Top 10 Very Best Beaches in Phuket

by | Dec 5, 2022

Phuket, Thailand has been my unexpected home for the last 10 years and I have pretty much explored every stunning beach on the Island!

Albeit a hugely popular tourist destination, and therefore quite busy at certain times of the year, the coastline in and around Phuket is one of the most beautiful in the world and without doubt Phuket is host to some of the best beaches on the planet!

With white soft sand, the warm waters of the Andaman Ocean lapping at your toes, and lined with palm trees and fallen coconuts, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the middle of a paradise island commercial.

If you’re on route to Phuket for a relaxing trip away from the hustle and bustle of life or are a digital nomad looking for a slice of paradise for a while, this guide on the top 10 very best beaches in Phuket will ensure you make the best of your trip!

best beaches in phuket - surin

Top 10 Very Best Beaches in Phuket: TL;DR

  1. Patong Beach
  2. Freedom Beach
  3. Kata Beach
  4. Banana Beach
  5. Kamala Beach
  6. Karon Beach
  7. Nai Harn Beach
  8. Bang Tao Beach
  9. Ya Nui Beach
  10. Surin Beach

Top 10 Very Best Beaches in Phuket

1. Patong Beach – Excellent Nightlife Scene

best-beaches-in-phuket-patong-beach

I list Patong as No 1, not because it’s the most beautiful, but because it’s a legend in itself.

Patong Beach is not the ultimate exemplar of nature’s beauty. But what sets it apart is the party vibe and eclectic night scene that attracts young tourists from across the world.

Patong Beach is Phuket’s longest beach and offers jet skiing, banana boat riding, and beach drinking experiences during the day.

With a buzzing party atmosphere at night and the glowing neons of the nearby Bangla Road, this beach will attract you in more ways than one.

From Thai nightclubs to pounding music at bars – there’s everything you’ll need to keep your party hats on!

Pro Tip: 30-minute drive inland to Phuket town will find many shops and markets along with heritage buildings.

2. Freedom Beach – A Postcard Cliche

freedom-beach

When you’ve had your fill of booze, dance, and water sports at Patong Beach, and are instead looking for a tranquil white sandy beach, and to bathe in turquoise waters fringed with lush tropical greenery, head for Freedom Beach.

Sitting on the west coast, Freedom Beach is a hidden masterpiece – a postcard cliche. With no beach clubs, no beach resorts, and no wild parties, Freedom Beach is a place to relax and soak in the beauty of Mother Nature.

Land access calls for trekking through a dense jungle, but long tail boats are preferred by most. A 10-minute sail on a long tail boat from Patong Beach will land you on the 300-meter arch where you can lie down on the silky white sand and relax.

Pro Tip: Climb the cement stair at the northern side of the beach to get panoramic views.

3. Kata Beach – A Family Destination

best-beaches-in-phuket-kata-beach155gaetanor | TripAdvisor

Kata Beach is a family hotspot and is divided into Kata Noi Beach – a small, less populated part to the north and Kata Yai – the larger section to the south where you can find plenty of hotels.

No matter which part of Kata Beach you are on, the spectacular views will leave you mesmerized.

For photography enthusiasts, the small Koh Pu island visible from both Kata Noi beach and Kata Yai gives a perfect setting during sunset.

While Kata Yai is perfect for swimming, even for the little ones, Kata Noi Beach is taken over by the gigantic Katathani Phuket Beach Resort which attracts people with deep pockets.

There is still enough public area at Kata Noi Beach to build sand castles and enjoy a refreshing swim.

But since Kata Beach is becoming increasingly popular, many beach resorts, restaurants, and shops are quickly popping up along the shores, especially at Kata Yai.

4. Banana Beach – A Secluded Wonderland

banana-beachMikefromTas | TripAdvisor

A Thai utopia and hidden gem, Banana Beach is where you stop to enjoy a secluded wonderland. One of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand, Banana Beach is technically not in Phuket.

Located on Koh Hey Island or Coral Island, it is a perfect day trip from Phuket where you can enjoy plenty of water adventures including snorkeling, kayaking, and parasailing.

With a backdrop of a lush green jungle, Banana Beach hosts a solitary restaurant where you can relish fresh fish and cool drinks.

Pro Tip: Enjoy a beach massage! Masseuses wait in the shades near the restaurant.

