Phuket Island, Thailand

The west coast of Phuket Island in Thailand offers thirty miles of pristine beaches along the Andaman Sea. So grab your suntan lotion and flip flops. You are about to walk along the sand of seven of the best vacation destinations on Phuket Island from the north to the south.

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1 Couple Walking Along the Sand at Bangtao Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Bangtao Beach is a perfect place for a couple to enjoy a romantic walk because the sand and surf stretch for about four miles. Parallel to the beach are three gorgeous lagoons that are surrounded by resorts.

Bangtao Beach, 35 Moo 4, Cherngtalay, Thalang, Amphoe Thalang, Phuket 83110, Thailand
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2 Three Horses Walking on Sand at Bangtao Beach in Phuket, Thailand

If you ever dreamed about riding a horse while the waves gently roll into the sand, then Bangtao Beach is where your fantasy can become a reality. The Phuket International Riding Club offers horseback riding for every experience level, from the seasoned equestrian to the novice city slicker. For a special treat, schedule your saddle time around sunset.

Bangtao Beach, 35 Moo 4, Cherngtalay, Thalang, Amphoe Thalang, Phuket 83110, Thailand
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3 Yachts Offshore of Wealthy Beach Surin Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Surin Beach caters to the wealthy. Affluent tourists are attracted to its expensive hotels, resorts and restaurants while rich residents live in costal houses along “Millionaire’s Row.” So if you want to enjoy the sunshine of celebrities, and maybe see one, pitch your umbrella into the pristine sand and watch whose yacht anchors offshore.

Surin Beach, Choeng Thale, Thalang District, Phuket 83110, Thailand
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4 Young Boys Throwing Water on Surin Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Bring two young boys to a sandy beach on a hot day and they will entertain themselves for hours by swimming, splashing, and throwing water at each other like these kids at Surin Beach on Phuket Island, Thailand.

Surin Beach, Choeng Thale, Thalang District, Phuket 83110, Thailand
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5 Secluded Hideaway on Laem Sing Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Laem Sing Beach is a small stretch of sand measuring less than 500 feet. This tiny paradise is below a huge hill that is accented with lush vegetation and giant rocks. If you are lucky, you might see supermodel Naomi Campbell enjoying this beautiful hideaway.

Laem Sing View Point 4025, Tambon Kamala, Amphoe Kathu, Chang Wat Phuket 83110, Thailand
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6 Elevated View of Laem Sing Beach in Phuket, Thailand

This elevated view shows Laem Sing Beach in the foreground. It is also known as Sing Cape. In the background is the bay leading to Kamala Beach. This gives you a sense of how close together the beaches are along the 30 mile coastline of western Phuket Island.

Laem Sing View Point 4025, Tambon Kamala, Amphoe Kathu, Chang Wat Phuket 83110, Thailand
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7 People Strolling on Kamala Beach in Phuket, Thailand

The west coast of Phuket Island is similar to going to a tropical smorgasbord because there are so many beaches – each with its own style and tempo. So examine all of the options and then pick which one appeals to you for the day or during your entire vacation. If you are looking for a peaceful slice of heaven, then take a stroll along Kamala Beach.

118/16 Moo 3, Tambon Kamala, Tambon Kamala, Amphoe Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand
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8 Elevated View of Kamala Beach in Phuket, Thailand

This elevated view of lush vegetation, a protected cove, blue water and pristine sand only begins to portray the beauty of Kamala Beach. You’ll also find a small town that offers boutique shops, great restaurants and a nightlife that is more subdued than the famous Patong Beach just to the south. Nearby is the Phuket Fantasea theme park that showcases Thai legends and myths.

118/16 Moo 3, Tambon Kamala, Amphur Kathu, Tambon Kamala, Amphoe Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand
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9 Kamala Beach at Low Tide in Phuket, Thailand

Most of the beaches along Phuket Island’s west coast cater to the hordes of tourists that arrive during the high season, but not Kamala Beach. It is much quieter and is a favorite among long-term snowbirds who enjoy renting apartments and villas with gorgeous views of the Andaman Sea.

