With a magnificent 7km stretch of beach, Bangtao is considered as one of the most exclusive areas in Phuket. The area can be divided into three parts: north, centre and south. In the northern part is Layan Beach, with its famous hotels and villa complexes. This area is more popular with locals and expats living on the island permanently therefore, even in high season, it is not overcrowded. It is very easy to rent a sun-lounger or sample excellent local Thai cuisine from one of the many beachside restaurants. For a more exclusive experience, the Dream Beach Club is a great choice. The area is quiet, green and perfect for a family vacation or a permanent residence.
Central Bangtao is only a 5-minute drive away and boasts the Laguna complex. This is a prestigious and high-class development with well-maintained landscapes, golf courses, 5* resorts, luxury villas and apartments. Real estate in Laguna is considered as a successful investment for personal residential purpose or for future rental opportunities. Laguna is a favourite vacation spot for lots of European tourists during high season. In the surrounding area there are a huge variety of European shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, spas, elite schools, kindergartens and kids’ clubs.
The southern part of Bangtao also contains lots of 5-star hotels, villas and apartments but at lower rental cost. Again, a large selection of cafes, restaurants and local businesses are available. To summarize, in the southern part you can find the most affordable vacation rental, the central part offers luxury hotels, villas and apartments for wealthier consumers, and the northern part is now being actively built up with luxury villas and apartments. In general, in any part of Bangtao, you and your family will be able to enjoy a fabulous vacation or lifestyle and not be crowded on the beach even in high season.
A smaller area, Surin cannot support significant infrastructure development but this is compensated for by its location and proximity to neighbouring beaches: Bangtao to the north and Kamala beach to the south. This therefore, makes this area an attractive destination for both vacations and permanent residences. Just a 10-minute drive and you can reach kindergartens, elite schools, European shops, spa salons, beach clubs, golf courses and restaurants boasting excellent Thai and European cuisine. Surin is considered as one of the best beaches in Phuket due to its stunning, crystal-clear, turquoise waters.
Kamala is perfect for those seeking a more vibrant and eclectic experience. Flanked by bustling Patong to the south and the serenity of Surin to the north it is also easy to reach the Bangtao and Laguna area in just 15-20 minutes’ drive where you can find European supermarkets, schools and kindergartens. Kamala itself is popular among expats from Europe, who live here permanently, and tourists staying here on holidays. Even in low season there are many people on the beach. Nestled on the mid-western part of Phuket, Kamala offers a stunning 2 kilometres of beach. You can find local weekend markets, lots of mini-markets, bars, restaurants offering Thai and European cuisine and massage shops. This is probably the only beach on the island, where you can spend a whole day in complete comfort without going anywhere. In Kamala you can walk along the coastline, sit in a restaurant and sunbathe at the same time on sun loungers, and later enjoy stunning sunsets.
Patong Beach is considered as one of the most popular tourist places on the island – a bustling area with lots of entertainment options. Its coastline is about 4 kilometres long encircled in an absolutely stunning bay. People purchase real estate here normally for personal use, especially those who like nightlife. Many tourists usually spend days on the beach, which is very crowded in high season. If you are looking for a quiet and private area, then you should consider the neighbouring beaches like Kamala or Karon. Patong offers a large selection of cheap and expensive hotels, any kind of cuisine, massage shops, tattoo saloons, souvenir shops and the modern, expansive Jungceylon shopping center. Finally, we must mention Patong’s world-famous Bangla Road – a walking street like no other. Make sure to visit at night time when it comes alive with every possible sight and sound. A multitude of bars, restaurants, live music venues and nightclubs contribute to the overall atmosphere whilst street vendors, touts and entertainers all flock together to produce a colourful and buzzing tourist experience.
Nai Harn Beach
Nai Harn Beach is found on the south coast of Phuket. Set in a small bay, it is surrounded by the picturesque Andaman Sea, tropical forests and mountain landscapes. This area is a great choice for families with small children. Nai Harn is a favourite beach for tourists staying in neighbouring Rawai due to its pure soft sand and excellent swimming conditions. There are many cafes and restaurants close to the beach for all tastes, as well as some bars and clubs but nothing like the range found in Patong. This area is popular not only among tourists, but also expats living in Thailand permanently. Here you can find properties for rent and for sale, which meet all demands and budget. Lots of expats and locals prefer to live here as the cost of living is lower compared to other areas of Phuket. There are many supermarkets, local markets, kindergartens and schools within 10 minutes’ drive to nearby Rawai or Chalong, all at affordable prices.
Karon beach is regarded by many as Phuket’s second most developed beach. It enjoys a vast stretch of white sand, a decent choice of dining and nightlife, and never seems to draw crowds of tourists. It’s much cleaner and better maintained than Patong and the sand is an absolute joy. Karon is long and open – more than 3km from end to end and well known for its beachfront hotels, and the small but delightful town of Karon itself. The northern end of the beach is usually deserted, making it an excellent spot for those who want the beach to themselves.
The southern end, close to Kata, tends to be busier but it isn’t that hard to find a nice spot for yourself. There are very few waves during the high season (November–April), resulting in crystal-clear waters. However, Karon Beach experiences dangerous swells and riptides in the southwest monsoon season (May–October). If you like a quiet beach, with some nightlife, Karon is ideal as you can easily head into Patong in the evening. There are plenty of eating options around Karon beach. The resorts have some nice restaurants and there are plenty of small family restaurants for Thai food nearby. It does tend to be more of a family beach, and the accommodation reflects this albeit with lots of choices for everyone from luxury seekers to backpackers. Karon is a great base for exploring Phuket being centrally positioned on the west coast of the island. Car and scooter hire is very easy to set up and many beaches and popular areas are within a short drive away.
Also on the west coast, Kata beach is a popular destination for tourists and expats. The beach boasts white sands, clear seas, tropical trees and many activities such as a thriving surf school and kite-boarding lessons. Often busy but never crowded, beautiful palm trees provide plenty of shade to the entire bay. You can easily find drink vendors, beach massages and a few small but good Thai restaurants. The town stretches for 2 kilometres along a road behind the seafront and on it you will find a wealth of restaurants, hotels and shops. You’ll be spoilt for choice, and will only worry that you won’t have enough time to sample all the incredible restaurants in the area.
Kata beach is centred around families and family activities, and is a great place for children and parents to spend vacation or to live permanently. The area is also regarded as very safe with locals that are warm, friendly and welcoming. Accommodation types are varied, with lots activities offered ready to be enjoyed by all ages. While most of Kata beach is family-friendly, quiet and content, there are a few places to find for a great night out. Much less hectic than Patong, most evening venues along the beach are geared toward couples and families, with outdoor cafés and restaurants galore. On the back road running parallel to the beach you’ll find the fun, from karaoke bars to dance clubs and more.
A fantastic place for all in high season, Kata is sometimes unsafe to swim during the low season (June to November). However, because of the waves, it then becomes popular among surfers and even hosts a surf competition once a year. During the low season Kata beach becomes a place of peace and serenity, with a lot of hours of sunshine between the rain-spells.