BANG TAO BEACH AND THE LAGOONS OF PHUKET
Virtually in the middle of Phuket and just above Surin Beach you find Bang Tao Beach. With it’s estimated six kilometers, this west-facing beach is Phuket’s second longest beach. Bang Tao beach shares the bay with Layan Beach what is located to the northern part. These beaches blend together and we drew the line at Hugo Hut.
DID YOU KNOW?
In the north of Phuket is Mai Khao Beach, the longest beach on the island.
Despite its good location, Bang Tao Beach is not among the list of Phuket’s most popular beaches. And that’s a good thing, because what is less known to some, is a true paradise for others. By the way in the past Bang Tao used to be no paradise at all … In the 17th century, thousands of migrant workers from China and other countries worked very hard for their living in terrible conditions. Below you can read about the history and creation of Bang Tao including the Laguna area on Phuket.
- The tin mines of Phuket
- The beach of Bang Tao
- The sea of Bang Tao Beach
- The Laguna Phuket area
- How to get to Bang Tao Beach from the north of Phuket?
- How to get to Bang Tao Beach from Phuket Town?
- How to get to Bang Tao Beach from the south of Phuket?
- What to do in the area of Bang Tao Beach on Phuket?
- What are the best accommodations in the Bang Tao Beach area on Phuket?
- What are the best (beach) bars and restaurants in the Bang Tao area on Phuket?
- What else is there to do in the middle of Phuket?
- Our handy map of central Phuket
- More interesting articles about Thailand
The tin mines of Phuket
You might not believe it, but the prestigious area around Bang Tao Beach used to look completely different… The grounds around Bang Tao were chock full of huge amounts of tin. In the 17th century several tin mines were established. First it was the British and Dutch who dived in, but soon it was the French who had the most tin mines. There was so much of the metal to be found that Bang Tao became an important place for minerals on Phuket and even for Thailand. So it goes without saying that Bang Tao played an important role in the development and progress of Phuket. Many residents of Chinese background who now live on Phuket are descendants of the Chinese miners who came to Phuket to make money.
In the late 1970s, the value of tin plummeted significantly forcing the mines of Bang Tao to “close their doors”. The result was a completely destroyed and unusable landscape full of large holes… At least for a while… The enterprising inhabitants of Phuket did not sit still and went looking for another source of income. The now water-filled holes were seen as the ideal place for Phuket’s burgeoning tourism industry.
Because the beach of Bang Tao itself was untouched, it seemed a good plan to the Thai and foreign investors to turn the area into a tourist paradise including beautiful resorts located on the beach and on small lakes (lagoons). We must admit that this worked out very well because before the Corona crisis of 2020 / 2021, the tourism sector contributed quite a bit to Phuket’s national income! In today’s Bang Tao you see lakes (lagoons) everywhere and after reading this article you know that these are actually the remnants of Phuket’s remaining tin mines. Today, Laguna Phuket consists of a number of super luxury five star resorts such as the Banyan Tree, a beautiful golf course, a large shopping area (Boat Avenue) and many more tourist activities.
The beach of Bang Tao
Bang Tao Beach is a 6 kilometers long beach with fine sand. At the edge of the beach there are several types of trees that provide shady spots. On the beach you can also rent sunbeds including umbrellas. The clean beach is ideal for jogging at the less hot times of the day. Since Bang Tao Beach is located on the west coast of Phuket, you can watch the beautiful sunset during a (romantic) beach walk.
The further south you go down Bang Tao Beach the more luxurious it becomes. All the way south there are luxurious five-star resorts including fancy restaurants where you can fully enjoy lobster tails smeared with saffron butter including a bottle of very expensive champagne to wash down the lobster.
To the north of Bang Tao Beach, against Layan Beach, it has remained a bit more pristine and more ordinary. It is also here where the locals from the area like to come to socialize. Chatting with a snack and drink in the sand. Whether you choose the northern or southern part, all in all we find Bang Tao Beach a very nice beach of Phuket. The beach is tucked away in a beautiful bay and thanks to the area with lagoons there is more than enough to do during your stay on Phuket.
