Ao Yon is another peaceful beach ideally suited for watching the sunset. It is located near Cape Panwa, 10km from Phuket Town. Although quiet with beautiful emerald sea this beach is not really suitable for bathing or relaxing as the bay is usually full of boats and yachts.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 05 September 2012 16:01)
A s soon as you breast the tortuous road snaking south over the huge hills from Patong you enter a totally different world. The view of the broad majestic sweet of Karon’s golden sand meeting your eye says it all. You have survived the excitement of Parong and now you are blessed with the prospect of experiencing quintessentially tropical island beaches, picture postcard perfect and awaiting your pleasure.
While it’s true that Karon and Kata’s gorgeous beachfront is developing rapidly, the area still has a liberating feel after the intensity of Patong and certainly less populated pockets are readily found offering delightful quiet cafes and bars in which to enjoy a few cold ones and watch the rest of the world hurtle by.
The beach road, once nearly void of development, now features a string of mainly top-end resorts. Luckily, most are tasteful and set far enough back from the sand to blend into the background hills, which are themselves magnificent and covered in lush green vegetation, with the Big Buddha overlooking the entire scene from atop Nakkert Hills behind Kata Bay.
As you drive south from Karon you’ll crest a small headland with an abundance of shops, bars, restaurants and even a Dino Park boasting a “Crazy Golf” area in which animatronic frill-necked Cretaceous Era reptiles applaud your eagles, bogies and birdies!
Further south you enter the Kata Beach area and its heady penumbra of bars, restaurants, spas and even noisy nightclubs. Kata enjoys a buzz of round-the-clock activity, but if you want to slumber in quiet, without being too far from this ongoing party, there are many discreetly placed resorts in both Kata and Karon which will pamper you in relaxed comfort, while you are still only a gentle saunter away from the ongoing party.
During the monsoon season from May to end of October, the surf and oceanic rips make swimming on Karon dangerous, so you’ll have to head to Kata for that, but here too it’s important to pay attention to what the warning flags are telling you on any particular day.
From November to end of March both beaches are usually a pure delight of soft sand, gentle clear seas and the enjoyable attentions of the locals who will be happy to provide you with anything from ice cream, to cold beers and from luck-inducing Chiang Mai lanterns to light and release each evening, to a sensuous beach massage for as little as 300 baht an hour.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 08 August 2012 20:29)
The Andaman Sea is fast catching up to such traditional sailing grounds as the Caribbean and Mediterranean with a reputation for excellent cruising and sailing. The winds are good during many months of the year, the anchorages are located in spectacular scenery, the waters are warm and clear and the locals are especially friendly. Asia Marine operates a full fleet of bare-boat charters here and privately owned yachts are available through the major charter company.
SURIN Beach lying a few kilometers north of Kamala on Phuket’s north- west coast is one of the most beauti- ful on the island. The remnants of an over- grown golf course have kept the hotels well away from the sand so that the resorts and small town are set back from the water’s edge.
The beach lies between two headlands -- Laem Singh to the south and Laem Son to the north. The latter is home to the Aman- puri Resort, while the southern headland has the smaller and lovely Laem Singh Beach which can only be reached by boat or by climbing down the steps from the road.
During peak season from November to April the crystal clear Surin waters are calm and suitable for swimming and snorkeling. The rocks at the far ends of the beach are good for spotting colorful aquatic creatures like the abundant parrot fish. Umbrella chairs can be rented on the beach and there’s usually a speedboat for banana boat rides and water-skiing. Dur- ing the June to October south-west mon- soon season, waves of four feet or more pound Surin and so with rip tides and drop-offs, swimming is definitely not rec- ommended when the red flags are flying.
Although Surin Beach is popular with tourists and locals alike, Surin Town itself not particularly busy, more like a coastal village, with the up-market Surin Plaza at its center. The fine white sands and turquoise waters of the area make for a picturesque backdrop to the large numbers of luxurious hotels, villas and condos, as well as the su- perb selection of restaurants and wine bars which abound.
Where to Stay Around Surin
The stylish Twinpalms Phuket is lo- cated a short stroll from the beach and of- fers contemporary chic in a secluded but extensive compound. Distinctive Thai- style architecture combines with lots of flowing water and clean modern lines for an atmosphere of elegant simplicity.
Oriental Spoon restaurant displays interesting art and fills up every Sun- day for its trendy brunch buffet, while the swank but laid-back Martini Bar has the evenings covered. Surin Beach itself is just across the road and down a short garden path. Enjoy a twilight beachfront drink at Catch Beach Club, before stroll- ing back to the hotel, your way lit by huge tree lanterns.
Catch Beach Club backs onto the soft sand beach with landscaping, fran- gipani trees, refreshments and an open kitchen. In the evening this is a chic chill-out spot with fires blazing in pits set around the timbered deck, gauzy drapes fluttering from four-poster sun beds, and comfy sofas from which to watch the spectacular sunsets. A ten minute drive out just before the Laguna Phuket entrance are three more friendly and informal Twinpalms outlets… the bar-stool, open-air setting Flame for ke-babs, wraps and grills; the air-conditioned Bake for delicious cakes, cookies, breads and coffee and newly opened Pasta for tantalizing Italian food in cool setting.
Ayara Hilltops Boutique Resort & Spa occupies a breezy perch on Surin hill, over- looking the beach. Araya is a villa-style address among the best Phuket boutique resorts with around 50 suites and a sense of scattered luxury. Araya also offers a swimming pool – with a kids’ pool – and the Spice Terrace Restaurant for indoor or alfresco dining.
