Phuket is renowned for being one of the greatest beach destinations ever – not just in Thailand, but in the entire world! Phuket is known for its amazing white sands, beautiful palm trees, clear, glittering seas and lively towns, making it the tourist hot spot it has become today.
In case you’re planning a vacation in Phuket soon, you must be searching for the best beaches to spend your day getting that perfect tan, swimming, snorkelling or simply sipping from your cocktail. No worries, I got you! In this article, I’m taking you through 13 of my favourite beaches that Phuket has to offer. I wanted to limit the list to just 5 beaches at first, but I quickly realised there are SO many amazing strips of sand with perfect water in Phuket, that it would’ve been a shame to not share truly the best ones with you all.
Moreover, I’ve also given you my recommendations for the best Phuket resorts that have their own private beach (perfect for a honeymoon, for example) and the best spots in Phuket to watch the sunset. Are you ready?!
Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for any irrational flights spontaneously booked to Thailand after reading this post! 😉
Best beaches in Phuket Thailand by interest and type of traveller
Okay, before proceeding to my (rather) long list of beaches in Phuket, I want to help you decide on the best one for you. And it’s simple: it all depends on what you’re looking for! Sure, all 13 beaches below are simply gorgeous, but some are better for snorkelling, for example, while others are more laid-back or family friendly. In order to help you choose, I have created the customised list below:
- Best beach in Phuket for couples: Nai Thon Beach or Mai Khao
- Best beach in Phuket for families: Kamala Beach
- Best beach in Phuket for swimming: Kata Beach Phuket
- Best beach in Phuket for snorkelling: Ao Sane Beach or Ya Nui
- Best beach in Phuket for nightlife and beach clubs: Patong Beach
- The most popular beach in Phuket: Patong Beach
- Best hidden beach in Phuket: Laem Singh
A couple of things to know before
Which side of Phuket has the best beaches?
You have two easy choices here: either the Southern or the West Coast. The East Coast is lush and full of forests, so it’s not really considered the beach destination. But the good thing about the South and West Coast is that most of the great beaches are located close to each other, so in case you want to tick more than a couple of spots off your list, you’ll be able to do so in Phuket.
In order to clearly visualise what I’m talking about, I recommend checking out the Phuket map below which indicates where each of the beaches I’ll be talking about is located:
Where can you swim in Phuket?
You might think that all beaches in Phuket are perfect for swimming. Well, that’s not exactly accurate. Some beaches can become dangerous for swimming, especially during low season, because of rough currents or jellyfish – Banana Beach is just an example and sometimes even Karon Beach. Other than this, most of the beaches I’ll be mentioning below are safe to swim in. Remember that it all depends on the weather and the time of the year you decide to visit, so I recommend checking the updated info for each of the beaches you want to visit beforehand.
13 Best Beaches in Phuket, Thailand
Now enough with the boring information, let’s find out about the best beaches in Phuket!
1 - Kata Beach (Kata Noi & Kata Yai)
Although most articles on the web are talking about Kata and Kata Noi Beach as two different spots, I’ll be including them in one big recommendation. Why? Because Kata Beach (also known as Kata Yai) and Kata Noi are extremely close to each other and very similar too, so whichever one you choose, you’ll be good. Just note that Kata Noi Beach is a bit less crowded and a bit harder to reach.
Kata Beach is situated nearby the touristic towns of Patong and Karon. With a 1.5 km-long stretch of sand, this beach has all the facilities and activities you’d find in Patong, but with the benefit of also having a bit fewer tourists (with an emphasis on ‘a bit’ – it’s still super popular!). This is a great place to come and soak up the sun, it’s excellent for swimming and it’s a great beach for families as well. There are also multiple shops and eateries here, as well as some cool bars. Kata Beach always seems to be busy, but never overcrowded!
RELATED READ: Where to Stay in Phuket Island – 7 Best Areas & Hotels
2 - Freedom Beach
Soft white sand, clear waters and a quiet atmosphere – Freedom Beach is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket! But there’s one thing to note, though… When it comes to Freedom Beach, part of the fun comes down to the difficulty of getting there! You only have two options: hiking down from the top of the hill or getting there by boat.
