Phra Ae Beach
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Phra Ae is the second beach down the island's west coast
The second beach down Koh Lanta's West coast, Phra Ae Beach is really a series of smaller beaches connected, but all part of the same village area – thus the same name. The northern and southern sectors are very different, and are shown as two separate beach maps here.
Phra Ae Beach North is a classic coconut-lined, coral sand beach with crystal clear water through the clam high season. The back of the beach was originally a vast coconut plantation, invaded by bamboo beach huts in the 1990s to satisfy the backpacker market. Most of these have since been redeveloped into 2-star beach cottages and 3-star family beach hotels.
The North has a narrower and steeper beach of golden coral sand, with more coconut palms, more beach resorts, and generally, more stars per hotel. The clear, calm waters and steeper beach make swimming excellent at high tide. There are few old beach huts left over from the backpacker days, with some owners not even repairing or upgrading their properties. They are just waiting, it seems, for a developer to buy their land, for beachfront land prices are now extremely high in every resort area of Thailand.
High land prices force ever more hotels to build on the main road and away from the beach, so check locations here before booking.
The South is more rural with beach hotels scattered along stretches of alternating rocky and sandy beach. Look carefully if you are seeking a swimming beach. The rocky outcrops create some quiet corners and small, romantic beaches here. A few up-market beach resorts and beach spas are scattered in there. See the photos.
by John Everingham