Mai Khao Beach – this is the longest beach in Phuket, which is about 11 kilometers in length. Since it is located within the Sirinath National Park, it used to be blessedly isolated from most areas and remain undeveloped, with only few significant properties and resorts were constructed along it, such as JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Renaissance Phuket. However, this is not the case anymore subsequent to the existence of Splash Jungle Water Park at West Sands Resort in year 2010, soon promoted Mai Khao to a must-visit family attraction, but thankfully, the beach is still very quiet and natural with lovely Casuarina trees lining along the shore.
Mai Khao Beach is situated on the northwest coast of Phuket. The words ‘Mai Khao’, in Thai, mean “white wood”, and this “White Wood Beach” is possibly has the coarsest sand in Phuket and the sea looks like a concave pan. It is also a serene stretch of strand and most peaceful beach on the northwest coast of Phuket, as you might not seeing any other person after few kilometers walk.
The beach is golden sand with a little bit stony but in general fairly good to stroll on and it is also the most popular camping area. Anyhow, there is no any activities on the beach and thus helps to maintain the natural beauty of the place and is definitely worth a look and to spend a relaxing day.
How to Get There
Unfortunately, public transport is very limited from the Phuket airport. Therefore, it is advisable to grab a cab to the village or any resorts along the beach, which takes about 20 minutes. Mai Khao beach can be accessed from the main 402 highway, follow the signs to Turtle Village and pass through few hotels then you will be on your destination. Since the beach is within the National Park, you should not be charged for any entry or parking fees in this area. Furthermore, try to avoid using the parking facilities in the resorts unless you are a customer, or you will be asked to leave.
From May to November, the rainy season of Phuket, there is a sharp drop off into the Andaman Sea, thus swimming could be very dangerous. You should be aware of the particular flags placed around the beach, all these indicators of the oceans hazards might save your life.
Things to Do & See
The National park is where you could picnic or camp with your family and having fun in the water, though it is not very interesting and need to pay 200 Thai Baht as entrance fee. As airport is located at the south end of the beach, the beach has becomes a favorite spot for people to see the plane landing and passing low over the beach. It is amazing to see the enormous shadow casting on the turquoise water, but it can be very loud when getting really close to the beach.
From November to February, the Giant Ridley Sea Turtle onto the Mai Khao Beach at night time to lay their eggs. So with a little bit of luck you might be able to meet these lumbering giants if you visiting during this period, as you are allowed to witness this wonder of nature. However, their number keep on decrease every year, which led to the efforts in replenishing their population, such as the baby turtle releasing events. It is a miracle moment and unique experience to sponsor the baby turtles and bring it yourself to the water.
Around the northern beach area there are numerous of local dining places which serves Thai cuisine at reasonable price. It is a great place for you to have a relaxing lunch appreciating the sights of the shore as well as the stunning Andaman Sea.
Mai Khao Beach was a nesting place for endangered Leatherback turtle. However, they are no longer exist as consequence of poaching and pollution. That might be true the beach is no more pristine as described in the resorts brochures and tourism websites, it could also be severely at risk of over-development in the future since landowners accepted the offer from foreign developers.