5. Kamala Beach – One of Phuket’s Cleanest Beach

best-beaches-in-phuket-kamala-beachImage Credit: Jules Antonio, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A lovely clean beach with a gentle breeze caressing your skin, Kamala Beach is where lazy souls like to curl up on beach chairs or hammocks among the palm trees and marvel at the open sea.

Though not the most beautiful beach, Kamala Beach is a perfect swimming beach for both adults and children. The calm waters mean Kamala Beach is not an ideal place for water sports, meaning less jet skis etc.

The nearby streets are teeming with eclectic shops, funky cafes, and scores of friendly people always available for some casual chat.

Pro Tip: Enjoy delectable meals at beachfront restaurants while marveling at the breathtaking sunset.

6. Karon Beach – The Golden Paradise

karon-beachImage Credit: HutheMeow, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wedged between Kata Beach to the south and Patong Beach to the north, Karon Beach boasts silky golden sand that gives a luxurious feel to your soles. Magnifying its beauty is the white froth and the vast expanse of the turquoise-blue waters of the Andaman Sea.

Though Karon Beach offers water activities like jet skiing, swimming, and parasailing, it has a much more relaxed charm, making this third-longest beach in Phuket a perfect destination for a chilled beach vacation.

Several family hotels and luxury resorts line the sandy shore, but for digital nomads on a tight budget, there are plenty of cozy guest houses to make you feel at home.

Pro Tip: The south end of Karon Beach is perfect for diving and snorkeling.

7. Nai Harn Beach – Surfing & Kiteboarding Hotspot

best-beaches-in-phuket-nai-harn-beachImage Credit: Wolfgang Holzem, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A small sheltered bay surrounded by small islands and green hills, Nai Harn Beach is popular for its powdery-soft sand and shallow & crystal clear waters.

It’s also one of my favorite beaches to visit.

Though a popular destination for surfing & kiteboarding, Nai Harn Beach still has plenty of comfy spots for idling without being bothered by the crowd.

Many small shops line up the shoreline where you can find refreshing drinks. Much of the land of Nai Harn Beach is owned by the Samnak Song Monastery, which means there will never be overdevelopment.

Behind the beach is a calm lake for fishing and enjoying a ride in swan-shaped pedal boats. Plus there’s a great hike up to Phromthep Cape, one of the most popular spots on the island for beautiful sunsets.

8. Bang Tao Beach – Great for Honeymoon Couples

bang-tao-beachImage Credit: Tiger@西北, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Phuket’s second-longest beach, Bang Tao Beach, sits halfway between Patong and Phuket Airport. It’s one of the more popular Phuket beaches with a relaxing atmosphere.

Perfect for honeymoon couples, Bang Tao Beach has scores of luxury villas and beachfront resorts on its southern side. Beach huts and family hotels are also plentiful.

You can beat the crowd at the relatively untouched northern end that lacks lofty hotels but the surf is a little rough there.

A short walk from the palm trees and greenery-clad golden beach is the busy ex-pat and tourist area of Cherng Talay. Here you’ll find restaurants a plenty, cafe’s, bars, shops and a fab Friday night market with live music.

9. Ya Nui Beach – Small but Beautiful Quiet Beach

best-beaches-in-phuket-ya-nui-beachImage Credit: Christophe95, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A beautiful, but tiny beach on Phuket island is Ya Nui Beach which is more like a small cove. Just like the popular Nai Harn Beach, Ya Nui Beach is where you get an enthralling view of Phromthep Cape which displays one of the best panoramic views of Phuket.

Devoid of the excessive crowd, this pristine beach offers clear & calm waters perfect for snorkeling, kayaking, and diving. You can also find a peaceful spot on the soft sand if you feel lazy.

To satiate your hunger, there are several local restaurants serving authentic Thai food.

10. Surin Beach – Calm and Raw Beauty

surin-beachImage Credit: User: (WT-shared) Jpatokal at wts wikivoyage, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Surin Beach was once a playground for the wealthy with exciting beach activities, active nightlife, great restaurants, massage salas, and eclectic shops.

However, in 2016, a dispute between the beachside businesses and the government eventually led to the demolition of all the restaurants, beach bars and nightclubs.

What remains now are colorful hammocks, towering palm trees, a vibrant sea with turquoise waters, and soft sand. All these make it a popular beach for those who want a natural setting.

Its raw beauty is what makes Surin Beach a popular beach destination. Though the entertainment factor is gone, Surin Beach remains one of the favorite beaches for celebrities, making it an ideal destination for those who love people-watching.

