Often referred to as the Pearl of the Andaman, Phuket is best known for its many beautiful beaches. These natural wonders, together with the tropical climate and the kind-hearted locals, are the reason why Phuket has won so many hearts. From the popular, white sand beaches of the West Coast, to the locally prized, shady and quiet beaches of the East Coast, you will certainly find the beach of your dreams.
Along the west coast of Phuket are the most popular beaches among the international tourists. Here the waves of the Andaman Sea have massaged the sand until it has become white and extremely fine. In some areas so fine that it crumbles under your feet as you walk, just like snow. The same waves also made the water exceptionally clear, suitable for snorkeling and diving. As the west coast's beaches grew more and more popular, a wide array of activities and venues have appeared along them: restaurants, hotels, bars and beach-clubs among others. Although the most popular among them may not be suitable for diving anymore, the beaches themselves still look and feel astounding and very pleasant. The best known and busiest west coast beaches are Patong, Kata and Karon Beaches, followed closely by Kamala and Surin Beaches. The easy access to all the modern conveniences of the international restaurants and shopping centers, unlimited partying venues make these beaches the perfect location for the cosmopolitan traveler who wants to enjoy life to the fullest, and it sure is the best place to do so!
Further north still on the west coast, you have some great beaches that are much less busy such as Naithon, Naiyang and Maikhao Beaches. These ones can actually be very quiet depending on where exactly you are staying, and are perfect for relaxing while enjoying the white sand and clear waters. They are a unique opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds.
On the other side of Phuket island, along the east coast, the beaches have remained very quiet and undeveloped. Being sheltered from the waves, they were gifted with much more vegetation and entire mangrove forests have thrived, creating unique ecosystems waiting to be discovered. You won't find as much action as on the west coast, but there are always a few seafood restaurants not far away, and all of the island's piers and yacht marinas are along the east coast, with plenty of local boats for hire and yachts to charter, which is ideal to go around island hopping. The beaches are more shady, and quiet which makes them actually preferred by the locals, and even during the rainy season the waves aren't very big. The east coast is therefore great for those looking for a more laid back vacation, but still with easy access by boat to the natural treasures all around Phuket.
The best beaches of the east coast are in the south, around Panwa Cape there is the very small but charming Ao Yon Beach, and nearby Rawai you will find Ka Beach and Rawai Beach, which are the most popular among the locals.
Always remember to stay safe while enjoying the sea. Although the local authorities are making efforts to provide life guards and prevent accidents, they aren't available everywhere, so enjoy the waves with caution, especially during the rainy season, as they can become very strong and overwhelm even good swimmers.