Looking down onto the clear blue waters of Nai Harn beach
Phuket has some of the most gorgeous soft sandy beaches in Thailand. The water around the beaches in Phuket is clear, calm and warm, making it perfect for swimming, snorkelling and kayaking.
The great thing about the beaches in Phuket, is that there are so many to choose from! So, with so much choice, which is the nicest beach in Phuket? In this post, I've got you covered with 11 of Phuket’s most beautiful beaches so you can choose the right one for you, and if you don't want to spend every day at the beach, then check out my post on 15 great things to see and do in Phuket.
Before we look at 11 of Phuket's top beaches, let's cover some useful information to help you plan your trip to Phuket.
Is it safe to swim in Phuket?
The sea around Phuket is clear, warm and calm for most of the year, making it very inviting. You do need to watch out for jellyfish, particularly the deadly box jellyfish, which mostly appears near the shores between the months of July - October. During the rainy season of May - October, the sea can become choppy and rip currents can appear. Do not attempt to swim in the sea if the red flags are visible on the beach, and be mindful that there are no lifeguards on the beaches in Phuket.
Which is the nicest area of Phuket?
The west coast of Phuket is the most popular for tourists and travellers. This side is dotted with beautiful, sandy beaches and the main towns and resorts are on this side for that reason. However, Phuket Town on the east side is also a popular choice, though there is no beach here. Where you choose to stay in Phuket depends on what kind of experience you want. If you are looking for a party atmosphere then Patong would be your best choice for nightlife. If you are wanting something much quieter and peaceful and are happy to have less in the way of shops and restaurants around, then both Kamala beach and Bang Tao beaches in the North are good options. A good all-rounder in terms of location is Kata beach in the centre of the west coast of Phuket. For many, Kata beach is the perfect mix, with plenty of shops, bars and restaurants and the option of several beaches in either direction.
When is the best time to visit Phuket?
The best time to visit Phuket is between November and April. During these months, the weather is perfect for enjoying the beaches in Phuket. The water will be calm and swimming conditions are safe during this time. Between May - October, monsoon season arrives and with that, the sea can become rough, making it unsafe to swim in some of the water surrounding Phuket.
Looking down onto Yanui beach from Windmill viewpoint as the sun starts to set
So, now you know the best time to visit Phuket, here’s 11 of Phuket’s best beaches so that you can choose the right one for your next trip!
11 beautiful beaches to visit in Phuket, Thailand
1. Kata beach
A great all-round beach in the centre of Phuket’s west coast, Kata beach is one of Phuket’s most popular areas for holiday-makers. Kata beach offers a little bit of everything. Here you’ll find market stalls lining the street behind the beach, selling fresh fruit shakes and street food, whilst the shops and restaurants of Kata’s main road are just a short walk from the beach. During the day, you can take part in water sports such as paragliding and kayaking, then in the evening sit on the beach and watch the sunset. The sunset's in Phuket are stunning and Kata beach is a great place to enjoy it.
Kata beach is a great place to spend the day and stay to watch the sunset
2. Patong beach
Patong beach is one of the most popular (and liveliest) beaches in Phuket and its 3 km of sandy shore is lined with street food stalls, bars and restaurants. You can also take part in various water sports from this beach too, or if that sounds too much, there are plenty of people offering massages instead. Patong is known for its nightlife, and the famous Bangla Road leads directly onto Patong Beach, so if you like being in the centre of the action, head to Patong beach.
3. Karon beach
Sitting between Patong and Kata beaches is Karon beach. Boasting 4 km of soft sand and clear, calm waters, Karon beach is great for those wanting a bit more space but don’t want to travel too far out of town. You won’t find cafes on the beachfront here - the road behind Karon beach is lined with hotel resorts, so it feels much quieter than the neighbouring beaches.
Karon beach stretches over 4 km and is relatively untouched
4. Kamala Beach
Just 15 minutes north of Patong, Kamala beach is a calm sandy bay with a relaxed vibe. Kamala is a fishing village, so you will see fishing boats here, but nothing like the noisy jet powered speed boats of Patong beach. The tree-lined shore is dotted with cafes too, and it is a great place to watch the sunset. Kamala is a great option for those who want a more laid back atmosphere, it is also a great place to visit for the day if you are staying in Patong.
5. Kata Noi beach
Surrounded by hill top resorts, nestled amongst the trees, Kata Noi beach is one of Phuket’s most beautiful beaches. It has some of the most powdery white sand in Phuket and because the beach is set back slightly in a protected cove, the water at Kata Noi beach is very calm, making it a great spot for swimming. It is much quieter here than in Kata beach, but there is a small beach shack, perfect for enjoying lunch on the beach. If you’re staying in Kata, then you can easily walk to Kata Noi beach in 20 minutes, or arrive by scooter.
Crystal clear waters at Kata Noi beach
6. Freedom Beach
Freedom beach is not as easily accessed as some of the other beaches in Phuket, which lends itself to those who want to escape the crowds. The best way to get to Freedom beach is via longtail boat from Patong beach, though this can be pricey (always make sure you negotiate the price first!) For those who want to try and drive, there is a dirt path above the beach, but the gate is not always open and it is quite a steep descent down through the jungle to get there and then a hard hike back up!
Freedom beach is very tranquil but there’s not much here in terms of facilities, so make sure you bring your own water and snacks.
7. Nai Harn beach
Further south in Phuket, Nai Harn beach is surrounded by hotel resorts and has a great little strip of restaurants and convenient parking spots hidden in the trees. The beach is great for families as the Nai Harn lake which leads into the sea creates a small shallow stream in the sand, perfect for young children to play in. If you are staying in this area, the Nai Harn lake is a great place to run around and there is exercise equipment close to the beach too. Just a short walk or scooter ride uphill from Nai Harn beach is Windmill Viewpoint, which is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Phuket. Even if you are not staying in Nai Harn beach, it is a great place to visit for the day from Phuket Town or Kata beach.
Nai Harn lake and beach
8. Ao Sane (Jungle Beach)
If you continue on the road behind Nai Han Beach, you will arrive at Jungle beach. This is a very small beach and the water is shallow and rocky, but it is a great spot for snorkelling and if you’re lucky, you should see plenty of fish here. There are several shady spots under the trees and overall, this beach feels more untouched - a little hidden gem in the south of Phuket.
9. Yanui beach
Yanui beach is a tiny tree-lined beach tucked away in a little cove between Windmill point and Promthep Cape in the south of Phuket. There’s a free parking area behind the beach and across the road are two restaurants where you can get some lunch, or buy drinks to bring to the beach. On the beach, you can rent kayaks to explore the coastline or hire snorkelling gear. Make sure you stay to watch the sunset here, it is breathtaking - in my opinion, Yanui beach is one of the best beaches to watch the sunset in Phuket.
Watching the sky turn from orange to purple as the sun sets over Yanui beach
10. Raiwai beach
Located along Phuket’s south coast, Raiwai beach is not a beach for swimming due to the amount of boats that are parked up on the shoreline. However, it is a great place to get something to eat, with so many waterfront cafes and restaurants to choose from. Enjoy a leisurely lunch here with a gorgeous view of the sea.
11. Bang Tao beach
At 6 km in length, Bang Tao is Phuket’s longest beach. Situated in the north of the island, between Phuket airport and Patong, Bang Tao is relatively deserted, with mostly hotel resorts occupying the front. There are a couple of cafes at either end of the beach, however you won’t find lots of beach sellers and noisy crowds here, so if you want expansive stretches of peace and quiet, this is the beach for you.
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