Image: Kevin Hellon
The sea of Bang Tao Beach
Bang Tao Beach is located in a huge bay where the coast slowly slopes down to deeper sea water. This makes the sea of Bang Tao great for families with young children. Often the places where you can swim are marked off with a line so that the longtail boats know that they are not allowed to go there. In the high season, from November to February, the sea water is calm and perfect for swimming. In the low season, swimming in the sea of Bang Tao is often not recommended due to treacherous currents. Therefore, always keep an eye on the lifeguard flags on the beach. The sea of Bang Tao is not ideal for snorkeling but you can do several other water sports. In addition, you can snorkel further north at Layan Beach near the islet of Koh Kala opposite the beach.
In the south of Bang Tao lies an area that listens to the name Laguna Phuket. It is here where you will find the most luxurious resorts of Bang Tao. In addition to these grand accommodations, there are also numerous prestigious villa neighborhoods built here. If you are still looking for a nice place to spend your winter months in Thailand, then consider the Laguna Complex on Phuket.
In terms of R&R (rest & recreation), Laguna Phuket is one of the best destinations on Phuket. It is not yet so crowded and you can enjoy shopping at the Boat Avenue on the outskirts of the complex. What used to be the deep craters of the tin mines are now freshwater lakes connected by canals that crisscross Laguna Phuket.
How to get to Bang Tao Beach from the north of Phuket?
How to get to Bang Tao Beach from Phuket Town?
How to get to Bang Tao Beach from the south of Phuket?
What to do in the Bang Tao area on Phuket?
There is a lot to do around Bang Tao, below we have listed some of the fun things to do.
Wat Choeng Tale temple
The Wat Choeng Thale temple is a half hour walk from Bang Tao Beach. This temple is located on the main road that runs from the beach to the popular and trendy town of Cherng Talay. Regularly the temple is also called the Wat Cherng Talay temple because of its location. The temple is not too big and displays a combination of Buddhist and Hindu images. The temple and the complex look beautiful and it is something different than your daily cocktail on the beach. A visit to the temple is completely free but a donation is of course always appreciated. The temple is most likely, like many temples on Phuket, open daily from 08:00 – 17:00.
Phuket Adventure Mini Golf and Off Course Restaurant & Bar
A ten-minute walk from Bang Tao Beach is Phuket Adventure Mini Golf and Off Course Restaurant & Bar. This miniature golf course offers visitors a fun course with 18 (miniature) holes, a bar and restaurant. The owner is from Sweden, so it’s not surprising that the courses were designed in collaboration with a miniature golf course from that country. The fresh green greens, rolling landscape and challenging holes offer visitors a great time in Bang Tao.
Adults pay 500 baht per person (through the site 450 baht) and children pay 300 baht per person (through the site 270 baht). For this amount you can use the courts all day from 12:00 to 21:00. In between you can order a pizza in the Off Course Restaurant. From 17:00 – 19:00 it is happy hour in the On Par Bar where you can drink cocktails, mocktails and cold pressed juices. In short Phuket Adventure Mini Golf offers the whole family certainly a few hours of entertainment during the vacations on Phuket.
Laguna Golf Phuket
In need of a real game of golf? The Laguna Golf Phuket golf course, renovated in 2015, offers enthusiasts 18-holes on a super beautiful course! If you prefer to play 9-holes, by the way, you can do that too. Perhaps handy to know but this golf course less than 10 minutes walk from Bang Tao Beach is a par-71 course. The staff including the caddies are friendly and service oriented. And as you may know, staff service on the golf course is almost as important as the course itself. The cost of an 18-hole course including the obligatory caddie, golf equipment such as clubs and a golf cart comes to around 8,000 baht. That’s all you need for a great day on the course! More information on https://www.lagunagolfphuket.com/.
Boat Avenue is a nice shopping center in Bang Tao which is partially made of shipping containers. The sprawling and modern-looking mall is located right at the entrance to the Laguna Complex. You can not only shop and eat here but also visit several wellness centers for a massage or spa treatment. Below are a few tips.
Of course there is also a 7-Eleven in Boat Avenue, where you can buy drinks and snacks for that perfect day at the beach of Bang Tao! Of course you can also buy the famous 711 toasties, nom nom nom!
