Located along Phuket’s southernmost tip, Nai Harn is one of the few places where holidaymakers can find a slice of tranquillity on the island. Picturesque, with white sand shores and sparkling waters, Nai Harn has remained relatively undeveloped due to the presence of a monastery in the area. While the beach can sometimes get busy, it isn’t anything near the bustling tourist crowds of Patong. Nai Harn is a place that draws in families and couples seeking a relaxing getaway
Days are spent lounging by the beach, exploring excellent snorkelling sites or soaking up the serenity of less-visited attractions. The area offers an interesting mix of activities and attractions, and as you read our travel guide, one important question you’ll need to answer is: “Why wait to go?”
Things to do in Nai Harn
1. Relax by the beach
It can’t be considered a tropical vacation if you haven’t spent hours lounging by the coast. And thankfully, at Nai Harn you’ll have multiple postcard-pretty options.
The most obvious option is Nai Harn Beach – it’s just a skip away from your villa, boasts pristine white sand coasts, exudes a laid-back vibe yet has a good selection of restaurants and shops for spending the day by the coast.
Further south lies Ya Nui Beach. It’s a small beach that splits into two bays, and is very scenic, with blue-green waters and soft, powdery sand. While the beach is largely undeveloped, it still has basic amenities like casual eateries and a diving centre. The clear, warm waters and rocky areas at Ya Nui makes it an excellent spot for snorkelling; otherwise, you also may rent a kayak to paddle out to an island across the beach to snorkel.
The third option is Ao Sane Beach. Located a five-minute drive from Nai Harn Beach, Ao Sane boasts a tree-lined coast with ample shade, plenty of space for beach-goers to lounge about, a tranquil atmosphere and excellent snorkelling. The sand here is rather coarse and grainy, so it’s best not to go barefoot when taking a stroll along the coast.
2. Soak up the peaceful vibes at Nai Harn Lake and the Buddhist Monastery
Nestled away behind Nai Harn Beach, the Nai Harn Buddhist Monastery is worth a visit if you’re interested in cultural and religious sites, and aren’t up for rubbing shoulders with fellow vacationers at the more popular temple compounds elsewhere.
Just by the monastery lies Nai Harn Lake. There’s a flat circuit that goes around the lake, and early mornings are evenings are ideal for a stroll or run. It’s also a popular spot for picnicking, and you can find a few food stalls near the southern end of the lake during the day.
3. Visit a bohemian artist enclave
Colourful and quirky, the art commune of Phuket Art Village is a must-visit for art lovers. You’ll find artists working across a variety of mediums, styles and artworks – including oil paints, batik, wood, sculptures, music and performance art – as you stroll through streets lined with home-studio-galleries.
4. Enjoy sweeping vistas over the island from a viewpoint
Skip over the tourist crowds of the more widely known Promthep Cape. At Windmill Viewpoint, you’ll enjoy delicious panoramas over Ya Nui Beach and out to Koh Man Island while soaking up the venue’s quiet, serene ambience.
There’s also Black Rock Viewpoint, an attraction nestled high up in the mountains. It’s not as easily accessible as Windmill Viewpoint – getting up to the peak requires a 10-minute hike along a fairly steep path through the jungle – but the mountaintop vistas and remoteness makes it well worth the effort.
5. Take a tour of the island’s only working distillery
Founded by French entrepreneurs Thibault Spithakis and Marine Lucchini, Chalong Bay Rum Distillery focuses on quality and artisanal production – all processes are carried out by hand, and the production combines French expertise and distillation equipment with quality Thai sugarcane.
The 30-minute guided tour is a great way to get a comprehensive overview of rum production, as well as a behind-the-scenes look on how a successful business is run. The facility also conducts a two-hour cocktail workshop, where you’ll get to try your hand at cocktail making, along with sampling cocktails and tapas. A tour of the distillery is included in the workshop.
After your tour or workshop, unwind with a drink at the beautifully appointed bar-cum-boutique. The venue offers an interesting variety of cocktails, ranging from classic mojitos to Thai herbal creations like the Spicyrinha or Siam Twist, along with a small selection of tapas.
6. Learn the traditional recipes and techniques of Thai cooking
At Organic Thai Cooking, cooking classes are conducted in an open kitchen overlooking a garden and include a tour of the local market and on-site organic farm. The instructor, Eing is easy-going and knowledgeable, and conducts classes that are fun-filled and informative.
7. Stretch out, relax and release on a yoga mat
Yoga instructor Kim White teaches a variety of classes at Sala Samadhi in Rawai – just a little over 10 minutes’ drive from Nai Harn.
There’s something for every yoga enthusiast – her schedule includes invigorating power yoga and Vinyasa yoga classes alongside to soothing, slow-paced Yin yoga and yoga nidra sessions. You also have the option of having private yoga classes conducted at your villa, and this can be arranged by your villa manager at request.
