Looking for a fun and lively area on your upcoming trip to Phuket? Rawai Beach is just that! We stayed in Rawai for a month during our time on the island and loved every second. Join us as we tell you all about Rawai Beach and what makes it such a great place to stay for visitors, or even live for ex-pats in Phuket Thailand!
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About Rawai Beach Phuket
Rawai Beach is a town located on the Southeastern coast of Phuket. It’s known for its laid back atmosphere, delicious seafood restaurants, and as a hopping-off point to other nearby islands.
The funny thing is though… You can’t actually swim at Rawai Beach! The beach is filled with colorful Thai boats that while nice to look at, don’t make a great spot for swimming. Not to worry though. Some of Phuket’s most beautiful beaches are just a few minutes’ drive away!
Rawai Beach Digital Nomad & Expat Zone
Heading inland from Rawai Beach, you’ll find a bustling town full of bars, restaurants, and apartments. The cheap accommodations and fun atmosphere has made Rawai Phuket a popular place for digital nomads like us! There is also a very large ex-pat community who have found a new home here in Thailand.
We loved the mix of vegan cafes with plenty of great local Thai food in Rawai. Before we had stayed between Kata Beach and Kata Noi which we absolutely loved. However, it’s a much more touristy area and the prices and food options reflect that.
Staying Long Term in Rawai Phuket
As we mentioned, we spent one month living in Rawai Beach and really enjoyed the area! It has the perfect mix of food and local vibes that we appreciate when staying somewhere long term.
Our daily smoothie bowl lunches, Thai street food dinners, and sunsets at the nearby Windmill Viewpoint were just the breaks we needed while working remote.
One of the best parts about Rawai Beach is it’s still close to all the stunning beaches and attractions of Phuket. Still, you will want to rent a motorbike to get to those places! We paid about 4,000 baht ($120 USD) for a one-month motorbike rental and it got us around to everywhere from Rawai.
→ 8 Quick Tips to Know About Renting a Motorbike in Phuket
Things to do in and Around Rawai Phuket
Now that you know a little bit about Rawai here are some of the best things to do in and around the town! It’s a great location to do just about anything on Phuket assuming you have a set of wheels.
This is the first of one of the many beautiful places to watch the sunset near Rawai. The upper viewpoint brings what seems like hundreds of people every night.
If you hike down below out onto Promthep Cape, you will have one-of-a-kind stunning views of the ocean!
→ Promthep Cape Sunset Guide: 2 Best Locations and Need to Know Tips
Yanui & Nai Harn Beach
Just up the road from Promthep Cape are two of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket! Nai Harn is a long white sandy beach that you’ve probably only seen before in your wildest dreams. We loved taking walks on this beach and swimming for sunset.
Right around the corner from Nai Harn is a small cove called Yanui Beach. This was our favorite beach to visit from Rawai in the morning for a quick dip. You can even rent kayaks from Yanui for just 100 baht!
→ Nai Harn Beach & Yanui: Two of Phuket’s Most Stunning Beaches
Directly in between Yanui and Nai Harn is the famous Windmill Viewpoint. If you enjoyed Promthep Cape then you’ll LOVE the views from the windmill, too.
As another popular sunset spot, the scenery is absolutely epic here. It’s an amazing place to come with a picnic, sit underneath the massive Phuket windmill, and have a cold Chang beer as the sky’s colors change before you.
Sea Gypsies Fish Market
Heading back towards Rawai Beach, it’s time to get local! Believe it or not, fishermen have been coming to this market for over 100 years to sell their catch. These days it’s frequented by both locals and tourists to buy fresh seafood or simply get a taste of the action.
You’ll find everything from lobsters to oysters and even sea cucumbers up for sale here. Many of the restaurants allow you to pick your seafood fresh out of the tank to be grilled in front of you.
Boat Trip to the Islands from Rawai
Rawai Beach is an awesome jumping-off point to the tropical islands that lay just off the coast. The fun part is you don’t need to make any reservations beforehand. Just simply show up to one of the dozens of traditional boats lining Rawai Beach and tell them where you want to go!
We recommend doing a half or an all-day trip to combine multiple islands at once. Many of the boats from other popular beaches come to these specific islands. So going from Rawai Beach Phuket will also save you some money! Below are some must-see islands to hit.
- Bon Island: Snorkeling and lunch
- Buddha Island (Koh Kaeo): Two large golden Buddha statues
- Coral Island: Relax at Banana beach and Long beach.
