Rawai such a peaceful place

   Rawai, my peaceful place 

Rawai, which covers the entire southern part of the island, is undoubtedly one of the most pleasant and varied places in Phuket for entertainment and sports activities.

There are so many possibilities in Rawai, so much so that this article devoted to this place of paradise will be important and long... there is so much to show that in the end, it's hard to make it shorter !

So I invite you without any further delay to go around Rawai, to discover this really bread and butter place of Phuket.

Rawai on the map

Rawai sur la carte

 Rawai Facilities

Staying in Rawai is really not a problem. Everyone can find a place of interest and finally, have a good time.

Easy to find, the various possible activities in the region are very affordable.

The visitor will have the opportunity to take an interest in everything related to the sea:

  • swimming in Naiharn Beach, Yanui Beach, Laemka Beach or Ao Sane, beaches on which many well shaded local restaurants have a sea front (except in Laemka).
  • take a boat to relax on one of the nearby islands like Koh Bon, Coral Island, or a little further away: Koh Raja
  • walk at low tide on the deserted beach of Friendship, or that of Rawai Beach.... (very early in the morning or late afternoon, it is ideal)
  • the port of Chalong being geographically adjacent to Rawai, we can add to this list: diving trips and deep-sea fishing trips.

In another register, the visitor will be able to do just as well:

  • horseback riding in the jungle or on Friendship Beach at low tide.
  • ride elephants
  • or even buggy or squad rides
  • karting or target shooting (on the main Kata road)
  • do Thai boxing clinics in one of Rawai's many boxing camps.
  • kiteboarding,
  • tennis or beach volleyball (in Bangkontee)
  • play pool in the evening
  • walking, running or cycling around Lake Niaharn

and finally...

  • shopping in Sai Yuan or Bangkontee
  • go to the restaurant in the evening to taste local or European dishes, depending on
  • end the evening in a bar or disco for the more energetic

  The different Areas of Rawai

It should be noted that this large area, which is wild in some places, is composed of four major districts:

Rawai Beach
Sai Yuan

New access to Rawai since May 31, 2019

Tunnel Chalong

For years, access to Rawai had become a painful ordeal with the growing traffic. The old Chalong roundabout, on which 5 roads connect, was completely overloaded, congested and the crossing of this black spot had become a real headache for everyone, both for the users and for the city authorities and even the police in charge of dealing with the impressive traffic.

Work on this 350-metre-long structure began in 2015 to see a definitive opening on May 31, 2019.  

 Discovering these peaceful areas of Rawai

We will discover Rawai by following the East coast and then the South coast to go up towards the Karon Viewpoint which marks the limit of Rawai. 

I thus propose you this circuit: A small glance at the Chalong pier, the shops and services of Bangkontee, the shooting center and the go-kart circuit,

Friendship Beach: East Coast and Kitesurfing Center, Laemka Beach, Rawai Beach and Chaoleys Village, Cape Promthep and the Wind Turbine, Yanui Beach, Naiharn Beach and its Lake, Ao Sane
For many places you will have the possibility to consult detailed articles with many pictures.

Here we go!

Chalong, the pier

Let's start this visit of Rawai by flying over the Chalong pier... All the part you see above the pontoon (or if you prefer on the left of the pontoon) is simply Rawai, the part on the right being Chalong. The division of communes is such that the street leading from the pier to the Chalong roundabout serves as the "dividing line" between Chalong and Rawai. This aerial view is therefore a good start to the long visit that is now on the horizon.
You can read a detailed article here:

   Bangkontee Area

Bangkontee is probably the least known and touristic area of Rawai: it is the part that is located (north of Rawai) near the Chalong roundabout, where new businesses are regularly established.

First of all, you now have the new tunnel under the Chalong roundabout. The work to build this tunnel, which has become essential, took 4 years... as much to say that everyone, as much as we are, was eager to see the end... of this tunnel.

