Tucked away in a narrow protected bay on the south of Phuket is the lovely, undeveloped Nai Harn Beach. Also known as Nai Han, this relatively small beach is quite isolated from the rest and is most popular with locals and best visited on day trips. It is rimmed by hills but can be reached from Kata Beach in about 20 minutes on a motorbike.
For a long time the only hotel on the beach was the five-star Royal Phuket Yacht Club (formerly Le Royal Meridien). This was mainly because the rest of the beachfront is owned by the Samnaksong Nai Harn temple, which has saved the beach from over-commercialisation. The only other accommodation with a history, the tree-star Baan Krating, is reached, unusually, via a road that goes under part of the Royal Phuket Yacht Club. A more recent arrival is the All Seasons Naiharn, a very short stroll from the beach, and there is other accomodation dotted along the road to Kata.
A narrow valley runs inland and is distinguished by a series of reservoirs, which empty out to sea at the eastern end of the beach. When seen from the hillside coming down from the lookout point at Promthep Cape, Nai Harn is a gorgeous sight.
Nai Harn Beach sometimes has a pretty good swell but it typically breaks right on the beach, so is no good for surfing. There can also be dangerous rip currents between May and October and you should keep a look out for red flags, which indicate that swimming is dangerous and people should stay out of the water.
The beach itself is a pleasant kilometre stretch and loungers are rented out to the public at the northern end. There are also a few mobile vendors and some simple Thai restaurants located near the car park, above the beach. There’s not much natural shade on Nai Harn, although the loungers come with umbrellas of course. It’s much more natural and quiet in character than other Phuket beaches and its worth spending a day here, but convenience stores and shopping are thin on the ground.
From Nai Harn Beach, it’s a 15-minute drive to Rawai Beach.