There’s no better place to soak up the rays than on one of Phuket’s picture-perfect beaches, renowned for their pristine white sand and the crystalline blue waters of the Andaman Sea. If you’re looking for salty hair, sun-kissed skin and spending some time with that book you’ve been meaning to get to for months, Phuket is the place to do it. So grab your bikini and get ready to lounge—here are five great Phuket beaches for your sun-soaked bucket list.
Freedom Beach is one the most beautiful spots in Phuket. Imagine a quiet, unspoiled, 300-metre-long strip of soft, white sand set in a turquoise bay with granite rocks and surrounded by the jungle. It’s as fun as it is beautiful, too. It’s a great site for snorkeling as both ends of the beach are filled with fish and small marine life. Sun beds are available to rent for a small fee, and if you get thirsty or hungry, it’s home to a restaurant serving simple Thai food and chilled drinks.
The easiest way to get to Freedom Beach from Patong is by long-tail boat. You can catch a ride from the jetty at the southern end of Patong Beach. The round trip will cost you between 1,200 and 1,500 baht. After a 10-minute boat ride, you’ll jump in the shallow waters to disembark—so come dressed in your swimsuit and be ready for the small plunge. There is also road access available through a gate that might be open (or it may not), but this requires getting in touch with your adventurous side and trekking through the jungle.
One of the longest beaches on Phuket Island, Karon Beach is located between Kata Beach and Patong Beach. Ocean babies can enjoy the crystal clear waters, and sunbathers can lie beneath the many loungers and umbrellas that line the sandy beach. If you’re up for a higher level of activity, there’s a rocky area around the south of the beach that is a top spot for snorkeling. You’ll also have the chance to go diving or parasailing if you’re feeling really ambitious. The north end of the beach is quieter than the south one, where you can watch the sunset in a bar on the rocks.
It’s only a few kilometres from Patong, and yet somehow Tri Trang Beach remains a hidden gem. It’s a little tricky to find, probably due to the fact that it has several names. It’s sometimes called “Emerald Beach” and sometimes “Crystal Beach.” Though the alternate names may be confusing, both are apt descriptions of this idyllic spot.
This quiet strip is ideal for sunbathing and splashing about in the shallow sea. The waters off Tri Trang Beach are not deep and quite rocky, making swimming a little difficult at low tide. You can lunch and even dine in nearby restaurants, and some of them are open until 9 p.m. making it a nice spot to spend the end of the day.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? And yes, the stretch of sand called Paradise Beach lives up to its name. The sea is very blue, the sand is powdery and cute little boats are typically bobbing gently in the bay. But Paradise comes with a price—literally. There is a 200-baht entrance fee.
Paradise Beach used to be impossible to find until a concrete road made it easier to reach. You can even catch the free shuttle (look for the yellow truck) that leaves every 30 minutes from 9 a.m. on at Jungceylon mall in Patong. It’s become a very popular beach with a lot of water activities (snorkeling, kayaking, body boarding and scuba diving) bars and restaurants. If it gets too busy for you, walk 100 metres to the left, and you will find a surprisingly quiet, sandy cove.
No list of great beaches in Phuket would be complete without mentioning Patong Beach. This popular sand spot is at the doorstep of Hotel Indigo Phuket Patong and has it all— clear waters, patrolled swimming sections, sun loungers, umbrellas and more water sports activities than any other beach (parasailing, jet ski, banana boat rides, kayaking, stand-up paddle). And after sunset, the town behind Patong beach is also home to Phuket’s best nightlife.
Whether you’re a sunbather extraordinaire or a water sports enthusiast, there’s a beach for everyone—in fact, a few beaches for everyone—in Patong. The hardest question you’ll have to wrestle with on your next visit will be which one to head to first.