Phuket International Airport (ท่าอากาศยานนานาชาติภูเก็ต)
Phuket International Airport is the gateway to Phuket Island, Phangnga and Khao Lak, all of which are
popular tourist destinations over the years. Travelers from any origins arrive looking for a holiday paradise
in the South of Thailand.
The airport code is HKT and is under supervision of the Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited. Many
domestic and international carriers are servicing Phuket as well as long haul charters, some of which are
Most of the traffic is staying on the Island of Phuket, but also sub-destinations are gaining in popularity.
Let aside the many beaches and night entertainment, Phuket and the Andaman Islands have something for
every taste and from young travelers to families and retirees. The combination of warm weather and the developed
infrastructure has made Phuket the center for longer staying tourists.
The easy access to the stunning white powdery beaches of Koh Racha, the more private and adventurous Koh
Yao Noi, Koh Phi Phi in the South as well as the Similan Islands in the North, has made Phuket an ideal gateway
and/or access point for unforgettable holidays.
Thalang District (อำเภอถลาง)
Thalang was the original center of the Phuket province, from which the Island had its former name : Mueang Thalang.
Thalang borders to the south Mueang Phuket and Kathu, while to the north is Takua Thung of Phang Nga Province,
separated by the Pak Prah strait, nowadays crossed by Sarasin Bridge, thus connecting Phuket to the mainland.
The Khao Phra Thaeo Natural reserve protects more than 20 km² of rainforest within the hills of the Thalang District.
The three highest peaks of this reserve are the Khao Prathiu (384 m), Khao Bang Pae (388 m) and Khao Phara (422 m).
The Sirinat National Park on the northwestern coast was established in 1981 and protects an area of 90 km² (68 km² marine area),
including the Nai Yang beach, known for being a sea turtles sanctuary and breeding area. In the South of the district
a branch museum of the National Museum was opened in 1989 at the Heroines Monument. The monument itself commemorates
the local heroines Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Sunthon, who forced the Burmese army besieging the town of Thalang to
retreat. Phuket International Airport is located in the Northern part of the district. The main road is Highway 402, which runs
from Sarasin Bridge over the Pak Prah strait till Phuket city in the South East of the Island.
Boat Lagoon (ท่าเทียบเรือ)
The Boat Lagoon, a unique maritime township on the east coast of the idyllic Phuket, is offering easy-living
homes surrounded by tropical green gardens, full service marina, resort hotel, commercial plaza, bank, Med
Park, supermarket, restaurants and other sporting facilities.
An increasing number of both sailing and motor yachts are moored year round there as yachting in the emerald
seas around Phuket Island as well as the smaller islands around the Phang Nga Bay rapidly gains in popularity.
Kathu District (อำเภอกะทู้)
Kathu is a district of Phuket Province, located in the west of the island. Kathu District neighbors Thalang
to the north, Mueang Phuket to the east and south, and the Andaman Sea to the west.
Kathu is the district which covers the most touristic beach of Phuket, namely Patong Beach. Kamala beach
to the North is much less developed, but rapidly gaining in popularity.
Phuket Town (เมืองภูเก็ต)
Mueang Phuket is the capital district of the Phuket Province. The town Phuket itself is in the northwest of
the district. The district covers the southern part of Phuket Island. The western and southern coasts consist
of several more or less touristic beaches, from the northwest: Karon, Kata, Kata Noi, Nai Harn, Rawai and
the Friendship Beach along the Chalong Bay. The beaches are separated from each other by rocky capes,
most notably is the Promthep Cape with the southernmost trip of the island. The cape is popular among
Thais as well as international tourists for its dramatic views of the sunset.
The most important of the 29 Buddhist temples of Phuket is Wat Chalong (วัดฉลอง, วัดไชยธาราราม
It is dedicated to two highly venerable monks, Luang Pho Chaem (หลวงพ่อแช่ม
) and Luang Pho Chuang (หลวงพ่อช่วง),
who helped the injured of a tin miners rebellion in 1876 with their knowledge of herbal medicine.