For a good breakfast or lunch, you need to be at Bake in Boat Avenue. They have a large menu and offer different drinks like soda, (iced) coffee and (iced) tea.
Mrs B Bar & Table
Previously called Bampot Kitchen & Bar, this restaurant received a Michelin Plate in 2018 and 2019, respectively, before the corona crisis. A Michelin Plate means that the restaurant is very good and has the potential for a Michelin star. As of December 2020, this restaurant has been renamed Mrs. B Bar & Table. The new concept revolves around cooking on an open wood fire grill. But believe us, the food is of the same high quality as before the corona crisis and they still work with as much passion and love for the craft as before. Highly recommended!
Boat Avenue Villa Market
Villa Market is a well-known supermarket chain that we know from Bangkok. Villa sells many international products including cheeses and other products that are hard to come by in Thailand. So if you miss a product from “home” so much then you have the best chance of finding it here at Boat Avenue Villa Market.
Place a bright yellow shipping container containing a bar including a number of taps and refrigerators. Then put some tables and chairs in front of this bright yellow container and hopsa you have a super hip and cozy bar called BeerBox Avenue. Of course, it’s not all that easy but a fun hip bar BeerBox Avenue certainly is! There are plenty of performances with different types of musicians, think bands, singer songwriters and DJs. This is a really fun place for a chilled beer!
The Coffee Club Boat Avenue
Frequent readers of ThailandMagazine.com already know… We are fans of The Coffee Club, even despite the somewhat higher prices they charge. This coffee chain always stands for quality in the form of delicious food and drinks, a super clean environment and not to forget the incredibly friendly and attentive staff! Try an (iced) coffee and/or a lunch dish and you will know exactly why we are fans!
Of course a good massage parlor can’t be missing from this list! Amla Massage is one of the best places for a good massage in Boat Avenue and Bang Tao. They are open daily from 11:00 to midnight and even offer a free shuttle service in the area. You can choose from a selection of different massage oils such as jasmine, peppermint and lemongrass. In addition, there are numerous massage options to choose from such as traditional Thai massage, a sports massage or an after sun treatment. Amla Massage of course also offers manicures, pedicures, scrubs and much more to its visitors. Do expect a higher price range than on the street but you also get a great and professional service in return.
Fun Friday Avenue Market
On Fridays it’s extra festive at Boat Avenue! From 15:00 – 22:00 there is the Fun Friday Market. It’s a nice little market where you can stroll around while looking at the stalls. During your visit to this market you can enjoy the delicious Thai snacks and meals that are sold. You can also browse among the many goods that the market stalls and from the trunks of dozens of cars is offered. After browsing and snacking, there may be time for a drink while listening to live music played by local artists. Yep, that’s how you’ll get through Friday night in Phuket.
If you are in Bang Tao on a day other than Friday and still want to visit a market, we recommend the Bang Tao Night Market below.
Bang Tao Night Market
The Bang Tao Night Market is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 14:00 – 20:00. The busiest time is between 17:00 and 19:00 and keep in mind that after that, the market will shut down a bit. At this night market you can buy some nice souvenirs for home and you can eat and drink something nice. This market is really a typical market where you as a tourist like to come. The market is located 10 minutes from Bang Tao Beach. On our handy map of central Phuket we have indicated the market for you.
Bangtao Beach and the surrounding area is a true paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Besides the sea where you can do water sports, you also have the many freshwater lakes. These so-called lagoons are ideal for paddling, canoeing, kayaking and sailing. Especially the resorts like the spectacular Banyan Tree, SAii Laguna and Angsana Laguna Phuket offer their guests numerous water sports activities. Of course, you can also book a nice diving or snorkeling tour at your resort or at the various local companies based in Bang Tao on Phuket.
Blue Tree Phuket
About three kilometers from Bang Tao Beach is the Blue Tree Phuket, which opened in 2019. Blue Tree is not only Phuket’s largest water park (2020) but also a large sports park with an awful lot of fun activities. For those who love ice cream fun, you can even skate there! There are also regular events and concerts. There are several restaurants on site including the Tree House Restaurant but there are also food trucks on the 17,000 m2 site.
