Local temples - Ket Ho (in Kathu district)

The Kathu area of Phuket, which lies (roughly) between Phuket City and Patong Beach was the old tin mining capital of Phuket - it was tin (along with rubber, fishing, coconuts, palm oil and more) that made Phuket a relatively wealthy province of Thailand long before any tourists arrived. The tin boom started in the 18th century, bringing many Chinese workers to Phuket, which accounts for the large Chinese-Thai population that you see today (very different to surrounding provinces). The whole area is covered in ponds and lakes, all of which are former tin mines.

Get Ho Temple as seen from the road (Ket Ho Junction)

There are a number of Chinese shrines in the area such as Kathu shrine and Sam Kong Shrine, and also some Wats (Buddhist temples). On Sunday we had a look at Ket-Ho temple (located at Ket Ho junction near the Prince of Songkhla University), and later in the afternoon, visited Kathu temple on the edge of Kathu village. I have driven by the Ket Ho temple a thousand times. It's on the bus route from Phuket Town to Patong, up a slight hill. Like many local temples, it was quiet and uncrowded (only us there), save for a number of noisy dogs. I don't believe the temple has anything spectacular to offer, but I just like local temples.

Ket Ho temple

Ket Ho temple

Ket Ho temple

Ket Ho temple

Ket Ho temple

Not too far away is Kathu temple just outside of the old Kathu village.

More Phuket temples

Phuket Beaches

Oddly this blog doesn't talk that often about Phuket's many beaches, which is rather surprising since most visitors come to Phuket for a "beach holiday", and Phuket does have rather a lot of very nice stretches of sand. But I try to keep a personal touch to the blog, and to be honest I’m not much of a beach person. I don't go and sit on the beach. We go (as a family) to the beach now and then to let the kids play, or we might eat by the sea, but if we want a swim we prefer to take the kids to a pool. If we do decide to sit on a beach for a while, we’ll normally avoid the main Phuket tourist beaches, preferring to find a quiet spot.

Pretty much every beach in Phuket is on the west coast, stretching some 45km from Mai Khao beach in the north to Rawai in the South. The 3 main tourist beaches of Patong, Karon and Kata are in the southern half of the island. Away from these beaches there are some very secluded spots and many beaches that are largely undeveloped. Some have just a few hotels or resorts, most have long stretches of uncrowded sand. Some are a bit rocky at low tide....

Low tide

(above) This photo was taken at "Khao Kad Beach" at Cape Panwa on the east side of Chalong Bay - can be rocky at low tide, but one of our favourite little restaurants is right here. The fact that it's rocky at low tide keeps it quiet! As time goes by, I’ll post more information about many of the beaches. This is just a very quick introduction, and may not mention every possible Phuket beach.

Of course before heading to Phuket you'll need a hotel first :

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Phuket Beaches on Jamie’s Phuket

Karon Beach

Karon is developed, but nothing like Patong. Still has a quieter feel to it. The beach is long, the sand is fine, and there are accommodation options to suit everyone - 5 star to fan rooms in guesthouses... The beach area has been revamped over the last couple of years, and every time I hit Karon after coming from Patong I think "wow, this is nice". Karon is clean and well looked after, though can be accused of being rather "boring" since much of the beachfront is taken up by resorts such as the Hilton Arcadia, Thavorn Palm Beach, South Sea Resort, Andaman Seaview and many more. There are 2 main "centres" at either end of the beach. The south end is quieter and is only a few minutes from Kata, so is a good location. I work there as manager of Sunrise Divers.

Karon Beach, Phuket

My Suggested Karon Beach Hotels
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More info about Karon Beach

Nai Yang Beach

Just south of Phuket Airport, Nai Yang beach has a few nice resorts and part of the beach is a National Park. Some beachfront restaurants close to the Nai Yang Beach Resort, but otherwise very quiet. Some lower budget places away from the beach too.