Arriving from the Chalong roundabout (or leaving this tunnel), you will first find the Rawai post office on the left, just in front of the communal school, whose services are impeccable. The mail works very well.
Then a few dozen meters on the same side, a shopping centre with a Tesco-Lotus and several restaurants, including a Wine-Connection, various shops, banks open even on weekends, a hair salon, a small bookstore: very convenient for shopping.

Not far from there, also on the same side, you will find a second centre called Fisherman Way which offers a series of shops including a few restaurants, a cigar seller, a hairdresser, etc....

If we still report the one and only gas station and the only traffic light in all of Rawai, we will have gone around this northern district of Rawai, called Bangkontee.

Coming from Chalong Roundabout, the main post office of Rawai is on the left hand side.
The building is new, the postal service is impeccable...
The small shopping mall at the entrance of Rawai, including a Tesco-Lotus supermarket...
At the same place banking services, hairdresser, restaurants
Just past the small mall, this Makro's food supermarket...
Fresh produce, everything is labelled...
50 meters further, the Fisherman Way, with some shops, restaurant, hairdresser, etc...

 To find your way around...

    Rawai East Coast

Friendship Beach.... that's the name that was given to this place by "farangs" and I'm thinking in particular of the owners of an establishment located in this place with this name... this establishment is located just after the traffic lights.

I asked the question to a local Thai recently who owns a boat there: he didn't know how to give me a name for this long beach... anyway, it's just a small detail that doesn't matter, but, beware, if you ask a taxi for example for this destination with this farang name, not sure he will know...

Starting at the Port of Chalong and extending in a straight line to Laemka Noi, this 4 km long seaside resort is rarely visited by tourists. Some locals go there early to fish or maintain their boats... it's not a beach for swimming you will have understood.

Between the port of Chalong and Laemka Noi, there are several small alleys (Soi) leading to this beach. It's easy enough to take one at random. From the road, count... 150m to be at the water's edge.

 East coast near Chalong

This part is located a few dozen meters from the Chalong pier, and at the level of the mosque on the seafront in the Bangkontee district. The people who live there are mainly locals who use this place for their needs: fishing, boat maintenance etc...
We can see here the mosque on the seaside, at the far right on the mountain: Big Buddha.

Aka Thailand

Thailand’s Premier Muay Thai, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), & Fitness Training Facility.  Aka Thailand is in the Bangkontee area, soi Madsayid...

Phuket Shooting Range

On the road 4028 which connects Chalong/Rawai to Kata, you have the possibility to practice several activities in a nice and very well maintained environment: Target shooting, Archery, Karting on circuit, Buggy, Quad etc...
You can read a detailed article here:

 Rawai's Only Traffic Light on Wiset Road

The one and only traffic light on Rawai's four-lane Wiset Road... 
Continue straight on to Frienship Beach, Rawai Beach, Laemka, Gypsy Village... Turn right to: Sai Yuan, then Naiharn or Kata...
To continue our visit, we go straight on at this traffic light... to discover Friendship Beach which is about 300m on the left after the traffic light.

 East Coast Party at Friendship Beach

This place is much more deserted... the landscapes remain fantastic and calm. At the bottom, you can see the Chalong pier. 
You can read a detailed article here: Rawai, the Est Coast 

 Kitesurfing on the East Coast  

You can read a detailed article here:Kitesurf in Rawai 

    Laem Ka Beach

At the end of this east coast you will find these two small beaches called Laemka Noi and Laemka Yai.

The first one is hardly visited and remains a rather wild area with beautiful rocks, difficult to cross at high tide.

The second, Laemka Yai, is a little easier to access and offers beautiful scenery when the sun is shining. For the basic amateur photographer, the pictures will be quite easy to take because the painting offered is simply superb.

Unfortunately, for some time now, access to this small beach is no longer possible. The owner of the land allowing the access having decided to close the road.

No one knows if this situation is temporary or definitive...

It's a pity.

 Laemka Noi

Laemka Noi is a very small cove with a small Hai restaurant nearby.

 Laemka Yai

Unfortunately, for some time now, the owner of the land has decided to prohibit access to the beach, as the path leading to it passes through his property. I don't know if this decision is final... provisional... or even if it has been abandoned...