A few activities that you really should not miss during your visit to Blue Tree Phuket are; The Superfly, a slide where you are thrown meters into the air and the Zipline that transports you over the huge pool. We also think the replica rock that you can climb is worth mentioning. And after you’ve reached the top, just jump into the meter-deep pool! Blue Tree Open every day from 10:00 – 18:00 and costs 350 baht per person, which we think is a real bargain!
What are the best accommodations in the area of Bang Tao Beach on Phuket?
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Banyan Tree Phuket
Banyan Tree Phuket has been unprecedentedly popular since its transformation from tin mine to super-luxury lagoon in 1994. This is, of course, for good reason. First, the name Banyan Tree stands for superior quality and hospitality of the highest level. The resort is located in the east right on the Bang Tao golf course. To the west, the resort is located on a lagoon and directly on Bag Tao beach. What we really appreciate is that this resort is very committed to making the world a better place. This starts in the resort itself where they operate as sustainably as possible. Fortunately we see this happening at more and more accommodations in Thailand but still we think it is a good example for other resorts.
Whatever type of accommodation you book in the Banyan Tree Phuket you will get your own pool villa anyway! The size of the accommodations, however, differs quite a bit… There is a private pool villa of 140 m2 to the gigantic pool villa of no less than 2,500 m2! The “smallest” villa already has a super large private pool and a very beautiful garden including nice spots where you can sit outside. The bedroom is almost completely surrounded by large windows overlooking the pond that surrounds the room.
Thanks to the Banyan Tree Phuket you will never be bored when you are on Phuket. You can catch the free shuttle bus to Bang Tao Beach but they also organize many activities that make a valuable contribution to the community of Phuket. For example, you can go plant trees or give alms to the local monks. You can also visit the Laguna Phuket Kindergarten every Friday where Thai preschoolers receive an English lesson. Of course you can also book one of the activities as mentioned above.
For decades Banyan Tree Phuket has been a household name on Phuket. We believe that once you’ve been a guest here you really don’t want anything else either while staying in the Bang Tao area of Phuket. Never go home again!!!
>>> More information or book a stay in the Banyan Tree Phuket
Banyan Tree Phuket is known all over Phuket for their spa and the phenomenal massages and other wellness activities that are organized here. Something to consider while staying on the island….
Best Western Premier Bangtao Beach Resort & Spa
The Best Western Premier Bangtao Beach Resort & Spa is a quality and relaxed 4-star resort. The resort is located directly on Bang Tao beach and the rooms and public areas are clean and well maintained. In addition to a beautifully manicured garden, you will find two swimming pools, a kids club, fitness center, sauna and spa. At the resort there are several excursions and tours to book. The resort is less than 10 minutes’ walk from Phuket Adventure Mini Golf Course and in 10 minutes you can be at the entrance to Boat Avenue by car or scooter.
In terms of room options, you can choose from Deluxe double rooms with (partial) sea view, bungalows and family rooms. The cheapest room at the Best Western Premier Beach Resort is the 44 m2 room that has a neat ensuite bathroom. The family room has a size of 58 m2 and is ideal for a family with two children. Some of the rooms have a balcony and others a terrace. From the Beach Restaurant, where breakfast is also served, you can enjoy a beautiful sea view.
>>> More information or book a stay at the Best Western Premier Bangtao Beach Resort & Spa
Saii Laguna Phuket
The Saii Laguna Phuket is another gem in the Laguna area near Bang Tao Beach. First, a little more info about the Saii Resorts brand. Saii is a new lifestyle brand that stands for heavenly resorts in Thailand and the Maldives, among other places. They use an app where guests of their resorts can chat with the staff of the resorts if they need anything. We hadn’t seen this before ourselves. This way you can submit your request or wishes to the hospitable team 24 hours a day. Of course you can also book a service or activity such as a yoga session or meal in your room.
Saii Laguna Phuket (used to be Outrigger) borders directly on Bang Tao beach and also has three pools, the largest of which has an eight-shaped water slide extra. Then there’s the Snap, a snack box that you can fill yourself with various free snacks at check-in. We think that customization is a really nice addition but there is more. There is also the Aroma Lab, where you can choose which shower gel, shampoo and other toiletries you use during your stay at the Saii Laguna Phuket.
