With lots of beaches to choose from in Phuket, it can be difficult to know which one to base yourself in. On our recent visit down south, we spent some time in Rawai, as it’s the one place in Phuket that we hadn’t really got to explore before. As with most places in Phuket, there are lots of things to do in Rawai and it would be difficult to get bored of looking at its beauty. It is picturesque and offers visitors uninterrupted views of turquoise waters, beaches and green coastal hills, all of which are framed by the swaying palm trees and the coral of the Andaman Sea.
3 Things to do in Rawai Beach, Phuket
A seafront village located in the southern tip of Phuket, Rawai is divided into the northern beachfront known as Hat Mittraphap, and the southern urban and port area, Laem Ka. Being one of Phuket’s two main ports, it is a great base spot for visiting many of Phuket’s encompassing islands in one of the lined out longtail boats that have become so iconic of Thailand. If you’ve got the cash to splurge, many of these islands can be privately rented, and offer a private getaway like no other.
There is a local, authentic Thai atmosphere to Rawai that can be felt somewhat more than super touristy areas like Patong or Nai Harn and I have to say that, despite the stormy weather that we experienced, we enjoyed our time in the area. While the following list is not exhaustive, it is a good selection of fantastic times, places and activities for you to take a note of.
What are the 3 things to do in Rawai Beach?
Detox at Phuket Cleanse
A five star fitness yoga, fitness, nutrition and detox retreat located on Ruam Nanachat Alley, there could be no better complement to your mind, body and soul. Get pumped with a superfood nutrition diet and exercise regimes including the local tradition of Muay Thai Cardio, unwind with ice baths, steam saunas, reflexology and massages, and learn how to cook “raw”- this package style holiday includes everything you need to experience the ultimate health retreat. We spent 2 nights here and really learned so much in that short space of time that I suspect a longer time period here would literally be life changing. See here for more info.
Tour the Islands with Simba Sea Trips
When it comes to checking out the surrounding islands, it’s great to have a tour guide that knows how to give you the best experience. Simba Sea Trips is one such excursion option; unlike many other operators, they give ample space on the boats, and they leave that little bit earlier so you can take in your environments before other tourists arrive. As the crew are all local Thai’s, your cultural experience will match the comforts provided, and there are tailor made tours designed for different areas.
Andy’s Scuba Diving
With such an amazing underwater coral and sea life, it’s an absolute must to go scuba diving. The locals are big on preserving the fragile yet beautiful sea creatures and habitats that make up the Andaman Sea, and Andy’s Scuba Diving Centre ensures you get to dive at the best sites. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, there are a range of courses to suit everyone. In addition to magnificent corals, you’ll get to witness a variety of marine creatures such as lionfish, butterflyfish, parrotfish, scorpionfish, seahorses, black tip reef sharks, sea snakes, turtles, tuna, dolphins, manta rays, cuttlefish and so much more. Although we didn’t go scuba diving ourselves (as we’ve never done it before), it is one of the number one activities when it comes to things to do in Rawai Beach.
Top Things to see when Visiting Rawai Beach
The Sunset At Phromthep Cape
The island’s most southern and southwestern point, Phromthep looks out over the sea and offers one of the best coastal views on the island, . The cape’s view seems to go on forever, while the top of the hill offers expansive space, a lighthouse and the colourful Brahma Phra Phrom shrine that’s surrounded by elephants. We rode the scooter up and arrived near sunset time with a picnic in tow. It was a lovely evening and I have to say that the view was pretty spectacular. Don’t miss it.
Phuket Seashell Museum
Located near Rawai’s Evason Resort, you can view some of the most precious seashells from all four corners of the globe at the Phuket Seashell Museum. Phuket’s waters are responsible for many of these gems with its diverse coral life, and you can view everything from the world’s largest golden pearl to shell fossils from the earliest life forms known to mankind. It was surprisingly interesting and even Carlo enjoyed the hour that we spent there wandering around and taking it all in.
What is the best beach in the Rawai area of Phuket?
Rawai beach is a working beach considered a handy spot for island excursions and fishing. While it is appealing in its own right (if you like rocky beaches, that is), the true star Rawai has to be Laem Ka Beach. A hidden gem just a few minutes’ drive from Rawai beach, it offers the luxury of a private island without the cost attached. It’s also the only eastern facing beach that allows for good swimming, and the boulders framing the beach offer great shade. As it is a remote location, there’s no refreshment facilities so it would be a good idea to pack some food and drink with you. In any case, it offers the perfect opportunity for a quiet, idyllic picnic!