8. Experience ultimate relaxation at the spa
With beauty suites outfitted with Victorian-style soaking tubs, beachside treatment rooms with breezy outdoor spaces and spa treatments featuring top of the line equipment and products, The Spa at The Nai Harn earns a spot in our list of favourite spa venues in Phuket.
Stick to the classics – like the deep tissue or Thai massage – if you’re looking to unwind and release tension. Feeling fancy? The Spa offers innovative treatments like the ‘Bronzilliance’, an organic, paraben-free spray tan, as well as a facial treatment that incorporates electro-muscle stimulation to match your mood.
9. Plan a fun-filled day with the kids
Villa vacationers travelling with younger children (aged two to 14) will appreciate the wide-ranging amenities at Rawai Park. It’s the largest kids club on the island, and boasts multiple play areas and facilities: there’s a water zone with pools, slides and fountains, an air-conditioned playroom for toddlers and younger kids, as well as a play zone outdoors complete with tunnels, climbing frames and a rope climbing tower. Come by on a weekend so your little ones can take part in on-site events like face painting sessions, games and performances.
If you’re travelling with teens and older children, the Surf House Phuket will be a better option. The artificial wave facility has a team of professional staff, as well as padded pool areas to ensure that your flowriding experience is fun and painless.
But the Surf House isn’t only a family-friendly venue; the facility also hosts late-night events complete with DJ acts, making it a great bet for travellers looking to party the night away.
10. Visit an iconic cultural landmark
Of course, our list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the island’s landmark attraction – the Big Buddha. It’s popular, busy and touristy – but the sight of the 45-metre Buddha statue is an arresting one, and one can enjoy breathtaking vistas over Chalong Bay from the viewing platform at the top of the attraction.
Where to eat in Nai Harn
1. Rum Jungle Cafe
Rum Jungle is rustic, cosy and unpretentious – the sort of venue that’s perfect for casual, relaxed dining with friends and family. Brazilian tunes play in the background, and the open-sided dining area is decorated with hanging rattan lamps and statuettes. The menu is comprehensive, offering Italian-Mediterranean choices that range from tuna carpaccio to pork fillet and seafood tagliatelle. Check out the blackboard display for weekly specials.
2. Atsumi Raw Cafe
Phuket isn’t the easiest destination to navigate when it comes to dining for vegetarian and vegan travellers – but Atsumi Raw Cafe is a place that checks off all the right boxes. Catering to a health-conscious crowd, the menu features muesli bowls with fruits, flax seed biscuits, vegan burgers, spring rolls, smoothies and more. Recommended items include the “Raw-Sagna”; it’s a “lagsana” where zucchini layers are used instead of pasta, along with ingredients like almond cheese, eggplant bacon and a walnut, macadamia and fig pate.
Atsumi Raw Cafe, 99/1 Moo 7, Viset Rd, Rawai, Phuket, p. +66 76 623 828. Open 9 am – 8 pm daily.
3. Wilson’s Cafe
Wilson’s Cafe is another one of our go-to venues for healthy cafe fare. The comfy, laid-back setting is a plus, but the main draw here is the cafe’s selection of excellent coffees and wholesome dishes. These include sugar-free smoothies, protein shakes, gluten-free pancakes and smoothie bowls.
Wilson’s Cafe, 31/44 Soi Saiyuan Moo 1, Rawai, Phuket, p. +66 95 020 7562. Open Mon-Tue & Thu-Sat 7:30 am – 5 pm, Sun 8 am – 4 pm. Closed on Wed.
4. Coffee Tribe
Coffee Tribe is one of our favourite breakfast/ brunch spot, for many reasons: the service is welcoming and friendly, the menu is wide-ranging (there’s fruit plates, wraps, eggs with a variety of side options, smoothie bowls and oat porridge) and the wood-clad interior feels incredibly cosy.
Coffee Tribe, 83/13, Wiset Rd, Rawai, Phuket, p. +66 84 994 5688. Open Mon-Wed & Fri-Sun 7 am – 7 pm. Closed on Thu.
5. A Spoonful of Sugar
Just as its name suggests, A Spoonful of Sugar is a venue that hits the spot when you need to satisfy a sweet tooth. We’ve heard that the pancakes are amazing – but so are the chocolate cakes, chocolate croissants and carrot cake. Apart from pastries and desserts, the cafe also serves up coffees, fruit-infused coffees, smoothies and a range of cafe fare, like breakfasts and salads.
A Spoonful of Sugar, 30/10 Moo 1, Viset Road, Rawai, Phuket, p. +66 92 612 1808. Open Tue – Sun 8 am – 5 pm.
6. Le Celtique
Just like its menu, the setting at Le Celtique features an interesting combination of European and Thai elements – there’s French music playing in the background, and while the decor is distinctively French bistro-like, you’ll also find Thai statuettes and oriental ornaments peppered around the restaurant. Food options range from over 40 varieties of crepes and galettes, to beef tartare, cheese platters and tom kha gai.
Le Celtique, 80/90 Moo7 Soi Hoey Nam Thor, Soi Samakea 2, Rawai, Phuket, p. +66 76 613 098. Open Mon, Wed-Sun 4pm – 11;30pm. Closed on Tue.