Mai Khao Beach (หาดไม้ขาว)
Mai Khao Beach is located on Phuket’s northwest coast. The main beach, which stretches a bit over 10 kilometers, is still
less developed than the other destinations. This is mainly because it is part of the Sirinat National Park and Phuket International
Airport as well as a few high end resorts and hotels, such as JW Marriott and Anantara, are the only significant constructions
along it. Although the sand is not the finest, and perhaps the coarsest in Phuket, the beach is so positively secluded that
visitors can enjoy endless privacy.
Both due to the isolation and the National Park status, Mai Khao is a very popular camping spot. At the far north of the beach,
where the waters from Phang Nga Bay meet the Andaman Sea, surfers sometimes ride the waves, otherwise the beach is mostly
devoid of activities except fishing and hiking. Due to a sharp drop off in to the Andaman Sea, swimming may be limited in the low
season due to strong underwater currents.
Mai Khao is also where the endangered giant leatherback turtles come to lay their eggs in the spring. In addition, every year
young hatchlings are released into the sea in an effort to repopulate the sea.
Nai Yang Beach (หาดในยาง)
Nai Yang Beach is very popular for locals and residents alike. The beach is located only 5 minutes south
of Phuket International Airport and this is where the National Park Office is situated. The beach itself is
on a long curving bay lined with casurina trees that provide shade to picnickers.
The large coral reef is home to many different species of fish, and Nai Yang is well known as a site where
sea turtles come to lay their eggs during the period of November to February. Unfortunately, the population
of the sea turtle has dropped off significantly.
First class hotels and resorts are available and small food vendors cater to the many day trippers. To get here,
take the Nai Yang Road and look for signs indicating the park entrance. Aside of some informal restaurants
and bars in the sand – there is not much of evening entertainment available for the visitor. The beach is very
laid back and recalls the early days of Phuket Island, before it made it was listed in nearly every travel agency’s
Nai Thon Beach (หาดในทอน)
This quiet bay nestled at the foot of high hills has a fine strip of the sand. Nai Thon is a beautiful beach and, until
recently, not developed commercially. There are some accommodations but virtually no other business. It is ideal
for swimming and dining in the small restaurants in high season. The area is very isolated and almost forgotten
during low season when the occasional stormy sea make the bay unattractive or even dangerous.
Located between Bang Tao Bay and Nai Yang Beach, Nai Thon Beach can be reached by taking Thep Krasatri Road.
Make a turn at the first traffic light north of Thalang Town to Nai Yang Road, then look for signs indicating the turn-off
to Nai Thon. The journey is definitely worthwhile, especially from the south, as the long winding road reminds a lot of
the Southern areas of Europe.
Aside of swimming, there are very good diving and snorkeling spots, most of them accessible only by boat which can
be arranged at local dive shops on the Beach Road. Entertainment and nightlife are very limited to a few beach bars
and shopping is pretty much the selection of a few mini-marts.
Layan Beach (หาดลายัน)
Layan Beach is at the northern end of Bang Tao area where the beach meets a river and a lagoon. It is the home of
many birds and other wildlife as they can enjoy the peacefulness of the lagoon.
The many small tracks, which cover the hillside of the beach, are well known by climbers and bird watchers. You can
reach the beach by walking pass the Laguna Phuket Resort or by following the highway and turning in to Nai Thon beach
at the road sign. Layan Beach Resort & Spa Village is the only resort on this beach.
The beach can be accessed by a small road passing close by the Banyan Tree Golf Club. Altogether though, the beach
is quite limited. For swimming, many tourists and residents prefer to go to Bang Tao Beach, a 10-15-minute walk south.
Bang Tao Beach (หาดบางเทา)
Bang Tao is a large open bay with one of Phuket’s longest beaches. In the older days the whole area was used for tin
mining, but has since been developed and hosts today a number of luxury resorts, hotels and apartments. Most of Bangtao
Beach is occupied by the Laguna Complex, a massive five-hotel development with golf courses. During the dry season
(November-April) swimming is excellent, during the summer months however, the swimming is restricted due to strong
currents. At the Northern end there is a smaller bay, almost completely enclosed, at the mouth of which is some fine coral.
