INM Asia Guides -> Thailand Travel Guide -> Phuket

Phuket Island,  almost unknown in the world outside Thailand until about 20 years ago, is one of the most beautiful islands in Asia, and now praised as the "Pearl of the Andaman Sea". The island is about as large as Singapore and offers lovely hills and mountains covered with tropical jungle, coconut and rubber plantations and quiet little villages, as well as beautiful white sand beaches and warm blue sea water clear enough for snorkeling and diving. 
Nai Harn Beach
Phukets located in the Adaman Sea, on the west coast of southern Thailand. It is small, you need only about one hour for driving from the northern tip (where the airport is located) to the southern coast.  If you arrive via plane, your first impression, once the aircraft has dived through the extra-fluffy, creamy white clouds, will be a number of emerald green islands and islets set like gemstones in  the deep blue water of the Andaman Sea. As the plane approaches the airport you will be able to distinguish gentle hills covered with palms and glistening white sand beaches sloping down to the ocean. The island`s main attraction are its natural beauty and its shiny white beaches and the opportunities for water sports like diving, fishing, wind surfing, snorkeling, etc. There are no impressive palaces or ancient buildings of particular artistic merit, but it does offer a number of opportunities  for spending three or four afternoons sightseeing if you are not interested in sports and  spending every day on the beach turns out to be too boring for you.

Beaches & Hotel Areas

The island, now an international tourist resort, has a very large number of accomodation to choose from, from luxury to tourist class - nearly everything can be found.  (It is not a place for real budget accommodations.) It is perhaps best to decide first what are your priorities: lots of shops, restaurants, sports facilities, and nightlife in the vicinity or relaxed and quiet surroundings. If it is the former,Patong is probably your best choice. Patong ("banana plantation") ist the most developed beach  and has a large number of hotels as well as sports and  entertainment facilities. Most hotels are, however, not located directly on the beach and you should not expect a particularly idyllic atmosphere.

Rubber Plantation

Rubber Plantation

The two prettiest beaches are Nai Harn ("lagoon") and Nai Yang ("in the rubber plantation"). Nai Harn, however, is private property of the Meridien Yacht Club (one of the nicest hotels in Thailand, but  very expensive) and Nai Yang is part of a National park and with the exception of one hotel, the Pearl Village Resort (also belonging to the luxury category), closed to developers (it is, however, a public beach, and you can visit it and swim there even if you do not stay at the hotel). Bang Tao Beach is a long, yellow sand beach in the north of the island. A number of large first-class hotels  have been built there during the past years, most of them, despite their four of five star ratings pretty awful. This is the so-called "Laguna District", because there are a lot of (sometimes smelly) ponds, euphemistically termed lagoons, with shuttle boat services that take guests from one hotel to the other or to the shopping arcade. If you want to stay there, your best choice is probably the Dusit Laguna, as they have a nice large tropical hotel garden and friendly staff.

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Last Updated 10.02.2007