6 quiet beaches on the island of Phuket – 2016

If you are currently in Phuket and have found that your resort and beach is too busy then this blog is for you. Many tourists arrive in Phuket and think that they can explore the island easily but actually this is not so easy. But never fear, finding a nice quiet beach is easy with this helpful guide. Presuming you are staying in Patong, Karon or Kata, or other nearby resorts these beaches are easy to reach for the day and are still reasonably quiet despite being close to the big resort towns.

 My top tip is to tell you that there are no private beaches in Thailand. This means you are free to walk through any resort to get to any beach you choose although of course you probably can’t use their facilities while you are there. My second tip; book your road transport from your hotel and avoid tuk tuks whenever possible. When you leave for the day, always arrange your return trip and keep the phone number of your hotel or a trusted taxi driver. Avoid renting your own car or motorbike unless you are very confident with driving on the left side of the road since Phuket is a hotspot for road accidents.

 So in no particular order, here are some recommended quiet beaches in Phuket. There is a map of Phuket at the bottom of this blog.

 Tri Tra Beach (Tri Trang/Emerald Beach)

Tri Tra Beach, Phuket
Tri Tra Beach, Phuket

About 2km south of Patong on the way to Karon you can find Tri Tra Beach which is an open and sunny beach, perfect for sunbathing. It’s not secluded by any means but it is a huge amount quieter than Patong or Karon. The water is rocky at low tide but there is good snorkelling here. You can get to one of Phuket’s best beaches, Freedom Beach from Tri Tra by longtail boat from here too. Tri Tra beach is reached by going south along the last part of Patong’s Beach Road. and taking a left turn at the Amari Coral Beach Resort then turn down the road that leads to the Tri Trang Resort.

 Freedom Beach

Freedom Beach, Phuket, Thailand
Freedom Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Freedom Beach is 2km south of Patong and is a really beautiful beach with white sand, lush vegetation and crystal clear water. It is only accessible by longtail boat during high season, which is from December to May. The shortest route is from the southern end of Patong near the bridge but you can take a boat from Kata or Karon Beach too. From Patong Beach the price is usually 1,000 -1,200 baht per person for a round trip.

Paradise Beach

Paradise Beach, Phuket, Thailand
Paradise Beach, Phuket, Thailand

About 3km south of the main part of Patong, this beach is beautiful and although a little rocky at low tide is fine for swimming all year round. It is also good for snorkelling. The beach is 150 metres long and you can find shade under palm trees. Paradise Beach is located on the same headland as Tri Tra so follow the same directions for finding Tri Tra beach, but drive past the entrance to Tri Trang Resort, pass Merlin Beach Resort and follow the road to Emerald Bay.  Keep on going until you reach Paradise car park.

Kata Noi Beach

KataNoiYigunDing

Kata Noi is just a few minutes drive south from Kata Beach and you can also walk it in around 15 mintues. Follow the beach road southwards until starts to go uphill. Follow the steeper cliff road up and along for 10 minutes and you will find yourself looking down on a very private and beautiful beach with some very exclusive resorts such as the Kata Thani Resort  This beach has everything; it’s close to Kata and Karon, has wonderful white sand, lots of places to eat and is also great for sunbathing and snorkelling. A really lovely place to spend an afternoon.

Nai Harn Beach

Nai Harn Beach, Phuket, Thailand
Nai Harn Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Nai Harn Beach is situated in one of the most beautiful bays in Phuket with the white sand stretching for more than 800 metres. It is on the southernmost tip of Phuket, is where you will find the Phuket Yacht Club, Nai Harn beach is renowned for its spectacular sunsets. It’s not very developed due to the location of a nearby monastery. The beach is ideal for swimming during high season, November to June but is not safe during low season. It has some great places to eat just a short walk from the beach in the little town. To get to Nai Harn drive past Kata beach, up the slope towards the Sunset Bar and follow the road towards Rawai. Once there you will see a road sign for Nai Harn Beach. It is around a 30 minute drive from Kata.