There are plenty of places to eat, tour companies and other tourist facilities available either at Laguna or in the nearby town
Choeng Thale, which has kept its traditions alive with most of the inhabitants living off fishing, rubber taping and farming.
In terms of nightlife and entertainment, the area is rather undeveloped as most of the upmarket hotels have their own
activities for guests. Thus, there are not many alternatives in the immediate vicinity.
Pansea Beach (หาดแพนซี)
Pansea Beach is refined luxury by excellence.
Small, intimate and exclusive, the Northern end is reserved for the top end Amanpuri Phuket and Chedi resorts – home
away from home for the rich and famous. Numerous celebrities, from fashion designers to industrial magnates, are known
to be regulars.
The only access to Pansea Beach is through the hotel grounds and it is therefore quite restricted.
Surin Beach (หาดสุรินทร์)
Swaying casurina tress in the sea breeze rim this small, curvy bay beneath the foothills north of Kamala.
A bit off the beaten track, Surin has seen a lot of mid to upper market development in recent years and
Surin Beach is rapidly gaining in popularity among couples and families.
Surin is home to Phuket's first golf course as well, a nine-hole course laid out more than 60 years ago
during the reign of King Rama VII. It is now largely in disuse except as a park.
Word to the wise, the steep incline of the beach, turbulent water, and big waves make Surin Beach a
dangerous place to swim during the rainy season. During the dry months however, it is a perfect location
to collect perfect holiday memories.
Suring Beach is located at the end of Sri Sunthon Road, the road runs west from the Two Heroines Monument.
Nightlife is limited, but both accommodations and restaurants can be found. Some of the hotels offer Sunday
brunches which have long been very popular to the locals and foreign residents alike.
Kamala Beach (หาดกมลา)
Kamala is a Muslim fishing village north of hustle and bustle of Patong Beach. Tourist development
on this much more laid back and quiet beach has become a preferred place for long stays and retirees,
although much of the area is covered by a Muslim graveyard and a police outpost has been slow in
The beach is very beautiful and spans over 2 kilometers. There are accommodations rang from budget
guesthouses to international class hotels and self catering apartments as well as a number of small Thai
restaurants specializing in seafood for the tourist.
Kamala is the perfect place to get away from it all. It has little to offer in terms of entertainment, for
that, visitors can go across the mountains to Patong. On a scenic drive along the headland to the south,
can be found a number of luxury villa developments, with great views of Kamala Bay and beyond.
Kamala is the type of place to meet and relax among friends in a local seafood restaurant or bar, night
entertainment is rather low-key. This said, Kamala is also home of the acclaimed Phuket FantaSea entertainment
complex, which has become one of the must-see places when visiting Phuket.
Nakalay Beach (หาดนาคาเล)
Nakalya Beach is the private and secluded beach of Thavorn Beach Village. The entrance to the beach has a
DO NOT ENTER sign, clearly limiting it to the residents of the resort. Swimming is only possible at high tide.
In the center of the Beach, a long pier has been built and the Nakalay Junk moores not too far away, providing both
day and sunset trips as well as being available to be fully chartered for parties.
Nakalay Beach is located in Nakalay Bay near the Patong/Kamala border sign and 4 km north of Patong Beach.
It is suitable for people who like it quiet but still want to be near the entertainment area of Patong.
Kalim Beach (หาดกะหลิม)
Kalim Beach on Phuket is in fact a continuation of the North of Patong's main beach, which it is separated by
some cliffs. Kalim Beach and its extensive coral reef is more for snorkeling than for swimming and the views
over the bay are very charming.
Despite the more quiet edge to the beach, the vicinity to Patong Beach make it an ideal alternative for travelers
who like to have a bit more of a quiet time, albeit easy access of the nightlife, restaurants and entertainment.
It is though recommended to use solid footwear when planning to enter the water in that area since the corals have very
sharp edges. The Northern part of the bay is quite exposed to strong winds in low season (June to September) and occasional
surfers are to be found on the breaking surf.
