Thailand’s largest island, Phuket is home to lush rainforests, multiple historic and religious monuments, and some of the best beaches in Thailand. There are no fewer than 30 designated beaches in Phuket and many more small coves, swimming holes, and patches of soft white sand that often get overlooked. Phuket, Thailand is perfect for a beach vacation or holiday thanks to the variety and diversity of its beaches and numerous seaside resorts.
Floating in the middle of the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand, Phuket is known as a gateway to many of the country’s other island paradises. It is only a short ferry ride from Koh Phi Phi which many know as a party island, the laidback Ko Lanta, and Ko Tapu which is better known as James Bond Island. Because of Phuket’s size, it can offer the perfect beach for every type of traveller.
Phuket has a tropical climate which means the weather is hot, hot, hot all year round! The island’s “coldest” month is January with an average temperature of 27°C (80°F). The hottest month is April with an average temperature of 29°C (80°F). Winter is the peak season for tourists because Phuket experiences monsoon season from May to October and enjoys slightly more bearable heat for basking in the sun.
This guide will list all the best beaches in Phuket including the best beaches in Phuket for families, couples, watersports, and more. It will cover how to get to every beach and things to do in Phuket near the best Phuket beaches so you have an amazing beach break.
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1. Nai Harn Beach
Tucked away in one of the southernmost points of Phuket is Nai Harn Beach. This is the best beach in Phuket if you’re looking for a stretch of soft, clean white sand beach with calm warm waters to swim in that isn’t completely overrun with other beachgoers. It’s located in somewhat of a hippy community around 55 km (a 90-minute drive) south of Phuket Airport. There’s a small seaside resort town surrounding the beach which feels like its own little village community.
At Nai Harn, you can expect a small section of sun umbrellas to rent but the rest is virtually untouched. Palm trees surround the beach which separates the area from the road and buildings behind, making it feel more secluded. But there are still lots of amenities nearby like the Sea Oak Cafe Restaurant amongst many others and a massaging station.
In the centre of Nai Harn town is the picturesque Nai Harn Lake (no swimming allowed! Only paddle boating) which has parking and a children’s play area. You can also check out the local Buddhist monastery or walk up to Black Rock Viewpoint for a gorgeous view across the Nai Harn resort town. Hike it at sunrise for the best light and before the weather gets too hot!
Accommodation near Nai Harn Beach
- Budget – The CHU Cafe and Guesthouse
- Mid-range – The Gallery Hotel Nai Harn
- Luxury – The Nai Harn, Phuket
2. Nai Thon Beach
Drive down a singular road between two vast patches of lush green forest on Phuket’s northwest coast and you might just find yourself at Nai Thon Beach. Like Nai Harn, tall trees line the back of this pristine white sand beach which makes it feel more secluded than it already is. It’s only 8 km south of Phuket Airport along the coast (a 15-minute drive) so it’s perfect if you want to chill out on a beach or have a quick swim on a long layover.
This is one of the best beaches in Phuket for couples because, while there are some restaurants and resorts, there aren’t many. You’ll usually only see adults on this beach and it doesn’t get too crowded. And there aren’t any play areas or facilities here that would attract lots of travellers away from the other, more accessible beaches. While saying that, the Luca Beach Bar Phuket and the Shameena Restaurant & Lounge are both great places to relax afterwards.
Some other tourist attractions in the area are the Phuket Elephant Care centre and Phuket Outdoor Adventures. You can wash and feed rescued elephants or cruise around the island on ATVs and quad bikes.
Accommodation near Nai Thon Beach
- Budget – Phuket Nai Thon Resort
- Mid-range – Andaman White Beach Resort
- Luxury – Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach
3. Kata Beach
Kata Beach is one of the most popular Phuket Beaches and is close to one of the major resort towns on the island. Kata Village is around 47 km (an 80-minute drive) south of Phuket Airport on the west coast which is where you’ll find this 1.5km long stretch of wind sand in a bay that has the best calm waters for swimming and snorkelling. It isn’t as quiet or hidden as some of the other beaches in Phuket but what it lacks in tranquillity it makes up for in amenities. If it does get too busy in peak season, try the smaller Kata Noi Beach just a few minutes south of Kata Beach.
There are tons of resorts, restaurants, bars, massage parlours, activities, parks, and anything else you could possibly need on this beach. The Ska Bar overlooks the beach and is a huge, cheap, and laid-back bar and restaurant. Palm Square is another restaurant that’s a little more upmarket. Speaking of markets, Mae Somchit Kata Fresh Market is a huge produce market serving every juicy and delicious fruit available in Thailand. And the Kata Night Market is a fun place to go for dinner and cocktails.
Accommodation near Kata Beach
4. Patong Beach
Which beach is the best in Phuket for the throngs of backpackers, penniless students, and party animals passing through the island on the Banana Pancake Trail? Patong Beach, of course! This is a 2.85km long stretch of white sand beach in the Chris Say Village. It’s around 35 km (a 70-minute drive) south of Phuket Airport on the west coast and there is lots of parking right next to the beach if you’ve hired a car for your trip. There are lots of sports equipment rentals and schools on this beach where you can hire jet skis, go parasailing, or learn to scuba dive or surf.
There are tons of useful amenities near Patong beach like public toilets, restaurants, and supermarkets. And there are even facilities on the beach where you can grab a quick snack like fresh fruit. It’s one of the biggest beaches in a built-up part of Phuket so you can expect to see a range of travellers from families to couples, not just the backpacker crowd. But one of the top things to do in Phuket is to hit up the clubs on Bangla Road, so most of the town does focus on nightlife! But during the day you don’t have to worry too much about rowdy crowds.