7. The Boathouse Restaurant
The Boathouse boasts a prime seafront location, elegant black-and-white decor and a menu of impeccably executed dishes.
The venue feels spacious and comes complete with an open kitchen, terrace, generously proportioned bar area, a fan-cooled indoor dining area and an alfresco dining section right by the beach. Browse through the menu, and you’ll find items like the pan-fried snow fish fillet, lamb shank pie with carrot puree and skordalia (it’s a potato mash with onion, garlic and olive oil) or a cheese platter with truffled honey, figs and dried fruit – all of which are beautifully plated.
The service here deserves extra mention too: the staff are attentive without being intrusive, and the chef takes a moment to have a word with guests at their table.
The Boathouse Restaurant, 182 Koktanode Road, Kata Beach, Karon, Phuket, p. +66 76 330 015. Open 6:30am – 12am daily.
8. Da Vinci Ristorante
Need a change up from Thai food? Da Vinci is a great bet for Italian, and you won’t go wrong with whatever you order here, whether it’s a caprese salad, wood-fired pizza or pasta. Beyond the food, the restaurant also checks off all the right boxes for service, decor and amenities: the staff are friendly and attentive, the venue boasts a breezy courtyard for alfresco dining, and there’s also a kids play area for family-friendly dining.
Da Vinci Ristorante, 26, Laguna Resort entrance Lagoon road, Cherngtalay, Thalang, Phuket, p. +66 76 289 574. Open Mon-Sat 5pm – 11:30pm. Closed on Sun.
9. Mom Tri’s Wok Pagoda
Mom Tri’s Wok Pagoda is fine dining at its best: prime hillside location, sweeping views over Chalong Bay, immaculately presented Thai-Western fusion dishes, excellent wine list and an unusual wok-themed decor. Culinary highlights include the hoy krob (a dish of fried oysters served with a spicy Sriracha mayonnaise), lamb shank massaman and the Wok Pagoda pork chop.
Mom Tri’s Wok Pagoda, 32/78 M.4, Chalong, Phuket Town, Phuket, p. +66 76 608 899. Open 12pm – 11pm daily.
10. Rock Salt
With ambient music playing in the background, panoramic sea views, a excellent beachside location and attentive service, Rock Salt checks off all the right boxes as a venue for intimate dining experiences.
When it comes to the food, Rock Salt draws inspiration from diverse culinary traditions, creating fusion dishes that combine the best of Eastern Mediterranean, North African and Thai traditions. There are separate menus for lunch and dinner, but you can also snack on tapas if you’re here for pre-dinner drinks, get creative with a create-your-own-sandwich menu or opt for classics like pasta, wood-fired pizzas or a good ol’ burger.
Rock Salt, 23/3 Moo 1, Viset Road, Nai Harn, Rawai, Phuket, p. +66 76 380 200. Open 12:30pm – 10:30pm.
Where to stay in Nai Harn
Villa Thousand Hills is modern, stylish and opulent – a holiday home that comes complete with lavishly furnished living spaces, enviable amenities and a prime hillside location with uninterrupted sea vistas.
Eight bedrooms, along with common living spaces are spread out across four pavilions: a central pavilion, family pavilion and two honeymoon pavilions. Highlights of the property include multiple private pools, gym, game room, media room, spa sala and sauna.
Around Villa Thousand Hills
Guests at Villa Thousand Hills will enjoy being within close proximity to the highlights in town: Ao Sane Beach is just a skip away, and attractions such as Windmill Viewpoint, Black Rock Viewpoint and Phuket Art Village are located less than half an hour’s drive from the villa. Also within close proximity are yoga studios, Thai cooking studios and high-end spa venues.
Sea view | Three swimming pools | Ideal for large groups | Five-star amenities (on-site gym, sauna, media room and more)
2. Villa Kundur
Villa Kundur is contemporary and cosy, unassuming yet luxurious – a place that’ll make you feel right at home the moment you step in.
Tucked away in an enclave of private properties, the villa provides ultimate privacy and serenity, yet isn’t located too far away from the heart of the action (it’s a quick drive to the beach, restaurants and local amenities). Spend your days lounging by the sparkling pool, relaxing in the wood-clad living area or cosying up in one of the plush bedrooms. A total of three bedrooms accommodates six guests.
Around Villa Kundur
Villa Kundur provides easy access to the beach, viewpoints, restaurants and attractions. Nai Harn Beach is seven minutes’ drive away, Promthep Cape is 10 minutes’ drive away, Phuket Art Village is two minutes’ drive away and Black Rock Viewpoint is 15 minutes’ drive from the villa.
Restaurants and amenities located nearby include Rum Jungle Cafe, A Spoonful of Sugar, Natural Efe Macrobiotic World, The Spa at The Nai Harn and Rawai Park Kids Club.
Private pool | Serene, quiet environment | Well-manicured garden| Ideal for small families/ groups
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