Beaches Made in Heaven
Nai Yang Beach:
Right at the top of the island, just south of Sarasin Bridge is Nai Yang. The beach has been declared a National Park, but the public still have free access. There would be an uproar if this wereto change, for this deserted stretch of fine sand fringed with giant casuarinas is where Thai residents come to picnic and ‘get away from it all’. Near the bridge there are some small seafood restaurants. Between November and February, this is where the sea turtles struggle up the beach to lay their eggs.
Also known as Haad Hin Gluai or Banana Rock Beach, has everything a beach lover would ever need: a small bay of soft sand, rocks offshore and water as clear as glass for snorkelling, a smattering of sun beds. Aside from the stretch of sand, there’s a single restaurant serving slightly overpriced seafood dishes, with five plastic tables that sink into the sand. During a recent visit, a scene of tropical island romance unfolded before our eyes: a long-tail boat arrived and a European couple waded to shore, along with their boatman holding a bag of freshly-caught fish. They arranged with the restaurant to fry up the fish for a seafood lunch for two on the beach. It’s the kind of activity that those living in wintery climes dream about for their two weeks of holiday escape. Found just a few kilometres south of Nai Thon Beach, the lost-lagoon feel of Banana Beach makes it a superb afternoon chill-out spot.
About two kilometres north of Surin village, is Bangtao, home to the exclusive Laguna hotel complex. The north part of the beach is quiet and has some fi ne coral for snorkelling. There you’ll find a lagoon and a small river estuary, which gives on to the beautiful, tranquil Layan Beach – also a national park.
In the high season, this beach is good for swimming and snorkelling, but during the monsoon the onshore winds throw up some serious waves; great for surfers who know what they’re doing.
Laem Sing (Sing Cape):
Continuing south, intrepid beachcombers will encounter this delightful, bijou bay. Nestling between stony headlands,
Laem Sing features sandy coves and rock pools which bear close inspection. Its unique charm attracts many visitors in the high season.
Hua Beach, some two kilometres up the Millionaires’ Mile road in Kamala, might well have been the last truly secret beach on Phuket. But since a small handmade sign was posted at its entrance a few months ago, the secret’s out. The 300-metre lane leading to the beach takes you through a lush landscape with thick trees arching over the road, ending at a small car park area next to a basic restaurant. Tall casuarina and palm trees line the beach, reaching out over Hua’s golden sand. Next to the restaurant is a concrete foundation that looks like it’s been long abandoned to the jungle – someone’s dream tropical villa that didn’t quite come to fruition perhaps. Aside from the restaurant, some bundles of fishing nets and a few plastic dinghy boats scattered about, there’s nothing here but sand and sea. If you time it right you might have this beach all to yourself, aside from the resident kittens racing across the sand.