many small, little-known beaches; some pretty, some so-so, but all tranquil

How to find the best hotel deals in Phuket
Book the hotel directly, cut out all middlemen. When the hotel pays no commission it can give guests a lower price. Thus, we display all beachfront hotels in Phuket that GUARANTEE, in writing, the lowest price for direct bookings.
Click the resorts list on the left, then contact hotels using the e-mail box on the hotel page.
Note that DISCOUNT ROOM VOUCHERS – the very cheapest rooms in Thai beach hotels – are available through this site; conditions apply. Go to Thailand Hotel Deals E-mart for the full list. For advice contact Jade: jadebeachfront@gmail.com

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east coast beaches are very different to the famous west coast ones

Phuket's east coast faces a shallow, protected bay with calm water – a very different situation to the west coast, which faces the open ocean and receives the brute force of the monsoon waves each year. All beaches along the east face famous Phang Nga Bay, an exceptionally calm body of water that rarely sees waves over a half metre. With little wave action, the beaches are not well developed; they’re narrow, have coarse sand and make up only a small portion of the total coastline. More of this coast is blanketed in mangrove forests.
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A few small beaches on the southeast peninsula at Cape Panwa are more beautiful. However, visitors come to these parts of Phuket for different reasons, not specifically for the beach. Often that’s to escape the tourist crowds on the most famous beaches like Patong, Kata and Karon. Some go east for a more 'Thai' experience, for the east coast is home to the great majority of the local Thai communities on the island. Anyone who wants to use boats to access the famous bay or the many islands in the region, or go diving or fishing, is better accommodated on the east side for this is where all marinas and anchorages are found. Yet others seek out the hotels in Chalong Bay for easy access to the many lifestyle advantages in this area, including good restaurants, bars, health and beauty spas and services, herbal saunas plus the more relaxed, less ‘touristy’ lifestyle on offer here.
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Despite that Phuket’s east side of is not well suited for those coming specifically for a beautiful beach and lots of swimming, it has attractions of its own.

Here I give only a brief outline of each beach, while there is link to a full page of info and many more photos of each location, with its beachfront resorts, for those who seek more details.
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Final note: the east side offers a number of very high class, 5-star resorts, including a few international names like Westin and Radisson.
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This site includes 100s of pages of info about Thai beaches, including all here on Phuket:

Chalong Beach & Bay – boat harbour & international lifestyle suburb

Chalong is famous as a bay, boat anchorage and port rather than a beach, even though it does indeed have a narrow beach lining most of its shoreline. The protection that makes this a fine anchorage has ensured that beach-making waves cannot enter, and the shores have only nominal, coarser sand facing very shallow waters.
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The beach is not the major attraction for those who choose to stay in this quieter, picturesque side of the island. The mellow, ‘village’ atmosphere here allows people to feel they are really in Thailand, not just holidaying on a hotel-clustered beach. The shallow calm water here is, though, great for families with young children, or those who enjoy the view more than the swimming.
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A number of beachfront resorts face Chalong Bay, some of them very high-end. All of the resorts here have swimming pools. The resort in the far South sits on a headland with great views of an island-studded sea, and makes up for the lack of immediate beach by running its own beach club on a nearby island. Till 2012 this was an Evason, but was sold and will reopen under a new name.
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Chalong and nearby Rawai have numbers of good restaurants and bars along the shore, with many being favourites of the foreign expat community. Here one can also find excellent local food at Thai, rather than tourist prices, around Chalong.
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For more info and photos about Chalong Beach open the Chalong Beach Guide .
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Cape Panwa & its many quiet, pretty beaches in bays

The far Southeast corner of Phuket is a long peninsula called Cape Panwa. Being well away from the famous West coast beaches, it is relatively quiet here, with the local villages seemingly little disturbed by the few big hotels here and there.
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The peninsula holds a series of small beaches. With no heavy monsoon waves pounding this coast, the sand is not as fine as on the West coast. The water is still clear, though further north, as one moves up the East coast into vast mangrove forests, the water clarity declines rapidly.
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Several of the hotels mapped here occupy their own beaches, and all are certainly quiet havens ideal for escape. Peacefulness, and the Thai village settings, are surely Cape Panwa’s finest assets.
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But there are others. This corner of the island gives easy access to sail and power yachts, and to the many small islands seen dotting the ocean offshore. If you rent a boat and head out to one of those islands you can certainly have a beach to yourself.
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For more info and photos about Cape Panwa and its resorts open the Cape Panwa Guide .

Koh Siray – narrow, quiet beaches so close to Phuket town

The name ‘Koh’ tells us this is an island, but in fact Koh Siray has only a mangrove forest and a small channel separating it from Phuket, just East of the town. This is a quiet backwater with little development, and a string of coarse sand beaches around the outer edges. While the beaches here are not like the classic beauties found on Phuket’s west coast, they make up for it with tranquillity and a sense of being far from the maddening tourist crowd.
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There is just a single hotel on this ‘island’, and with so much empty beach available on Koh Siray, this naturally found its own beach. The resort is the recently opened, large and luxurious Westin Siray Resort.
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For more info and photos about Koh Siray open the Koh Siray Guide .
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Ao Po Bay & Naka Yai Is – so far away, can see Phang Nga Bay

With this bay being high up the protected east coast the beaches here are narrow and unremarkable. Water clarity has dropped way off, and this is not a swimming area.
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Ao Po and its big concrete jetty is one of the island’s major boat anchorages, and a jumping off point for sea kayak and sightseeing day trips into Phang Nga Bay.
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There is one very attractive, up-market beach resort nearby, however. Chandara Resort remains just out of sight of Ao Po, around the northern corner where it occupies its own small headland and private beach. This beach is something of a pleasant surprise for the East coast, being quite wide and boasting fine sand.
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Naka Yai Island lies close offshore providing Ao Bay with shelter. It is quite a large island, with beaches on both east and west coasts. Since the east coast faces the weather, here is the widest, best beach. It is backed by coconut plantations and some big trees, making this an idyllic spot. There are two resorts on the island, one being very upmarket, the other featuring budget ‘tent’ bungalows.
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For additional information about Ao Po and Naka Yai Island, and photos, open the Ao PO & Naka Yai travel guide.
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Rawai Beach – no beachfront hotels, this is a lifestyle beach

Despite that Rawai has no beachfront accommodations at all, and few visitors come to stay here, it does rate a mention because it is a favourite suburban area for expatriate foreigners resident in Phuket. Again this is protected from the main force of the monsoon, and the beach is not well developed, the sand is coarse and the water is of doubtful quality.
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This is not a swimming beach, but a great eating and drinking beach. It has a range of good restaurants and bars on the small sections of the beach that have not been overrun by a beach road that that carries a lot of traffic.
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The beach is a favourite eating place for Thai families who come to sit on mats on the sand, or on tables by the water. All food from the string of Thai restaurants here is run across the road from kitchens on the other side, by waiters ever-wary of cars. It’s a good reminder of how poor planning by governments destroys the best use of beaches.... for people’s leisure.
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Nikita’s Bar at the far east end of the beach is the most famous eating and drinking place here, with Nikita and her British husband Tony casting eagle eyes over patrons and the performance of their fleet of friendly 'Isarn' waitresses each night.
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by John Everingham

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Want help? E-mail John E, who has photographed 1,100+ beachfront hotels in this site and most beaches in Thailand, for help finding the perfect beach and beachfront hotel. john@beachf.com