Mai Kao Beach is probably my favourite stretch on the northwest coast of Phuket, Thailand. The sand stretches as far as the eye can see, which, my eyesight isn’t great, but it does stretch for 11km-long and is blessedly undeveloped as it is part of the Sirinat National Park. This stretch of Phuket is practically deserted a lot of the time – which if you know Phuket at all, is a rarity. The Andaman Sea is simply beautiful.
WHERE I STAYED & WHERE YOU COULD TOO
I stayed at Sala Resort and it was absolutely breathtaking. It boasts a rare historical Sino-Portuguese architecture and design, and there is a pool in 63 of the 79 rooms. It is right in the heart of Mai Kao Beach and I would highly recommend staying here. It is a little oasis. It is very close to the Phuket International Airport on the south end, but very little else, so is perfect to stay at, at the beginning or end of your trip due to proximity and convenience. Due to Sala being so close to the National Park, it is one of the few places along this stretch – there has been little development to interrupt the natural beauty of the place. You really feel like you have been transported to your own little sanctuary.
I stayed in one of the pool villas, which was really private. I loved that it was self contained and for the time I was there I had everything within the same place. I am not normally one for sitting by the pool of a day, as my style of traveling is to explore and adventure. Given that this holiday was directly after Fashion Week, I really needed some downtime, and SALA was perfect for that.
EXTRAS: World class international beachfront restaurant and bar, lobby bar, Spa, Gym, activities desk, library, gift shop, in-room WiFi-internet connection.
WHAT TO DO
- On the northern end of the beach there are a number of local restaurants serving up Thai food and drinks at a pretty standard price. It is a good place to spend a relaxing lunch appreciating the views of the beach and the beautiful Andaman Sea.
- Hire a car and head to Bang Pae in Khao Phra Thaeo National Park in Thalang. It’s a great picnic place and a really lovely little walk. You can swim there in wet season. Bang Pae is roughly 10-metre high, and while I was there it was quite precipitous. It was so nice to see all the locals swimming there! NB: path can be slippery and I also got a tick while I was there, which made me quite sick!
- There is a secret restaurant near the waterfall which the manager of SALA suggested to me. I never would have known to go there if not for him. It’s called “Secret Restaurant”.
- During the rainy months of the year, Mai Khao Beach can be quite dangerous to those who are unaware, so be sure to be careful. There is a huge drop off not far out from the shore.
- Walk through Sirinat National Park
- It is only 15 minutes away from picturesque Phang Nga Bay, which is another favourite of mine. I love that Phang Nga is removed from the busy city and it is a really authentic representation of Thai culture.
GETTING TO MAI KAO
You can either get a taxi or hire a car. It’s pretty central and accessible. All the signs are clearly marked.