Nai Harn Beach 700 meters long
Since I jog Nai Harn beach almost every morning and again in the evening, well, it gets a little boring doing the same route everyday. I probably have jogged this beach over 500 times in the 20 years I’ve been here in Phuket now.
So I decided to start hitting other nearby beaches along the west coast as they are virtually empty with no tourists allowed in due to Covid19. (as of March, 2020)
This will be a work in progress as there are many.
Kata beach Length: 1.21 kms
October 17, 2020 I started with Kata Beach.
Kata beach is unique in that it is bordered with one long resort; ClubMed, which is behind a wall, next to the beach road. This means there is no shopping, restaurants, or tourist attractions right next to the beach. A few Thai locals will bring their carts so that you can buy “street food” This is a pleasant change IMO. Also there is a row of old Casuarina evergreen trees as well as palm trees bordering the beach. So, you can have sun or shade when visiting Kata Beach. Up to you!
I parked my bike at the south end of the beach road, next to the Beyond Resort Kata, which happens to be the only resort right on Kata Beach, and jogged further south to the very end of the sand, where I set my tracking device to record.
I thankfully saw that there were only about 6 or 7 other people on the beach at 7:30 AM. It was high tide but still there was a good bit of beach there. I was surprised to see 4 or 5 different surfer schools along the beach. Although most of them were closed in this time of Covid 19.
Statistics for Kata beach: Length: 1.21 kms 12:49 time to jog one way. (yeah I’m slow).
KataNoi Beach Length .75 kms
Today, Oct. 18th I went to KataNoi beach
Just south of Kata beach is the smaller “Kata Noi” beach. (“noi” meaning “small” in Thai language). You must enter in the middle as this is the only legal beach access unless you are a guest of KataThani resort. Many would think that the resort controls all the beach access, but there is a small alleyway in the middle that is considered public land and access.
Again the tide was quite high. I went from a sign on the south end that said: Kata Rocks
to the steps to Mama Tri’s famous restaurant on the north end.
I saw a few fishermen, until it started to drizzle, and a lot of people working at KataThani Resort which surprised me a bit but then I remembered that it is the weekend and Thai people travel on the weekends and take advantage of a government deal that pays them 600 baht a night I believe towards their hotel accommodation. But it sure looked empty of tourists.
KataNoi Beach Length .75 kms.
Karon Beach 3.7 kms long
This is a long one so I planned a lot of time. Found out it is 3.7 kms long. Only saw 5 people and 3 dogs in those 3.7 and 5 more (2 the same people) on the way back.
Until the end. At the north end, there is a fairly new 5 star resort: Centara Grand Beach Resort and they had their staff out cleaning the beach and a few guests swimming.
A long time ago (17 years ago?) I lived in a little shack at the south end of this beach on the rocks.
It was great and of course the tsunami took it away but I used to run this beach every day in training for a long run I did back in the states that year. John Muir Trail. Somehow I used to think it was 3 miles long and I’d run it twice a day. But now I know it’s 3.7 kms each way but seems a little harder to run 18 years later! LOL.
Afterwards I checked out the football stadium they had built back when i lived nearby,
only to see that it was in bad need of repair and it’s a shame as they cut off a lot of people’s sea view to build it.
Meridian Beach, Freedom Beach and Merlin Beach (JW Marriott)
Freedom Beach 285 meters long
Very eventful day today as I set out this morning to measure another beach: Meridian beach, which is a 5 star resort that has a lot of security. So, how to get in? (beaches are public but access is not)
Tried a trail or 2 that was on my topo map, no good. So, I went over to Patong and then to Freedom Beach. Long, muddy trail down to the beach where I was surprised to find another guy there.
Freedom Beach 285 m
Meridian Beach 330 meters long
So now, can I get to Meridian from here? It’s only about 2 kms and looks like it might be possible along the rocks.
It was doable for a while, and on the way, I found another beach I called “Secret” beach, there are a lot of these little hidden gems but often times they are only accessible from the sea.
A little while later, I came across a shipwreck! Thought at first that it was a tent and would be on Meridian beach, but no, I was only about halfway when I got to it.
With the engine about 3 meters away.
Continueing on, it got steep and dangerous. I needed all of my rock climbing skills with fingerholds, and footing was OK until I hit wet rock as the tide was coming in.
