Nai Harn, the southernmost of Phuket’s west coast beaches, is one of the nicest beaches, not only in Phuket or Thailand, but in all of Asia. Much less developed than its northern neighbours, it is a world-class beach that feels like a local hangout.
As opposed to a lot of other beaches in Phuket, there aren’t many hotels even near the beach (only one actually – visible on the right hand side of the picture above), which limits the amount of people who tend to go; it takes effort to get to and, why bother if you have Karon or Kata Noi right out your hotel room door?
But it’s worth the trip. It was recently ranked as the 4th best beach in Asia and in 2015 it was ranked 3rd. Now, ranking beaches is a bit like rating artwork – it’s pretty subjective stuff. But, in my opinion, it’s definitely in that ballpark in terms of the beaches I’ve seen in Asia. And, maybe in part because of this buzz, people do make the trip but it isn’t quite as busy as the beaches further north.
A big reason for this relative serenity is that Wat Nai Harn dominates the shoreline, mercifully protecting the area from development and adding to an already beautiful setting. A large pond and park in front of the temple also add to the scenery while keeping developers well away from the shore.
The northern end of the beach is devoid of even driftwood on the seafloor and the bay tends to be calm. Some of the finest sand I’ve felt between my toes stretches south for about 600 metres to an inlet that can be impassable without swimming at high tide.
The south end of the beach past the inlet has small waves sometimes and can get rough during the rainy season but almost acts like a separate beach at high tide. This tends to be the least busy area of the beach. Some people try to surf the south end but the waves really aren’t big enough to be worth the effort even in the monsoon.
White sand, crystal clear water in a calm bay with a sweet sunset over the ocean and a lack of overwhelming crowds make for a good day at the beach.
Nai Harn is Phuket at it’s very best.