Rawai Beach Guide
What to Do in Rawai Beach
Rawai holds the distinction of being the very first tourist beach on Phuket. Years ago, people from Phuket Town would drive the 17km to Rawai on weekends to while away the afternoon underneath the beach's casuarina trees rather than risk the (then) dangerous drive over the hill to Phuket's west coast.
Nowadays Rawai is a 'working beach' and a launching point for day boat excursions out to Phuket's surrounding islands. Many longtail boats available for hire line its shores, where you can arrange a trip to Coral Island, Koh Lone or Racha Island,or a fishing or snorkel trip. The beach is also used as a mooring point for the many fishermen who live in the area.
On the right-hand side of the road is a large, orange fronted indoor/outdoor watering hole. This is Freedom Bar – a sometimes raucous sports bar with two pool tables, occasional live music, live televised football and more tattooes than Hamburg.
The erstwhile Normandie Bar, Rainbow is now in the hands of a savvy young Thai lady who makes sure that customers (mostly expats) keep on coming back by means of buffets, polite staff members, a pool table, TVs and reasonable prices.
The most consistently packed bar in Rawai is the Sunshine Bar – also on the Beach Road. The owners are a great laugh and they're always encouraging patrons to join them behind the bar for their impromptu cabarets.
Corner Bar and Jasmin Bar
These are, not to put a fine point on it, cathouses. With happy hour lasting all afternoon it’s cheap enough to drink there and Corner Bar has a pool table, curry nights and occasional live music.
Four hundred metres south of Chalong's traffic circle on the right-hand side of the road is La Cabane, a French restaurant. La Cabane serves hearty fare with reasonable prices. This lovely outdoor venue has a loyal following due to its excellent food and generous portions.
Nikita's has recently transformed from a beach bar/restaurant to a full-on restaurant and the result has been an upsurge in its popularity. With a wood-fired pizza oven and spanking fresh Thai and international food along with a truly seductive beachside location, Nikita's is an experience in itself.
On the sea side of the beach road you will see a cluster of cement/porcelain tables and chairs but no restaurant. What's going on? Well, the kitchen serving diners here is actually on the other side of the road! They should have called it 'A Road Runs through It' but its real name is Sala Loi.
Savoury is an all-day dining restaurant inside the Vijitt Resort located close to the beachfront and adjacent to the main pool. They offer an expansive buffet breakfast as well as a combination of a la carte menus and buffet dinners presented in a relaxed informal environment.
About five km along Viset Road heading to Rawai after the Chalong Circle, follow the green sign on the right to the Mangosteen Resort and you will discover a popular Sunday Brunch venue with a fabulous 360-degree view of southern Phuket.
Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant serves authentic Vietnamese cuisine in a charming and nicely decorated intimate venue. Located on the main road from Chalong circle to Rawai Beach, this compact 36-seat restaurant offers dishes from both North and South Vietnam.
Like many of the artists who have gravitated to Rawai, Apinan Tovankasame is originally not from Phuket. He’s from Bangkok but has absolutely no plans to go back there.
Witness the passion and drama of Thailand's national sport amidst crowds of onlookers whose cheers blend with the strains of high-pitched Javanese clarinets, drums and finger cymbals that accompany the fights from beginning to end.
Horse Riding in Rawai
There is a good horse riding program near the Lemon gas station on the way to Rawai. The Phuket Riding Club is based about 1.5 km south of the Chalong Circle on Viset Road.
Thai Cooking Classes
Thai food is based from five flavors– salty, sour, sweet, pungent and bitter. To cook Thai is to learn how to blend all those into the taste that people like. A typical cooking class usually starts off with the teacher taking students to visit a local market to buy ingredients.
Thailand Camp is the only camp in Phuket that provides Muay Thai, Yoga, Detox, Fitness & Weight Loss training. The camp’s Health Food restaurant serves nutritious meals which aid your training.
Spas, Thai Massage and Herbal Saunas
A visit to Thailand wouldn’t be the same without having a traditional Thai massage and/or a herbal sauna. Phuket is an ideal place to experience such treatments as the number of businesses is growing fast.