 Banana Beach

Banana Beach, Phuket, Thailand
Banana Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Banana Beach is quite far away from the big resort towns but is still on the west coast, which is the same side as Patong and Karon etc. It is situated between Bang Tao and Nai Thon Beaches (see map). This small bay is around 150 metres long and is secluded so not many people visit it each day. It is a small treelined cove with white sands, palm trees and clear waters ideal for swimming and snorkelling. The nearest hotel is the Trisara resort which is 500 metres south of the beach. There is a wooden sign nearby saying “Banana Beach” and you can walk down from there or 150 metres further on there is a sign saying ‘To Nai Thon’  and you can follow the trail down the hill and be led to the beach.You can also hire a boat from a nearby beach to drop you off. Banana Beach is ideal for swimming from November to May but is not safe for swimming the rest of the year. There are 2 small restaurants.

Map of Phuket

Map of Phuket

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6 quiet beaches on the island of phuket (1)

Images courtesy of flickr.com:

Featured: Ratcha Yai by Jeff Gun, Tri Tra by liveEXE, Freedom by BlueEyeTea, Paradise by mostbeautifulplaces.org, Kata Noi by Yigun Ding, Nai Harn by Alex Polezhaev, Banana by mostbeautifulplaces.org

 

Gems of Bangkok – Dusit Palace and Vimanmek Royal Teak Mansion

Akarat Akwisarn Vimanak

As a tourist in Bangkok, The Grand Palace will undoubtedly be a high priority of places to visit. The Grand Palace is a complex of beautiful buildings and temples and was the official residence of all the Kings of Siam/Thailand from 1782 until 1925. However, did you know that your entrance ticket to the Grand Palace also gives you entrance to the Dusit Palace, a more modern, but stunning complex of buildings including the current King’s official residence?

Dusit Palace is the political centre of Thailand in the 21st Century and was built in the early 1900s by King Rama V. It is a leafy area with a complex of palaces and royal residences which were created to help the King escape the heat and overcrowding of the Grand Palace. Rama V was the first Thai King to ever visit Europe and the Palaces he saw with their long wide boulevards and spacious gardens inspired him to build Dusit Palace.

Dusit Palace is 16 acres of gardens filled with dozens of buildings most of which have been turned into museums celebrating Thai heritage. Of these buildings, there are 3 that stand out architecturally and are great examples of how Thailand took European architectural trends and gave them a unique Thai flavour.

These 3 great Dusit buildings are; the Vimanmek Royal Teak Mansion (1901)  The Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall (1904) and Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall (1906);

Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall

vnGrijlBangkokDusitPalaceFlickr

The centerpiece of Dusit Palace is an impressive two-storey white marble palace called Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall which was built between 1906 and 1915. It sits at the end of a leafy boulevard, is made from Italian marble and was built in the European neo-classical-style. The Throne Hall has a large dome in the centre under which the Royal Throne sits. Lining the walls of all the domes are frescoes depicting Chakri Dynasty monarchs.

The Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall was used as the headquarters of the People’s Party during the the 1932 Revolution which turned the country from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. The first National People’s Assembly convened here in 1932 and then it was used as the Parliament House until 1974.

Today the building is used to court visiting dignitaries, hold state meetings and host royal occasions and it  is also open to the public as a museum. It currently it houses arts and crafts made with traditional Thai techniques.

Vimanmek Royal Teak Mansion

Vimanmek Teak Mansion, Bangkok, Thailand

Vimanmek Teak Mansion, Bangkok, Thailand

The first permanent residence built in Dusit was Vimanmek Mansion, finished in 1901 and is said to be the world’s largest golden teak mansion. It is an absolutely stunning building and well worth a visit. It was originally partially constructed on the island of Ko Si Chang in 1868 as a royal retreat and was moved to Bangkok in 1901 under orders of the King. It has an elaborate architectural style reflecting western influence, combining Europe’s neoclassical style with traditional Thai architecture and early 20th Century modernism. The Royal Teak Mansion has 31 apartments and is three stories high with the exception of the octagonal end of the west wing whose fourth floor was used as the King’s private quarters. The mansion has many grand staircases and intricate lattice walls which are absolutely stunning.