Accommodation near Patong Beach
5. Freedom Beach
Want to stay near the tourist attractions and activities in Patong but want to check out some alternative beaches? Freedom Beach is your ticket to free yourself from crowds and experience a more tranquil beach! It’s around 6 km (a 20-minute drive) south of Patong which is further than you might think because of the sparse roads. Actually, you can walk between Patong Beach and Freedom Beach Phuket in around 40-minutes.
There aren’t any water sports equipment rentals, massage booths, or any amenities on this pristine white sand beach. But the payoff is a low-key, relaxing beach with calm waters where you can swim and snorkel safely surrounded by a thick wall of palm trees and a rocky coastline. In fact, there is only one, narrow path down to Freedom Beach which helps maintain the illusion that it’s in a hidden cove.
The truth is nothing beautiful stays hidden in Phuket for too long! There is one nearby bar called Barefoot Bistro & Bar @ Freedom Beach Phuket if you need refreshments and a scenic overlook with stunning views.
Accommodation near Freedom Beach
- Budget – The Hill Resort
- Mid-range – Absolute Twin Sands Resort & Spa
- Luxury – Le Méridien Phuket Beach Resort
6. Karon Beach
Karon Beach is Kata’s big sister beach and, aside from Patong, is one of the most popular resort villages on the island. At 4 km in length, it’s one of the longest and best beaches in Phuket. It’s 48km (a 70-minute drive) south of Phuket Airport on the west coast and close to lots of the main tourist attractions on the island. At Karon Beach, you can relax on the sand under one of the main umbrellas to rent or try your hand at scuba diving at one of the main dive schools in the village.
You’ll find lots of supermarkets, parks, restaurants, and resorts lining the beach but, thanks to its size, it never feels too crowded. If you stay close to Karon Beach, you’ll also be close to The Big Buddha which is a 45m marble Buddha statue on a mountaintop and a must-visit when you’re in Phuket. Wat Chalong temple, other cool Buddhist temples, and ATV rentals are also available nearby.
Accommodation near Karon Beach
7. Surin Beach
You’ll find Surin Beach close to the village of Baan Thai Surin Hill, one of the more obscure and off-the-beaten-path places to stay in Phuket. In this shallow bay, there are soft white sands and clear turquoise water where you will be able to spot sea life easily while snorkelling or chilling out on the beach. This beach isn’t so secluded that there aren’t lots of convenient resorts nearby or that there aren’t sun loungers and umbrellas to rent. Surin Beach isn’t as far south as some of the others as it’s only 24 km (a 40-minute drive) south of Phuket Airport.
There are some great restaurants near Surin Beach like Beach Restaurant by The Surin Phuket and Audy Beach Shack Restaurant. You’ll also find some parks and beautiful viewpoints on either side of the beach offering panoramic vistas of the bay. Skating is a popular pastime in Surin with skate shops and parks throughout the local village. Some cool activities to do nearby are the Bang-Tao Night Market and Adventure Mini Golf.
Accommodation near Surin Beach
8. Kamala Beach
Kamala Beach attracts an older generation of travellers who want to enjoy the white sands and clear waters that Phuket is famous for away from the noisy nightlife in Patong and the families in Karon. Luckily, there are enough beautiful Phuket beaches so that there’s plenty for everyone! Kamala Beach is also on the west coast (spoiler, most of them are!) only 27 km (a 40-minute drive) south of Phuket Airport. Kamala Beach is also the name of the village where you’ll find lots of quiet, adult resorts and amenities.
Kamala Beach has a path lined with cheap bars where you can easily grab a snack or cocktail but there are also more upmarket restaurants like Café Del Mar Phuket. It’s not far from other great attractions like Green Elephant Sanctuary Park and the Phuket Nature Elephant Reserve and water parks like the Blue Tree Lagoon.
Accommodation near Kamala Beach
9. Paradise Beach
Paradise Beach is a private beach near Patong which means you do have to pay 100 baht to enter, which is less than €3. You might be wondering if it’s even worth it to pay to go to a beach when there are dozens of other, free beaches around Phuket. But it absolutely is! For that price, you get a guaranteed chair and sun lounger and access to a cheap bar with snacks. Plus, this rugged white sand beach is absolutely gorgeous and because it’s situated at the end of a huge bay you really feel far away from everywhere else.
Just down the road from the beach, there are fantastic local Thai restaurants like Ta Khai and The Ocean Restaurant. There are lots of trails where you can hike along the cliff edge and check out lots of different views along the coastline.
Accommodation near Paradise Beach
- Budget – Crest Resort
- Mid-range – Lets Phuket Twin Sands Resort & Spa
- Luxury – Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach
10. Banana Beach
Banana Beach might just be the last truly unspoiled, serene, hidden gem of a beach in the whole of Phuket. It’s slightly down the coast from Nai Thon Beach which means it’s also super close to Phuket Airport, just 10 km (an 18-minute drive) south.
There are almost no amenities here; no parking, public toilets, restaurants, or bars. Just a beautiful rocky coastline surrounded by a thick layer of palm trees where a select few can enjoy lying on the soft white sands and swimming in the warm, turquoise water. If you feel like a walk through the thick forest next to Banana Beach, check out Kluai Waterfall.
Accommodation near Banana Beach
- Budget – Triple J Hometel at Layan Beach
- Mid-range – Andaman White Beach Resort
- Luxury – The Pavilions Phuket
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