Other Best Beaches in Phuket

1. Paradise Beach

best-beaches-in-phuket-paradise-beachImage Credit: Satdeep Gill, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the best beaches in Phuket, Paradise Beach gives you the feeling of living in a postcard. The azure waters lapping the white beach, sweeping blue sky, and giant granite rocks give this beach a perfect laid-back vibe. The Paradise Beach Club is a popular spot for activities, shops, and restaurants.

2. Mai Khao Beach

mai-khao-beachImage Credit: Mikhail Deynekin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

An undeveloped part of the Sirinat National Park, Mai Khao Beach is 11 kilometers long, has a raw deserted look, and is frequented by sea turtles. There are a few nearby attractions that include the Splash Jungle Water Park, Wat Mai Khao (a Buddhist temple), Turtle Village, and of course, the Sirinat National Park.

It’s also the home of the JW Marriott, Anantara Resort and Mai Khao Beach Club, and being just a few minutes away from the main Sarasin bridge which takes you across into mainland Thailand, it’s a great place to stay if you want to extend your trip up into the amazing Phang Nga province.

3. Ao Sane Beach

best-beaches-in-phuket-ao-sane-beachImage Credit: Ao Sane Beach

A secluded beach, Ao Sane Beach is one of the quieter beaches that you can reach from Nai Harn. It’s a rocky little beach perfect for diving and snorkeling.

Although there’s no options for renting a beach chair, there are plenty of sandy areas, no hawkers bothering you, and a nice little bar serving Thai food and cold beer.

4. Nai Thon Beach

nai-thon-beachImage Credit: Nai Thon Beach

Nai Thon Beach is a romantic interlude. It has a small yet stunning coastline with a soft and sandy shore. During the high season, you can find a few restaurants on the beach. The beach itself is technically split between Hat Nai Thon Noi and Hat Nai Thon Yai.

5. Railay Beach

best-beaches-in-phuket-railay-beachImage Credit: Wendy Harman, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Railay Beach is officially in Krabi and is technically not Phuket, however I’ve included it here as its definitely worth a visit and easily be accessed by boat from Phuket.

Railay Beach is a paradise for rock climbers and is famous for being in the second Bridget Jones movie. It’s a stunning beach with rugged limestone cliffs and lush greenery, making it one of the favorite beaches for Phuket tourists.

6. Panwa Beach

panwa-beachImage Credit: Boyketurnip, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on the east coast but facing west, Panwa Beach is a few kilometers from Phuket town. Not an ideal swimming beach, Panwa Beach has the charm of a remote bay.

7. Pansea Beach

best beaches in phuket - pansea beach

Pansea Beach is undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Phuket, however it’s unfortunately not easily accessed by the general public.

A small secluded beach at the northern end of Surin Beach, Pansea Beach can only be accessed through the grounds of two luxury beach hotels, the Amanpuri Resort or the Surin Phuket Hotel (both are highly recommended!)

Private beaches aren’t allowed as such in Phuket, so if you’re feeling adventurous you could climb the rocks round from Surin or take the hidden path down through the jungle, however to get the best of this beach I recommend a couple of nights at the fabulous hotel – The Surin!

Best Time to Visit Best Beaches in Phuket

The dry season that starts in November and lasts until March and sometimes until May is ideal for visiting this country in Southeast Asia.

November through February is the High season or Peak season with cooler weather and lush green scenery. This is the most amazing time to explore the best beaches in Phuket.

March and April get a little hotter, but this is when the crowd gradually thins out and prices drop. Unless you can handle heat well, avoid this time. Avoid the rainy season between May and October.

Where to Stay in Phuket?

There is no shortage of hotels, hostels, or Airbnb in Phuket, so it completely depends on your requirements and budget.

I use booking.com as my preferred hotel booking app. I have tried many over the years and booking.com consistently offers me the best deals.

If however, you’re looking for super budget accommodation try hostelworld.com.

Here are the best budget and mid-range accommodation options in Phuket, Thailand include:

The Chic Patong: Starting at $38/night [For budget accommodation]

Only 500 meters from Patong Beach, this hotel offers air-conditioned rooms, a private balcony, private balcony, and free Wi-Fi.

Hilton Garden Inn: Starting at $79/night [For mid-range accommodation]

2.5 kilometers away from Bangtao Beach, this hotel comes with luxury air-conditioned rooms, swimming pools, a fitness center, and free Wi-Fi.

