Nai Harn beach is located on the southernmost tip of Phuket, to the west of Promthep Cape facing the Andaman Sea. This is one of the best and most beautiful beaches on the southern coast.
Nai Harn is an open front beach but surrounded by hillside on both sides.
The surface of the beach under the shallow waters is pure soft sand and feels luscious to walk on. From around 11 am – 5 pm, the water can become very warm due to the sun shining on it.
Nai Harn is extremely popular with the locals, but not so much commercialised with tourists. The sea is absolutely fantastic to swim in between November and April. In the low season, Nai Harn beach can still be nice, but the sea is much more unpredictable. It is known for its very strong rip currents under the surface that can drag people out without letting them get back in. Here’s what you need to know in order to escape a rip current:
Nai Harn has some great surf, and lovely clear waters to swim in. There are no rocks on the bay, it’s pure sand that so it makes it perfect for a beautiful swim. The rip currents can get very strong at times depending on the time of day and sea behaviour. Because of this, Nai Harn always has life guards.
There are flags put up around the beach to ensure the safety of the swimmers. Red flags are where the undercurrent is far too strong, so no swimmers should swim here. The yellow flags with a stripe is a safe zone for swimmers. On occasion the tourists ignore flags, and so the lifeguards will get on the surfboard and swim out to the swimmer who can’t get back to the beach. Please take caution on all beaches you swim at.
Activities at Nai Harn Beach
If you are looking to relax on the beach, there are a few spots that offer massage under the sheltered palm trees. This is quite popular on most of the beaches you will find in Phuket. The massages on the beach usually last for around an hour for an all body Thai massage and would cost you around 300 baht ($10). Deck chairs can be rented on Nai Harn beach usually costing 150 baht ($5) for the day, and you can also have an umbrella to protect you from the sun if need be.
There is never short for vendors on the beach, supplying you with drinks, ice cream, local Thai home-made crafts, and coconuts.
Nai Harn has a lovely atmosphere, great for families, children, and in general people who appreciate a beautiful beach. Another part of the beach to the eastern side is a very shallow pool set about 50 metres from the actual sea. There is a stream of water that runs from this small pool to the sea. The pool is only knee deep, and perfect for small children to swim in and play. It has no current as it is not the actual sea itself, but joins on to it.
In either high season or low season, the beach never seems overcrowded. The reason probably is because there are not so many resorts and hotels around this area. It’s quite away from the mainstream of Patong, Kata, Karon and other busier beach tourist places.
Standing on Nai Harn Beach facing the sea, if you look to the left, you will see Promthep Cape. To the right-hand side of the hills, you will see some very luxurious sea view apartments.
Nai Harn Temple
Nai Harn’s surrounding is beautiful. Just behind the sea, is a row of restaurants, shops and street stalls. If you go further back, you will come to Nai Harn Temple. The temple is in a beautiful setting and set back about 500 metres from the beach itself. The temple features a prayer hall, which of an evening you will usually see monks praying. You can hear them from outside, and many locals do head over to pay respect to the Buddha.
There is a giant statue of Buddha inside, and paintings along the walls depicting Buddha’s life. Like all temples in Thailand, it is a very holy place, and respect must be shown here. No revealing garments to be worn, and no loud noise. The temple is very well preserved and kept immaculately clean throughout.
Nai Harn itself is generally a quiet place, and of an evening, if you are there, it is a great place to visit. The Nai Harn Temple really does have the authentic spiritual Thailand Buddhist aroma about it.
Nai Harn Lake
Nai Harn lake is right next to the temple. A pool of water that is very common for runners to run around all times of the day. The circuit is 2.2km around the entire lake, and it is flat, so makes for a very good place to run. You will also notice a small island on the lake that you can reach from an entrance near the beach.
The small island has nothing on it, but is a nice place to head out to and just take in the view of the lake. Nai Harn Lake is known to the surrounding community as a jogging place. Because of the amount of Muay Thai camps close by, many joggers/runners come here to do the circuit around the lake.
Towards the southern end of the lake, near the beach, there are a few street stalls in the day. Here you can buy corn on the cob, chicken on a stick, fruit shakes and coconuts. It’s nice to have this after a good run around the lake. To the east of the lake, again at the southern end near the beach, is a workout area. It consists of a number of body resistance machines. So, in theory, you can do a full body workout at Nai Harn. Literally, go for a run, then use the machines – chest press, leg press, and more. And then head over to the beach for a swim, and finish with a massage on the beach. It’s pretty much perfect!
Nai Han lake is also famous for the event that happens in Thailand – Loi Kra Thong. This event is where you would come and put a floating candlelit flower on the lake. It is very traditional for Thailand couples and families to do this event once a year, around November time. The lake is a very beautiful site on this occasion especially. The masses of floating candle-lit flowers make the lake look magical at night.