All rooms of the Saii Laguna Phuket have a balcony and most rooms give a wide view over a lagoon (lake) or the ocean. What struck us is a kind of deck chair in the shower, something we have not seen before in a resort either. There are several rooms to book with a king size bed or two single beds of which all options have the right price-quality ratio. So if you’re looking for a good centrally located resort in Bang Tao, consider staying at the Saii on Phuket!
Sunwing Bang Tao
Sunwing Bang Tao is an ideal family resort and we don’t say that because the pool has a water slide but because there are so many good reviews from families with children online. Speaking of pools, there are six so it’s safe to say that there is at least one among them that will meet your / your needs. A nice touch is that the Bang Tao Night Market is located less than a fifteen minute stroll from this resort. So after a nice day of relaxing you can visit a nice Thai night market that same evening! In terms of rooms, the resort has several neat and spacious studios with or without access to the pool. Or a family suite of 70 m2 with two bedrooms.
Angsana Laguna Phuket
Angsana Laguna Phuket is located in the heart of the luxurious Laguna Phuket. The insanely beautiful resort is sandwiched on either side between two freshwater lakes. On the other side is Bang Tao Beach and the Laguna Golf Club. Next to it you’ll find Xana Beach Club, one of the most popular beach bars in Bang Tao and part of the little paradise called Angsana Laguna Phuket. Besides the lagoons and the sea, there are also two swimming pools totaling 323 meters in size. One of the two pools meanders through the property and ends up at the Poolside Restaurant.
A number of rooms at the Angsana Laguna Phuket offer grandiose views of one of Bang Tao’s many lagoons. Personally, we would choose the one-bedroom Loft Suite. This offers a spacious accommodation of 88 m2 with its own living room and sleeping area spread over two floors. Because the resort is divided into different zones, you feel like you never have to leave the premises. The resort offers everything for a fantastic stay during your vacation on Phuket!
>>> More information or book a stay in the Angsana Laguna Phuket
What are the best restaurants and (beach) bars in the area of Bang Tao Beach on Phuket?
WE VALUE YOUR OPINION!
Despite the fact that our selected locations in Phuket have a very good reputation, it’s possible that due to (for example) new management the quality has become less good. Or unfortunately locations have been forced to close their doors because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic… If you have useful information, please let us know! Also, if you have a favorite restaurant or other great tip for Phuket, be sure to let us know through our Thailand Magazine Facebook group, or Instagram and Facebook page. Via e-mail is also possible. THANKS!
White Bus Speakeasy Bar
What a super fun concept is White Bus! One takes a white bus, builds it into a bar, places stools and bar tables around it, some lights and decorations and tadaa you have your own bar in BangTao! This is the place to go for a drink if you are staying in this neighborhood on Phuket. They serve great cocktails and mocktails, but also for a fresh shake or a good cup of coffee with some goodies White Bus is the place to be. Speaking of address… read on….
You’ll find on our map of central Phuket not one but two addresses… White Bus actually has another location as well. In this case, it’s another location on the beach. This beach bar is called White Bus on the Beach and is nothing more than a white car on Layan Beach. Exactly on the spot where Sand & Sea Bar is/was. Less is more because in this case this beach bar consists of a shelf with some nice decorations, different snacks and drinks. Add a DJ or some live music and yes you have another bar, we are fans!
Beach Pig is located right on Bang Tao beach and right below Laguna Phuket. This cozy beach bar is the ideal combination of sun, sea, fun, blissful drinks and delicious snacks! In this small bar, which is open from 10:00 to 00:00, there are regular concerts or DJ sets given by local artists during the evening hours. The owner and staff are very nice to deal with and that’s why we think Beach Pig is one of the nicest intimate beach bars of Bang Tao Beach! This is where you’ll love to sit while watching the sunset over the Andaman Sea in good company. Cheers to life!
Google Maps doesn’t give the location of Beach Pig quite right. Therefore, head towards Greenleaf Restaurant on Google Maps and keep going until the end of the street, that’s where Beach Pig is located.
