After the somewhat tough day considering the weather conditions when I was visiting Freedom Beach and The Big Buddha, I was luckier with the weather when heading south on the west coast today towards Nai Harn Beach. On the way, I passed through Karon and Kata beaches that unfortunately seems quite depressing in these pandemic times. So it felt good to come up to the Karon viewpoint. Astonishing panoramic views and a sense of solace.
I haven’t been here since 2009 and the views were just as wonderful as I remembered. My ambition today apart from Nai Harn Beach was to get to Ya Nui Beach and Rawai Beach as well.
Nai Harn did not disappoint, albeit it is low season, the beach next to the casuarina tree park area was very inviting for a pleasant stroll. Some surfers were challenging the waves, a few people enjoyed just standing in the water, and some were sunbathing or doing yoga. I sat down for a while on a piece of driftwood. There is a classy touch to the whole area of Nai Harn. It is somewhat more low key than Patong, Karon and Kata. Nai Harn has the kind of long stay relaxed atmosphere, great restaurants, galleries and trendy coffee shops.
A pristine beach in a small bay with an entirely different atmosphere than its northern cousins on the west coast. If I had the money to spend and was looking for a sandbox holiday rather than just travelling through like I am now, my personal choice would probably be Nai Harn. I noticed that a new Novotel complex was under construction and continued to have a coffee break at Canelle bakery & co. Seemingly a very popular local eatery, their pastry was savoury and the lunch dishes also seemed excellent.
I proceeded with my drive southwards for a stop at Ya Nui beach. Not a secluded secret. This beach is small and easy to find but still a delight. There was a small parking ground and some western families that looked like Phuket locals that were enjoying the sea and water.
Still lucky with the weather I made a stop at another viewpoint. The famous Promthep Cape. The southernmost viewpoint of Phuket has also been called the end of Phuket. It was empty up there. You can see that this place has the capacity for a huge amount of visitors at the same time. Famous for sunsetting, (and some do the walk on the dirt path to the end of the cape). This is where the tour buses will stop in the high season. West facing all waiting for the sunset with cameras. There is a restaurant the Bukito by Promthep Restaurant with fabulous views of the surroundings.
I spent some time at the shrine and read about the monument. It is a statue of the 28th child of King Chulalongkorn, Admiral and Prince Abhakara. The Prince studied naval warfare in England and was instrumental in setting up the modern Thai navy facilities in Sattahip. The Royal Prince Admiral went to England to personally negotiate the investment of the Phra Ruang destroyer, one of the first ships of the Royal Thai Navy and to control the ship during its ensuing voyage home. The Admiral Prince is considered to be the Father of the Thai Navy.
Now, Rawai wasn’t far off. So I continued and switched to the east side of the island. Arriving at Rawai, a beach not so famous for its beauty but more the boats heading out the nearby islands. Anyway, I am vulnerable to a setting with long-tail boats along a coast. Today there was also a nice glow in the sky, mystifying the area in a dreamlike manner.
I parked my car, luckily just outside a sushi restaurant, Uetoro, that turned out to be the ideal lunch place. The sushi in here was top class for being outside of Japan. Outstanding “fruit de mer”. Not that cold that you sometimes receive sushi in less scrupulous diners.
Anyway, 7 prime pieces was a treat for 499 baht. They also had cheaper nigiri selections of sushi for around 200 baht.
Rawai beach was striking for taking beach photos and also for the impressive selection of high-class restaurants and local Thai eateries along the road, and by the beach. Many places were open and I passed some common workspace in the area as well.
Happy with my day I started driving back to the Andamantra hotel in Kalim Beach again. Again, driving through Kata and Karon testing my memory as to what the beaches looked like when they were full of life when I stayed there in 2009.
Just after parking the car at the hotel, the rain started. The end of another day in the Phuket sandbox.