Spa Sereniti which offers individually-tailored spa treatments to suit every specific need and the following offers are currently available:
Spa Weekend Package 3Days/2Nights
Available from 16/04/2012 to 17/12/2012
Stay 3 days, 2 nights at Ayara Resort & Spa in a Deluxe Sea View suite for 2 persons inclusive of:
early check in 12 noon on Friday, late checkout up to 4 pm on Sunday. Booking. Conditions apply.
Romantic Weekend Package 3Days/2Nights
Available from 16/04/2012 to 17/12/2012
Stay 3 days, 2 nights at Ayara Hilltops Boutique Resort & Spa in a Deluxe Sea View suite for 2 persons inclusive of
Heading north from Surin you will next come to Bang Tao Beach which at six kilometers in length, is one of Phuket’s longest and usually pretty quiet even though there is a fair amount of resort development going on here. Bang Tao tends to be used almost exclusively by guests of the hotels here. From November to April the sea is flat, calm and clear, with good snorkeling opportunities along the rocks at the northern end.
From May to October there are on occasion large waves which make swimming dan- gerous, so always take note of the red flags when they’re flying. Bang Tao’s atmosphere is positively sleepy, so this is a good place to come to relax and do nothing more strenu- ous than read a book.
The Laguna Complex
Once a scarred moonscape of tin mine excavations, Laguna Phuket is a marvel of reconstruction and a worthy mini-destina- tion. This green oasis with its lazy lagoons, sheltered drives, blossoming plants, broad recreation facilities and child-friendly atti- tude is a favorite with families, and golfers.
The Laguna Phuket Golf Club is an 18- hole delight meandering through lagoons and verdant greens. There is professional instruction and a putting green available should you require them.
Where to stay near Bang Tao Beach
The Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket with a free-form pool, beachfront gardens and a low-rise Thai-style design is one of the fin- est resorts in Phuket. The 226-room and 28-villa resort has undergone considerable redevelopment and upgrade over the years with the Dusit Pool Villas being the jewel in their residential crown, but all their accommodation is extremely attractive.
Wireless coverage extends up to the beach (WiFi is free in the lobby) and rooms in general offer plug-in broad- band. Rooms and bathrooms (which now feature glassed-in shower cubicles and hairdryers) offer coffee and tea making facilities, mini-bar, and for several cate- gories, a breezy balcony. The smart 35sq meter Dusit Club Rooms on the ground floor face the pool area and sea with a small sunning patio with deck chairs to catch some rays. Expect large flat-screen TVs, flashes of rich Thai silk in deep hues, tile floors and a comfy living area.
The Thai and Italian restaurants en- joy open views of the gardens. The Dusit is a Phuket child friendly resort and well set up for families. Its Kids’ Club caters for tots to teens with activities and crafts. Kids enjoy special menus and assorted freebies. Guests can also enjoy cycling, Thai cooking classes, tennis, and a three- hole putting track and the Angsana Spa is sensational.
Banyan Tree Resort and Spa
Occupying a generous spread at one end of the Laguna development is Ban- yan Tree Phuket, a spread-out villa-style estate with designs redolent of Thailand classical architecture with rich motifs and flourishes. Each sumptuous villa is an all-in private hideaway for honeymooners, couples, or holidaymakers needing that little extra. There are 135 mainstream villas with a further 24 Dou- ble Pool Villas and 14 more spacious vil- las in Banyan Tree Spa Sanctuary.
At the Spa Sanctuary you can enjoy a vast private compound with cobalt blue pool, gardens and a raised pavilion per- fect for breakfasts, yoga, or a good book. Inside the villas are beds under tented canopies looking out through full-length glass windows on three sides, twin vani- ties, steam and shower room, outdoor tub, Palazzo Espresso machines, flat- screen TV, DVD player, work desk and free Wi-Fi. Of course the jewel in the crown here is Banyan Tree Spa that of- fers a smorgasbord of selection from full-day workouts to customized scrubs, massage, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy and treatments like the Royal Banyan herbal pouch massage.
Outrigger Laguna Resort
For those who prefer their resorts with a feel of home, the Outrigger La- guna Phuket Resort and Villas is a most attractive option. Along with one and two-bedroom suites, on offer are two, three and four-bedroom villas. Outrigger offers a balmy tropical setting around a lagoon close to the seashore with easy shuttle access to broad swathes of sand.
Expect plenty of leisure choices with shopping, spas, restaurants, and an 18- hole golf course heading the list. Baby- sitters are available and a kid’s club is on hand.
Spa Treatments Around Bang Tao
Head over to SenSes Health and Beauty Clinique in Cherngtalay to meet its owner the beautiful Emmanuelle Ghobert who is not only a beautiful ad- vertisement for the benefits of her treat- ments, but holds a Masters Degree in Cosmetology. SenSes covers all the bas- es with a hair salon, nail center, waxing, facial and body treatments and fat and cellulite reduction. Until July 31st, 2012, take advantage of these special offers for readers of THE GUIDE PHUKET:
Aromatic Facial Treatment by Guinot Price: 1,500 Baht
This Aromatic Facial is a soothing treatment, which incorporates essential oils, plant concentrates and massage to hydrate, balance and energize the skin. At the end your skin will be more healthy and relaxed.
Luxury 24K Facial Treatment Price: 2,900 Baht
Real 24K Gold combined with SenS- es own Technique is an excellent way to revitalize your skin. Increased produc- tion levels of Collagen and Elastin soften and smooth. “Your skin tone brightens up, luminous and firm”
All the above prices are subject to 7% VAT
Last Updated (Wednesday, 06 June 2012 04:39)
Mai Khao Beach
Mai Khao Beach is situated on the far northwest coast of Phuket and offers 11km of straight sandy tranquility punctuated by the opportunity of spotting occasional passing aircraft as they come in to land at Phuket’s nearby airport.