Nai Harn is a superb spotless beach in the south of Phuket, tucked between grassy hills and tiny islands and popular among expats and locals. More laid back than west coast touristy spots it has all the food, hotels and shops you need 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.
Only two hotels are really near Nai Harn Beach: the ‘All Seasons’ and the ‘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.
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 two available rows of chairs never get really occupied.
At lunch time, your only problem will be to decide which restaurant you’ll pick… there are quite a few, 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 massaaage?
“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, Wat Nai Harn was a humble and rather invisible temple, has expanded and a brand new building was added, it now looks more like 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…
To get a nice and unusual bird view shot on Nai Harn Beach, read about the Windmill viewpoint next to Ya Nui Beach. The road leading to Nai Harn beach has plenty of excellent restaurants such as Maggie & Mario’s Pizza, Da Vinci, De Renata and Rum Jungle Cafe, or continue south to Promthep Cape Restaurant and have a seafood dinner with a sunset view.
Going through the Nai Harn Resort will take you to Ao Sane Beach, another hidden beach in Phuket.
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