So, I hit the jungle for the last 2 kms. Took me 4 1/2 hours in all but I finally made it after a lot of bushwhacking and rock climbing. Was a very welcomed sight to see when I finally got there.
Meridian Beach! 330 meters long.
JW Marriott’s Merlin Beach 310 meters
I was able to walk right out, past the security with just a “Swadikop”. Stopped for some water and walked out to the main road where I stuck out my thumb and the first truck stopped and took me all the way back to my motorbike, even though he didn’t speak English (and my Thai is poor).
On the way home, I took a wrong turn and ended up near the JW Marriott which I know has their own beach. I tried the rocky road I know about to the left and it took me right there.
A few girls were doing the picture thing but that didn’t stop me.
JW Marriott’s Merlin Beach.
So, 3 beaches today and lots of work.
Layan/Mai Khao beach-5.5 kms
Layan/Mai Khao beach. I always thought that these were 2 separate beaches, but found out the hard way that they are one long continuous beach. The reason I say: “the hard way” is because I did this one before band practice nearby to the northern end of Layan beach. Got there an hour early on a day that was NOT supposed to rain. 15% chance of scattered thunderstorms. Well, about halfway there, the deluge started and didn’t really let up for the next 5 hours!
But I was committed as it is so far from where I live and had band practice anyway. The further I jogged southbound on this day, the more beach I could see in the distance without a break. Wooh! this was going to take a while.
One thing about rain, it lets you have the beaches to yourself. I saw only 3 or 4 others on the beach this day. And a few fishermen and women calling it quits as the rain wasn’t going to let up it seemed.
About halfway through the run, you figure out that it’s the whole Laguna complex with it’s many 5 star resorts and villas on the beachfront and of course, no trespassing signs everywhere. So, there’s no getting out to quit.
I called into band practice and said I might be late.
One thing I noticed, there were many dead and bloated puffer fish today. Big ones too. I counted 11 of them in all. I wonder why? The seas have been rough lately but no other dead fish washed up. Only puffer fish.
After I got to the end, there was a 4 star resort there that I asked security if I could cut through their property. He showed me a gate to an alley. But the gate was only about 5′ high. With my baseball cap pulled low to protect my glasses from the rain, I hit the top jamb and it knocked me right down. Oh well. I was an hour late for practice as I had to run all the way back also. Distance of Mai Khao beach (and Layan included): 5.5kms. (longest one so far)
Paradise beach distance: 100 meters, Small beach to the south: 43 meters
I’ve heard a lot about this beach but had never been there although I thought perhaps I had about 20 years ago. Wrong. Found out you must take a shuttle down from the parking lot at the top. Of course I walked instead. I was pleasantly surprised when I got there and saw this beautiful scene in front of me with only 3 other people.
Saw that the restaurants and bars were open so I said I’d be back for breakfast but wanted to mearsure the beaches first. I say beaches because there are 2 of them. The one right in front of these chairs and bar and another smaller one, to the left that is more rustic and secluded. I did the small one first. I noticed a path and sign to a scenic overlook near this smaller beach and although I left my shoes at the end of the road, I hiked up the hill to see the lookout.
Checked out a few of the other buildings around the area.
And then the daily rains came again. So, I went to the beach bar and ordered a coffee. Woops! No coffee. OK, I’ll have a mango shake for breakfast today.
Paradise beach distance: 100 meters, Small beach to the south: 43 meters.
Tri Trang Beach 780 meters long
Came here a week ago but the tide was about halfway, so the security guards wouldn’t let me on the beach. They are protecting the beach for TriTrang beach resort, even though they presently have no guests (I asked). I went back today at low tide and counted 7 security guards spaced along the way of this 780 meter beach.
It’s not very wide though and I can’t imagine there’s much room for sunbathing @ high tide. There is a nice artistic structure for relaxing at the public end (SW) near the road. (Probably the nicest part of this whole beach)
Patong Beach: 2.82 kms
This is the jewel of Phuket I guess. As a local, we almost never go here. It’s usually full of thousands of tourists, touts everywhere, tuk tuk mafia not allowing you to park anywhere, etc. But today, during the Covid19, It’s a beautiful, uncrowded, clean yet decorated beach.
Today, it was decorated up for something. But no tourists. I saw a few Thai fishermen, plenty of lifeguards sitting around bored, 3 people swimming and lots of art work to make it a lovely, clean beach.