Where to Eat in Rawai Phuket
Our favorite part of being in Rawai was the endless amount of food options available! From delicious local curries and noodle soups to seafood and all the vegan food you can handle, Rawai has it all. Here are some of our favorite places to eat including the names of restaurants!
On Rawai Beach
The waterfront area is the most scenic place to eat in Rawai. Sit right on Rawai Beach with a view of the longboats and enjoy a meal! The entire strip is filled with a mix of western bars and local restaurants.
Like the Sea Gypsy market, there is great seafood available here as well as other Thai food. It’s even a fun place for a beer or coconut on the water if you’re just thirsty!
Vegan Treats of Rawai Thailand
If you’ve been following us for a while then you know we LOVE eating vegan food in Asia. Before coming to Phuket, we weren’t expecting to find Bali-style vegan cafes and restaurants.
Well, some of the best on the entire island are located in Rawai town! So if you’re looking for a smoothie bowl, a mushroom burger, or even a piece of vegan chocolate cake, check out these awesome vegan spots!
- Go Vegan Cafe
- Pure Vegan Heaven
- Go Fresh Organic Cafe
- Boost Cafe
Western & International Food in Rawai
With the international vibe of Rawai also comes some amazing food from abroad! These restaurants offer a nice switch up from Thai food and provide quality meals with some of the comforts from home. I mean if you’re staying in Rawai Thailand long-term there is nothing wrong with a pizza or burger every once and awhile, right?
- Ali’s BBQ
- Da Puccio Pizza Restaurant
- Green Tamarind Kitchen
- Viet Van Phuket
Rawai Beach Local Thai Food
Don’t worry!! Even with the strong ex-pat community of Rawai, there is so much delicious local food mixed in with the vegan and western restaurants. To be honest, some of our favorite restaurants are street food stands that we have no idea what the names are.
They were in Thai and we can’t even seem to find them on google maps. Hopefully, this inspires you to find your own local spots on your trip to Rawai Thailand!
- Issan Classic
- Noodles in Nai Harn
- Smile Restaurant
- Street Hut
- Mom’s Restaurant
Where to Stay in Rawai Phuket
5 Star Resort – The Nai Harn – Known as one of the best hotels in not just Phuket, but all of Thailand! Enjoy amazing beach and sea views from luxury rooms. If you ever want to leave you will be literally steps from one of the most beautiful beaches on the island.
Boutique Hotel – Lady Naya Villas – Large villas with shared and private pools. Great pick if you like more space than a typical hotel room. The location is set away from the town and beach in a quiet area.
Budget Traveler – Naiharn On The Rock Resort Phuket – Right next door the ultra-luxurious Nai Harn is a more basic accommodation. Great choice if you want to be near this beach but for a low price.
Longterm Rates – Le Resort and Villas – Popular hotel on the road between Rawai and Kata Beach. The rooms are modern and clean. Nice hotel option for long-term stays as they offer special rates.
Unique Stay – Roost Glamping – Yes you can go glamping in Phuket Thailand! These upscale tents are set around a beautiful pool and the cafe serves up healthy tropical dishes.
For more of the best hotels in Rawai Phuket explore the latest prices here!
Have any questions about Rawai Beach Phuket or want to share your own tips for the island? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Thailand Travel Planning
Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we found flights from Bangkok to Phuket for $12 USD, and Thailand to Vietnam for less than $50!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Transportation: While traveling through Thailand 12Go is where we find all our ferries, trains, buses, and transfers! You can find everything from island hopping speed boats to the night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over Phuket! You can find everything from a James Bond island luxury sunset cruise, to Phuket Old Town 15-taster food adventure, and 5-hour island tour!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
Helpful Thailand Articles
Phuket: Old Town Food Guide– Elephant Sanctuary – Sunday Night Market – Phuket Old Town – Big Buddha
Phuket Beaches: 15 Best Beaches – Nui Beach
Koh Phi Phi: Ferry from Phuket – 25 Things to Know – Maya Bay Private Tour – 3 Viewpoint Hike – Monkey Beach – Phi Phi Don Boat Tour
Koh Lanta: 10 Things to Do – 8 Best Beaches – One Day Motorbike
Railey Beach: 12 Things to Do – 3 Epic Beaches – Krabi to Koh Phangan
Gulf of Thailand: Koh Phangan 10 Things to Know – Bottle Beach Koh Phangan – Koh Tao 12 Things to Know – Freedom Beach Koh Tao – Koh Samui
More: Planning Thailand Trip – Koh Lipe – Chiang Mai
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