The best in the world? So many regular and first time visitors to Phuket believe.
There are miles and miles of white sand beaches edging the clear blue waters of the Andaman Sea on the west coast of the island, where Patong is a favorite centre for many visitors.
Patong is really very attractive, and has the advantage of having plenty of shops, restaurants, bars, apartments and hotels just across the road from the beach.
This is Thaweewong Rd. If there is one downside to this stretch of uninterrupted shops and hotels is the fact that it very busy and if a visitor has a car, then it can be difficult to park.
Tuk Tuks line one side of the road with car parking on the opposite side nearest the beach.
It is one of the few places in Thailand to have parking wardens, so it probably best to walk down from the back of the town. Anyone staying on Patong would either stay in a hotel close to the sea or walk the few hundred meters – its not far. On the beach itself there all the sea based activities anyone could wish for along with a regular flow of vendors selling all kinds from food to Thai massage services. Patong can get busy but never overcrowded, as in some of the worlds most popular tourist spots.
There are quieter places just south of Patong, with arguably some of the finest stretches of sand in Thailand. Travelling out of Patong along the coastal road, and over the hill is Karon beach. Here the pace is slower, the beach quieter and there are fewer vendor activities. This is a great place to take it easy. The best times to come to Phuket are from November through to April, and in the monsoon season many of the beaches will have red flags flying, indicating that it is dangerous to go swimming.
However, the sandy stretches are still great places to relax with the waves pounding in from the Andaman Sea. Karon has one main street leading away from the roundabout at the northern end of the beachside road. Here there are plenty of shops, restaurants, hotels and bars. In fact Karon has become a more lively place recently with a collection of small bars opening in the centre of the town. Also around here are some good guest houses such as O’Tooles. One of the major large hotels in Karon is the Hilton, about half way along the Karon beach road.
Further south again and over another small hill is Kata beach. It too is one of the best on Phuket, so for those looking for a holiday of sea and sand then these two are great. Kata is smaller than Karon with more of a village atmosphere. Fewer bars and restaurants but not so few that life would be dull - far from it.
One of the most attractive things about a holiday in Thailand and in Phuket is that there is always somewhere to have a bite to eat or a drink. Eating is a Thai national pastime so there isn’t a place in the country where someone somewhere is offering food for sale. Out of Patong, these are the places where visitors may like to try the grilled (Thai people say barbecued) local fish, which is fresh to say the least!
Phuket Town is to the south east of the island, and its south of Kata that there are fewer tourist beaches and more residential places. On the southern coast there is Rawai, with some top quality resort hotels and then further towards Phuket town there is Chalong. The eastern side of the island is far less developed in the tourist sense. Other good, but quieter places to try in Phuket are north of Patong at Surin and Kamala.
Further north and fairly close to the airport are some quite exclusive resorts, with beach areas often owned by the hotel company. The Laguna and the Banyan Tree are two such places.
So if it is a beach holiday with all the amenities nearby, and top quality facilities, then Phuket is indeed at least one of the best in the world.
If you prefer beaches near Bangkok, then Hua Hin beach
is an option.