When I finished my up and back jog, the long tail fishermen were coming in with their catch. And the women were setting up to sell it, there on the sidewalk.
It certainly appeared like the beach was being decorated up for some kind of festival, but no tourists??? I wish them luck. These are tough times for anyone in the tourist industry. We are lucky to be here to see this without all the buses, crowds, cruise ships, etc.
Ao Sane Beach 129 meters long
The next day, I stayed close to home and decided to measure Ao Sane’s 2 beaches. Ao Sane is a small, rustic, old style resort where you can still rent small bungalows right on the beach. They are a bit run down however. 2 beaches of note here. As you come down the steep entrance hill, the beach right in front of you is the bigger one.
Jungle Beach 47 meters long
To the right of this beach is the restaurant (good food) and a continuation of the east beach, past some bungalows, up over a small hill, and then down to “Jungle Beach” (one of my favorites). This beach is on the border boundary betwen Ao Sane and Baan Krating resort (3 star) and has some of the best snorkeling around (at high tide).
AoSane’s East beach 129 meters. Jungle Beach 47 meters. (normally I don’t include beaches that are less than 100 meters, but this is a good one for snorkeling.
Anantara Beach 330 meters long
Anantara is a 5 star resort, just north of Layan National Park. A well used klong separates these 2 beaches, creating a semi private beach for the nice resort. But you can drive past the resort and then park near the end of the road to access the northern end of it’s beach. There were a few guests on this one when I tracked it, which is rare in these days of the Covid 19.
Kalim beach 320 meters
Kalim is the small town just north of Patong and the sea is very close to the road. So, although it’s a popular place to get street food, it’s not a popular beach. It’s not so big and the cars rushing by are too close. But it is one of Phuket’s beaches and has good views of Patong.
I do miss the big tree that provided shade for the food vendors that was in the middle of the road. They cut it down about 6 or 7 years ago.
On the south end of Kalim beach, divided by the pile of rocks in the middle, is another small beach, most prominent at low tide and 75 meters long.
Tavorn Beach 542 meters long
The Tavorn Beach resort
has to be one of the oldest 5 star resorts on Phuket and gets my vote for the most beautiful. They have so much artwork and different gardens. Very friendly staff served me coffee at their restaurant here. I love this place and it’s the beach resort I would highly recommend to anyone coming to Phuket for their holiday. I’ll try to keep the pictures here to a minimum as I took so many on the day I visited.
Naka Beach 230 meters long
This beach has brought back memories for me as a friend showed me this place 18 years ago. It was a little known spot where he collected coral that had washed up and a good place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Patong where we both lived at the time.
Now, it’s totally different as there is a 5 star resort built on the cliffs above it with no access from either side because of the steep terrain. The only way in is as a guest or a patron in the restaurant. So, I had lunch on this day and took my time remembering the past here. In 2 hours spent here on this day, I saw zero quests anywhere on the property even though they were open and fully staffed it seemed.
Hyatt Regency Beaches: Smaller West Beach: 84 meters. Larger East beach: 435 meters
On the north side of the peninsula dividing Kalim from Kamala, on a stretch that I’ve often heard called “Million Dollar Mile” or “Millionaires’ Mile”, there is a nice beach that I will call the “Hyatt Regency Beach” since it’s right across the street from the hotel/resort of that name.
This beach is divided in 2 by a huge pile of big rocks. I named the one to the south, or west, Hyatt small south and it is 84 meters long (@ low tide)
I really did think this was a lovely little spot as it had a small Muslim family enjoying the sand and water on this day.
The larger proportional beach on the other side of the rocks was much longer and even had a few houses right on the beach.
Hyatt Regency Beaches
Kamala beach 2.1 kms
This beach was much longer than I would’ve guessed. I’ve often been to the south end of Kamala beach, as there’s usually a little “Mom & Pop” street-food spot where I’ve eaten many times. The fishermen hang out around here too and were here this day us usual. I parked here and started jogging.
Once again, quite empty, for such a beautiful day.
Surf school was open though, and a few jet skis were trying, but only a few small Thai families and fishermen (and me) on the long beach today.
At the north end, after all the businesses trying to sell you food, drinks, or souvenirs, or a massage, there is then a long Muslim cemetery which makes it feel much more remote. And then a few 4 and 5 star resorts at the northern end. Had a nice talk with an American man who was hanging out on the rocks there, before I headed back. And then, before I got on my bike to head home, I spotted some guys building a long tail boat out of steel channel bars. I’ve seen lots of boats being built, but never in this style with this material. I would think it would be quite lightweight.
