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Not sure which Phuket beaches are the best?
Are you thinking, I can’t go to Phuket and miss out on Patong? Well, first of all, let me tell you a little secret.
“There are better Phuket beaches than PATONG!”
Not me, apparently, considering it took me three visits to Phuket to get out of Patong.
Having just returned home from my third visit to Phuket, over a ten day period, I’m happy to say I didn’t set one foot in Patong.
By all means, if you’re looking for tourism on steroids including a packed beach, jet ski city, tons of accommodation, loads of shopping and restaurants, endless bars and nightlife, Patong is where it’s at!
On my previous two visits to Phuket in 1999 and 2002 it was all about Patong – I was younger then and looking to party – but this time as a family we were looking for something much different.
Our four favourite beaches were Layan Beach, Karon Beach, Kata Beach, and Surin Beach.
Personal photos and tips on these beaches are down below, but firstly, how much does a day at a Phuket beach cost?
2 Beach chairs, umbrella and table = 200 Baht ($6.70) per day!
Singa Beer = 80 Baht ($2.70)
Fresh Coconut = 50 Baht ($1.70)
Bottle of water = 20 Baht (65 cents)
1 Hour Massage = 300 – 400 Baht ($10 – $13)
Lunch (Pad Thai, Green Curry, Tom Yum Goong) = 120 – 150 Baht ($4 – $5)
Looking for some water sports action?
Now, let’s get back to our four preferred beaches.
Our favourite beach, and we stumbled on this beach almost by accident.
It was our first stop on our Phuket beaches discovery drive with Mr Dam. We were in the Bangtao Bay area, and if we didn’t ask for a coffee stop, we may have never visited Layan.
We pulled up at the end of a narrow beach road, stepped out of the car, and there in front of us was our Thai bliss.
I can’t believe we almost had this piece of paradise all to ourselves, in peak season! No jet skis, no touts, the water was crystal clear, the sand soft and white, and a super chilled vibe.
Layan Beach is just north of Bang Tao Beach and we were at the southern end of Layan. We picked a spot in front of a hand full of quiet restaurants, such as Sabays, and this location was PERFECT for our family.
We had access to all the essentials: good food, beach chairs, beer, coconuts and a fresh water shower. This beach made our Phuket holiday!
We spent the most amount of time at Karon, as we were staying across the road at Hilton Phuket.
We enjoyed Karon. The water and sand is nice, and it’s a long beach which is great for walks. Although there is quite a few resort developments, and plenty of restaurant options, it’s nowhere near as developed as Patong!
On most days we could be found enjoying a sunset beer, or a cocktail, and the vibe is great for families, couples, or a solo traveller.
If you’re standing in front of the Hilton, head left or right and you will discover plenty of eating options.
The Night Temple markets were a hit, and we loved the location as far as exploring the rest of Phuket.
You can walk to Kata Beach, and if you need the crazy mental party scene of Patong, it’s in close proximity.
Kata is one beach further south from Karon, and probably a bit more scenic as it’s more of a cove shaped beach. And whilst it was busier than Karon, it didn’t feel like it and still had a nice relaxed vibe, again, perfect for families.
We liked the tree lined street running adjacent to the beach which also provided some nice shady spots on the sand – it’s HOT in Thailand – even under big beach umbrellas!
After a day on Kata we recommend you head up the hill for a sunset drink at the “After Beach Bar”. Just don’t do what we did and choose the cloudiest day of your trip to watch the sunset.
On arrival I didn’t take to Surin much, but it grew on me. It’s the smallest of the four beaches and whilst full of beach chairs and umbrellas, it’s quite scenic actually with lots of colours going on.
We ended up spending a whole day at Surin swimming in the ocean, chilling on the beach chairs, getting a great Thai massage (400 baht), and grabbing a delicious cheap lunch from the street carts nearby.
In the early evening we found a nice restaurant on the beach, Pla Seafood, and enjoyed a good quality, reasonably priced dinner, whilst watching an amazing sunset.
Disclaimer: We travelled to Thailand courtesy of Tourism Thaialnd
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