The Best Beaches for that Iconic Phuket Sunset
Images of the setting sun slipping into a glowing Andaman Sea are commonplace all over Instagram, but just imagine how much better it would be to experience the perfect sunset in person, perhaps with that special someone to share the memories. Celestial mechanics limit your options to the west coast of Phuket, but that's where you'll find a string of gorgeous beaches to give you plenty of different options as you head from north to south.
If your hotel or resort is on the west coast, chances are you'll get a spectacular show from your balcony when the weather conditions are right. The Centara Kata Resort overlooks Kata Beach, while the Centara Blue Marine Resort & Spa is set back from Patong Beach on the cliff, affording a grandstand overview of the bay and setting sun. Meanwhile, on Karon Beach, there's the Centara Grand Beach Resort which allows visitors to enjoy the sunset over drinks and dinner at the Coast Beach Club & Bistro.
On the other hand, if you prefer to get away from your resort accommodation and explore a little further afield, here are some of the best locations you might want to try just as the sun goes down.
Mai Khao Beach
At the northern end of Phuket is one of the quieter and more extensive stretches of sand on the whole island. Mai Khao beach offers 11 kilometres of beachfront with limited development, so it's perfect for anyone who likes walking along the sand, and perhaps spotting the local birdlife. At the southern end of the beach is the airport, where you can see aircraft overflying the beach and touching down just a few metres beyond the sand. If you choose to take your evening stroll around dusk, you'll have an uninterrupted view of the setting sun out to the west over the Andaman. For the best premium experience, why not stay at the Mai Khao Dream Villa Resort & Spa for privacy, sophistication, and authentic Thai elegance.
We already talked about Karon Beach, but the Karon Viewpoint is something else altogether. Formerly known as Kata Viewpoint, there is one location along the coastal road that winds its way over the steep hills behind Kata, Kata Noi, and Karon beaches from which you can simultaneously see all three sandy crescents laid out before you with the blue sea to the left and the green forests to the right. By day it is spectacular, and at dusk as the sky turns first pink and then fiery red, it only gets better.
The viewpoint is around 1 kilometre up the hill from Kata Noi beach, so it probably requires a taxi to get there unless you choose to rent a car. In fact, renting a car for a day or two can be a very good idea in Phuket because taxis are relatively expensive and there are lots of places to explore all over the island where the flexibility provided by having your own car makes life so much easier.
Between Nai Harn beach and the better known Promthep Cape sits the Windmill Viewpoint. The big advantage over the cape is that this particular spot is less crowded, and provides a more intimate sunset experience.
Promthep Cape is widely claimed to be the best spot on the entire island for sunsets. It sits at the southernmost end of Phuket, around 2 kilometres from Nai Harn beach, and affords a view over the twin islets of Ko Kaeo Yai and Ko Kaeo Noi. It's possible to walk south to the very tip of the cape, though most visitors tend to stay higher up around the car park, where there are souvenir and handicraft stalls as well as outlets selling drinks and snacks. There is a restaurant too, although things do get rather busy just after dark.
The thing to remember about Phuket is that you'll find a beach or viewpoint to suit every mood. If you want something lively -- perhaps with a rooftop bar -- Patong may be your first pick. For romantic dining, you'll find a host of restaurants or resorts overlooking the major beaches around Karon and Kata. For solitude, Mai Khao will serve you well, as will one of the smaller and quieter beaches such as Kata Noi or Nai Harn, while photographers will find vantage points along the roads that climb the many hills that line the west coast. So wherever you choose, just enjoy the moment.