Rawai Beach, at the south end of Phuket island, is not a swimming beach but offers beautiful views on the many nearby islands in a peaceful local atmosphere. It’s a great place to enjoy great seafood be the seaboard and a good starting point to do some island hopping.
When driving south, the left side of the main pier is known as the ‘Gypsy Village’, where long-established fishermen in rather precarious houses make a living of fishing, boat chartering and selling shells. The right side of the bay is an anchorage for dozens of longtails boats and speedboats. And the far right side is often the starting point for good kite surfing when wind permits.
Rawai Beach is very popular for the many seafood restaurants all along the waterfront. The best way to enjoy this unique experience is to eat on mats placed the floor like locals do, it’s fun and the food is actually often better than in tourist restaurants, and it’s a more memorable experience (try the one called ‘Sala Loi’). Also very popular is to go to the Gypsy Rawai Seafood Market and order any fish of seafood you like, and take it to the restaurants just opposite to have it cooked. It’s also fun but since everywhere tourist tend to flock, prices go up instantly.
If you prefer to eat at the table, go to the western end, at the curve pointing at Promthep Cape there is a small street leading to a group of small seafood restaurants.
Or you can try the well-known and all time favourites ‘Nikita’s‘ and just next to it ‘Baan Rimlai’. The ambiance under the trees is very agreeable for lunch or dinner with a view on islands. More inland you will find a plethora of very good restaurants, often serving more elaborated European cuisine such as Da Vinci, Norbu Steakhouse or L’Orfeo.
Nearby attractions include shopping along the Gypsy Village seafront, selling shells and local pearls near a small fish market. The large Phuket Shell Museum has been the landmark of the Rawai area for almost twenty years, and of course Promthep Cape View Point famous for its striking sunsets which, with its sugar palm trees, is a symbol of Phuket island (you can recognize it on some Phuket car plates having a ‘lucky number’).
From Rawai Beach, you can also take a longtail to the nearby ‘Bon Island‘, its beautiful beach and ‘Bon Island Restaurant‘, a great experience for a lunch on a tiny tropical island! For swimming, just drive further west to Nai Harn and it’s amazing white sand beach, it’s not very far.
Not too many hotels are available around, as many people prefer the west coast, but some noticeable hotels are the Serenity Resort and its amazing views. More inland are the Golden Tulip Mangosteen Resort on top of a nearby hill and Coconut Paradise Villas with its private pool villas, popular for peace seekers and families. Overall, Rawai Beach is not your usual beach destination but offers a unique local feel and is perfect if you prefer a quiet and peaceful holiday with a lot of delicious seafood!