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Driving Around Phuket Island
Written by Administrator    Thursday, 25 March 2010 17:29    PDF Print E-mail

Driving Yourself is the Best Way to Really See Things

Different areas and Beaches offer Different Atmospheres

Driving around Phuket island should be first priority for anyone renting a vehicle. Many beaches and different parts of the island are worth visiting, for they differ greatly in ambience. Some, like Patong, are crowded, others are completely deserted. There are whole corners of the island like Cape Panwa that are quiet, scenic and very different.
It is possible to drive around Phuket in a large circle that will take in most of the interesting spots. See the map in PHUKET Magazine, or other, and this route is quite obvious.

West Coast

The beautiful west coast is rugged, and the cliff-hugging road occasionally peaks on spectacular high points, offering wide vistas of beach, mountain and sea. This is indeed the high point of a circular tour of the island. One can start at any of the west coast beaches, driving either north or south, and return a couple of hours later from the opposite direction.


Driving Around Phuket Island

To see the whole route one should drive the west coast from Nai Harn in the very south to Na Thon, just short of the airport. There are just two tricky points: crossing the mountain from Kata to Nai Harn, and finding the route from the Surin-Bang Tao area up the coast to Na Thon, just south of the airport.


Driving Around Phuket Island

Both of these stretches should be taken, for these transverse the most spectacular high points.

To get from Kata to Nai Harn take the steep road up the mountain just 200 metres south of The Boathouse (if driving south). If coming from the south one must following the signs on the roads that wind through the rubber plantations.

To find the small but interesting road that leads from the back of Laguna up the coast past Layan Beach to Na Thon, one turns into the main entrance of Laguna (if driving north), then veers right at the first turn a few hundred metres further on. If coming from the north one enters the Na Thon beach road about 3 kilometres south of the airport, then simply follows the only route south.

East Coast - N.E. & S.E. diversions


Driving Around Phuket Island


Driving Around Phuket Island


Driving Around Phuket Island


Driving Around Phuket Island


Phuket’s east coast borders the expansive Phang Nga Bay, and has no beaches, save for a few small and attractive ones at the Southeast corner. The road does not follow the coast, and an island tour will have to follow the main trunk route from the airport to the town for most of the way.

There is an interesting loop in the Northeast, calling in on the boat port of Ao Po. One entry is at the Heroines Monument, the other just south of the main airport turnoff.

The other interesting diversion is the route down to the Southeast peninsula of Cape Panwa, where a few attractive resorts have carved themselves into quiet, private beaches. Turn East at first traffic light on the south side of Phuket Town, just past the park with a large lotus pond. One comes back to the main North-South highway, Chao Fa Road, by the same route.

The Far South


Driving Around Phuket Island


Driving Around Phuket Island


The roads at the back of Chalong, Rawai and Nai Harn beaches criss-cross a residential area where many foreign residents of Phuket live. Many of these own their own tourism-related businesses, or are engaged in the hotel and diving industries.

The first two of these beaches are not very interesting, and are not suitable for swimming. Chalong is a well-protected bay, and the major boat harbour on the island. Many tour boats leave the pier here for trips to outer islands, including Phi Phi.

Nai Harn, on the other hand, faces Southwest and is washed by the waves of the Andaman. These have carved out one of the most beautiful swimming beaches on the island. There is just one hotel here, the Phuket Yacht Club. Their terrace affords a spectacular view of Nai Harn bay and beach, of headlands and nearby islands, and is a great place for sunset drinks.