Mandarava Resort and Spa: Starting at 184/night [For luxury accommodation]

This resort is a 30-minute drive from Phuket town and offers air-conditioned rooms with a private balcony, minibar, a spa & wellness center, and free Wi-Fi. Karon Beach is only 700 meters away.

Recommended Tours & Trips

There is no shortage of trips and tours to make the best use of your time in this beautiful country. However, here are some suggested trips I recommend you explore further.

Best Beaches in Phuket – Tips for Digital Nomads or Long Term Travelers

  1. The best way to get around Phuket is by taxis or tuk-tuks. Car rentals are also available, but that can be expensive, or you can rent a moped, but please be careful. Thailand have some of the most dangerous roads in the world and almost all accidents involve a moped. You can find beachfront hotels on all the major beaches. So reaching the shoreline shouldn’t be a problem.
  2. Wi-Fi connection is excellent almost everywhere in Phuket. Just remember if you head off to more remote surrounding islands, you may experience connectivity issues.
  3. Thailand’s currency is the Thai Baht and for the best exchange rates its best to pay in their local currency. Always carry some cash, as street vendors, markets, hawkers (and long boats) will expect cash (although many now accept payment via QR code if you have a local bank account or apple pay etc.) Technologically, Thailand is pretty savvy.
  4. Depending on how long you’re staying and the kind of phone contract you’re on, it might be worth getting a local SIM when you get there. Most times when I travel, a local sim is the cheapest option. A travel SIM from TrueMove will cost 599 Baht with 8GB of internet and approximately 50 minutes of talk time. You will have to top up in 15 days. It’s worth checking roaming fees with your phone company before traveling.
  5. If taking money out of an ATM, always choose the ‘convert from your own bank’ option, rather than the convert from the ATM option. This is a golden rule worldwide. I have tried multiple ATM’s in multiple countries and the bank conversion is always without fail cheaper than a local ATM conversion.
  6. Also when paying with your travel credit or debit card, always choose local currency. If you choose your own currency, the conversion will be done then and there by their bank. When choosing local currency, the conversion is done by your bank and will be cheaper. Not by much, but every little helps!

Booking/Trip Resources

It’s tough when organizing your travels to know which companies offer the best deals and can be trusted with your credit card details!

The following resources are companies I have consistently used over my 11 years of travels and who I believe are the best in the business. I’m constantly updating this list as I find new and improved services.

Rome2Rio – a fantastic app which will show you the best routes to get from city to city or country to country. Simply enter where you’re traveling from and too, and they’ll show you how to get there via planes, trains and automobiles!

Skyscanner.net – always my first port of call when looking for the best flights. Easy to use and consistently highlights flights I can’t find anywhere else, they’re the best flight resource there is. Plus an easy to use app.

Flight Aware – a free, handy app showing flights around the world. I use this to track family or friends when they’re flying, to check whether my flight has left on time on previous days so I can be prepared for delays etc, and just to double check my own flight details as and when I’m traveling.

Trainline (for Europe) – I used to use this just for UK trains, but nowadays you can book trains all over Europe using their services. Cheap, reliable and with a great refund policy for canceled or delayed trains, they’re highly recommended.

Booking.com – I have tried all the other hotel booking sites and without doubt booking.com has consistently offered the best deals. One caveat to this, is always to just check the hotel website directly before finalizing your booking as sometimes they’ll have specialized deals.

Getyourguide.com – the easiest and most reliable activity booking agent. I haven’t had a bad trip to date with them. Plus an easy to use app which tracks all your bookings and includes the meeting point, trip details and everything else you need to ensure your activity goes smoothly.

Discovercars.com – Easy to use website to find rental cars in over 145 countries around the world. Pick up from one location, drop off in another. Find the best deals with the best reviews.

Safetywing – quite simply the best insurance for digital nomads and long term travelers. See my Safetywing insurance review for more details, but with cheap monthly plans and an easy to use claims process, you won’t find better on the market.

