Imagine chilling on a banana lounge, sipping umbrella drinks and soaking up Andaman Sea views. Now add morning beach walks, smiling street food vendors and only knowing the time by the 4pm downpour.
You’re on Phuket, Thailand’s largest island.
Patong is Phuket’s tourist hub. Bangla Road’s gogo bars draw a crowd and the beach accommodation, shopping, dining, and bars suit all budgets. Karon, Kata and Rawai to the south and Kamala and Surin to the north all have great resorts, beach clubs, dining, and nightlife. This time, however, Bangtao and its beach are on the indulgence hit list.
Thailand’s military government have changed beach activity dramatically. Food and drink vendors no longer line the sandy shore. Banana lounge rentals, cocktail deliveries, and massages on the beach are in the past. Some say part of the charm has gone, but the beach clubs set back off government land deliver all the missing pleasures.
Bliss Beach Club is one such provider. Located at the southern end of the beach, their international menu leans to the Mediterranean while being complimented by local Thai and Asian flavours. Stay cool in the lounge, relax on the terrace, or picnic on the lawns. A bottle of chilled Whispering Angel Rosé will take you to your happy place.
Sadly, Catch Beach Club is no more and if you’re looking for the ever popular Lotus Restaurant, that’s gone too. Lotus hasn’t popped up in an alternate location, but the Catch crew now have Palm Seaside.
More restaurant than beach club, Palm Seaside still mix a killer Mojito reminiscent of Catch of old. The menu is full of great seafood options while offering all the regular Thai favourites. Their Kor Moo Yang (Grilled Pork Neck) presses all the right buttons.
New to Bangtao is Benny’s American Bar & Grill. Not on the beach, but easily located in a cute Thai beach house, Benny’s is already very popular. Make a reservation for Friday evening when fresh steamed mussels are on the menu and if you’re partial to an Espresso Martini, they shake a mean one.
Sarongs, sundresses, boardies, and hats are close at hand with many shops in the area. Tailors offer a speedy bespoke service on suits, dresses, shorts and trousers.
Local Thai eateries, gogo bars, and inexpensive massages can be found on the main thoroughfare.
Family Mart and 7-11 keep you stocked with all your essentials, so if you intend on a completely relaxing beach holiday, there’s no need to leave Bangtao.
Bangtao Beach offers a range of budget friendly resorts with beach access. For an extended stay or for families, Bangtao Beach Gardens (BBG) is worth considering. A short walk from the beach, with 2 bedroom apartment living, a stay at BBG includes the use of a 30m lap pool, huge leisure pool, gym, and sauna.
Ground level apartments have direct access to the leisure pool and top floor apartments include the use of a rooftop sala with views to the mountains and sea. BBG is self-contained so a few essentials should be taken along; at least T.P. and drinking water.
Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort, further north, ticks all your beach resort boxes. If the wind is too much at the beach, sheltered lagoon views substitute. The central swimming pool has enough varied locations for a quiet read or a crazy water slide.
Take your pick with dining options; poolside at the bar, in the airy Locavore or indulge in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean delights at Metzo’s. Exclusive Club benefits are available with Voyager 47 and for families, check out the current “kids eat free” promo.
Outside Outrigger, along Lagoon Road, you’ll find Bake for coffee and pastries; Flame for contemporary rotisserie; Pasta, an authentic Italian eatery, and Sushi for, well yeah, sushi. All four are in the same convenient location.
Nearby, Siam Supper Club transports you to jazz clubs of old. Sip on an Old Fashioned at the Long Bar or dine on reportedly “the finest meats in South East Asia”.
Opposite, Bampot Kitchen & Bar is a relative newcomer to Phuket’s dining scene. Local ingredients are utilised in contemporary style. Take the Prawn Bon Bon with Green Curry Foam or Pork Belly with Sriracha and Pickled Watermelon. Both have recognisable Asian flavours presented in a unique way.
The same concept is applied to the cocktail list. In a Myanmar Margarita, fresh mango, chocolate bitters, and chilli flakes are added for a distinctly Asian twist on an old classic.
The recent Boat Avenue development nearby is a welcome addition to Bangtao for both residents and travellers. The central Container Mall consists of brightly painted shipping containers housing jewellery stores, fashion boutiques, coffee shops, pizza, Thai and Mexican food.
Try the pulled pork tacos at The Mexican served with lots of jalapeños and a margarita on the side; THB100 (approx $3) for margaritas and tacos all day every day! The Thailicious chain has a spot, but head to the street vendors around the corner for Thai food, there are many in the area.
Bangtao and its beach offer everything the traveller needs for a relaxing holiday on any budget. Old Phuket Town is coming up, where history and architecture take precedence over indulgence.
Don’t worry, you’ll still get the skinny on eating, drinking, exploring and shopping because, at paraphernalia.co, they’re the things we love….
**paraphernalia.co pays for all accommodation, dining and drinks resulting in unbiased and honest recommendations you can rely on.