More about Nai Yang Beach
Hotels near Nai Yang Beach

Kamala Beach

The first beach North of Patong (unless you count Kalim and Nakalay), Kamala is not as developed as the other 3 main beaches and being a largely Muslim community has a different feel. When I came to Phuket in 1999 I don’t think there were any bars in Kamala. It was hard enough to buy a beer in a local shop! There are a few bars now, but even now parts of Kamala beach are more like a local fishing community. There are a few bigger hotels and a smattering of small resorts and guesthouses. The North end of the beach is very quiet. Kamala was the worst hit of Phuket’s beaches on December 26th 2004 and it took a while to get back to normal. Kamala is also home to Phuket Fantasea, one of Phuket's biggest tourist attractions.

Kamala beach

Kamala Beach - More Information and Photos
Kamala Beach Hotels
Kamala Temple

Laem Ka Beach

One of Phuket’s quiet secrets and not well signposted… located just before Rawai on the road from Chalong. No hotels, no restaurants except a little restaurant, just some sand, rocks and a great view. I know it's not as secret as it used to be though.... but still worth a visit.

Laem Ka Beach

More about Laem Ka Beach

Ao Sane Beach

Barely known, Ao Sane is home to some bungalows and the Baan Krating Jungle Resort. To get there you first come to Naiharn beach, and must drive through the Nai Harn Resort. A quiet spot with a nice view across Naiharn bay. There is one small restaurant serving Thai food. I find it a nice place for a cold afternoon beer. (note - I have not been for years, needs an update!)

Ya Nui Beach

A tiny little place just North of Naiharn, Ya Nui has a few bungalows which have been rebuilt following the tsunami which hit this little beach hard. I have never seen more than a dozen people here but it has got more popular recently. Has a few small restaurants just over the small road and good snorkeling in high season.

More about Ya Nui Beach
More about Ao Sane beach - yeh, needs updating

Naithon Beach

In between Nai Yang and Bang Tao you find Naithon. The roads in are winding and hilly, and the beach is not very developed. A few small resorts, a few places to eat, a little dive shop ... it's still a quiet spot, though some new hotels are appearing.

Naithon Beach Phuket

More about Naithon beach
Naithonburi Resort Review
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Kata Noi Beach

Kata Noi is the end of the road. Just a few minutes drive from Kata Beach, it's home to the Kata Thani Resort and Mom Tri's Villa Royale, yet retains a quiet feeling, mainly I think because the road goes nowhere!

Kata Noi Beach

More about Kata Noi Beach
Katathani Resort Review
Mom Tri's Villa Royale Review
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Rawai Beach

Close to Chalong Bay, Rawai is full of small restaurants and food stalls and is a great place to rent a longtail boat to nearby islands. Not a swimming beach really, but makes a good stop off on a tour of the SW corner of Phuket.

More about Rawai beach
Hotels near Rawai Beach
Boat trip from Rawai Beach to Koh Kaew Yai island

Layan Beach

Layan is very nice - a real beautiful spot at the far north end of Bang Tao. Part of the beach is a national park. There are a couple of resorts here, but they are built off the beach and do not detract from the beauty of the area. Very quiet. We have been a few times over the years for little BBQ's. It has been developed somewhat in 2013 - 14 with a "beach club" arriving to spoil the view.

Layan Beach (South)

More about Layan Beach

More Phuket Beaches...

Patong Beach

Not my favourite place in the world, Patong is the most developed tourist real estate in Thailand, and for the most part has not been made to look really pretty. If you are looking for full on tourism, plenty of accommodation and shopping, loads of restaurants, a shed load of bars and a beach full of beach chairs and umbrellas, Patong is the place to be! I tend to visit Patong only if necessary for business, though there are some great hotels and a few places to eat that I like and even Patong has quiet spots away from the centre of town, such as Paradise Beach. And I guess the north end of Patong is not too bad.

My Recommended Patong Beach Hotels
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More about Paradise Beach

Tritrang Beach Phuket

Kata Beach

Of the main beaches, Kata is more popular with younger people, and is a very scenic beach with the island of Koh Pu offshore and with lots of accommodation nearby, but very little right on the beach since most of the beach road is taken up by Club Med. Only at the South end are other places right on the beach, such as Kata Beach Resort and The Boathouse. Kata somehow retains a quiet feel despite being pretty busy. Just over the hill to the south is the even quieter Kata Noi.

