Phuket beaches are world renowned as some of the most beautiful in the world. You’re probably coming to Phuket at least in part, for that reason! White sand, small waves or sometimes glassy, and the ultimate in relaxation or wild nightlife… all describe the beaches you’ll find on Phuket Island. With over 50 beaches to choose from, you’re going to have an incredibly good vacation. You’ve picked the right spot!
As mentioned, Phuket has over 50 beaches on the mainland alone that you can visit during your vacation if you have the time and motivation! If that isn’t enough for you, there are 32 islands surrounding Phuket’s mainland that are also part of Phuket province that you can visit. Most Phuket beaches are bays with rocky outcrops at either end and surrounded by hills – big or small.
The west side of Phuket has the most stunning beaches you may have ever seen in your life. The entire west coast is covered with white sand beaches great for swimming, snorkeling, surfing and other water activities. Many of Phuket beaches are kilometers long and lined with ironwood and palm trees. West coast beaches enjoy the famous sunsets Phuket is known for, and it’s fair to say most people on the island are on the west side where Patong Beach is.
The east side of Phuket Island is much less rocky and marshier in general, with lots of mangroves rather than beaches. East coast beaches also have a lot of mud mixed with the sand, which is great if you’re a local looking for clams and crabs, but not so great for tourists. The snorkeling, swimming, and surfing is not generally very good on the east side, but there are some exceptions to the rule. Some amazing idyllic beaches on Phuket’s east coast that are worth mentioning are: Laem Ka Yai; Laem Ka Noi; and Cape Yamu Beach.
There are said to be 600,000 people living on Phuket Island, and the population is growing dramatically every year. Who lives on Phuket? Phuket locals, born and raised on the island make up a small percentage of the population, and most residents are Thais registered in other provinces who came to Phuket to build businesses in the tourism sector.
Estimates of 20,000 to 30,000 expats living on Phuket are probably not exaggerated. There are many foreign-owned businesses in the Patong Beach area especially. You can find restaurants owned by expats from all over Europe, the USA, Canada, India, Vietnam, Australia, and other countries.
One of the many good points about Phuket – the assortment of international restaurants is superb!
Six-hundred thousand people sounds like a lot until you factor in that there are also another 642,000 average visitors arriving at Phuket International Airport each month during the low season and 760,000 per month arriving during high season! The low-season slow-down is not so remarkable any longer due to Chinese and Russian visitors increasing greatly over the past few years.
So, are Phuket beaches always crowded?
It depends heavily on your definition of what crowded means to you. If you’re wondering if you’ll be able to find a place to put your beach mat down on the sand to lay down – sure – you can always find space for that, on any beach. There isn’t a beach on the island that gets that crowded except maybe Paradise Beach – a tiny little spot close to Patong that you probably shouldn’t miss.
There are so many miles of beaches in Phuket that even the 1.2 million people who are here each month, can’t fill up the beaches. If you think about it, most people in Phuket are here for the party atmosphere. At least at Patong Beach and surrounding beaches. You can avoid the crowds by going in the early morning. Most people with hangovers don’t even get moving until lunch time. You can have six hours of relaxation on a beach – maybe by yourself – until then. Most beaches don’t start seeing any tourists until 9 am. It certainly won’t be crowded on any beach at 9 am. Go early and enjoy some world-class beaches by yourself for a few hours before the crowds wake up.
For more information about Phuket Beaches visit the ultimate Phuket Beaches Blog, with many interesting beach related articles, written by Sepp Hatzl a long time Phuket resident and owner of Bismarck's Paradise - Luxury Villas Phuket