You can read a detailed article here:Laemka beach in Rawai 

 Rawai, aerial view to the south... 

Rawai Beach Aerial

   Rawai Bay

One could say that Rawai Beach consists of three parts.... If we look at the map here on the left, you have at the right end of the white circle, and just next to the pier, the village of Chaoleys (Gypsies of the sea)

In the centre, Rawai Beach where you will find boats always ready and willing to take you somewhere, and the typical seaside restaurants that serve you dishes mainly fish, some seafood.

At the very end, at the far left, still on this map, is the fishermen's area where you will find extended fishing nets or even boat repairers/builders.

The name Rawai Beach is a little confusing, because when the visitor does not know, he tends to head for this place thinking he will find a long beach of fine sand with umbrellas, deckchairs, ice cream and sweet drinks vendors, horrible jet skis, parachutes... 

Well, not at all.

 The small village of Chaoleys, the "Gypsies of the sea"

The "gypsies" of the sea threatened by the tourist boom

They have lived facing the Andaman Sea for generations and do not see it any other way. However, Thai "gypsies" from the sea risk being driven from their lands by the inexorable advance of tourist complexes.

With the creation of marine nature reserves, the decline of fish stocks and the frenzy of construction, the "Chao Lay" or "people of the sea" are finding it increasingly difficult to perpetuate their ancestral traditions.

One example among others of the pressure on indigenous minorities in a country that saw the number of tourists reach a record high of 22 million last year.

"I was already living here when it was the jungle," says Nang Miden, 78, sitting outside his shack in Rawai village, where some 2,000 sea gypsies live.

His ancestors had appropriated this language of land on the island of Phuket long before it became one of the most popular tourist destinations in the kingdom. "I have nowhere else to go."

And the fight to stay is going to be a complicated one. Many Chao Lay can neither read nor write. The concept of ownership is foreign to them. They were therefore unaware that they could register the land in their name and many of them now have no title to it.
As a result, others have rush into the rift. A real estate developer has thus become the owner of the land on which he lives, and wants to move several families inland.

Descendant of people living near the beach, now covered by an uninterrupted series of buildings, Nang is threatened with expulsion.
Last February, the courts ordered seven families to leave. They have decided to appeal, in a procedure that may take years. Meanwhile, almost all of them live without running water or electricity.

Gradually, every characteristic of their existence is threatened. Once nomads, selling fish, sea cucumbers and other ocean resources, they have settled in recent decades and face threats of arrest and seizure of their boats while fishing in national parks.
"Children of the sea"

Not to mention the tensions with divers who sometimes sabotage their traps. "The places where we can work have become smaller and smaller. Whatever we do, it's not okay," says Nirun Hyangpan, a representative of the Rawai community.
But despite their increasing exposure to the modern world, Chao Lay still maintain their indissoluble link with the sea. Some people say they can't fall asleep without the sound of the waves.

"These people need a waterfront area where they can moor their boat and go get food. It's not just spiritual, it's their way of life," says Narumon Arunotai, an anthropologist at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. Even if traditional fishing brings back fewer and fewer fish, "they still feel like children of the sea".

Giving hope to the Rawai community, the government decided to analyze old aerial photographs and bones collected in the area.
"If it is true that they have lived there the longest, they should have more rights over property titles," says Prawut Wongseenin of the Department of Special Investigations at the Ministry of Justice. But "to win their appeal, they need scientific evidence".

Even in the water, the Chao Lay are in danger. Unscrupulous contractors pay them to fish with dynamite and the compressors and pipes they use to stay below the surface expose them to fatal decompression sickness.

They represent only about 12,000 people in three distinct ethnic groups (Moken, Moklen and Urak Lawoi). Some stateless people do not have access to healthcare or public services. And the school assimilates them into the dominant Thai culture, ignoring their own roots.
In 2010, the government passed a resolution to protect their way of life. But that will not be enough.

"If tourism continues to explode with more hotels, spas and resorts on the beaches, the lifestyle of the sea gypsies will continue to disappear," Nirun says in despair.

