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Mai Khao Beach
This is one of four beaches in Sirinath National Park. It is a 9-km spectacular stretch of sand that joins Nai Yang Beach to the south and Sai Kaew Beach to the north. Mai Khao is the longest beach on Phuket.
The northern end of Phuket is still very quiet and the beach is often deserted. The area behind the beach has very little development but recently a number of up-market hotels have popped up dotted along in the woodland behind the beach.
Although the beach is national park, the land behind the beach is not and it is all free to access. At the southern tip of the beach where it meets Nai Yang Beach there is a protected woodland area where they do collect an entrance fee. They use a two-tier pricing system so it will be 100 baht for foreigners and 20 baht for Thais.
The easiest place to access Mai Khao Beach is at the far northern end. Here Thepkrasattri Road meets the west coast just before reaching Sarasin Bridge. There is a line of rustic restaurants on the beach serving good Thai food. The pace of life here is slow. It is a nice place to relax and take in the beautiful scenery. This is the point where Mai Khao Beach is considered to meet Sai Kaew Beach although there is no physical boundary between the two.
On the other side of the road is the nature education center. Behind it is a nature trail that meanders through the mangrove forest. If you really take your time it will take an hour to walk around.
The central area of the beach is a little difficult to find. There are a few small roads that wind their way to the beach. This is also the location of the new up-market resorts. They are all very luxurious 5-star hotels.
Golden sand covers the 9-kilometer beach. The sand is nice but a little too course for us to give it a 5-star rating. The beach slopes quite steeply into the sea so it is not a great beach for swimming. During the rainy season, it is notoriously dangerous. Even during the dry seaon and it can be a little treacherous.
The national park has done a good job of limiting development. The airport is at the south end of the beach but flights are not so regular as to make them a major annoyance.
This is one of the beaches where sea turtles lay their eggs from November to February. However, their population has been in steady decline and it is not clear how many turtles still make it here, if any. Baby turtle releasing events are organised every year to try to replenish the population.
How to Get There
You can reach the southern end of the beach by driving to Nai Yang and then turning right into the national park. You can drive to the northern end of the beach on Thepkrasattri Road just before Sarasin Bridge. There are a few small roads that wind to the central part of the beach.
This beach is home to a number of renowned 5-star hotels. They all market themselves as a bit of luxury away from the crowds. The hotels are remote but luxurious.
Phuket Resort (5 star)
JW Marriott Resort & Spa (5 star)
Maikhao Dream Villa Resort & Spa (5 star)
Renaissance Resort & Spa (5 star)
Piraya Resort & Spa (4 star)
Sala Phuket Resort and Spa (5 star)
West Sands Phuket (5 star)
See our Accommodation section for more advice about finding rooms.