118/16 Moo 3, Tambon Kamala, Amphur Kathu, Tambon Kamala, Amphoe Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand
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10 Longtail Boat Beached on Kamala Beach in Phuket, Thailand

At low tide, you will often see longtail boats in virtual dry dock along the beaches of Phuket Island. The Ruea Hang Yao, as they are called in Thai, will wait there patiently until the surf, tourists and drivers all return for another day of exploring the Andaman Sea.

16/32 Rim Hat Rd, Tambon Kamala, Amphoe Kathu, Phuket 83120, Thailand
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11 Patong Bay Surrounded by Palm Trees in Phuket, Thailand

One look at this perfect tropical scene explains why Patong Bay has become a very popular port of call for cruise ships and yachts, especially during the winter high season. They will often anchor off shore for days while tenders transport their passengers into Patong which is one of the most popular resort towns in Thailand.

249/4 Prabaramee Road, Tambon Patong, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand
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12 Boy Lights Candle at Tsunami Memorial on Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand

On December 26, 2014, hundreds of people lit candles along Patong Beach in memory of those who died in the tsunami. The ten year anniversary event at Loma Park was called “Light Up Phuket 2014.” It was a very emotional and somber memorial service for my family who barely survived that tragic day.

Loma Park 186/15 Thawewong Rd, Tambon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand
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13 Bangla Road Welcome Sign at Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand

The most famous party scene on Phuket Island is Bangla Road at Patong Beach. When the sun goes down, the traffic barriers go up and the lights come on at the countless bars, clubs and discos that line this street for about three blocks. Prior to the 2004 tsunami, many of the establishments were old and seedy with scantily clad women and cheap beer as the chief attractions. Today, there are several huge and highly elaborate clubs with blaring music that compete for your attention … along with go-go dancers and cheap beer.

4233 & Thanon Bangla, Tambon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand
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14 Bikini Bottom Bar Stools at Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand

These bar stools with bikini thongs emblazoned with French and British flags are perhaps the most subtle hint of the adult entertainment available to foreigners along Bangla Road in Patong Beach. Others include dancers, massage parlors, unique shows and clocked services all offered by young smiling Thai women and sometimes she-males. My best advice? Walk briskly along with your hands in your pocket and then sanitize them back at your hotel.

49 Bangla Road, Patong Beach, Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand
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15 Entry Sign for Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand

This sign marks the northern entry to over two miles of sand known as Patong Beach, the undisputed resort and recreation capital of Phuket Island in Thailand. By day, it is filled with tourists who have exchanged their winter climate for the tropical sun and surf. At night, it is only a short walk away to the energetic nightlife that features over a hundred bars of every description.

132 Thawiwong Road, Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand
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16 Phuket Lobsters on Ice at Patong Restaurant in Phuket, Thailand

If you like lobsters, then you have to try the Phuket lobster at a restaurant along Patong Beach in Thailand. Some are brown but others, for a few baht more, are bright green like these. Favorite preparation styles are Thermidor, as sashimi, baked or, best of all, boiled and served with hot garlic butter.

Patong Seafood, 98/2 Thaweewong Rd, Tambon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand
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Blooming Water Lilies at Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Occasionally among the bustle of Patong Beach you’ll spot a small pond or fountain with a delightful display of blooming water lilies floating on the surface. Called nymphaea, this aquatic plant has a long history among Egyptian kings, the Roman Empire and Greek mythology.

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17 Boy Playing in Sand and Surf on Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand

I am not sure what little boys find so mesmerizing about digging in the sand at a beach, especially when the rolling waves fill the hole almost as fast as it is created. But parents are delighted because this free entertainment keeps their children occupied while they enjoy their time sunbathing or napping.

4233 & Thanon Bangla, Tambon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand
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18 Snowman Sand Sculpture on Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand

When it is 90° Fahrenheit on Patong Beach, finding anything frozen is a bit challenging unless it is floating around a cocktail. So while I watched a beachgoer finish this snowman sand sculpture, I thought she might be homesick during the Christmas holiday. But then she snapped a photo on her cell phone and, with a few quick thumb motions, uploaded it on social media. Her sinister smile explained she hoped to make her friends back home envious.