La dépêche.fr - 06/06/2013

 South Rawai

  The Chaoleys Village (Sea Gypsies)

In the alley, which runs along the "beach", there are fish and seafood stalls. Many tourists and residents go there to buy fish and have it cooked in one of the local restaurants... it's a tradition, a habit.
A glimpse of where these people live, the enafnts play nearby, between the boats. These boats with which the Chaoleys can take you to the small islands for the day. For these people, this activity is a really important resource.

You can read a detailed article here:

   Rawai Bay

In Rawai Beach, we don't swim. One walks there, one stops there to have a drink, one eats there, one takes some photographs, or one takes a boat there to join the islands accessible easily by longtail boat at any time of the day. 

At low tide, the sight of some boats lying in the sand is always pleasant and superb of charm and quietness. The walker, meanwhile, will be able to stroll in the bay, a very pleasant stroll by the way. 

At high tide, the landscape is superb as well, although completely different. When the morning sun is shining, the colours vary from dark blue to light green and turquoise, giving this place a fantastic postcard composition.

Rawai Beach is in the midst of change. The old Thai restaurants tend to disappear little by little in favour of more modern, more European establishments, and therefore more expensive it goes without saying.

 Rawai Beach

Rawai Beach pier... over there, across the street, is Koh Bon... and right after that, Coral Island. (Koh Hae)

  Such a pleasant start to the day

Of course, around 6:00 a.m., for those who love photography and sunrise... Rawai is superbly oriented
Schoolchildren take the way to school on Wiset Road, small shops are slowly waking up, and it's also time for the traditional "Tak Bat" of the monks?
You can read a detailed article here:Morning in Rawai 

  Longtail Boat to the islands

Rawai Beach has a large number of boats. Excursions to the small neighbouring islands are very easy to organize... you just have to come on the Beach Road and there, the people on plce offer you trips... the prices are sometimes negotiable, sometimes less... you have to try...
Longtail boats, Speed Boats you have the choice... destinations from Rawai? Koh Bon, Coral Island, Koh Raja...

   Returns from excursions

Return trips are sometimes fun... at low tide boats are limited and people are forced to walk the last few meters... this only adds to the charm of these trips.
Small islands like Koh Bon or Koh Hae (Coral Island) are only a few minutes away by boat. After a beautiful day spent on one of these islands, people always come back enchanted.
You can read a detailed article here:

  Koh Bon  

The bay is stormed for an often very happy harvest

 Rawai Beach, boat maintenance at the end of the day

The tide is falling... the last tourists returning from their excursion are forced to walk the last few metres, the boats remaining in the distance...
Even if Rawai Beach with its many boats attracts tourists, it is still very local and traditional. The people we meet there are simple people who try to make a little money by offering boat trips... others go fishing to try to sell their catch and make a little money to live... 

 Beached Boats in Rawai

 Laem Prompthep

Leaving Rawai Beach, and continuing along the coast, you will reach Prompthep Cape, a large cliff overlooking the sea, facing due south, in a few minutes. It is the most extreme place on the island where, often in season, hundreds of curious people come by bus or by their own means to watch the sunset. It should be noted that the equator is 860 kilometres straight ahead, roughly at the level of Singapore.

There is also a lighthouse, where you can enter (free of charge) by climbing a small inner staircase to find yourself even higher and see the islands of Koh Raja or Koh Phi Phi Phi.

Just next to this site, a few steps away, the Prompthep restaurant where you can take a seat in the middle of a quite impressive flower and plant garden. Very beautiful place offering a magnificent view of the bay of Naiharn and with a little luck a very beautiful sunset, ideal to spend a pleasant moment in good company. Thai cuisine is correct as well as prices.

  Promthep, the tip of Phuket

Cape Prompthep, the most extreme point of Phuket Island. It is also the busiest place in Phuket in the late afternoon when hundreds of tourists come to watch the sunset.