The Beach Cuisine
The Beach Cuisine is a super good and highly rated restaurant where they prepare delicious Thai and French dishes. For meat and fish lovers but also for vegetarians there is plenty to enjoy. Have you already eaten but are you still looking for a nice place on the beach to have a drink? They also serve different kinds of beers, delicious shakes and handsome cocktails! The French chef and co-owner Maxime and his team are ready to welcome their guests between 11:00 and 22:00 on the beach of Bang Tao. There are tables inside, on the terrace but also on the beach from where you can enjoy a beautiful sunset. This restaurant just had to be in our list of best restaurants in Bang Tao, world class!
Xana Beach Club
The popular and trendy Xana Beach Club is certainly not an unknown beach club on Phuket. From all over Phuket, visitors stop by to enjoy the delicious food, great drinks and beautiful location of this beach club. Xana is part of the Angsana Laguna Phuket, a beautiful resort which we wrote about earlier in this article. The nice thing about this beach club is that they also have their own swimming pool which results in pool parties at the beach, what more could you want! Well how about the Happy Hour at 17:00 where you get two cocktails for the price of one. Or how about a BBQ on the beach that is organized a few times a week. Xana is open daily from 11:00 to 22:00.
Babylon (Don Vito Trattoria & Wine Bar)
Of course a good Italian restaurant belongs in this list! On the way to Boat Avenue while driving along Lagoon Road is this Babylon which used to be known as Don Vito Trattoria & Wine Bar but still has the same owner. At Babylon (Don Vito Trattoria) you will feast on homemade pastas, heavenly wines imported from Italia and many more Italian delights. The fish dishes here are also fantastico, recommended if you like fish or shellfish! This restaurant offers a fantastic view over a small lake. Small tip, reservations are recommended, especially in high season….
Hugo Hub is the temporary home of the cozy and popular Hugo Hut which can be found on Layan Beach during the high season (November to May). Hugo Hub, on the other hand, is located in the beautiful bay of Bang Tao. Not only does the team at Hugo want to create a place where the community and tourists can enjoy friendly hospitality, delectable food and blissful drinks that make its guests smile all day long. They are also creating a place with the hub where guests, expats and locals can connect with each other.
- Visit calm Layan Beach, the northernmost stretch of Bang Tao Beach.
- Paddle to the small island of Koh Kala off the coast of Layan Beach where you can also enjoy fine snorkeling all around.
- Fan of horses? Go horseback riding on Phuket.
- Visit one of the highly rated restaurants near Layan Beach.
- At PRU you can dine in the only restaurant with a Michelin star on Phuket.
- Have a drink at one off the best (beach) bars of Layan Beach and surroundings.
- Book a stay in one of the best accommodations near Layan Beach.
- Visit these Buddhist temples in central Phuket; Wat Choeng Thale or the Wat Baan Kamala.
- Go shopping and eating in the popular shopping area Boat Avenue near Bang Tao Beach or The Plaza Surin near Surin Beach.
- Visit one of the following (night) markets; Fun Friday Avenue Night Market, Bang Tao Night Market or the Monday / Friday Market Kamala.
- Visit Surin Beach and get some goodies for the beach from the small markets and street food stalls there at the beach.
- Check out the beautiful views from the Surin Beach Viewpoint or Laem Sing Viewpoint.
- There are plenty of (tiny) beaches in the middle of Phuket such as; Pansea Beach, Laem Sing Beach, Rayee Beach, Hua Beach, Yae Beach and Nakalay Beach.
- Book a stay at one of the best accommodations near Surin Beach.
- Have a snack and drink at the one of the best (beach) bars or restaurants of Surin Beach and its surroundings.
- In terms of theme parks in the middle of Phuket, you can visit Phuket FantaSea and Carnival Magic.
- Visit the beautiful beach of Kamala Beach and its promenade.
- Good surfing can be done with the Kamala Go Surfing Club.
- Go on an adventure towards The Hidden Rock Ponds overlooking the Andaman Sea.
- Book a stay at one of the best accommodations near Kamala Beach.
- Dine at one of Kamala’s best restaurants or have a snack and drink at one of the best (beach) bars in Kamala Beach and the surrounding area.
Our map of central Phuket
Especially for you, we made a map of middle Phuket. It shows the beaches, the best places to eat and drink, fun sights and other activities. Have fun and enjoy!