There aren't many undiscovered beaches left in Phuket but Nai Thon Beach comes close with its sparkling one-kilometre stretch of sand, clear waters and sunset views that have somehow eluded the tourist crowds. Found on Phuket’s tranquil northwest coast between Bang Tao Beach and Nai Yang Beach, Nai Thon manages to strike a perfect balance for beach lovers: quiet enough to give families or couples ample space to enjoy a peaceful day out, yet with a sprinkling of shops, bars and services for convenience. Much of the land surrounding Nai Thon is national parkland, protecting the lush, jungle-clad headlands and hillsides from development.
Though some luxury villas and resorts have opened in the area, Nai Thon remains a sleepy seaside village with a narrow paved road lined with small family-owned resorts and restaurants running the length of the beach. One of the best spots for beachfront dining is the low-key yet delicious Wiwai café that serves mostly Thai plus a few Western dishes. For a Thai-style takeaway, stop by the vendor stalls along the beach for some grilled meats, corn on the cob, refreshing coconut and more. The beach is partly shaded by casuarina and palm trees, with a limited number of beach umbrellas available for rent.
Apart from swimming and sunbathing, popular water sports at Nai Thon include snorkelling, surfing and stand up paddling, and equipment for all of these fun activities is available for rent at the beach. Swimming may not always be possible during the southwest monsoon season (May through October) due to strong waves and currents, so be sure to heed the red-flag warnings during these months. For more beachside sports head to nearby Nai Yang where you’ll find kite surfing and even some scuba diving just off shore. And on Bang Tao Beach, a few kilometres to the south, you can find windsurfing as well as more surfing and stand up paddling.
Though it has a secluded feel, Nai Thon offers easy access to the airport (less than 20 minutes by car) and some of Phuket’s top leisure activities and attractions, including golf courses, spas, Splash Jungle water park and some gorgeous ‘secret’ beaches. Those seeking a decadent beach-club dinner or Sunday seafood brunch will find some enticing choices at the Trisara Resort (2km), Dream Beach Club at Layan Beach and Catch Beach Club at Bang Tao Beach.