With the world’s highest number of holidaymakers per square mile per day, it’s not easy to find the best secluded beaches in Phuket. Over 9.2 million tourists flock to Thailand’s largest island in a normal year.
If you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll find several sandy shores that are still little-known. That might be because they’re challenging to get to. Perhaps it’s because some 5-star hotels have been trying to keep them for their guests. Either way, all of Thailand’s beaches are public property, reads a Guardian article.
1. Haad Karon Noi
Peeking at Haad Karon Noi through lush green bushland feels like a teaser. Banana and cashew trees spoil the view from the street and reveal just enough to arouse envy. The brilliant sand looks as white as coconut meat, green-tinted waters invite you to jump in, and Le Méridien’s posh hotel design impresses you with its gabled roofs and spiky Thai temple-reminiscent peaks.
Luckily, jungle-swathed Haad Karon Noi, one of the best beaches in Phuket for couples, isn’t only accessible for the affluent. If you get past an abandoned tomato plantation and walk down a jungle path, you’ll wind up on a 300-meter dream beach with fine white sands, crystal waters that get deep quickly, and coconut and casuarina trees that provide shade.
Pause for a moment at the last turn as you catch sight of Karon Noi through the trees and listen to the powerful waves assaulting the sheer beauty of this beach. The spectacle starts with the sea gently pulling large amounts of water back from the shoreline to help feed the next wave, making gurgling sounds, and it continues with violent waves pitching forward in thundering blows.
Getting here (takes about 15 minutes)
Park your scooter after Secret Cliff Villa, a stone’s throw from Patong Beach. Walk through a gate that’s open during the day and turn right. After a few meters, you’ll see a turquoise concrete track.
Then, you’ll spot the tomato plantation to your right; it’s overgrown with vegetation now. You can hike down the jungle right behind it. Once you see the ropes, you’re nearly there. Here’s a screenshot, so that you won’t need a map of Phuket beaches.
2. Tri Trang Beach
Snuggled into the headland, Tri Trang Beach is a 15-minute scooter ride away from Patong and yet a world away from Phuket’s tourist hustle and bustle. Numerous coconut palms provide shade and entice visitors into lazy afternoons. And if that doesn’t sound like a tropical paradise beach, wait till you see its green-tinted waters.
Swimming here at low tide is impossible, though, especially at full moon when the only sea is one of corals and stones. You can check the tide chart to prevent disappointment. All the same, you don’t want to miss this quiet and peaceful 500-meter beach to recharge your batteries.
Go south along the last part of Patong Beach Road and turn left at Amari Resort. After Baan Yin Dee, you’ll soon spot the road to Tri Trang Resort. It’s signposted. A 2m-wide dirt road next to Tri Trang Resort leads to the beach, too.
3. Pansea Surin Beach
Squeezed between two headlands and giant boulders, Pansea Surin is a palm-fringed beach with clear blue waters. Pre-COVID, a security boy employed by the 5-star hotel “The Surin Phuket” stationed himself at the end of the jungle trail.
If you run into this guy once COVID-19 is history, say you’re going to the beach. Other than making sure you’re not going to use the hotel’s facilities, eyeballing you while you’re spreading out your towel on the soft, sugar-like quartz sand that squeaks beneath your feet, there’s nothing they can do about your appearance.
There’s a relaxing feel to this secluded corner. Even in the peak season, there’s no one else apart from the rich. The absence of tourist masses, the salty breeze, and the waves rolling gently up the light-brown sand make for a soul-soothing setting so rare on this famous island.
Getting here (takes about ten minutes)
Head for Surin Beach’s northern end on the road to Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort and stop at Surintra Boutique Resort. There, you’ll see a concreted driveway that leads to woodlands.
Park where the nature trails begin and go straight ahead. Then, turn right at the intersection and walk up the hill. Continue straight on until you spot two white buildings on your right. After a few meters, you’ll end up at a near-vertical nature trail. Some ropes will prevent you from slipping.
4. Haad Laem Singh
Sandwiched between Kamala Beach and Surin Beach, Haad Laem Singh is a Caribbean-like shore. It has a hidden tropical cove feel to it with its coconut trees leaning over soft, light-colored sands and ranks among the best beaches in Phuket for snorkeling. Laem Singh was open to tourists until April 2017, when landowners were likely fed up with its huge popularity.
Since all beaches are public in Thailand, it’s legal to come by sea – or via a nature trail if you don’t trespass on private property. Fortunately, some business-minded Thais set up a restaurant on the rocks of Laem Singh that overlooks the palm-fringed beach and built a walkway from Surin Beach to Laem Singh Beach.
Getting here (takes about ten minutes)
Reaching Laem Singh is child’s play and makes it one of the best beaches in Phuket for families. Ride your scooter (or drive your car!) to Surin Beach and park at the southern end at Patcharin Seafood. Get past the restaurant and head for the green umbrellas. Before long, you’ll spot the path. It’s well signposted.
5. Freedom Beach
No list of best beaches in Phuket would be complete without Freedom Beach. Hiking down to this beach through the forest on a challenging 500-meter-way, witnessing silence that’s only broken by the soothing calls of a Greater Coucal, you’re in for the ultimate jungle adventure!
You’ll be oozing buckets of sweat, but soft, Tempur-pillow-like sands that glisten in the sunshine like diamonds and crunch between your toes are well worth the effort. Freedom Beach’s restaurant is currently closed, but coconut trees that have grown across the sands and in the air as though raising their hand provide shade. And with the salty breeze, small waves lapping your feet, plus longtail boats gently bobbing on emerald waters, Freedom Beach is one of the best beaches in Phuket for honeymoon.
Getting here (takes at least 20 minutes)
Go south along the last part of Patong Beach Road and turn left at Amari Resort. Go past Baan Yin Dee. Turn left at the 7-ELEVEN shop. After Avista Hideaway, there’s a steep dirt track. A few curves and some two hundred meters later, you’ll spot a damaged gate on your right. Walking down the stairs here is easier than the overgrown jungle trail that begins a few hundred meters further up.
When travel opens up, people will want to escape to some idyllic destinations and travel possibly from Koh Phi Phi to Phuket, Krabi to Phuket, or even Koh Lipe to Phuket – all highlights of Thailand’s Andaman Sea. Phuket’s reputation as the beach capital of Thailand could see tourism here flourish post-COVID-19, but now that you know how to get to these beaches legally via jungle trails, you’ll always have a decent slice of paradise to yourself.