When I first came to Phuket a few years ago I hated it. I had just come from beautiful, chilled Koh Yao Noi and was thrown into the deep end of everything that is wrong about tourism in Thailand. I lasted two days and vowed to never return.
Practicalities had me change my mind eventually as Phuket is a convenient starting point for island hopping and dive excursions in the south of Thailand and also home to an international airport now. It was due to that airport that I discovered the Sirinat National Park after asking around in various travel forums: how to escape the tourist crowds in Phuket?
There is a way I knew as soon as I arrived at Naiyang that I had not only discovered the best beach in Phuket but also one that can rank pretty high up as one of the best beaches in Thailand. Long stretches of white sand, powdery of course, which are almost deserted in the mornings and even during the day never get too crowded. Clear water, some shade, and just the right amount of restaurants/beach bars/massage places.
The first time I stayed just next to the entrance of the Sirinat National Park which meant a good 20 minute walk to get to the best beach in Phuket. However, it also meant some amazing and cheap streetfood (I have marked the road on the map for you below) as well as walking vicinity to the lovely Baan Yoga Studio.
But if you are in it for a holiday by the water, I recommend you stay at The Slate, the best hotel in Phuket on the beach in my opinion.
You know I am a hotel snob and was never ashamed of that fact. When I came to The Slate the first time around I was invited for a massage, a lunch, and a site inspection. I was almost inconsolable when I had to leave and go back to my little bamboo hut with its incredible hard mattress - it seemed like a carrot in shape of an amazingly comfy bed and two infinity pools had been dangled in front of me and could never be reached.
With that said, I was excited to be invited to actually stay at The Slate this time around and vowed to take full advantage of that carrot!
Phuket has a rich tin mining history which is reflected in the decor of The Slate, showing an unknown Phuket. Unlike other typical Thailand hotels, you will find lots of metal, concrete floors, and industrial touches here that are set off with jungle-y surroundings. Concrete jungle meets real jungle.
Usually, hotels this size are too big for my liking (they have 177 rooms) but luckily the property is big enough for you not to meet too many people if you don't want to and it also has two designated adults-only pools.
My room was a Pearl Bed Suite on the first floor. Because I am fancy like this, the first order upon arrival was locking myself out on the balcony. Have I mentioned that you cannot take me anywhere? Luckily housekeeping rescued me before I could contemplate climbing over the railing and giving my neighbors a fright (secretly I was very keen to try that - they make it looks so cool in the movies!).
Then there is always the option to take a bath on your balcony. Which I honestly contemplated for a brief second before deciding that it was a) way too hot and b) my neighbor could totally look in. But I felt bad because - how nice is this bath? - so I did what any decent travel blogger would do and just did it for the 'gram.
Let's just say that no phone or camera died in the making of these pictures and I now consider myself an expert on foam blowing. Other than that, I should have had another nap instead and promise that from now on I keep using any outdoor bathrooms or jacuzzis to wash my scuba equipment.
The best beach in Phuket - What to do & Where to eat
Right next to The Slate you will find Sea Bees Diving, a lovely little shop run by the German couple, Michael and Tiin. Scuba diving in Phuket is a definite must but if you are not a diver you can just go on a snorkeling trip with them.
I was out of luck twice because April means that the season is ending and thus the visibility gets a bit crappy. Still, I was just happy to be underwater again. If you want to join them for a dive they also offer trips to other areas with better conditions at this time of the year.
Other than that, there is not much to do at the best beach in Phuket and this is how I like it. A massage with the sound of the ocean, a long walk to Mai Khao beach with view on the planes landing and taking off (one of the big advantages of the area is that you are right next to the airport) or in my case, just be spoilt by the beauty of the beach. Take a book, a big bottle of water, and find your perfect spot of white sand - there are few people and much space. Do not forget the sunscreen because little kids will point at you if you get burned and yes, I may or may not be speaking from experience. Don't forget to float in the warm ocean, relax, snooze - Naiyang beach is the perfect spot to discover Phuket off the beaten track and doing nothing is part of its charm.
Sleepy even comes to mind when you visit the 'main road' with shops and cafes, making the area to one of the best kept secrets in Phuket.
Take the opportunity to do plenty of nothing and/or eat everything - in no apparent order. The Slate itself has four restaurants and if there is a place to splurge it is their Black Ginger restaurant.
Especially at night, it is super dramatic as you have to take a barge to get to the restaurant set in the middle of a small lake. Torches and dark wood add to the drama. The food is typical Phuket cuisine which you shouldn't miss during a visit. Phuket was named "City of Gastronomy" by UNESCO last year, the first Asian city to receive this honor and it shows on the plates - this ain't your typical Thai food.
Definitely, try the crab curry with vermicelli noodles and the rock-lobster salad (have I mentioned that I am drooling while writing this?!).
Alternatively, you can head down to the main road and the beach. Here I recommend Sea Almond which I think is the best beach restaurant in the area. While it may look like all the others, the service is the friendliest and the food is the best. Try their special coconut seafood curry, which is served in a whole coconut and goes down nicely with ice-cold Singha. Needless to say, this is a place you want to visit during sunset, a moment when the whole beach seems to slow down even more and all you hear are little gasps or shrieks of delights by photographers and kids still playing in the warm water alike.
Thailand does do sunsets nicely.
If you want a less romantic and more lively atmosphere (hey, don't look at me, I can be very romantic and shit even on my own!) head to Hi Beach on the main road. More cold beer, Bon Jovi & Co., and some great peanut crackers await.
Needless to say after eating fancy and then beachy I really wanted a pizza on day 3. I think my stomach could feel the proximity to the best pizza in Thailand and was not easily swayed by my sensible decision that an hour's drive would be too long just to eat a pizza. Instead, I found a little Italian looking place opposite Mr. Kobi's (I forgot the name but you can find it on the map below). While I didn't quite believe the waitress when she told me that their pizza is homemade, it actually was. No comparison to the one & only in Khao Lak but decent enough to not make me cry.
Cry I did when I had to leave The Slate and being severely sunburnt was only part of the problem. There are just some carrots/ hotels you can never get enough of because home away from home is a state of mind. One that I achieve so much easier when it comes with fresh linens and infinity pools.
Ready to discover the best beach in Phuket and all it has to offer?
Thank you to The Slate for an incredible stay!
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