Right at the very north of Phuket is Mai Khao. The beach is the longest after Bang Tao, and is protected under national parks and wildlife. A total of 9 km of pristine white sand, shady coconut palms and very little in the way of property development are here.
The only significant development to have occured recently is the opening of the Marriott Phuket Resort. Camping is allowed but there are few facilities. If you are in search of a remote isolated beach - this is it.
The water is fine for swimming during the dry season but the rainy season brings big waves and strong currents. This quiet beach is another area where sea turtles come to lay eggs. It is also home to what the Thai's call the "sea cicada", which is a form of marine life.
So far, property developers have not eyed Mai Khao for development until very recently. The area itself is pretty and does have the potential to become popular.
Just south of the international airport, within the national park boundries is Nai Yang Beach. Sirinat National Park ( Nai Yang Beach ) covers 90 square kilometers near Phuket's airport and includes the 13 kilometer long Nai Yang Beach . The park itself stretches all the way to the island's northern tip.
Popular because of its protected shoreline, and the shade provided by tall casuarina trees - it is popular with locals picnicking - especially on weekends. Nai Yang is also well known as a site where sea turtles come to nest during the period of November through February. (Sadly, the population of sea turtles has, dwindled substantially in recent years due to developmen) Good accommodation can easliy be founds, and small food vendors cater to the many day-trippers that visit. Because of the proxmity of national park and the airport, Nai Yang is not an area real estate investors would consider when buying. Consider the very affordable apartment development right in front of the National Park and within a stones throw of the beach - Dewa Resort which offers property buyers the choice of 1 and 2 bedroom apartments with a managed investment program.
Further south, considered to be one of the best and most isolated beaches in Phuket's north, Nai Thon offers sensational views of the nearby mountains and the azure waters of the Andaman Sea. The rocky headlands offer an impressive backdrop and from the shore line and at either end of the bay you can go reef snorkeling and see a variety of fish and coral.
There is a small fishing village across the road from the beach, with some small bungalows and a few small restaurants. There is seldom not more than a few people vacationing here so if you want solitude backtrack down the road south keeping a sharp lookout and you find two smaller beaches. If you want to invest in the area your options would include buying land and building or buying a smallish beach bungalow.
As post scrip - the Nai Thon Buri Resort, a 150-room hotel has just been established (December 2005) directly in Nai Thon and there are 2 other resorts nearby
BANG TAO :
Undoubtedly one of the most popular beaches on Phuket, this 8 km stretch was once a major tin mining area long before tourism became mainstream. Parts of Bang Tao beach were left as open cut mines hence the many lakes and lagoons found today.
The whole area was considered a waste land until the early eighty's. Back then a Singaporean family had the vision to turn a good part of this wasteland into an international resort. Today the resort is better known as Laguna Phuket. Laguna Phuket was one of the first pioneering hotel property developers to have invested vast sums of money to build the destination. Bang Tao and Cherngtalay today owe much of their popularity to Laguna and its reputation for attracting high-end property investors.
Bang Tao beach remains a popular spot for holidaymakers looking that idyllic setting of wide sandy beaches, shady casuarinas and coconut palms. Not only is it a perfect setting - but during the dry season (10 months of the year) the sea is calm, offering a whole range of water sport activities.
There are many restaurants, bars, shops, spa services, property agents and developers who have set up shop in the area to cater to the demand overflowing from Laguna.
The development to have taken place tends to be along the beach though not necessarily in front of the beach - and has for all intents and purposes been one of the best in ecological terms. On either side of the bay ( Bang Tao Bay ) are forested mountains. In the middle are the Laguna Resort and the Laguna Golf Course, which offers membership sales.
Most property developers offer apartments, condominiums and residential style estate homes, with prices starting at nothing under 5 million baht for a decent size 1 bedroom apartment. and most offer quality construction and furniture packages. Cherngtalay and Layan beach because of their proximity to Laguna, have attracted many high end property developers including: Ocean Breeze Resort, Lotus Gardens, Chom Tawan, Village Villas, Residence Townhomes, The Park, Layan Gardens, - to name but a few.
A very popular area that is attracting a lot of investment interest is Surin Bay. Many buyers into the area have either stayed at a popular hotel at some point (Aman Puri or the Chedi) or have just sat on the beach wondering how they can get a piece of the action. The beach area itself is not overly busy or developed and does retain its local charm. The beach is relatively wide and the bay is very tranquil and there are no high rises or shop house directly on the beachfront. During the high season locals provide rows of sun lounges and there are many food stalls selling just about everything and anything – except perhaps property.
Within area, there is a very small but well thought out development called Surin Villas. The developer is offering 3 bedrooms, 2 storey (Thai) Contemporary homes in a small private estate within 5 minutes of the beach. Next door is the residential estate known as Surin Springs - a small community of apartments and houses overlooking a nature lake.
At the top end of Surin Bay the service road that leads to the hotels, also winds north winds around the back of headland and down into a plain, which is more or less directly behind Surin proper. Here, newer property projects including, the very affordable lifestyle apartments Lersuang, Club Lersuang, and the newly launched Lersuang Townhomes, can be found - ranging in price from 5 million - 13 million baht .
Within the same area, are the very modern and attractive development know as The Chava situated on the high street in Surin. Priced to sell from only Bt. 16 million, the standard configuration is 2 bedrooms with 170 m2 along. Also offered are grond floor apartments with private garden and plunge pools with a configuration spanning 230 m2 + offered for sale at 23 million Baht. The development though ideal for residential purpose is more suited as an investment property due to its locality.
Looking back on to the hills above Surin Bay and you see the area dominated by “Treetops” hotel and a couple of big residential communities including Araya and the Baan Thai Surin Hills (both featuring high-end homes). Not to be outdone by any means - The Aman Hotel also has large residential Villas within its resort, but alas you need to have a who's who book to know whats available.