- From the closest road, there is a 15-20 min steep downhill hike to access this paradisiac strip of sand. Personally, I loved it; a little bit of adventure always adds to the experience! But if you aren’t the active type I need to warn you; this hike will make you weak at the knees (literally, not just from the view!) and leave you cursing your flip flops and wishing for trainers. Is it worth it, though? Definitely yes!
- Really hate the thought of that hike? You can also get to Freedom Beach via long tail boats from Patong Town, Kata, Karon or Kamala Beach, but only during the high season (December to June). We hiked there and them jumped on a boat back to town, which was also a lot of fun!
When you finally arrive, you’ll find that this so-called ‘hidden beach’ is Phuket’s worst kept secret. Long-tail boats are lined up near the shore, ready to ferry visitors back to the town of Patong. Small stalls are set up under the shade of palm trees selling coconuts, soft drinks and water. Even though the beach isn’t overcrowded, it also isn’t empty (well, at least there are no loud jet skis…). The secret of this pretty little bay is out and it’s clear as to why. With incredibly soft white sand and crystal-clear blue waters, Freedom Beach may no longer be hidden, but it’s definitely still a gem!
- BEST HOTEL ON FREEDOM BEACH: There is no overnight accommodation directly on the beach. The closest hotel is Avista Hideaway Phuket Patong, less than 1 km away.
- BEST RESTAURANT ON FREEDOM BEACH: There’s a small restaurant serving Thai food on the northern end, but it’s a gamble on whether it’s open or closed depending on season/year.
3 - Patong Beach
Patong Beach is the longest and one of the most popular Phuket beaches! Because of this, the entire 2.5 km long stretch of white sand is very crowded and noisy most of the time, but it’s still an excellent place to enjoy the bustling nightlife of the West coast. Plus, it’s right near Patong Town where you’ll find countless restaurants, shops, massage parlours and hotels, so you’ll have everything you need nearby. And the beach is full of water sports as well!
4 - Karon Beach
Karon is the second biggest beach strip in Phuket and among the most popular tourist spots! And the reason is pretty clear: fine sand, incredible blue waters and lots of activities to be done here: shopping, dining and a little bit of clubbing as well. During the high season, of course. Karon Beach is lined with beautiful trees for some well-deserved shade and it even has volleyball nets and more than enough restaurant options to choose from. The water is perfect for swimming in the high season, but it can get dangerous in the low season because of strong currents, so beware!
5 - Nai Harn Beach
Situated at the southern end of Phuket is the laid-back Nai Harn Beach. And trust me, this one’s not like Patong or Kata. Nai Harn is more popular with locals and expats than tourists, but it still makes my list due to its pure white sand coupled with its crystal-clear waters.
Nai Harn is generally pretty chilled and doesn’t get overly busy, so you can enjoy it and its surroundings at your leisure – which is a great plus considering you’re in one of the most popular beach destinations in the world! This is probably why Nai Harn is considered to be the best beach on Phuket by so many. Although… yes, it does get busier with tourists from December to April.
6 - Surin Beach
Surin Beach was once one of the top spots for renting lounges, sipping drinks in the numerous bars, eating and, of course, shopping from the countless vendor stalls. It was vivid, crowded and there was always something happening around. Not anymore! Nowadays, Surin is a natural beach, with all the amenities GONE. Everything changed after a dispute with the government, which made most shops and restaurants get demolished in no time.
But! This makes it even better, trust me. Maybe one of the most unique Phuket beaches, if you ask me. Surin Beach is now wild and pristine, lined with beautiful trees and some amazing resorts to choose from. You won’t go there for entertainment anymore, but for relaxation and admiring raw nature. Which is totally worth it!
7 - Bang Tao Beach
Bang Tao Beach (also written Bangtao) is located right between Patong and the airport and it’s a gorgeous, long strip of white sand (one of the longest, actually). There wasn’t much going on around here in the past, but Bang Tao became a vivid, laid-back place and one of the top beaches in Phuket Island over recent years. You’ll find anything you need here, from cool beach clubs to world-class restaurants and some unforgettable hotels as well. Although it may not be as beautiful as Surin Beach, it’s full of good amenities and activities (including a water park!) and, best of all, it’s not that crowded. Cha-ching!
