September 2014 – Phuketwan newspaper report:
The beaches of the far southern portion of Phuket are looking great. Here's a rundown on what the Phuketwan team encountered on a swing through Phuket's south.
This east coast beach, mostly used by local fishermen, has plenty of atmosphere and a large restaurant right on the water's edge. Great spot for a walk and a seafood meal with a view out across Chalong Bay. Unchanged.
Not so much a swimming beach as a parking space for speedboats and longtails, the shorefront stretch at Rawai now seems to be more orderly with parking clearly defined. Yet the use of the shorefront pavement remains odd, with restaurants on the opposite side of Rawai Beach Road still using tables and chairs or low picnic-style cushions for customers. There is even a taxi sala with a driver watching television as we stroll by.
Laem Ka Beach
This small beach remains a favorite place for speedboats to collect and deposit Korean tourists for snorkelling day-trips to nearby islands. One after another or in twos or threes, the speedboats will deposit their cargoes of Korean tourists through the afternoon, hundreds of them. The tourists all walk across the beach and up the steps, where they board seong taew buses and are ferried to their resorts. Apparently picking up and dropping off hundreds of passengers every day is not commercial use of this Phuket beach.
Nai Harn Beach
Largest of the southern beaches, Nai Harn has always been a favorite of local expats, especially those with a pet dog to walk in the early morning. The beach looks great without the sunbeds and umbrellas. The day we passed by, one or two adventurous swimmers brought their own brollies. The area under the shady grove of trees looks worn but clear of the illegal restaurants that were destroying it. With time, the grass could recover.
Ya Nui Beach
A small cove with a rocky outcrop as an added attraction, Ya Nui still has a pile or two of rubble but that's a huge improvement on wall to wall sunbeds and commerce. Interlopers have always been a problem here. An illegal house stood on the spot where the parking lot now lies until the 2004 tsunami washed it away. Wonderful to sweep eyes from side to side across this little gem again.
Ao Sane Beach
Always the quirkiest of Phuket's beaches, Ao Sane is reached by driving through and under the Phuket Yacht Club Resort building. The restaurant alongside the rocky beach remains. Whether Ao Sane has been overlooked or whether the restaurant is legal we can't say. But if readers are looking for a place to eat by the sea, without the disturbing sound of inappropriate music, this is one place to try. Unfortunately the prices have gone up.