Rawai Beach is a beach located in the south of the island of Phuket and is a locals’ favorite for years. Rawai Beach has a laid-back vibe and is lined with bars to help you take the edge off life. Many people prefer to stay in Rawai for their entire Phuket vacation, preferring the atmosphere here over elsewhere.
Rawai claims the title of being officially the first tourist beach. While Rawai Beach itself is not very good for swimming it is very inviting to stroll along the beach, rest underneath the evergreen Casuarina trees, which can easily grow up to 35 meters providing plenty of shade, and/or contemplate what you are going to eat next. While the real estate development happened more inland over the years, more and more restaurants popped up along the main beach road taking over the ever present night bars. So now you can choose between burger joints, Thai seafood, pizza, spaghetti or whatever you would like to have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. For locals as well as international tourists and expats, one of the favourite restaurant is Nikitas Beach Restaurant with its mixture of Asian and Western culinary delights, located right at the beginning of the Rawai Beach stretch.
From Rawai beach you can plan a trip to Koh Lon, Koh Bon, Coral Island or Racha islands. Easy to reach with your motorbike, you can change the scenery by enjoying a day on Nai Harn Beach and finish it at Cape Promthep.
BTW: The name Rawai derives from the Thai word “Rao Wai” which translates into “I Pray”. This has a lot to do with the legend which says that Buddha, leaving a “footprint” on the island in front of the famous Cape Promthep, set foot on Phuket where today is the village of Rawai.
Rawai Beach is not a beach for sport or bathing as most of the beach access area is used for longtail boat anchoring. But we recommend to visit Rawai Beach for lunch or dinner as it has great local restaurants with tables under trees along the beach, which serving fresh seafood for very reasonable prices.
Rawai Beach Clubs
We couldn’t find any venue with “club” in the name, but you can rest assured that besides dancing, the restaurants and bars we mention below are like beach clubs – right on the beach and serving alcohol and good food. Around 1 km from the beach you will find the No. 1 nightclub in the south of the island The Laguna Rawai Night Club – a complex of 25 bars and 1 discotheque.
Rawai Beach Restaurants / Bars
- Rawai View Café & Bar – patio seating above the beach and great ratings make this one beach bar to stop at if you’re planning on spending an evening at Rawai Beach. Located on the southern end.
- Paradise Beach Bar – also on the southern end of Rawai Beach, this small bar gets high ratings and has both covered and outdoor patio seating. It is the most popular bar amongst the local expat residents from Chalong, Nai Harn and Rawai area.
- Nikitas Beach Restaurant – near the Rawai Beach Pier. Nice atmosphere, and probably the beach bar you should start with. Great ratings and it looks like a nice variety of food including wood fired oven pizzas.
Rawai Beach Accommodations
- Rawai VIP Villas and Kids Park – 250 meters (273 yd.) from the beach down Soi Rouyphad, is the most expensive place to stay in Rawai, which really isn’t that bad at just 7,200 THB per night. The rooms and furnishings are modern, and this is without a doubt one of the nicest places to stay in Rawai.
- Rawai Beach Resort – this small resort on the beach gets decent reviews and offers basic accommodation for around 3,500 THB per night. They have a game room for kids which includes trampolines surrounded by thick pads – looks like fun for kids 12 and under.
- Pool Access 89 @ Rawai Hotel – in spite of the odd name, this small hotel offers good basic accommodation and has a clover-shaped swimming pool. This hotel is about 600 meters (656 yd.) from the beach in the center of Rawai Town. The rate is about right at 2,000 THB or so per night.
Rawai Beach Facts
- Location in Phuket: Southeast side of the island.
- GPS Data: 7° 46’ 19” N, 98° 19’ 18” E
- Distance to Patong / Phuket Town / Airport in km: 22 / 15 / 47
- Taxis available: Yes
- Surrounding Beaches: Laem Ka Noi Beach is to the north; Pak Pahng Beach is to the south.
- Direction Facing: SouthEast
- Beach Length: Almost 2 kilometers (1.2 mi.)
- Beach Width: 16 meters (17 yd.)
- Estimated Beach Area: 32’000 m2 (38,272 square yd)
- Beach Quality: The sand is darker, typical of sand on Phuket’s east coast. There is a lot of dark mud mixed with the sand.
- Ocean Bottom: Rocks throughout. Mostly mud with some sand.
- Restroom / showers facilities? Some restaurants along the beach have restrooms, but there are no showers here because people are not swimming.
- Beach features: Very long beach with a boardwalk along the water. Restaurants are close to the beach and though the ambiance has changed considerably over the past few years, Rawai Beach is still a good place to relax and have a meal.
- Lifeguard Available? No
- Sunbeds Available? No
- Umbrellas? No
- Public or Private? Entrance fees? Public, no fees.
- Water quality: Good
- Boat anchorage possible? There are longtail boats here, but we didn’t see any larger boats. It is probably possible at or near the pier.
- Boat dock and marina? There is a 330-meter-long (361 yd.) pier to facilitate access to the beach from the water over the muddy bottom.
- Longtail boat rental possible? Yes
- Speedboat/longtail boat tours possible? Yes/Yes
- Sea inflow:: Yes – east side
- Slope into sea until 1m deep: 1-2m (high tide)
- Convenience shop available? Yes
- Attractions: Rawai Park for kids is a really fun place if you have kids under 13 or so. It’s part of Rawai VIP Villas close to, but not on the beach. There are football fields, a water park, and lots of things to jump on like trampolines and other things kids can swing from. They have a large café for meals between all the jumping around.
- Activities: Walking and eating are the primary activities at Rawai Beach. Oh, and drinking, of course!
- FKK possible? Not permitted, but if empty…
- Massage available? Yes
- Picnic possible? No
- Surfing? None on the east coast of Phuket.
- Smoking? In November Thailand is cracking down on smoking at beaches around the country. In November 2017 in Phuket, Patong Beach is affected. Soon they expect to make it a country-wide smoking ban – so do stay up to date because fines are high and can include prison time.
- Warnings: Under the surface of the water is sand mixed with mud, as in all east coast beaches on the island. Because of this, the probability for encountering stingrays is higher than at beaches on the other coasts. Do be careful to shuffle your feet as you walk to avoid stepping down on one. They have venomous barbs in their tail which hurt quite a bit.
- Waste runoff into the sea? Yes
More about Rawai Beach
For more Rawai Beach information check out the Blog: