What to Do on Mai Khao Beach?
Mai Khao is the longest beach in Phuket, and it still looks in some parts as deserted as when we first visited it in 1990. They built a few luxury hotels, but umbrellas and food vendors have not yet covered the beach. It might just be a question of time, but you can still walk 11 kilometres or more and only meet three local people fishing.
What to Do in Mai Khao
Mai Khao Beach starts at Sirinath National Park, right where Nai Yang Beach ends, and run for eleven kilometres to the very north of the island at Sai Keow beach, close to the Sarasin Bridge. There are few highlights worth mentioning in Mai Khao, excluding those five-star resorts.
Sirinath National Park
The National Park where locals like to picnic or camp for the weekend with kids playing all day in the water is not very large nor very interesting, but park ranges will ask for a 200 Baht fee at the entrance (or 40 if you are a local or an expat). If you planned to cross to Nai Yang Beach, you better take the other road a bit farther from the airport.
Then our favourite spot is to go watch the planes landing at the very end of the runway of Phuket International Airport. It’s a bit of a walk in the sun, but it is awe-inspiring and loud. They get close to the beach, as you can see in the photos, and watching these monsters casting their massive shadow on the turquoise water is just amazing.
Next to the Phuket Airport is the Splash Jungle Waterpark, Decent in size, it probably won’t impress you if you are a waterpark fan. Few attractions include sliding down tunnels and spinning funnels, a quite impressive high slider and a pool with artificial waves. Kids love it anyway, but the entry fee is relatively high.
Wat Mai Khao
Less known but worth a photo is the Mai Khao Temple (Wat Mai Khao). The temple itself is tucked away from the road. It doesn’t have any particular architectural interest, but it hides a little treasure: a small bird sanctuary hidden in the park behind it. Surrounded by a protective wall, a small lake with trees growing in the water is the shelter for many white birds, probably cattle egrets. Since it is quite a strict temple, it’s not recommended just to drive through.
Baby Turtle Release
Once a year on Mai Khao Beach, during Songkran Festival, you might be lucky to witness the baby turtle release, usually supported by one of the nearby resorts. It is a magic moment and a fun experience to sponsor one of the baby turtles and bring it yourself near the water. Unfortunately, we all know that the chances to see these turtles coming back are relatively thin.
Despite being a national park, a few properties and resorts appeared, and most are excellent. We loved Sala Phuket, Renaissance Phuket or Mai Khao Dreams Villas further north. The beach remained mostly untouched, and it is such a welcome contrast with the crowded beaches in the south of Phuket. Read more about Hotels on Mai Khao. ►►►
Sala Phuket Resort and Spa is one of our all-time favourite hideaways in Phuket. This hotel is a resort dedicated to couples, with a private pool in each villa for total privacy. Such a feature doesn’t come cheap but still is affordable.
Renaissance Phuket is a great luxury resort if you want to enjoy the relaxing side of a tropical island and still have the option to drive to discover the restless nights of Patong Beach. With so many restaurants and outlets, you can choose to chill in the resort or use it as a base to explore the north of Phuket.
JW Marriott Phuket
JW Marriott Phuket is an immense resort with a more traditional layout. It is known for having many excellent restaurants, vast conference rooms, and the best for families: it has a fantastic kids club!
Holiday Inn Mai Khao
Holiday Inn Mai Khao is the latest resort to open in this part of the island and probably the only one so far in the north. The hotel is convenient and affordable, but it offers a very narrow beachfront behind a line of trees while it is very close to the sea.
Mai Khao Beach Map