Phuket’s South

Where Phuket Disappears Into the Sea

The south of Phuket, as far away from the mainland as you can get on the island, is punctuated by sweeping vistas of offshore islands and quaint beaches. 

Sunbathers on Nai Harn Beach with yachts moored offshore
Nai Harn beach

One unique feature of the southern area of Phuket is that it’s a destination in itself by default – it’s simply not on the way to anywhere. This certainly doesn’t diminish it’s popularity as visitors flock here for several reasons, especially the striking way the island terminates into a long, sloping finger of land surrounded by rugged seaside cliffs called Promthep Cape. The mountainous landscape delivers other notable scenery like the nearby Kata Noi, Kata, and Karon beaches viewpoint as well as the short jungle trek that leads to Black Rock viewpoint high above Nai Harn beach. 

Rawai Bay
Rawai Beach

Besides idyllic little beaches such as Ao Sane, Ya Nui, and their big brother Nai Harn, tourists flock to Rawai beach where longtail boats and speed boats depart on day trips to nearby islands like Koh Racha Noi/Yai, Koh He, and Koh Bon. On the southeast coast is Friendship beach with kiteboarding schools and is popular for kayaking, paddle boarding, and sailing.

The community consists of a diverse mix of Buddhist and Muslim Thais, sea gypsy’s (chao ley or moken), and expats from all over the world. The sea gypsy village beside Rawai Pier is well-known for seafood markets where all sorts of marine creatures can be bought (many still alive) and nearby restaurants will cook to order. 

The Rawai/Nai Harn area has seen substantial development and growth in recent years with many sizable condominium projects and villas completed and currently under construction. A diverse range of businesses have followed suit with plenty of ethnic cuisine, cafes, boutique clothing shops, and coworking spaces enriching the local community.

While there are ample barstools and venues for nighttime festivities, there’s an equal and growing amount of fitness centers, Muay Thai gyms, and wellness retreats. There’s a burgeoning health-focused movement in the area with health food stores, vegan restaurants, and detox programs to support it.