My Recommended Kata Beach Hotels
Kata Beach Hotels - Full List

Sunset at Kata Beach Phuket

Bang Tao Beach

Home to the Laguna resorts and a couple of other hotels, but Bang Tao village is not close to the beach, so if you stay there you need to drive or take a taxi to find any local life or more dining options. The Laguna hotels are some of the best in Phuket. There are also some other great hotel options in the area - most are quite expensive resorts, though with late booking you can get a very good deal - see Bang Tao Beach Hotels.

Surin Beach

Was very quiet a few years ago, but has rapidly developed. A lot of new hotels over the last few years such as Twin Palms and the new Doubletree Resort, and a lot of condos/villas/apartments on the hillsides near the beach. Still, the beachfront is not that busy, and there are loads of small beachside restaurants. We like a small one right at the far North end. Surin is just North of Kamala. In between you find Laem Singh beach which has been touted as a quiet beach for many years and thus is not any more! In 1999 when I came here, Laem Sing was very quiet and made a nice getaway from Patong. Now, if you want quiet, I think there are better options.

Surin Beach Hotels

Running to the Sea

(above) my young boy at Surin Beach, way back in 2006

Laem Singh Beach

(above) Laem Sing Beach, year 2000. It was very quiet in those days!

OK, that’ll do for now. I have not even mentioned Mai Khao beach, Naiharn beach, Banana Beach, Freedom beach ... I guess some more "beach" blog posts are needed, and I need more spare time for blogging, but like I say, I’m not really a beach bum!

Karon Viewpoint

You can find a newer post about this viewpoint here : Phuket Viewpoint (Karon Viewpoint)

(this old post below is from 2007)

We took a little drive today from Patong to Karon and Kata, and along the winding road that leads to "The" Phuket Viewpoint (aka Karon Viewpoint). The view is one of the most famous images of Phuket, can be found on just about any website relating to Phuket, and is certainly the most visited viewpoint in Phuket. It's a short ride on a motorbike or in a tuk tuk from Kata beach. We passed half a dozen foreign couples on mopeds between Kata and the viewpoint. If you're staying in Kata or Karon, the viewpoint is a great stop off on the way to places like Naiharn beach, Promthep Cape and Rawai beach. You can make a very nice afternoon's sightseeing in this corner of the island.

There's really only one view from the Karon / Phuket Viewpoint. Just look North and you can see Kata Noi, Kata and Karon beaches, along with Koh Pu (the little island just off Kata). The little road that passes the viewpoint is not very busy, so you'll notice the peace and quiet. Then find your spot and look at the view to your heart's content.

Phuket Viewpoint - Kata Noi, Kata and Karon Beaches

This is the view the 'other way'

Karon Viewpoint - Google Map

View Phuket Viewpoint (Karon Viewpoint) in a larger map

Panwa Beach Resort Phuket (formerly Novotel Panwa)

Novotel is a well known hotel chain, and there are 2 in Phuket. One is located at the far North end of Patong beach (away from the main drag), the other is found at Kha Kad beach, along a quiet road down Cape Panwa, with a private beach (OK, anyone can walk on it, but there are hardly any other hotels around). I am sure the hotel is lovely, but it's the location that makes this resort my kind of place. Actually I am not 100% sure if this is still a "Novotel", must check it next time we drive this way (updated August 2012). When you see this location, you have to wonder why people want to stay in the middle of Patong! Great views from the rooms, no noise, no cars, no jet skis... We like Cape Panwa. It's a quiet area, with some great views and little back roads. Within 10 minutes of the Panwa Beach Resort you can find the Aquarium, Khao Khad Viewpoint, and a current favourite place of ours called The Beach Bar, which is a couple of minutes walk along the beach from the resort (click on the Beach Bar link to see some photos of the beach on the west side of Cape Panwa near the resort).

Panwa Beach Resort - Booking Links and Reviews

Panwa Beach Resort Rates and Reservations at Agoda.com
Panwa Beach Resort - Hotel Reviews

Novotel Panwa Beach Resort - Photos

Room with a view The Beach Resort Panwa

Restaurant The Beach Resort reception

Phuket Hotels - More Info & Online Booking

Jamie's Phuket Hotel Recommendations
Top 10 Phuket Hotels 2016
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