The Best Time To Visit Phuket
This really depends on personal preference. Do you mind the occasional spell of downpour with the benefit of cheaper prices, or would you rather the dry season? With a tropical monsoon climate, Rawai is at its hottest in April to May and at its wettest from September-October.
December to March could be argued as the perfect time, as it’s not too humid and the weather is comfortably hot with gentle breezes, which is always a welcome break from high temperatures. The seas also tend to be calm this time of year, allowing for swimming and scuba diving. February marks the celebration of the Chinese New Year, an enthralling celebration full of fireworks displays and parades worth adding to your bucket list.
Where To Stay in Rawai Beach
Whether it’s luxury, mid-range or Thai style accommodations you’re after, there’s the perfect option in Rawai for the fussiest of accommodation hunters. You can’t go wrong with most options available, although little preferences like a tranquil setting versus a central nightlife or shopping spot can make a difference. Here are three to consider if (like us) you prefer the quieter, and more beautiful, things in life:
Luxury: The Almali Residence
Overlooking the picturesque tides of Rawai Beach, these villa residences are breathtaking. The rooms are incredibly spacious, with warm mahogany floors and soft mood lighting greeting you on entry. Barbeque facilities, an outdoor pool, rooftop terrace and a garden complete with decking and couching all offer a taste of paradise. Air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, private parking and maid facilities all come in useful and to top it all off, there’s a free airport shuttle service included in the price.
Mid-range: Windmill Hotel
Tucked away in the idyllic southwest coast, and just a short walk from Yanui Beach and Phromthep Cape, the Windmill Hotel is a relatively new stylish hotel that offers luxury at a budget friendly price. A homely, open plan restaurant with wooden motifs is a great complement to the hotel, while the long, luxurious swimming pool lined with palm trees make for a perfect relaxing afternoon. The rooms also contain air conditioning, a flat screen TV, a work space, safe, shower and towels with options ranging from pool and mountain views to family suites.
TIP: Do not miss the Thai Green Curry in the restaurant when you visit – you’ll thank me for it later.
Thai style: Palm Village
As dreamy as it sounds, Palm Village contains colourful and charming oriental and traditional Thai style houses, and tropical style bungalows. Located on the Viset Road at the footstep of Rawai, there’s great access to many beaches and spa resorts. Free Wi-Fi and housekeeping are included, while each room contains power showers, a safety box, a TV and ample storage. The outdoor areas are full of lush greenery and decking to walk along, while many local amenities and shopping centres are just a stone’s throw away.
Where to Eat and Drink when in the Area
Whether you’re looking to experience authentic Thai cuisine or something a little more familiar to the taste buds, there are plenty of options available to choose from. Having sampled quite a few of the local restaurants in Rawai, the following are some of our favourites:
For Coffee: Spoonful of Sugar
Situated near the Naihan Phromthep lighthouse temple, this is the perfect spot for a coffee and something sweet. Plenty of comfy indoor and outdoor seating on a veranda are available, and with free, fast Wi-Fi available to its customers, it was an immediate winner in our eyes. The service is known for its friendliness and their breakfast of cold meats, scrambled eggs and smoothies hit the spot!
For Dinner: Rawai View Café & Bar
Situated ideally on the seafront close to the Phromthep Cape, this is the perfect spot for dinner, takeaways or some evening drinks. You can soak in an elegant sunset on the decking area during the high tide, or you can take shelter and enjoy television and the free Wi-Fi facilities. Both authentic Thai food and Western dishes are available, so there’s an option for everyone! The chicken with cashew nuts that I had here was one of the best that I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve had quite a few of them)!
For the Experience: Gypsy @ Rawai BBQ
The famous local sea gypsies, who are known for their fishing occupations, operate a fresh sea food market offering the freshest and most specialised selections out there. You can choose from live crabs, lobsters, oysters, prawns and fish, and your selections are freshly prepared in front of you. Located on Wiset Road by the beachfront, the restaurant is perfect for enjoying a relaxing dish, and both Thai and western dishes are available to choose from.
With an abundance of activities, places and reasons to visit Rawai, it’s pretty clear that it’s a self-proclaimed idyllic abode. Whether you like to explore the sea-life on a scuba dive, rejuvenate your body, mind and soul, island hop or kick back and relax on one of the many beaches, you’re bound to leave Rawai with a glisten in your eye and adventures in your heart.
We certainly did and we cannot wait to return.