The Best Beaches in Phuket You Need to Visit
With vibrant turquoise waters and hot white sands, Phuket's beaches are a must-visit whenever you're in Thailand | © Travel Wild / Alamy Stock Photo
Phuket – otherwise known as the Pearl of the Andaman – certainly lives up to its name. While some find the island a little touristy for their liking, there are plenty of hidden beaches that are sure to impress even the pickiest of travellers. Here are the best beaches to visit in Phuket, Thailand.
Snorkel in the Andaman Sea on our immersive 10-day small-group adventure to southern Thailand. Led by a Local Insider, you’ll also stay in a floating raft house, kayak through the Bor Thor Mangrove Forest and dine on authentic Thai cuisine – plus much, much more.
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Arguably one of the best beaches in Thailand – let alone Phuket – is Freedom Beach. Surprisingly, it’s just a short drive from Patong Beach, a seedy stretch of sand chock full of men and women with liquor in tow. Yet Freedom Beach is one of the most stunning stretches of secluded sand you’re likely to come across. After paying a small entrance fee, you must take on the sloping staircase, cross shrubbery, and step over a rock or two. Upon arrival, and with no large waves in sight, you can swim out as far as you please and enjoy looking at the incredible jungle back on shore.
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The fewer people, the better; and this is certainly the case at Kata Beach in the southern part of the island. Many of the beaches around Phuket have lovely cliffs and shrubbery acting as a backdrop on one side and beachside restaurants and questionable souvenir shops on the other. Kata Beach, on the other hand, lacks the tourist-driven vibe and instead gives off a laid-back one, with no high-rise buildings in sight. It has its fair share of beach chairs you can rent – but in comparison to the other Phuket beaches, Kata is one of the most secluded.
Kata Noi Beach
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Though not as large as Kata Beach, Kata Noi is just as noteworthy. It is even more secluded with fewer travellers making the trek because it is both smaller and harder to reach. It’s a great surf spot; the waves tend to be relatively large during the low season. And the white stretch of sand is pretty long considering it is one of the smaller beaches on the island.
Those looking for luxury should look no further than Surin Beach – the cheesy souvenir shops and rickety beachside restaurants replaced by luxury resorts and homes. The beach is clean and not as busy as you might think, providing great views of the Andaman Sea. The beach has also been dubbed Millionaire’s Row, so rest assured it’s going to be an expensive day – the restaurants and wine bars here are not necessarily cheap.
Nestled between Kata and Patong beaches, Karon provides a happy medium between the two. In addition to its beautiful stretches of sand and seemingly never-ending sea, it’s also equipped with a vibrant market once a week. It’s one of the longest beaches on the island with plenty of spots to both snorkel and dive. The beach is also great for lounging, with nearby dining and shopping options.
Nai Harn Beach
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Sand does not get much better than that found on Nai Harn, while during the high season, the waves are minimal. It’s backed by jungle, with a handful of restaurants tucked between the greenery. And the smaller islands out to sea make a pretty backdrop come sunset.
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Flat as a pancake and unquestionably clean is Paradise Beach. This stretch of sand certainly lives up to the name, with sloping palm trees for shade and granite rocks on the coastline. The area is home to high-end restaurants, so expect to dish out a few hundred baht for a meal. The beach – which is only about 150m (492ft) long – somehow remains pristine regardless of the season.
These recommendations were updated on September 6, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.