4233 & Thanon Bangla, Tambon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand
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19 Two Longtail Boats Near Shore of Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand

In a few cases around the world, a type of boat has become an iconic symbol of a city, such as the gondola in Venice or the yacht in Monaco. The same is true of the longtail boat in Thailand. They were originally designed by Thai fishermen in the late 1930s as a low cost way to navigate rivers. Today, the ruea hang yao is predominately used to delight tourists.

4/6-8 Thaweewong Road, Tambon Patong, Patong, Phuket 83150, Thailand
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20 Pontoon for Boats and Tenders at Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand

At the south end of Patong Beach is this floating pontoon that welcomes small boats and cruise ship tenders to shore. Also anchored nearby are a fleet of longtail boats. The pier is a constant flow of people coming and going from watercraft.

4/6-8 Thaweewong Road, Tambon Patong, Patong, Phuket 83150, Thailand
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21 Shack Community Along Canal Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand

At the southern end of Patong Beach is a bridge on Thawewong Road that crosses over a long canal formed by the Andaman Sea. It’s here that a community of makeshift shacks on stilts houses local fishermen and drivers of longtail boats.

Seaview Patong Hotel, 2 Tambon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Chang Wat Phuket 83150, Thailand
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22 Patong Bay at Low Tide in Phuket, Thailand

During low tide around Patong Bay, large boulders are exposed that signals dinner time for crabs that scurry along the sand and local fishermen who stand waist deep in the water and cast their lines. In the background is Patong Beach.

Thanon Thawewong & 2 Meun-Ngern Road, Tambon Patong, Amphoe Kathu, Phuket 83150, Thailand
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23 Girl Floating in Pool at Amari Hotel in Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand

In 2004, my family was staying at the Amari Coral Beach Resort in Phuket when the tsunami struck Patong Beach. This hotel and several others were heavily damaged. When we returned in 2008, the tourist town had recovered. However, this picture of a girl floating in the new pool recreated some of the horrible memories of when 280,000 people were killed. Four years earlier, on December 26, this pool was demolished by a series of giant waves.

Amari Phuket 2 Meun Ngern Road Patong Beach, Phuket, 83150, Thailand
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24 Pier Stretching into Patong Bay near Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Near the Amari Phuket Hotel is a lovely walking path that gently winds its way along the coastline through lush vegetation that looks like a rainforest. At the end of your journey you arrive at this two-level pier that jets out into the Andaman Sea and defines the boarder of Patong and Emerald Bays.

[7.888464, 98.281056]
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Asian Common Toad at Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Apparently, the warts on the head of the Asian common toad are as unique as fingerprints but I suspect this characteristic is only valuable if you are another toad. As the name suggests, this eight inch amphibian is widely distributed throughout the lowlands of Southeast Asia. It favors inhabited areas where lights at night attract flying insects.

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25 Garuda Emblem of Thailand on Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand

The Phra Khrut Pha, also called the Garuda, is a mythical creature from the Buddhist and Hindu cultures. This half man, half bird has supernatural powers and the Hindu god Vishnu made it immortal. In the early 20th century, it became the national emblem of Thailand and represents the king’s authority and power.

683 Karon Beach, Patak Road, Tambon Karon, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Phuket 83100, Thailand
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26 Old Wooden Footbridge on Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand

When photographing beaches along the western coast of Phuket Island, it is challenging to find something unique to capture with my camera other than people enjoying the sand, sun and water. That is why I was delighted to find this old wooden footbridge on Karon Beach.

683 Karon Beach, Patak Road, Tambon Karon, Amphoe Mueang, Phuket 83100, Thailand
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27 Drainage Canal Into Andaman Sea on Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Near the north end of Karon Beach is an enormous drainage canal that rushes across the sand before entering the Andaman Sea. The water tumbles, churns and constantly reshapes its banks similar to a river or creek. It is fun to watch.

