Written by Administrator
Thursday, 25 March 2010 17:29
Driving Yourself is the Best Way to Really See
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 CapePanwa
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.
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.
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.
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
East Coast - N.E. & S.E. diversions
Phuket’s east coast borders the expansive PhangNgaBay, 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 HeroinesMonument, the other just south of the
main airport turnoff.
The other interesting diversion is the route down to the Southeast peninsula of
CapePanwa, where a few attractive resorts
have carved themselves into quiet, private beaches. Turn East at first traffic
light on the south side of PhuketTown, 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
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
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.