Rawai is located at the southern tip of Phuket and is quickly becoming one of the most popular areas to live on the island, teeming with artists, Thai and expat entrepreneurs, and a service sector that, for the most part, moved here from somewhere else.
Rawai is quite spread out with lots of trees and greenery so scooter hire is advisable, driving is easy as the area is nice and quiet and it really allows you to explore.
It is much less touristy than nearby Kata and Patong beaches and an excellent place to experience some real Thai culture with a peaceful local atmosphere and is very popular for the many seafood restaurants all along the waterfront. For a bit of fun its best is to eat on mats placed on the floor like locals do, the food is just as good, but it's a more memorable experience. The food and drink tend to be slightly cheaper here too!
Overall, Rawai Beach is not your usual beach destination but offers a unique local feel and is perfect if you prefer a quiet and peaceful holiday and a more authentic experience.
The beach stretches east to west with a cape at both ends and is very shady and pleasant, even on the hottest days, and you can while away the afternoon underneath the beach's casuarina trees, or catch a traditional Thai longtail boat out to one of the nearby islands, Koh Bon, Koh Hey (Coral Island) or Koh Racha.
For a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a real Thai 'working beach' Rawai Beach is hard to beat. Some fishermen caulk their vessels while others mend their nets; others work on a new boat and the whole beach atmosphere is decidedly nautical. Catches are hauled ashore while restaurant operators on nearby islands load crates of beer and bags of rice aboard longtail boats.
All you have to do is sit and take it all in! There are no jetskies, banana boats, ambulant beach vendors or any of the trappings of a west coast beach; this is Thai beach life.
Nai Harn Beach & Ya Nui Beach
When the urge takes you to spend the day soaking up some sunshine or the kids want to go swimming & snorkeling in the ocean, then Ya-Nui Beach and Nai Harn Beach are only a quick 5 minutes drive away.
Ya-Nui lies in the shadow of two of Phuket's loveliest viewpoints. It's a charming little cove featuring good snorkeling, kayaking and fishing. The sand is beautifully soft and children love to collect shells on this beach.
Nai Harn is a fabulous beach, tucked away between rolling hills blanketed by rainforest and backed by a lake. It’s one of the islands most popular places with in-the-know locals as well as a popular anchorage for yachts during high season. The thin soft sand and perfect clear blue water is fringed by a delightful pine forest with so many choices to eat you won’t know how to decide!
The region is defined not just by its beaches but also by its lush coastal hills that rise steeply and tumble into the Andaman Sea, forming Laem Phromthep, Phuket’s beautiful southernmost point providing wonderful sunset views across the ocean.
The hills are home to pocket neighborhoods and cul-de-sacs knitted together by just a few roads – although more are being carved into the hills each year. Even with the growth you can still feel nature, especially when you hit the beach.
With the sudden rise in popularity the area has been subjected to a fair amount of development over the past few years and now traditional village life has become intertwined with a host of modern conveniences. Upmarket restaurants and beach clubs are muddled together with Tiki-Bars and roadside vendors. Bakeries and coffee shops mixed with open-air markets and beachside BBQ’s.
While not the best place for hardcore partygoers there is still a bright and vibrant nightlife with a selection of family friendly watering holes, pool bars, girlie bars and the now famous ‘Laguna Plaza’ - a collection of around 15 bars and a nightclub all under one roof, offering great music, a lively atmosphere and outstanding drinks that will surely keep you dancing until the early hours of the morning.