Located at Phuket‘s southern tip, just north of Promthep Cape, is Nai Harn Beach, one of the island’s best preserved stretches of shoreline. Nai Harn Beach offers a glimpse of the pristine, undeveloped beaches that first drew tourists to Phuket many years ago. Today, some of the once-sleepy fishing villages have become tourism centers with bars and clubs that stay open until the wee hours, but Nai Harn has managed to remain relatively unchanged despite the tourism boom. Popular with locals and tourists looking for an alternative to the more party-centric areas like Patong and Kata Beach, Nai Harn is a lovely place to spend the day. Although you won’t find an abundance of hotels and clubs, there are still plenty of restaurants and shops in the area, and most importantly, you’ll be surrounded by the natural beauty that drew you to Phuket in the first place!
What to Know Before You Go to Nai Harn Beach
Nai Harn Beach is something of a hidden treasure. Since it’s frequented mostly by locals and expats, Nai Harn is a gorgeous beach that is never particularly crowded, even in the high season. With lush, jungle-covered hills rising up from the shoreline, Nai Harn is a quintessential Phuket beach. While the beach is a popular anchorage for sailboats and luxury yachts, it is sadly missed by most tourists who may not think to make the 17-kilometer drive from Phuket Town.
Best time to visit
The water at Nai Harn Beach is warm, around 84°F (29°C), all year long. The calm seas and soft sand invite swimmers and snorkelers from November through May. From June to October, however, the monsoon season brings bigger swells and frequent rip currents to all of the beaches on Phuket‘s west coast, Nai Harn included. That said, even in the low season, there is a protected, freshwater lagoon at the southern end of the beach that is perfect for cooling off if the sea is too rough. The lagoon also makes Nai Harn a very family-friendly beach since it offers a safe, shallow area that is perfect for small children.
Facilities & Activities
Despite the fact that it’s decidedly less touristy than Phuket‘s other beaches, Nai Harn still has all of the amenities necessary for a lovely beach day. The northern end of the beach offers a variety of shops, bars, and restaurants as well as public restrooms. There are also a number of vendors in the area offering beach umbrellas, sunbeds, and watersport equipment for rent or purchase. If you need a little refreshment, you won’t have to go far to find someone selling cold drinks, ice cream, or coconuts.
Watersports & Thai massage
Watersports are definitely one of Nai Harn Beach‘s big draws. The best snorkeling is at AO Sane Beach, a small beach that can be reached by walking through the grounds of The Nai Harn, a beautiful beachfront resort that is a great spot for snorkeling. While the surf is generally not big enough for surfing, it is perfect for boogie boarding, and when the wind cooperates, Nai Harn is also great for kite surfing.
Those who prefer more laid-back seaside activities will be delighted to find that there are several spots along the beach where you can get an hour-long Thai massage right on the sand for around 300 baht. If you prefer a bit more privacy with your massage, The Nai Harn has a luxurious spa that offers a full range of treatments.
Check In to The Nai Harn, Step Out to Nai Harn Beach
Things to Do Beyond Nai Harn Beach
The beach at Nai Harn is obviously the main attraction, but visitors who are staying in the area and have time to explore will find lots of things to do and see within a few kilometers of the shore.
Visit the temple, Wat Nai Harn
Wat Nai Harn, the Buddhist temple located east of the beach, is one of the primary reasons that Naiharn remains largely undeveloped. The temple owns a swath of land behind the beach and has opted to preserve the area’s natural beauty. The temple is quite close to the shore, and on quiet days with little surf, sunbathers may be able to make out the sounds of monks chanting. The temple welcomes visitors, and early mornings are a particularly good time to visit since that is when local villagers come to the temple to bring offerings and pay their respects to the monks before the day begins. If you do visit, make sure to dress respectfully by wearing clothing that covers your shoulders and ankles: beach attire is not appropriate.
Check In to The Windmill Phuket Hotel, Step Out to Wat Nai Harn
Explore Nai Harn Lake
Nai Harn Lake sits beside Wat Nai Harn and is a popular place for locals and visitors to exercise in the mornings and early evenings when the weather is cooler. The tranquil lake is surrounded by a 2.2-kilometer jogging path, and there is a collection of strength training equipment just east of the lake. If you want to join the locals and get in a workout, you can follow it up with a fruit smoothie or coconut water from one of the food stalls that surround the lake. Travelers who are lucky enough to visit in November during the annual Loi Krathong festival can join locals in floating a flower and small candle on the lake.
Check In to Babylon Pool Villas, Step Out to Nai Harn Beach
Go to Promthep Cape
One of the most photographed spots in Phuket, Promthep Cape is just a few kilometers from the beach at Nai Harn and well worth a visit. One can’t-miss attraction on Promthep Cape is the elephant shrine. Dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma, the shrine consists of hundreds of elephant carvings and offers strikingly unique photo opportunities.
Another highlight of a visit to Promthep Cape is the Promthep Cape Lighthouse, which offers a great spot from which to watch the sun set over the Andaman Sea. In addition to incredible views, Promthep Cape has plenty of opportunities for souvenir shopping near the lighthouse as well as in the handicraft shop and stalls that sit right next to the main parking area.
Check In to Sunsuri Phuket Hotel, Step Out to Promthep Cape
5 More Things to Do Near Nai Harn Beach
- Admire the sunset from Windmill Viewpoint.
- Snorkel at AO Sane Beach.
- Sample dragon fruit at one of the farm stalls that line the roads of Nai Harn.
- Collect shells at Yanui Beach.
- Have a drink at The Nai Harn‘s rooftop bar.
Check In to Yanui Beach Hideaway, Step Out to Nai Harn Beach
Where to Eat in Nai Harn
- Naiharn Sea Breeze offers traditional Asian dishes with plenty of vegetarian options like the ever-popular sticky mango rice.
- LE CELTIQUE is run by a Thai-French couple and serves traditional dishes from both cultures.
- Amalfi Ristorante Pizzeria serves wood-fired pizzas alongside traditional Thai food.
- A Spoonful of Sugar is a cozy coffee shop and health food restaurant with a wide wraparound porch that is popular with locals.
- BUKITO by Phromthep Cape Restaurant dishes up fresh seafood with great ocean views.
Check In to Vivi Boutique Room, Step Out to Nai Harn Beach
How to Get to Nai Harn Beach
Nai Harn is just under 50 kilometers, about an hour’s drive, from Phuket International Airport. The beach is less than 20 kilometers from Phuket Town, and songthaews, which are like small buses or shuttles, run regularly from Phuket Town Central Market to Nai Harn. If you miss a songthaew and don’t feel like waiting for the next one, you can catch a taxi or tuk tuk, which will cost about 300 to 400 baht.