Patong Beach (หาดป่าตอง)
Patong Beach is Phuket's central tourist and nightlife district. Over the past years, Patong has turned from a quiet fishing
village into one of the island's two main cities, mostly due to the development of tourism. Patong Beach has seen a massive
number of restaurants catering any taste and cuisine, pubs and bars, tour and travel agencies. Also, the lifestyle shopping
mall Jungceylon has opened and offers more international goods and brands in air-conditioned space in addition to the usual
endless night markets which are popping up at sunset all along the side walk of beach road, turning the whole of Patong
into one extensive market.
The famous bay is a 4 kilometers long beach that is often referred to when tourists are aiming for Phuket for their holiday
destination. Accommodations range from budget guest houses to 5-star hotels. Live music can be found in most pubs and
bars. Motorbike rentals as well as paragliding and Jet Ski rental are widely available on the beach.
Nightlife is centered around Bangla Road (Soi Bangla), but is virtually found all over in either shape or form. Nevertheless,
both the North and South end of the bay are calmer and more family friendly. Patong Beach is ideal for swimming as well as
Tri-Trang Beach (หาดไตรตรัง)
Tri Trang Beach is located in a scenic bay South of Patong Beach in front Merlin Beach Resort. The cozy atmosphere and
peaceful silence is only interrupted by the occasional long-tail boats to and from Freedom Beach. As popular the beach
is for snorkeling, Tri Trang is definitely not to be recommended just for swimming, as by low tide there are many rocks
in the rather flat seabed.
Tri Trang is very near the popular, and possibly one of the finest beaches of Phuket, namely Freedom Beach, which can
only be accessed by boat.
Karon Beach (หาดกะรน)
Karon is the second largest of Phuket’s main tourist beaches. Many large resort complexes line the road
back of the beach, such as Thavorn Palm Beach Resort, Ramada or Hilton Arcadia. The beach itself however,
is long and broad and has no development. Due to its extensive size and despite being very popular, the
beach never is too crowded and there is always ample space between the sun loungers. It is therefore a
very popular beach for families as well as longer staying travelers. The sand is very white, and squeaks
audibly when walked on. The southern point has a fine coral reef stretching toward Kata and Poo Island.
Restaurants, bars, tour companies and other non-hotel businesses are at the northern end of the beach, near
the traffic circle, and at the south, on the little road connecting the back road with the beach road. The narrow
road between Kata and Karon has a number of small shops and galleries.
Karon Noi Beach (หาดกะรนน้อย)
Karon Noi Beach, in the North of Karon, is in principle the private beach of the up market Le Meridien Resort
and Spa and is basically only accessible through the resort.
Kata Beach (หาดกะตะ)
Kata Beach is the smallest of Phuket's three main tourist beaches. Kata is different in appearance and style
from Patong and Karon, which are only a few minutes drive away. The beach itself is broad and curvy, and
structures bordering it are low–rise. Very popular among families, Kata Beach is an all round favorite mainly
due to its spectacular palm-lined beach, great restaurants, lively but not raucous nightlife.
The clear water is perfect for swimming and at the north end is a coral reef with a rich variety of colorful tropical
fish and corals which stretch out toward Poo Island, about 500m off shore.
Kata Noi Beach (หาดกะตะน้อย)
South of Kata is Kata Noi located, a smaller beach with only a few hotels and little other development. The beach
is superb and the scenery is breathtaking from the popular Kata Viewpoint. Swimming can be difficult due to the
abundant rocks and corals, but Kata Noi has long been a popular spot for surfers during the summer months. To get
here, take the narrow beach road up over the hill from Kata.
Nai Harn Beach (หาดไนหาน)
Nai Harn Beach is located South of Kata Noi and north of Promthep Cape. It borders the most gorgeous lagoon
of the island and is therefore definitely worth a visit. The center of the beach is dominated by the Samnak Song
Nai Han monastery, which has obstructed excessive development and is the reason why the beach is generally
less crowded than other spots on the southern part of the island.
A wide variety of water sports can be enjoyed, but swimmers should be alert for the red flag which warns of dangerous
currents during the monsoon season from May to October. As well, and not too far away, Ao Sane Beach offers outstanding
snorkeling. In addition one can walk to nearby Promthep Cape to observe sunsets, which are often fiery and spectacular,
and thus a very popular destination for tourists and photographers alike.