Vimanmek Mansion was used for only a few years before it fell into disuse and was almost forgotten until 1982 when it was rediscovered by Queen Sirikit who found it to be lovely and structurally intact. The Queen asked permission from King Rama IX to renovate the mansion for use as a museum and it now to showcases Thai heritage from the period reign of King Rama V. The mansion turned museum provides an excellent opportunity to see the way the Thai Royals lived at the start of the 20th century and doesn’t disappoint as an amazing photo opportunity. Compulsory English-language tours of the building start every 30 minutes and last an hour.

The Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall

Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall

The Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall was built in 1904 and was used to receive important foreign visitors and as a banquet hall. The building is a mix of Victorian Gingerbread architecture, Moorish style facades and a Thai twist. It has a very ornate exterior decorated with intricate carved flower motifs on its panels, gables and eaves. Infact every external vertical or oblique surface is decorated with fanciful hand-carved latticework and the overall effect is very pretty. The Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall also has ornate stained glass windows. The main throne hall is a key highlight of the building. It has a high ceiling with elaborate designs and the throne still stands imposingly at the far end. During the 1990’s the building was renovated and turned into a museum displaying works of traditional Thai art and handicrafts.

Other royal residences at Dusit Palace that have been turned into museums

H.M. King Bhumibol’s Photographic Museum

Ancient Clock Museum

Ancient Cloth and Silk Museum

Prehistoric Ban Chiang Pottery Museum

Paraphernalia of High Rank Hall

Royal Ceremonial Photography Museum

Royal Carriage Museum

HM King Bhumibol Collection Museum

The Presentation Hall

Pottery from Shipwrecks Museum

HM King Bhumibol’s Oil Paintings Museum

Royal Elephant National Museum

How to get there

Dusit Palace is located in the Dusit district a few kilometers north of the the Grand Palace. By far the easiest and most comfortable way to get to Dusit is by air conditioned metered taxi.

By Boat

You can take the Chao Phraya Express Boat service to Thewet pier and from there it is a 20 minutes walk to the Dusit Palace or take a tuk tuk or taxi if you don’t want to walk.

By SkyTrain

From downtown, take the Skytrain to Saphan Taksin station and then take Express Boat Service. You can take any Express Boat but the yellow flag line is the fastest one. Or if you want to avoid the boat, the nearest SkyTrain station is Phaya Thai. Dusit Palace is about for about 2½kms from the station. Or from Monument Station take bus 515 that stops at Dusit Zoo.

Bus

If you’re coming from the direction of the Old City, bus 70 runs directly to the Dusit Palace. Get on it at Sanam Luang if you come from the Grand Palace, or Ratchadamnoen Klang Road if you are coming from Khao San Road.

Opening Times and Admission Fees

Dusit Palace is open from 09:30 till 16:00, but the last (compulsory) tour of the Vimanmek Mansion starts around 15:15.

If you have a Grand Palace ticket less than one week old, admission to the Dusit complex is free. Otherwise admission  is 100 Baht. Tickets are valid for all buildings except for the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall and the Royal Elephant Museum which cost extra. Since Dusit Palace is a royal residence all visitors must dress modestly.

Thai Dance Performance

Thai classical and folk dancers perform everyday near the Teak Mansion at 10.30am and 2pm and is free for everyone.

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Vimanmek Teak Palace

 

Images courtesy of:

Vimanmek Royal Teak House x2 – Akarat Akwisarn – Flickr.com
Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall – VNGrijl – Flickr.com
Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall – BenGarrett77 – Flickr.com