8 - Ya Nui Beach
Ya Nui Beach (nearby Nai Harn Beach) is a tiny, charming bay tucked into a cove in the south of Phuket. At first, it looks like the picture-perfect image of a secret beach, but don’t be under any illusions! Word is out and this place can get very busy at times. Don’t let that put you off though. Golden sands, crystal clear blue waters, thatch-roofed restaurants serving local Thai food; just a few of the reasons you should add it to your list.
Although small, Ya Nui is just perfect for diving and snorkelling!
9 - Kamala Beach
Kamala Beach, located right between Patong and Surin, is a charming, laid-back option if you want to stay away from the tourist crowds. You won’t find any water sport options or big parties here, making Kamala the perfect choice for a relaxed holiday. It’s also one of the cleanest Phuket beaches! After a full day of relaxing in a hammock, you can go to Kamala Town nearby where you’ll find cute cafes and some very good restaurants. No worries, there are some amazing beachfront eateries and the sunset here is pretty incredible!
10 - Paradise Beach
“Paradise Beach”… I guess the name says it all, right? And yes, I can confirm – the sand is golden and soft, the waters are pretty much perfect and the tall palm trees make the entire setting look heavenly! Paradise Beach, located only 10 minutes from Patong, is a rather small and remote cove (150m long) and was once a secret beach. Now, the beach has transformed into a luxurious beach club called Paradise Beach Club, a traveller’s dream. Other than this, the beach is also perfect for some snorkelling as well, as there’s a gorgeous coral reef only 100m offshore.
Paradise Beach Club offers plenty of options for bars and restaurants and you can rent beach chairs as well. And if you’re interested in the Koh-Phangan-type of parties… search no more, the full moon party organised here is for you!
NOTE: Just remember that you need to pay an entrance fee of 200 baht (6.40 US$) to access the beach and all its facilities and that the beach is open from 9 AM to 6 PM.
- BEST HOTEL ON PARADISE BEACH: There are no hotels on the beach except for Paradise Beach Club’s only accommodation, which is a hostel – Paradise Beach Backpackers. Alternatively, I recommend staying at a hotel nearby. Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa is fabulous and it’s only 1 km away.
- BEST RESTAURANT ON PARADISE BEACH: There are plenty of good restaurants at Paradise Beach Club to choose from.
11 - Nai Thon Beach
Nai Thon Beach is located only 10 minutes from the airport and I think it’s one of the most underrated beaches on the entire island! It’s beautiful, it’s pristine and it’s the very definition of relaxation. There aren’t a lot of things to do on the beach except swimming and sunbathing, but a short walk away you’ll find Nai Thon village with local eateries and shops. You’ll also find the Phuket Elephant Jungle Sanctuary.
In short, let’s enjoy the peace of Nai Thon Beach while we can, my friends!
12 - Laem Singh Beach
Gorgeous sandy beach with lush green trees and a perfect place for relaxation. The fact that you’ll feel like you have the entire place to yourself is one of the best things about Laem Singh Beach!
Laem Singh was, sadly, closed in April 2017 after being one of the most loved Phuket beaches ever. It is said that the owner decided to ban everyone from entering his beach. The beach remained closed until the end of 2017 when it was sold to a new owner. But people found a way to fix the situation – since 2018 you can get to Laem Singh Beach by sea if you take the small orange boat from Surin Beach (100 baht/person). So, luckily for us travellers, the beach is now accessible again!
- BEST HOTEL ON LAEM SINGH BEACH: Surin Beach Villa
- BEST RESTAURANT ON LAEM SINGH BEACH: Although there aren’t many amenities (read: at all) on this beach, you can find one cute restaurant on the rocks – it looks like a terrace made of wood with red umbrellas and the food is really nice!
13 - Mai Khao Beach
Mai Khao Beach is one of the longest in Phuket and, surprisingly enough, it’s still very pristine and laid-back… almost untouched! The water is calm and the beach is much emptier than many of the other popular beaches further south on the island – there aren’t even beach chairs and umbrellas yet, but you can find a couple of newly built hotels instead.
By the way, Mai Khao Beach stretches right past the airport and is known for its popular photo-op location where you can stand just in front of the runway as the planes land and take off right over your head. Cool, right?
