Bang Tao Beach

Bang Tao Beach - all six kilometres of it - is one of Phuket’s finest, and without the famous ‘beach roads’ that line other parts of the Phuket coastline, this stretch of paradise remains refreshingly authentic. The northern end, nearest Layan Beach, is comparably untouched, though the opening of Nikki Beach Club there in late 2013 has added some glitz to the sands. The centre is dominated by the Laguna Phuket Resort complex, home to the Banyan Tree, one of Asia’s most awarded hotels, and six other large resorts. The Laguna Phuket Golf Course, the world renowned Banyan Tree Spa and a host of facilities including 30-plus restaurants and bars at the seven resorts which make up Laguna are all within easy reach (3km).

You can find money changing facilities, medical clinics, pharmacies, massage centres and banks in Laguna, convenient western delicatessens for a quick lunch as well as a host of shops keen to attract the resort’s affluent clientele. Just outside the Laguna entrance is the Boat Avenue shopping centre with the high-end Villa Market grocery store and a cafe. Further south, a Tesco supermarket is on the main road between Laguna and Surin. Patong is a 20-minute (25km) drive further south (depending on the season) and offers some of Phuket’s world famous nightlife and ‘knock off’ goods markets. The much larger shopping malls and supermarkets of Central Festival, Tesco and Big C are a 25-minute (27km) drive away on the bypass road.

To the north, Layan Beach is a secret well kept by Phuket’s local expat community. Coconuts languish in the sand, cleansed by the crystal clear waters. The beachfront is public but usually deserted, parking is available and, during the high-season, food and drink vendors and beach masseuses allow you to enjoy ‘heaven’ for as long as you like. About a 20-minute (30km) drive to the north is Phuket’s international airport.