Especially popular with locals and expats, this sleepy village is largely underdeveloped and retains its natural charm.
At Nai Harn Beach there are no large resorts lining the sand, only local restaurants and the occasional massage hut. There are no loud nightclubs, few shops and very little in the way of man-made attractions. There is clean, white sand, warm, clear water, jungle-covered hills, a freshwater lagoon and authentic Thai cuisine. This is the perfect village for those who want to experience local culture without the crowds.
The lack of large-scale development is largely thanks to the Samnak Song Nai Harn Monastery. It sits just behind the beach and owns much of the surrounding land. The monastery and its ornate buildings are still occupied by monks, and villagers come here early in the morning to pay their respects and donate food. Visitors are welcome, but remember to dress conservatively.
The freshwater lagoon, inland from the beach on the southern end, is another popular spot with locals, who come here to jog, fish, picnic and bike. Rent a paddleboat and head to the island in the center of the lake, which is a pretty park with a children’s playground.
Some of the best spots in Phuket for snorkeling and diving are just off the beach here. Sign up for a tour or rent a snorkel (vendors are easy to find) and head out just in front of the Royal Phuket Yacht Club; there’s an abundance of coral and tropical fish in this area.
From November through May, the 84-degree (29 degrees Celsius) sea is lake-like and perfect for a relaxing dip. Outside of these months, grab your bodyboard and have some fun in the small waves on the south end of the beach. A permanent sandbank further out provides surfers the opportunity to catch a wave year-round.
Nai Harn has more of a residential feel than other busier villages, which only adds to its charm. And you know that if a beach in Phuket is popular with locals, it’s got to be good.
Nai Harn Beach is on the southern end of Phuket, about 20 minutes’ drive south of Patong or an hour south of the International Airport.