Like it or not, Phuket is often associated closely with its infamous Patong area, one of the most famous party spots in Asia. But thankfully, there is much more to Phuket than Patong. In fact, there are many beach areas that are perfect for children, where the whole family can relax and enjoy the sun, sand, and warm, blue water.
Phuket is a big island, big enough that it does not feel like an island at all. In fact, it’s Thailand’s biggest island, and a province in its own right. There are many towns, roads, attractions, water activities and of course beaches to see and explore. In fact, there are so many that it can be confusing to work out which beach area is the best for a family. Here’s a review of some of the most popular beach areas and what they offer.
Located 15km north of Patong, Surin Beach is a great choice for families. Trees separate the hotels here from a beautiful stretch of white sand and give the beach a more secluded feel. For those who choose to explore the beach on foot, small Thai-style restaurants and cafes dot the landscape and make for wonderful rest stops. Once you find the perfect spot to lounge, you can rent a chair and umbrella for the day from one of the shops for a small fee. Verdict: With plenty of soft sand, a bounty of food options, and loads to explore, Surin is worth a look.
Kalim Beach is just north of Patong, and is a good budget choice that’s just off the main drag. There are not many hotels and resorts in this area so it is not as crowded, but this means that it lacks the endless options for drinking and dining found in Patong. The beach is small, so if a big, beautiful beach is important, this area should not be considered. Verdict: Good for families wanting to dip their toe into the exciting parts of Phuket, but who want an easy way to retreat into a less vibrant area.
Karon Beach is a beautiful, long, and not-yet overdeveloped beach just south of Patong. Facing the beach is a string of resorts, restaurants and shops on the main road, which kids will love to browse. Karon is the second most popular of Phuket’s beach areas, although it does not feel like it thanks to the beach being so big and the resorts being rather spread out along the main road. It is a great beach for families as everything you need is there, plus the white sand and shallow water are great for little ones. Facilities such as restaurants and shops are quite spread out though, so be prepared for a bit of walking and/or carrying if you’re travelling with young kids. Verdict: Perfect, but be ready to do a bit of walking!
Kata Beach is a gorgeous palm-lined beach just south of Karon Beach. There is plenty of space to spread out and build sandcastles and the water is safe for young children to splash around in. At the northern end of the beach, there is also some great snorkeling. There are many resorts to choose from in this area. Kata does not get overrun by tourists, but there are enough people around that there is a good array of restaurants and shops. Verdict: a great choice for families who want many of the conveniences of the bigger beaches, but don’t want to be flooded with tourists either.
Nai Harn Beach, located at the southern end of Phuket, is one of the prettiest beaches on the island, offering some fantastic, blue water. Nai Harn is much smaller and less touristy than other areas, but it’s also a bit of a trek to get to. There are not many resorts near the beach and a relatively low number of restaurants and shops that carry anything but the basics, which should be taken into account when packing for the day. Verdict: a great beach area for a family who wants to get away from the crowds while still being able to pick up some of the basics that kids need to have fun.