 Aerial view of Promthep Point

Promthep Cape Rawai
At Promthep, you can go to the headland... just follow the dirt track. Be careful... at the very end it's better to be careful because a slide fall is always possible.


You can read a detailed article here: Cape Prompthep 

This aerial view from Promthep shows you the small beach of Yanui, then the windmill and its viewpoint, and finally... Naiharn Beach. In the distance there, on the left after the buildings is Ao Sane.
These are the next steps in our discovery of Rawai.

 Yanui Beach

Yanui Beach is located in a hollow, between two mountains... on one side the Cape of Prompthep, on the other side the point where the wind turbine is located. On both sides, it is well-pitched roads that lead you there.

When you arrive at Yanui Beach, you almost have the impression with a little imagination, of arriving on an island.

The beach is quite small (125m), with many rocks and some corals... beware of scratches on the feet!
In low season, as in August for example, tourists are rather rare... which does not bother me personally of course.

 A small beach full of charm... but beware of rocks...

Yanui Beach is below, in the hollow between two mountains... over there, a little further, it's Promthep Viewpoint
A few minutes from Rawai Beach: Yanui Beach which is a small charming beach.
You can read a detailed article here:Yanui Beach in Rawai 

   The Naiharn wind turbine

Located between Prompthep Cape and Nai Harn Beach, this rather vertiginous promontory offers a wide view of the bay. We're straight up to Yanui Beach.

From up there, you can take a good breath of air because the continuous draughts are quite strong and regular (hence the presence of this wind turbine).

Ah... this wind turbine so horrible. We can say what we want, it may be clean energy, but such devices in such a setting are frankly not terrible.

About 20 years ago, the national electricity company installed three of these specimens on an experimental basis. I have since heard several versions on their usefulness but in the end, it doesn't matter. Nowadays, there is only one left, active quite rarely... as if it had trouble turning.

I sincerely believe that his days are numbered and that sooner or later, this last wind turbine will also disappear.

A paragliding enthusiast who regularly goes back and forth along this great hill, (from the vertical of Yanui to almost the beginning of Naiharn Beach) attracts more attention from passers-by than the wind turbine which has only its size to impress, and nothing else!

The paraglider, at least he plays with the wind, lets himself be carried gently, without any apparent effort. When you look at it... it seems so easy, so obvious...

  The Viewpoint of the Wind Turbine

Going up from Yanui Beach, the road brings you to this point of view which allows you to appreciate the surrounding panorama.
On the slopes of the windmill, Chinese photographers enjoy taking wedding photos...

    Naiharn Beach

Naiharn Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket.
Of course, during the high season, it is crowded and the deckchairs are countless.
However, the slope is very gentle and the currents are less violent during the monsoon compared to other beaches.

The horrible "Jet-Skis" are banned there, which is an excellent thing.

You can attend magnificent sunsets... if you are used to coming to this site... you will have quickly understood: I love sunsets...

 Naiharn Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket

Some views of the Nai Harn beach, one of the most beautiful in Phuket and also one of the most quiet as it is preserved: there are no jet-skis, no parasites, no parasite noises... not all these parasite noises that will fill your ears.
Many restaurants and masseuses are within easy reach.
An aerial view of Naiharn Bay... on the other side, Rawai Beach and opposite: Koh Bon and Coral Island.
In Naiharn, sunsets can be sometimes magical..

You can read a detailed article here: Naiharn Beach in Rawai 

   The small beach of Ao Sane

This small beach with beautiful rocks west of Naiharn Beach is not really known, but many holidaymakers or residents have gotten used to returning to Ao Sane from the moment they got to know this place away from everything, in a still very wild environment.

The small winding road leading to this small paradise offers a splendid view of Naiharn Bay, the wind turbine and Prompthep Cape.

As for the small path that goes down to the beach and the restaurant, it is passable but a little steep and stony. For the less agile, it is better to leave your bike at the top and do the rest on foot, barely 50 meters. Then, all that remains is to settle down and contemplate these wild landscapes, devoid of any modern constructions. It's pretty relaxing....

On the spot, a number of fairly simple bungalows also offer accommodation at very attractive prices.