Kamala beach 2.1 kms.
Laem Sing Beach 340 meters long
Next up is a beach I’ve never been to before and wasn’t sure how to get there as there was a sign and a security guard at the trailhead saying “Private Land, Keep Out!” I stopped and talked to the guard and he told me the trail is closed but the beach is open and there’s a trail from Surin beach. Great! After taking a picture of the Laem Sing beach from the lookout there, I went down to Surin beach’s north end and started along the rocks and after 60 or 70 meters, found the trail. I loved it.
There was a small restaurant along the way, it was closed of course but there were a few fishermen there.
I arrived at the beach after about a 15 minute hike to find this awesome beach, uncluttered by footsteps and very natural setting. My kind of place. (work to get there, and oftentimes, you’ll have it to yourself) On the southern end, there is a small trail that leads to another, smaller beach, that can give you even more seclusion if that’s what you’re here for.
Laem Sing Beach
Surin Beach 890 meters
Continuing north, next of course is Surin Beach. Known for the many many food vendors that set up here every day. Not on the beach but about 20 meters up and across the small road there. I’ve often stopped here for Thai food or fruit shakes in my travels and it’s a nice setting, and near an old Wat. I’ve heard stories that the Thai King; Rama IX, played golf here and so, it is considered sacred land as of course he is highly revered in Thailand. Some see him as divine.
It was a hot day when I explored Surin beach and there’s no shade near the water. Not many people again. I consider myself quite lucky to be exploring these beautiful beaches when they are so empty of people and more of a natural environment. A few fishermen again and not many beach sun-seekers. I liked the north end the best as it was closer to a natural environment and there were 2 people fishing there that looked like they were staying a camper van parked nearby. ( a bit of a rarity in Thailand)
Amanpuri Beach 440 meters long
I’m not sure if that’s the name of this one, as there are 2 resorts on the beach, both very impressive and high end places to stay. I believe the Amanpuri has the reputation for being the most prestigious. I’ve heard stories that the staff there is taught not to make eye contact with the guests. Not sure I would like that as I always like to have conversations with the staff and the higher end places seem to have the ones who speak the best English.
To get to this beach, I had to scramble along the rocks along the shore as it’s all private land with signs to try to keep people away. But the beaches and rocks next to the sea are public land.
Today, it was only me and Thai fisheman on the rocks between Surin beach and Amanpuri. After about 15 minutes of rock scrambling (I love doing that part), I arrived to find another empty, yet so beautiful beach.
The first resort was under some serious renovation. I believe this one is called “The Surin”. Then the famous “Amanpuri Resort” which had some cool looking beach toys laying around, but only 2 guests, who were busy taking selfies and didn’t even notice me (maybe they thought I was staff that wouldn’t look them in the eye anyway LOL)
Looks like a very beautiful resort and I was enjoying being there as usual.
Banana Beach 170 meters long
Continuing with my quest to measure all the beaches (west coast anyway) of Phuket after a long break, I finally got back to the task. Because back in late November 2020, while trying to get around the rocky peninsula to measure the beach at the high end “Trisara Resort” I fractured a small bone in my knee. So, I have been behaving and sitting around waiting for it to heal. I think it’s pretty good again, so, after 3 moths off, back to measuring: Today, I drove up and measured both Banana Beach and Naithon Beach
Banana Beach is a small, local beach and a lovely place with a refreshment stand (small restaurant down on the beach) I ordered a mixed fruit shake and said I’d be right back. Because this beach is only 180 meters long, it only took about 5 minutes or so to walk it and come back.
The lady there said, this is a local beach and they love it there. I can see why. There were a few small groups of people and a small family on the south end (lots of rocks in the middle of Banana beach), of the beach and I noticed he had a kayak. I might try to rent it from him as I still haven’t been able to get to Trisara. This is a lovely place and I felt very comfortable here.
NaiThon Beach 1.06 km
Next, heading north, is Naithon beach
and although I’ve driven past this beach many times, I never really walked it. The beach here is quite wide with beautiful white sand. Today there were about 10 or 12 people on the beach and lifeguards were on duty. It was hot at 2 PM. After parking near the south end, and lifeguard stand, I took some pictures and enjoyed the walk/run at the extra wide beach as it was low tide now.
