Nai Harn is a superb spotless white sandy beach in the south of Phuket, tucked between green hills and tiny islands. This vast bay has always been popular among expats and locals. More laid back than west coast tourist spots, Nai Harn has enough restaurants, hotels and shops for a great day and still holds on pretty well to its original feel. The protected bay offers great anchorage for sailing boats and luxury yachts.
The beach itself is very large with thin soft sand and a perfect clear blue water. I’m talking high season of course, forget swimming anywhere in Phuket during low season, I’m serious. The southern end of the Nai Harn beach is traversed by a small stream coming from the lake across the road and you will have to get your feet wet to go to the other side. The bay is busy, but not crowded. All along the beach, the available chairs never get really full.
At lunch time, your only problem will be to decide which restaurant you’ll pick… there are a few left, all nicely set in the shade of huge trees not far from the beach. They all look the same if you exclude the reggae one, and they all more or less serve the same classic Thai dishes.
Here and there few tiny shops sell the usual batiks and beach toys and stuff, and of course, there is a mini mart (or two) and the unavoidable tailor. Did I mention the few beach massage? Having a massage on the beach for 300 baht for an hour is the best way to treat yourself when you start to get tired of doing nothing. Now if you want peace and quiet, you’ll find some massage places between restaurants and shops. Don’t worry about finding one, they will find you, usually greeting you with the usual “Hello, you want massaaaaage?”
“Lately fruit vendors setup their stalls on the road side and everyone seem to enjoy their surprisingly large variety of exotic fruits… Have you ever tried Dragon fruits or Star fruits? The Rasta truck selling leather boots and belts is still there, he was probably already there when the first tourist arrived.
Between the beach and the lake, Nai Harn temple was once a humble and unknown temple surrounded by walls. A brand new building was built and it expanded to become a landmark. The lake behind the beach, once natural, is now a giant concrete pond where you can rent some paddle boats, fun for the kids…
Only few hotels are really near Nai Harn Beach: the ‘All Seasons’ and the superb ‘The Nai Harn‘, formerly ‘Le Meridien’. It is a unique hotel in a unique location, all rooms have amazing seaviews with very long (but narrow) balconies. The restaurants used to be famous, people were driving long distances just to try them. Travellers have changed, hotel designs have changed, but this hotel has not, it is still a great hotel and a good place to have a drink while enjoying a sunset on the southern end of Phuket.
Despite the remote location there are actually a lot of nice things to do around Nai Harn. There are 2 ways to get nice bird views of Nai Harn Beach. The easy way is to go to the Windmill viewpoint next to Ya Nui Beach. If you are ready for a bit of exploration and climbing try the Black Rock Viewpoint but for this one you would have to drive all the way back to the Karon viewpoint to find the entrance road. That one requires a bit of dedication.
Near Nai Harn there are 2 other small but popular beaches. The east one is Ya Nui Beach as it’s on the main road. But to reach the beautiful hidden beach of Ao Sane you will need to literally drive through the Nai Harn Resort.
The road leading to Nai Harn beach has plenty of excellent restaurants such as Maggie & Mario’s Pizza, De Renata and Rum Jungle Cafe, or continue south to Promthep Cape Restaurant and have a seafood dinner with a sunset view. The rooftop bar and restaurant at the Nai Harn resort is definitely a must!
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