach has soft sand, clear water and couple of small shops and restaurants.
The area is great for swimming from November to April. A few well-known hotels including The Nai Harn are located on this beach.
After Nai Han Beach comes Yanui Beach. This beautiful little cove has gorgeous soft sand and is great for snorkeling, kayaking and fishing. The northern part of the beach is good for swimming (the southern end is a bit rocky).
There are a couple of restaurants and plenty of vendors selling all kinds of goods. Just offshore (about 200 metres), there is an uninhabited island called Koh Mun which is great for snorkeling.
Yanui Beach – Nov 2015
Rawai Beach is generally used to moor fishing boats, long tail boats and speed boats. These boats are available for hire for a trip to neighbouring islands such as Coral Island and Racha Island, or a fishing or snorkelling trip.
Located at the southern tip of Phuket, the beach is not suitable for swimming. There are many restaurants, shops and a popular, well-respected Thai boxing camp, Rawai Muay Thai.