A few people enjoying the good sunny weather and swimming in the so-clean water now. Without any tourists here, Phuket beaches are really enjoying the lack of pollution.
White Sand Beach 299 meters long
Today is May5, 2021 and I finally figured out a way in to measure this somewhat private beach.
I borrowed a friends kayak and although it was quite heavy, after loading it up at his house in Rawai, I drove up to Naithon beach’s south end and drug it down through the sand to the water. After putting my phone in a ziplock bag and covering up my head and arms I set off headed south into the beautiful blue sea water.
Didn’t take long to notice a super yacht anchored not far off shore.
After 1 km of paddling through the sea, I arrived at the empty White Sand Beach. Beautiful!
After turning on my tracking apps (I use two, both “Geotracker” and “Orux Maps” and found this beach to be 299 meters long. No sign of anyone so far but it looked great as there were many bungalows right ON THE BEACH!
I thought they were all empty, but after returning to my kayak, I saw 2 jet skis coming into the beach from the superyacht.
And then there were 4 people walking down the beach to meet them. One man got on one and away they went, back to the big boat. Then a child and woman got on another one for the 2nd jetski. They made a return trip for 2 more people just as I was getting back in my kayak for my return to the Naithon and my truck. They passed me taking the young woman on one and a man on the other. I stuck out my thumb as if to hitchhike and she laughed and waved.
My friend Roger, who lent me the kayak told me to try standing up on the thing as you can use it as a stand up paddleboard. So, I tried it and didn’t really have my sea legs so it was a little scary at first but you could see the bottom easily in this crystal clean blue water and I paddled most of the way back this way. Good fun. The hard part was dragging the heavy boat back up through the sand to my truck.
White Sand Beach 299 meters long.
Trisara Beach 266 meters long
This beach has been a real challenge for me. The Trisara resort is one of the most prestigious on our island of Phuket with beautiful views of the Andaman sea as it is set on a cliff with all villas and rooms with seaviews. This place is quite expensive so I was expecting an awesome beach. (especially after the last one; White Sands Beach).
A little explanation why it was a challenge, the 5 star resorts are high on security and you can’t just enter from the road. When I attempted to clamor over the rocks back in November, well, that’s when I broke a bone (hairline fracture) in my fibula bone. The doctor said I’m getting too old for this rock hopping. So, the kayak idea was a necessity.
I had been to the restaurant before at a wedding and it was impressive. But the beach was small, fairly steep with lots of broken coral and rocks.
So, it’s not a good walking beach and the attractions are the pool and beach chairs up under the trees I guess.
I saw they had a few customers who were using the pool so I took a quick picture and headed back to the kayak for the return trip to Anantara resort.
On the way back, the winds picked up and of course were against me. This resort had it in for me and I doubt I’ll be heading back to that one. Also, I had to pay a Thai worker to help me get the heavy boat back up to my truck.
NaiYang Beach (to the airport) 3.4 kms
Just south of the airport is NaiYang beach, and it is a long one.
Today, May 24, 2021 I drove up there at caught it at high tide. Not the best time for measuring these beaches as the tide makes you walk up where there is lots of debris. You have to be careful of your footing all the way. I parked in the middle, near the full moon bar (my favorite bar up there) as the Sirinat National Park lady wanted 200 baht to drive in. (Walking is free on the beach).
I headed north and sidestepped debris all the way. I did see 2 different families out picking up plastic and cleaning the beach. Near the north end of the park, there is an inlet river and there was a girl there who I asked if this would be considered the end of NaiYang beach. She said, no, that would be up around the airport. (about one more km up). I continued and saw 2 fishermen right at the airport, but they were not much help as they didn’t speak any English and were busy with their fishing.
So, I started recording the track at that point on 3 different apps. I now use “AllTrails”, Orux maps (my favorite) and “GeoTracker”.
There were not many people at all on the beach today as it was very cloudy and looked like it could start raining at any time. But I made it all the way down to the other end where there is a lot of construction going on. Jackhammers pounding, too loud even against the heavy wave sound as we are in monsoon season now and the sea was up.
3.5 kms was the average between the 3 apps. (One way) It was a 2 hour drive (I always take the scenic route) and 2 hours of walking (a little over an hour each way as I have to walk it twice always)
Nai Yang beach (to the airport) 3.4 kms.