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Rawai & Chalong
Written by Administrator    Thursday, 25 March 2010 14:41    PDF Print E-mail

Rawai, Chalong and the south end

Rawai and Chalong at the Far South End of Phuket

Rawai and Chalong both face the southeast, and thus miss the brunt of the monsoon season wave action. What this means is simple, they don’t have good swimming beaches. And this, in turn, means that there are almost no major beach resorts in this area. The single exception is the Evason Phuket Island Resort, which has perched itself on top of a hill midway between Rawai and Chalong with great views out over nearby islands.

Chalong is a bay protected on all sides. The water is muddy, but it makes the most popular boat anchorage on the island, affording shelter from prevailing winds during the two major seasons, the Southwest Monsoon (May-October) and the Northeast season (Nov-April). Also, the largest jetty on Phuket was recently opened to boat traffic here, and most boats taking visitors out on day trips to nearby islands, on fishing and diving trips load their passengers here. This port area of Chalong is a hive of boating activity each morning and evening.


Rawai, Chalong and the south end

There is quite a few restaurants along the shore here giving good views over the bay full of boats. The two famous Kan Eang restaurants – the island’s most popular restaurants with local Thais – are also found on the shore here, and are great places for real Thai food at Thai prices. There are also some smaller, and interesting, bars and restaurants that one can readily find along the waterfront. The only hotel here is the Phuket Fishing Lodge, now a little dilapidated, but offering great value.

Chalong jetty is also one of the points where one can easily rent a private speedboat for the day and head out to any island you choose – one of the things we strongly recommend as part of a good Phuket holiday. To get to the jetty area first go to the Chalong 5-way intersection, then take the small road directly east (left when coming from town) – it is only a few hundred metres to the water.

Rawai, right at the bottom end of the island where the road almost runs into the sea, is not enclosed like Chalong and so has cleaner water. Still, it is not attractive enough for swimming. But lack of swimming has not stopped the beach at Rawai 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 patronised mainly by the local Thais. Most people sit in the shade on mats right on the sand.
Some restaurants at the east end have tables and chairs and run a full menu of dishes 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 Phuket dining experience. On weekends the place is crowded with Thai families.


Rawai, Chalong and the south end

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. Take hats, suncream and water. 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. For details of renting boats, and telephone numbers for advance booking, see our page on Renting Boats.
While this whole southeast corner of the island is not very popular with beach-worshipping tourists, it has become a major residential area for foreign expats, many of whom run businesses on the island. Don’s café, run by an interesting, retired American of that name, is one of the favourite expat dining spots here. It is prominent on the road running from Chao Fah Road to the Phuket Yacht Club Hotel.

We will soon enhance this page with a map and more photos.

For accommodation information in this area go to HOTELS/Rawai & Chalong