TOP PHOTO TIP: Make sure you check the flight schedules to see when planes are set to take off / land. This will save you some time and stop you waiting around for ages in the sun.
Other notable beaches in Phuket worth mentioning
It’s not that the beaches below are not worth it, but my list above was already getting pretty long so I had to make some kind of differentiation! Here are some extra beautiful beaches for you to check out:
- Ao Sane – Nearby Nai Harn Beach and a TOP spot for snorkelling! For once, this is actually a secret beach in Phuket, without any jet skis or noisy tourists.
- Pansea – North of Surin Beach, this hidden gem can be reached by boat from Surin or Bang Tao. Alternatively, you can reach it by walking if you take the steep path that separates Surin from Pansea.
- Nai Yang – Right near Mai Khao Beach and Sirinath National Park. There are a couple of luxury resorts here, as well as some restaurants, but aside from these, the beach is still untouched.
- Rawai – not really your go-to place for swimming, but rather for snapping some pictures and getting a gorgeous view of the other beaches and nearby islands. It’s also the best spot for island hopping to the best beaches near Phuket such as Banana Beach (see the next section)
- Panwa / Khao Kat Beach – this is one of the few beaches on the East coast worth mentioning. Although you can’t swim here, you can still visit it if you want to discover a pristine, wild beach and a few luxury villas as well!
RELATED READ: Phuket Old Town, Thailand – Quick Travel Guide
Best beaches NEAR Phuket (day trip beaches)
I know you might be wondering why I didn’t mention the famous Banana Beach here?! Well, there’s a simple reason behind it: because Banana Beach is not actually in Phuket, but rather close by. So I included it on my list of beautiful beaches that are not TECHNICALLY in Phuket:
- Banana Beach – This is a superb hidden gem that can be reached by a long-tail boat from Rawai Beach. Once there, you can snorkel, kayak and even do some parasailing!
- Railay Beach – This beach in Krabi Province is simply superb with limestone cliffs and it’s an ideal spot for rock climbers.
- Phra Nang Cave Beach – This one’s near Railay Beach and it hosts a AWESOME cave and calm waters, perfect for swimming and climbing as well.
BONUS #1: 10 Best Phuket resorts with private beach
I’ll keep this bonus section short and sweet with some of the best beach resorts in Phuket that offer an excellent service and that have their own private beach reserved for their customers only:
BONUS #2: Best sunset spots in Phuket
If you’re dreaming of admiring the sunset from a perfect location in Phuket, the list below includes the best bars and places to do so! And trust me, although it may sound a bit boring, seeing the sunset in Phuket is something truly special and unforgettable! Do you have your pens ready? Here goes:
- Promthep Cape – this is the southernmost point of Phuket and definitely THE most popular place to watch the sunset!
- Baba Nest – spectacular 360 bar belonging to Sri Panwa Resort. You cannot enter without a reservation, so make sure you make one several days in advance;
- The Boathouse Phuket – beautiful spot where you can admire the sunset while you’re sipping on a signature cocktail;
- Big Buddha – 45m tall Buddha statue with incredible views of Kata and Karon beaches drenched in the sunset light;
- Kata Rocks – gorgeous hotel on Kata. Seeing the sunset from their infinity pool is an amazing experience;
- After Beach Sunset Bar – nice bar with accessible prices and Thai dishes;
- 360 Degrees Restaurant – how about some fancy cocktails and tapas while watching the sun setting over the Andaman Sea?
- Heaven Restaurant & Bar – the best out of the 3 hillside sunset spots in Kata Noi;
- Little Tiger – near Marriott Resort on Patong Beach, this is kind of a hidden gem that also serves some yummy dishes.
This was my COMPLETE list of the best beaches in Phuket for all types of travellers! Regardless if you’re a couple looking for a romantic getaway on the island or a family looking for calm waters where the little ones can splash around, rest assured that you’ll find something in my list above. Plus, I have also given you my hand-picked recommendations for the best beach resorts and the best sunset bars in all of Phuket. What more can you wish for
Excited to read more about the gorgeous island of Phuket? Click here to find all my articles about this unique island destination in Thailand.