9/23 - 24 Moo 1, Patak Road, Tambon Karon, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Phuket 83100, Thailand
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28 Couple Playing with Beach Ball on Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Karon Beach offers sun worshiping tourists over three miles of gorgeous white sand that uniquely squeaks as you walk. You’ll also find the aqua waters of the Andaman Sea for every imaginable water activity, plus excellent hotels, restaurants, shopping, sunsets and an active nightlife. Best of all, it attracts fewer crowds than many of the other beaches along the southwest coast of Phuket Island.

9/23 - 24 Moo 1, Patak Road, Tambon Karon, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Phuket 83100, Thailand
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29 Woman in Bikini Sand Sculpture on Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand

In case you are wondering what you need to pack in order to enjoy the tropical climate of Phuket Island during your next vacation, this sand sculpture delightfully demonstrates all of the appropriate attire you will need to wear: a bathing suit, flip flops, sunglasses and a smile.

9/23 - 24 Moo 1, Patak Road, Tambon Karon, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Phuket 83100, Thailand
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30 Fisherman and Farmer Statues at Karon Circle near Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand

These exquisite statues of a fisherman and a banana farmer are part of a tribute to the heritage of local Thai people. It is located in the Karon Circle roundabout at the north end of Karon Beach. Two additional sculptures off camera celebrate the rubber plantations and tin mining. Perhaps they are missing a fifth critical industry: tourism.

643 Patak Road, Tambon Karon, Karon Beach, Phuket 83100, Thailand
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31 Woman Sufer at Surf House on Kata Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Despite its extensive coastline, Thailand is not a haven for surfers except at Kata Beach on the southwest end of Phuket Island. The novice can rent a board from one of two surf shops and get lessons from an instructor. Or ride this simulated wave called the Double FlowRider at the Surf House Phuket for about $25 an hour. If you are an advanced surfer, then show off your skills during the three annual surfing contests.

Surf House Phuket, Soi Pakbang Tambon Karon, Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Phuket 83100, Thailand
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32 Koh Pu or Crab Island off Kata Beach in Phuket, Thailand

There is plenty of competition for your sunbathing time among Phuket Island’s countless coves, but Kata Beach is unique with its great view of Koh Pu. In English, this small islet is called Crab Island. The waters surrounding it are very popular with snorkelers and scuba divers.

186/12 Kata Beach Phuket Thailand Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Phuket 83100, Thailand
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33 Tree Branches Offer Shade at Kata Beach in Phuket, Thailand

A tropical climate sounds perfect for a winter vacation spot but sometimes your pasty white skin can’t tolerate a full day in the hot sun. Kata Beach has you covered … literally … because the one mile of sand is lined with almond and Pandanus trees that not only offer shade but massages, street vendors and snacks. At the south end you’ll also find restaurants and adult beverages.

186/12 Kata Beach Phuket Thailand Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Phuket 83100, Thailand
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34 Very Crowded Sandy Beach at Kata Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Almost the entire west coast of Phuket Island is blessed with sandy beaches that face the Andaman Sea. So during the high season, which runs from November through March, people from Southeast Asia, Europe and Australia flock here to soak up the warm sunshine. It is especially busy during the Christmas and New Year’s weeks.

186/12 Kata Beach Phuket Thailand Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Phuket 83100, Thailand
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35 Three Anchored Longtail Boats at Kata Beach in Phuket, Thailand

At least once during your trip to Phuket Island you should arrange for a ride in a ruea hang yao, better known as a longtail boat. These simple and colorful local watercraft are powered by a used car or truck engine mounted in back with a very long driveshaft that runs the propeller. Your driver can take you on a coastal sightseeing tour, to the best spot for snorkeling or to the next beach for lunch. But be prepared for a bumpy and often wet experience.

186/12 Kata Beach Phuket Thailand Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Phuket 83100, Thailand
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36 Father and Son Kayaking at Kata Beach in Phuket, Thailand

If you can’t sit in the sun all day, then there are plenty of water sports to keep you busy at Kata Beach on Phuket Island. Kayaking and fishing are very popular, and so are parasailing, snorkeling, scuba diving and windsurfing. You are also invited to join a daily game of beach soccer or volleyball. When you get tired, go back to the sand for a power nap.

186/12 Kata Beach Phuket Thailand Amphoe Mueang Phuket, Phuket 83100, Thailand
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