Travelling to Nai Harn
From the North
Getting to Nai Harn can be quite a scenic ride. If you are heading from the North, the road is very hilly. You will pass up forest’s on both sides of the hill, and the corners are very dangerous. Even more dangerous in the wet! But the scenic view is beautiful and gives a tropical forest type jungle feel about the journey.
On the hills heading towards or from Kata, you will notice a few activity places. Mainly things like ATV adventure, and motor cross biking in the forest. These are great to take part in, but can be quite pricey. Beware, if you take the ATV tour with one of the local Thai drivers, make sure you are strapped in properly. They do tend to drive to show off, and it can be very scary! It’s better if you actually drive than let them drive.
If you are coming from the other side, Phuket Town, it’s quite a simple route. You can either head straight down from Phuket town, through Chalong circle and down past Rawai.
From the South
Rawai is a small fishing village and is in the southern part of Phuket. There are two routes from Rawai, the front and back route.
The back route is just back roads, signposted that are pretty easily navigated. This route to Nai Harn is nice if you want to drive past the local village and see what’s around. The front route takes you alongside Rawai beach, and up to Promthep Cape. From Promthep Cape, you can actually get out and look to the west (right-hand side) and see Nai Harn. It’s probably about a 1-2km ride downhill to get to Nai Harn this way. You will pass a beautiful little hidden away beach called Ya Nui.
Not many tourists know about this beach, it is kept quiet. It is for sure one of the best snorkelling waters around. On calm water days, you can swim (with a kayaker by your side) to the island directly in front. The swim is around 1km there and 1km back, but it’s only wise if you head out with someone who is on the kayak. The reason being, you can never tell when the water or weather changes and the sea here can be dangerous. Sometimes packed with jellyfish. It’s a good idea to have an escape route be it to jump on board the kayak if this happens.
Things to do in Nai Harn
When you visit Nai Harn, you have all the beach to do what you please. You have the lake behind, with the exercise machines if that’s your thing. There are food places just behind the beach, and a row of shops near the car park. The food is either local Thai cuisine, seafood, or some western style food like burger and chips. There are places that supply some very nice fresh seafood too.
The shops offer the same things as a local convenience store would. Beach equipment can also be bought at one of the shops. If you need snorkelling gear, rubber bands, or body board, you can buy them all from here. In the long run, if you are planning to stay near Nai Harn, it is much better to buy these than rent them every time. It works out a lot cheaper, and especially the snorkelling gear.
Some places charge 300 baht to rent out for a day when you can buy your own for this price or cheaper. The best place to buy beach equipment like this is in Rawai town, where things are a lot cheaper. A decent set or snorkelling equipment would set you back 150 baht in the village compared to the double price at the beach.
Surfboards are easily available on the beach, mainly in high season. You would be looking to spend around 300 baht ($6) per hour. The beach itself doesn’t have any close by boats, which is a good thing, keeps the water clean and fresh.
Accommodation in Nai Harn
If you are planning to stay in Nai Harn, the choice to be fair is quite limited. There are no beach huts, or beach bungalows compared to other similar beaches. This is probably because Nai Harn Beach Phuket is not commercialised on a grand scale like the rest of the touristy beaches in Phuket.
If you are looking for more budget to medium style accommodation, then head to the neighbouring towns or Rawai or Kata Beach. Nai Harn offers some exquisite luxury accommodation, but they are highly priced.
The one stand-out place in Nai Harn is called the Nai Harn, which is a sea view front resort on the right-hand side of Nai Harn Beach. Rooms here can start from around 7500 baht per night ($210). The Nai Harn offers a range of rooms, Ocean View suite, Royal Ocean View suite, Mountain View, Grand Ocean View and Deluxe rooms. All are very pricey but extremely luxurious. The rooms have some of the best views you can imagine waking up to in the morning. It is undeniably a beautiful site. In high season it is best to book in advance the ocean view rooms, as they are very popular.
Another fantastic place to stay in Nad Harn is The Royal Phuket Yacht Club. This Resort offers amazing ocean view rooms and highly rated 5-star restaurants. There are actually 3 restaurants all with their own unique theme. The food selection is exquisite, and the wines are top notch here. This all reflects on the price of the stay at this particular place. You would be looking again to spend around the same 7500 baht ($210) or more per room for one night, depending on the room type.
Nai Harn Round-Up
Beautiful, non-commercialised, paradise and fairly peaceful year round. The places surrounding Nai Harn like Promthep Cape, for example, are pinnacle points in Phuket. This is the southernmost tip of what is known as the Pearl of the Andaman Sea. The beach is simply stunning. If you are in Phuket, you must find this place to experience it. There is not much more to say about Nai Harn Beach, and you just have to go there to see what it is like.