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IN PHUKET….LIFE’S A BEACH

When you close your eyes and dream of escaping to a Thai tropical island, the images of long stretches of powder white sand, swaying coconut trees and crystal-clear calm sea is most likely the picture in your mind.

Until the recent global events, Phuket still offered some expansive beaches with no to little people on them, especially in the quieter, rainy season, but we have to admit some of the most popular beaches were busy and we generally would not recommend our guests to visit them for relaxation. Up until now.

Those who have visited us before are familiar with the lovely beaches closest to our hotels, Surin and Kamala Beach, and probably would head over to the more touristy areas for a spot of shopping, nightlife and attractions, but seldom to actually chill out or take a walk on those beaches. You would not believe how stunningly beautiful Patong Beach is now, you can see why it became as popular as it did. The swathes of surf-tastic beaches of Kata and Karon are now restored to their former glory and Phuket is back to where it was some years ago regarding nature; remarkably turtles are returning to nest on some of the once busiest beaches.

In this article we will revisit some beaches and update you how they have changed (for the better) in time for your next visit to Phuket.
Bang Tao Beach

BANG TAO BEACH

Always fairly chilled out, Bang Tao is a long wide bay lined with resorts and some great places to find a cold beer and dinner. At the northern tip lies Siranat National Park (Layan Beach) and is a lovely, quiet spot to take your own beach mat and picnic to. At the moment it is very quiet as the beach venues are closed, so this is, by far, the most tranquil spot.

At the southern tip lies a more traditional section where locals still make their living with fishing. Although the demand is reduced now, locals and restaurants still buy their daily catch and freshness is guarantee, as you may taste if you have dinner at Palm Seaside located in this spot.

Catch Beach Club is located near the middle section and still is the place for relaxed lunches by the sea and a spot of dancing under the twinkling stars, and surrounding it are more chilled out places to enjoy days by the pool, healthy smoothies and some SUP. A number of quirky pop-up bars have emerged, including ‘Beach & Bubbles’, ‘Hugo Hut’ and ‘Beach Pig’, making Bang Tao a little more varied, relaxed and beachier than before.

KAMALA BEACH

A few years back Kamala had a rustic vibe, a small bay busy with local fishermen and tiny shacks serving tasty Thai food and refreshments. Kamala has seen an upsurge in investment and with that we now have some swish beach clubs, eateries and bars, but since the pandemic, some of the local places have reappeared making Kamala so diverse and a real joy to visit. We recommend hiring a stand-up paddle board, as the Kamala coastline offers some of the most picturesque, especially if you paddle around into inaccessible from land Laem Singh Beach and onto Surin Beach and the quiet Pansea Beach tucked around the corner from Surin and home to Amanpuri. On your return reward yourself with a delicious lunch and refreshing drink at Shimmer Beachfront Restaurant and soak up the chic atmosphere.

KATA BEACH

For the first time in 20 years, in February 2021, a Leatherback turtle laid her eggs on Kata Beach. Usually well known for its beach volleyball, surf competitions and throngs of sun loungers and tourists, this beach has had the opportunity to reform to its natural state and to welcome the return of nature to Phuket’s beaches. Marine life experts from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) said that of the 80 eggs laid, 32 baby turtles did not survive, and 14 eggs were unfertilised, this goes to show that the ongoing breeding and hatching of sea turtles is a precarious and delicate process.

Leatherbacks are the world’s largest sea turtles. They are considered endangered in Thailand and listed as a vulnerable species globally by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

PATONG BEACH

The old jewel of Phuket’s beach crown fast became a neon-clad frenzied money-making machine, with the bright lights of Soi Bangla and its drinking haunts and shows, to its bustling markets and hectic traffic woes, Patong is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it, there’s no time for indifference. However, now, after one year of little tourism the beach is simply divine. When you visit and feel the squeak of the Persil white sand beneath your feet you really can see how this beautiful beach became the place to be in Phuket a couple of decades ago. It is simply stunning; the bay is large and the water clear and blue. Patong used to be the most commonly used beach for sea turtles to lay and hatch their eggs before tourism took a strong hold. Good for some, long gone are the crazed sounds of hundreds of jet-skis, the dulcet tones of a mix-match of music pulsating from Bangla, the aromas of late-night kebabs and Benidorm style revelry.

SURIN BEACH

This beach has probably gone through some of the most dramatic changes over the years. What once was a thriving hub of bars and restaurants is now just a beach. Gone are the times of opulent yachts mooring up to visit the beach clubs and the Monaco-jet set vibe floating around with champagne in hand (that you can still find at Catch Beach Club), now Surin is firmly a place to visit for a picnic, a snorkel or a swim. It still has the most amazingly clear water and a lovely bit of reef to snorkel on, but if you are looking for its former swank, it is no longer. There are some Thai restaurants and a few stalls selling coconut ice-cream, fruit shakes, pancakes and som tam, so if you’re looking to support the locals and have a simple beach day, make Surin your beach of choice,

So, in summary, we have the opportunity to rebuild tourism with a view to helping to preserve nature and the attractiveness of Phuket’s beaches. A lot of heartache and financial woes have fallen on Phuket’s tourist industry recently, but out of the darkness there’s always light, and the splendour of our beaches is what we always dream about when imagining our future holidays, and they’ve never looked so good.

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