Light Packing Guide

I’m generally a very light packer so for a summer trip here is what I would usually pack, with a maximum weight of 7 KG;

Clothes

Swimming costume or bikini
Light Beach dress
2 x pairs of shorts
2 x summer skirts
3 x t-shirts
1 x ‘going out’ dress
2 x night shorts & tee
14 x underwear (I always take a lot as I hate washing underwear in hotel sinks)
1 skin color plunge bra (can wear under black or white, and with posh dress or t-shirts)
1 x flip flops or thongs or sandals (depending where you’re from in the world)
1 x trainers/sneakers (which I generally wear when traveling from place to place or hang off the back of my bag
3 x trainer socks
1 x leggings
1 x light cardigan

Toiletries

Travel size all in one Shampoo/Conditioner (sacrilege to some women, but hey I want to travel light)
Travel size shower gel
Mascara
Bronzer
Makeup wipes
Small battery powered toothbrush (with cap)
50ml toothpaste
Travel size sun lotion
50SPF lip balm
Hairbrush
Travel size body moisturiser
Deodorant
Hair scrunchies

Medical

Antihistamines
Paracetamol
Ibuprofen
Tiger Balm – bites, sore muscles, etc.
Plasters
Ear Plugs
Eye mask
Mask
Hand Sanitizer

Technical

Adapter & chargers in a handy cable organizer
Phone – iPhone
Computer – Macbook 12” Notebook
Kindle
FitBit Versa 3

Useful Extras

Ziplock bags – for anything and everything!
Travel Bags – for separating tops/shorts/underwear etc, and also great for laundry
Combination padlock

My husbands bag usually weighs less than mine and he takes;

Clothes

2 x shorts (Both double as swim shorts)
2 x tees
7 x socks
7 x boxers
1 x ‘going out’ shorts & tee
1 x croc flip flops
1 x trainers/sneakers
Travel size shampoo
1 x razor
Toothbrush
Deodorant
Phone
Kindle
Computer

Best Beaches in Phuket – FAQ’s

Where is Phuket?

Phuket province is off mainland Thailand’s west coast in the Andaman Sea. Phuket city lies in the southeast of Phuket Island.

Is Phuket Safe?

Phuket is very safe even for solo female travelers.

As with all popular tourist destinations you’ll need to watch out for pickpockets and keep your valuables hidden, plus for females, use your common sense and don’t go wandering on your own in the middle of the night plus be careful when drinking in bars/clubs. (Sad but true across the globe).

But on a general scale compared to the rest of the world, for tourists visiting Thailand it would be considered a very safe city, for solos, couples & families alike.

Nevertheless, always ensure you have travel insurance wherever you go as it will protect you against theft, injury, illness, or cancelations. Use the form below to get your personalized quote.

What’s the Currency in Phuket?

The official currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB) and you must pay in their local currency. Though you can use international travel credit and debit cards that will allow paying in Thai Baht, I suggest that you carry local currency, because certain remote places and local shops do not accept cards or app payments.

What Language is Spoken in Phuket?

The Thai language is the official language, however, many people speak English, especially in major tourist destinations.

What Time is it in Phuket?

Throughout the year Phuket follows Indochina Time (ICT), which is seven hours ahead of the UTC or the Coordinated Universal Time. Daylight Saving Time clock changes are not followed in Thailand.

Why Visit Phuket Beaches?

Replete with awe-inspiring beaches, Phuket is a dream beach holiday destination for beach bums. From secluded beaches to bustling ones with grand resorts, exotic seafood, delectable street food, and beautiful temples – there is so much to explore in Phuket. It is also a great starting point for visiting nearby islands.

Top 10 Very Best Beaches in Phuket: What Now?

Phuket has so much to offer. Believe me I’ve lived here for almost 10 years!

Brimming with picturesque beaches oozing romantic vibes, Phuket is a dream tropical beach vacation destination.

Some of the best beaches include Surin Beach, Nai Harn Beach, Freedom Beach, Banana Beach, and Bangtao Beach but to be honest they’re all pretty spectacular and you won’t go far wrong no matter where you’re staying.

If you’re visiting Phuket and want to see a bit more of Thailand, you’ll likely find the following articles useful;

30 Epic Things to Do in Phuket, Thailand
Top 10 Very Best Things to do in Thailand
Top 10 Very Best Thailand Islands to Visit
Top 10 Very Best Things to Do on Phi Phi Island, Thailand
Top 10 Very Best Things to Do in Bangkok, Thailand
Top 10 Very Best Things to Do in Pai, Thailand

In the meantime, I hope you’ve found this list of the best beaches in Phuket useful for your travels. Let me know how you go!

Have fun!

jo barnes swimming pool cartoon

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