 Ao Sane: a splendid area of tranquillity

  Lake Naiharn

Of course, if you take a 10,000 km trip, walking around a lake when the sea is two steps away may seem rather absurd. I agree with that!

That said, we can see things differently and fully enjoy this charming place... some have understood it for a long time and many athletes of all levels, young and old, like walkers, joggers and other cyclists who come to wet their t-shirts!

In the morning, as soon as the sun rises, many enthusiasts attack their "lake tour" with great energy... the prevailing temperature is perfect for exercise and the surrounding calm is ideal for a beautiful start to a beautiful day. One more day in paradise!

Others prefer to exercise in the evening around 5pm... until nightfall... it depends.

A small islet that can be reached by crossing a small bridge offers picnicking, jogging, petanque and children... a well shaded and really very pleasant area. There are attractions for children, "pedal boats" to go for a walk on the lake, in short, an absolutely charming little corner.

A sign reminds us that it is forbidden to smoke and bring alcohol...

Lake Naiharn : an ideal place for sports enthusiasts 

The lake of Naiharn, flanked by the beach where many sportsmen come to let off steam either at the very beginning of the day or at the end of the afternoon. During the day, on the small island, enthusiasts come to play petanque or run in the shade of the trees.
Whatever your favourite moment, walking or running around the lake is very pleasant. 

A full 2km tour will take you about 30 minutes to complete, walking normally. Then it's up to you to do the number of laps that suits you. You will also find a whole series of softening and weight training equipment installed here by the commune of Rawai.

Many people also take the road that goes up to the wind turbine... in short, this corner is ideal for a little exercise

Naiharn Lake's circumference measures 2020 m (Google Earth).
Many runners on foot, by bike come early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The road is very good.
You can read a detailed article here:   Ao Sane in Rawai 

  Sai Yuan

The Sai Yuan district... aesthetically not great, rather messy, despite some recent buildings.

This being said, this area is a bit like the downtown of Rawai: a few shops, a few restaurants, a lot of massage parlours of course, a few painters, a lot of bars, the whole, arranged and added in a rather random way.

 The Sai Yuan District

Of Rawai, this district is the most "commercial"... there are a lot of shops: food, restaurants, bars, massages, banks, tourist agency, real estate agencies, car rental companies.
This Thanon Sai Yuan road on which you will find all these shops is the road that connects the crossing on Thanon Wiset (traffic light) to Naiharn Lake. it is highlighted in yellow on the following plan.

Thanon Sai Yuan on map

Thanon Sai Yuan Road is highlighted in yellow on this map...

Thai Boxing

You will find in Rawai a number of establishments offering training courses in boxing, apprenticeship, fights...
You can read a detailed article here:

  Thai Boxing 

 Buggy tour near the Karon Viewpoint

On the road that leads to the Karon Viewpoint, you will find possibilities of Buggy or Quad riding... the exits at this place are on sandy tracks close to the Viewpoint.
You can read a detailed article here:Buggy Tour in Rawai 

 Karon's Viewpoint

If at the previous crossroads you decided to head towards Kata-Karon... you are now at the Karon Viewpoint... from where you can contemplate the 3 following beaches: Kata Noi, Kata Beach, and Karon...
Patong beach is hidden by the mountain and is 14 km away from this place...
The following 3 beaches are no longer part of Rawai
You can read a detailed article here:

 Kata Noi  

That's it.... I finally made it around Rawai....
I must say that I've been wanting to do this long... very long article for a long time...

Rawai is vast, extensive, and as said at the beginning, many possibilities are within the reach of holidaymakers and even... residents.

I hope that now RAWAI will seem a little more familiar to you.

 Welcome to Rawai (Video)

Some articles on this site offering you sports activities  

Scuba Diving

Leaving From Chalong

Thai Boxing

In Rawai

Buggy & Quad

In Rawai


in Kathu


In Rawai


In Rawai

Golf in Phuket

Nearest: Chalong

Play Tennis in Phuket

Possible in Rawai


The PDF Version click here: