Just south of Phuket Town the island branches in two, forming the southeastern cape known as Cape Panwa and the southeastern peninsula known as Chalong.
Because the area is close to the provincial capital, its one of Phuket's more established ? meaning there is a good infrastructure, lots of local businesses and housing estates. Access by road although good can be hectic at times - particularly in peak hours.
Cape Panwa is the long peninsula that juts down the Southeastern corner of the island. It's far from the major tourist beaches, offering an entirely different ambience and perspective.
The long peninsula that stretching to the south of the island - the cape, is quiet picturesque and not overly touristy. The reason for this is obvious - Phuket's most famous beaches are all down the West coast.
There are fewer beaches in the area and most are tidal, meaning there is a long sandy bar out to the waters edge during low tide. In spite of this the beach scenery is beautiful.
Cape Panwa offers some small stretches of coastline with sandy bays and coves that are especially pretty, and almost private.
The cape does offer tranquility and a more relaxed pace from the hustle and bustle of the west coast and should not be overlooked. Cape Panwa offers an entirely different perspective that many visitors will simply love. The drive from Phuket Town down this peninsula says a lot, for the road, with little traffic, winds around hills and through coconut and rubber plantations.
A number of Property developers building in this area include: Sri Panwa - Premier Ocean View Residential Villas and Lifestyle Pool Villas with prices commencing from 27 million baht to 120 million baht, Bel Air Panwa - Affordable resort lifestyle ocean view condominiums targeted to the Expat market at very affordable prices commencing from 5 million baht and The Vanich Bayfront - development, Panwa - contemporary Thai homes with ocean views over Ao Makram and Chalong Bay from 15 million baht. One of the really nice smaller luxury villa developments in the area is Tamarind - Exclusive residential homes from Bt. 45 million baht being a fusion of Thai Balanese archetecture with sea views over Ao Markarm.
Moving south of Cape Panwa are the areas of Chalong and Chalong Bay on the eastern half of the island. Many individual homes can be found in the area that don't belong to an estate or a property development. Many homes that have been built are the work of the original owner and sizes and profiles vary greatly greatly. There are a number of local (Thai) and foreign expat house available for sale but alas it can be difficult to find something that fits the mould as the buyer must really be in the same mind set as the seller.
Many properties don't usually have seaviews as such and if they do its of Chalong Bay, many small islands and boats. There's an interesting contrast of ocean scenery, which makes a nice change to the sometimes mundane stretches of endless ocean views on the western coastline. One of the really nice developments in the Chalong area are the large luxury villa available at Rising Sun Residence and The Villas and Apartment properties available at the Mangosteen Resort from around Bt. 20 - 35 million baht.
Chalong Bay, itself is a popular boat anchorage for boat charter, tour and dive operators who run their businesses to the nearby islands. Consequently you find many local (Thai) westerns living in the area who have their own businesses and who have been in Thailand for years. There are many bars and restaurants serving the needs of western locals and one of the main Pubs of popular appeal is the Greenman ? which is on the road leading to Kata and Karon Beaches.
Driving south down the peninsula to the Chalong Circle there are quite a few local restaurants along the shore offering excellent Thai food and fresh seafood not to mention splendid views over the bay. The two famous seafood restaurants are Kan Eang I and II ? the island's most popular with locals and dare I say it packaged holiday makers. There are some small, and interesting, bars and restaurants that one can readily be found along the waterfront.
Right at the southern tip of the island is Rawai beach. Rawai is not attractive enough for swimming and although there's really no swimming here, it has not stopped the beach from becoming one of the most popular, most-used stretches of sand on the island. The entire beachfront has been turned into a long, open-air restaurant patronized mainly by the local Thais. Most people sit in the shade on mats right on the sand.
Some restaurants at either end of the beach have concrete tables and chairs and run a full menu services from kitchens on the other side of the road. But the simple mats under umbrellas, with vendors grilling simple but tasty seafood over charcoal, make for a unique dining experience.
While this whole southeast corner of the island is not very popular with sun seeking tourists, it has become a major residential enclave for foreign expats. Don's café, run by an interesting, retired American of that name, is one of the favorite expat dining spots here. It is prominent on the road running from Chao Fah Road to the Phuket Yacht Club Hotel.
Worthy developers to consider in the area are Rawai Villas right at the northwestern end of the beach offering villa homes for sale from 25 million baht some with partial sea views, Nai Harn Baan Bua, again being a residential estate with homes from 20 million baht with no sea views, the Sands apartments sometimes advertising re-sale property from around Bt. 6 million baht for a 125 m2 unit. All developments above are within 10 minutes for Nai Harn Beach - one of Phuket's most picturesque.
Rawai is the best spot on Phuket for renting either traditional longtailboats or speedboats for day trips off Phuket. Along the beach are signs advertising the availability of longtails. Expect to pay about 1,500 Baht for a full day, fuel included. The fleet of red speedboats is easily found, and except during the peak season when everything can get overbooked, one can usually arrive early and negotiate a boat right on the beach.