Rawai Beach (หาดราไวย์)
Rawai Beach is the site of the famous Chao Ley or Sea Gipsy villages as well as the very first tourist beach of
Phuket Island. Indeed in the earlier days, the residents of Phuket Town would prefer to drive out to Rawai to
enjoy the shady casurina fringed beach rather than take a chance with the hilly and (then) treacherous winding
roads across the island's hills to go onto the West shores of Phuket.
Many restaurants and bungalows, shell handicraft shops, and both fishing and charter boats to the nearby islands
are available in Rawai Beach, which is very suitable for swimming. Rawai is 7 kilometers west of Chalong Circle.
Recently, Rawai has become more of a transit beach and launching point for day boat excursions out to the
numerous islands surrounding Phuket. Many long-tail boats are available for hire and for trips to Coral Island,
Koh Lone or Racha Island.
Rawai is home to some of Phuket’s 5-star resorts and has become a very popular living area for foreign residents lending
a bit a bohemian and laid-back touch to the area.
Chalong Bay (อ่าวฉลอง)
Chalong bay is a very popular and safe mooring place for yachts and tour boats because it is protected from strong winds.
Several day trips to the nearby islands start from here which makes it is crowded between sunrise and 9 am, when the boats
leave, and between 4 – 5 pm when they return.
A vast parking area, plenty of restaurants, shops, tourist information kiosks as well as open-air waiting areas have been
built to serve the many visitors passing through. There's also a one-stop customs, immigration and harbor master service
to assist visiting vessels and a new marine rescue centre. In addition, the Ao Chalong Yacht Club, which organizes regular
sailing races, makes its base here, and its bar is a favorite spot for sailors to swap yarns and party.
In the evening, the beach restaurants are popular among tourists coming back from watching the sunset at Promthep Cape as
well as all the day tourists. A number of quality restaurants, British pubs and bars have developed in the recent years offering
a taste of both international as well as local fare.
Panwa Cape (แหลมพันวา)
The southernmost tip of this cape is home to a Marine Biological Research Center and Phuket's Aquarium where visitors may
inspect several hundred exotic and flamboyantly colorful marine species found in the teeming waters of Phuket and elsewhere.
It is comfortable and without risk of getting seasick on a snorkeling trip.
It is in principle more of a functional beach due to both the Marine research center as well as a marine base with a large pier,
mainly for commercial and military use.
There are a few accommodations developing in the area in the recent years and some of the hotels also have an attractive beach,
but often reserved for their guests only.
Ao Por / Yamu Cape (อ่าวปอ / แหลมยามู)
Ao Por, or Yamu Cape, is located in the East Coast of Phuket, with close access to both Boat Lagoon and Royal
Phuket Marina. The stunning scenery overlooking the numerous limestone islands of Phang Nga Bay is prominently
advertised by the real estate developers who set up properties in this lesser known part of Phuket. The easy access
to Phuket Town as well as the boating / yachting areas attract a different crowd and thus create a new destination.
There are currently not too many developments here, but rather hi-end quality ones, with more to be developed by
international investors. As it is still a bit away from the crowds, Yamu is likely to rapidly gain momentum in the years
Naka Yai Island (เกาะนาคาใหญ่)
Naka Yai Island used to be a rather simple destination with mainly a small fisherman village on the West. In the
meantime, major developments have been made resulting in hi-end hotel properties. The island is thus becoming
more of a exclusive destination than what it used to be.
The stunning views in the East towards Phang Nga Bay are simply amazing and most of the fine white sandy beaches
are currently occupied by day - trippers from Phuket. Relaxing in the sun and swimming are pretty much the only activities
on Koh Naka and due to the scarcity of restaurants, you may consider to bring a picnic along if you plan to stay the whole
day. Most of the visitors are coming as part of a day trip around Phuket and boatloads of swimmers and snorkelers are
generally stopping off at some point during the afternoon off the Eastern coast.
The most direct access to the island is by long-tail boats which can be hired at Ao Por Pier. Accommodations are about to
be completed, so it is still mainly a day trip destination.
