Surin Beach has fast become Phuket’s centre of Ibiza-style beach entertainment – think DJs and dancing barefoot in the sand, huge wine glasses with generous sploshes of red or white, and beautifully presented food in small portions.
By day, however, it is a low-key, pretty little beach, ideal for privacy and serenity while sunbathing. A number of simple, local Thai restaurants serving basic dishes hunker next to more chic eateries under the shade of the trees that line the beach.
Back in 1928, King Prajadhipok Rama VII – ruler of Thailand between 1925 and 1935 – created a golf course at the north end of Surin Beach. During political upheavals in 1973, the local people fought to win back the beachfront and, to this day, it is a public park enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
Although most of the accommodation here is upmarket, it’s easily accessible from Kamala Beach and is popular with day-trippers. If you’re looking to escape the crowds of the busier Phuket beaches farther south, Surin Beach is ideal.
On some days, though, Surin beachfront will be alive with friendly football matches, beach volleyball, kite-flying, surfing, or equally relaxed with bathers enjoying sun rays on the sandy shore. Surin Beach is also popular with Phuket locals.
Neighbouring Laem Singh beach is also a popular spot for loungers and fun lovers. A trek down a forest trail opens the mind to one of nature’s best kept secrets. This stunningly beautiful cove of crystal clear waves and art-scaped boulders is enhanced by a sprinkle of deck chairs and cool cocktail bars that feature funky DJ’s spinning their tunes for Sunday afternoon beach parties during the high season. Slurp down too many cocktails, however, and you’re going to regret it; the way up to the road seems a lot longer and steeper than it did coming down.
Just up the hill from Surin Beach is the exclusive Amanpuri Resort, which attracts royalty and rock and pop stars. Its Siamese sister resort, the neighbouring seafront Chedi, and the super-chic Twinpalms Resort & Spa, join to add more than a touch of glamour and indulgence to the 900m-long white-sand beach frontage. The Oriental Spoon, the restaurant at Twin Palms, is famed for its opulent Sunday brunch.
Twin Palms also owns and runs the ultra-trendy Catch Beach Club; a huge stretch of wooden deck, shade sails, deeply-comfortable furniture and fine food right next to the sand. Catch frequently stages cool events in the evenings.
If you like your food tasty and international (and not expensive), and your décor modern and minimalist, then head for Taste, about halfway down the beach. At the southern end of the beach is Stereo Lab, a DJ nightspot with a fine array of cocktails and its own restaurant nearby. A favourite with smart locals.
In the hills behind Surin Beach, villa estates bloom in the tropical sun as naturally as the exotic foliage in their well-tended gardens. Private villas in new estates draw buyers from around the world, with owners to include wealthy residents of Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK, Scandinavia, and beyond.
Classy shopping is taken care of at Plaza Surin – a glitzy upmarket shopping centre a couple of hundred metres from the beach. Two levels of retail shopping contain a dozen stores devoted to home décor, entertainment, antiques, collectibles and fashion, while the top level is reserved for Opus One – a beautiful French restaurant, bar and lounge.