Lone Island (เกาะโหลน)
Lone Island is a large, mountainous island located only 20 minutes by regular passenger boat from
Chalong Bay, in the south of Phuket. The mainly Muslim inhabitants engage in fishing, rubber and
There is a long stretch of beach on the northeast coast. Boats to Koh Lone leave daily in the early
morning from Chalong Pier.
The island has so far not been developed much and is therefore a perfect hideaway for travelers who
want to have a break from the hustle and bustle of Phuket’s main touristy and commercial areas.
Coral Island or Koh Hae (เกาะเฮ)
Coral Island, also known as Koh Hae, is located 9 kilometers southeast of Phuket.
Koh Hae is part of a marine park, but accommodations, local restaurants, water sports and especially
diving and snorkeling are widely available. To access the island, boats leave from Rawai beach and
Chalong bay. Also package tours are available, which tend to bring a large amount of day-trip visitors
to the island and its reefs.
The main attraction of Coral Island is its very rich marine life and is therefore a favorite scuba diving
and snorkeling location. Main beaches are Long Beach and the smaller Banana beach.
Currently there is not too much choice in terms of accommodation aside of the long established Coral
Racha Yai Island (เกาะราชาใหญ่)
Racha, or Raya Island as sometime referred to, consists of Racha Yai and Racha Noi. The island is located
about 12 kilometers south of Phuket and can be access by boat or though an excursion tour. Mostly travelers
are heading to Racha Yai as the west coast is probably the most stunning fine white sand beach available
in the area. It is closed in by the hills that stretch away from it like to arms of a horseshoe called alternately
Ao Tawan Tok or Ao Bungalow.
The very clean powdery sandy beach and crystal clear waters of Racha Yai attract day-trippers from Phuket.
In recent years, aside of the original bungalow accommodations, some up market resorts have been developed
and combining outstanding service with the breathtaking sceneries, making Koh Racha an all-time favorite for
couples and honeymooners.
As well, from the top of the hill to the south of the bay is the viewpoint from which the whole island can be seen.
On the east, at Ao Kon Kae Bay, is an excellent site for diving.
Yao Noi Island (เกาะยาวน้อย)
Koh Yao Noi is one of the larger islands in Phang Nga Bay, an archipelago of 44 islands. It is easily
accessible from both Phuket and Krabi Provinces and offers some of the most beautiful sea scenery
in South East Asia. Koh Yao Noi is great for bicycling and walking, the island covers about 50 square
kilometers and has about 18 kilometers of dirt track and concrete roads. A few hotels have developed
in the last years, ranging from budget to exclusive hotel resort.
As one of the major islands, Koh Yao Noi is home to the District Administration office as well as to a
hospital, several schools and a post office. 24 hour electricity supply, Internet access, mobile telephone
connection and ATMs are available.
Attractions include Tha Khao Beach, about five kilometers away from the Koh Yao District Administrative
Office. This beach has many colorful rocks and pebbles. A short distance away from the beach is a small
island called Koh Nok, which can be reached on foot during low tide or by canoe during high tide.
Yao Yai Island (เกาะยาวใหญ่)
Yao Yai is the largest island in Koh Yao District and the island has many interesting beaches, such as Ao
Thi Kud, Ao Klong Son, Ao Sai, Lo Pa Raed Beach, Ao Laan, Ao Hin Kong, and Laem Nok Og. Lo Jaak pier is
an important pier from Koh Yao to Phuket. The water at the pier is clear and schools of fish swim near the
bridge at the pier. Visitors can see the production of dried anchovies (pla ching chang) here.
There are inexpensive bungalows on the island along with home-stay accommodations with the local people,
who make a living by fishery or agriculture, to learn their lifestyle. Attractions of Koh Yao Yai include Loh Jaak
Beach and Loh Jaak pier, which is the main transit point from Koh Yao Yai to Phuket. The beach here is white,
and the water is clean and very clear. Visitors can also go fishing, search for shells or see the production process
of making dried anchovies (pla ching chang). Long-tail boats can be hired to go to Koh Kai Nok or Koh Kai Nai.
There are two daily trips leaving the pier to Phuket.