Thursday, 12 July 2012

Natai Beach

As you can see from the video, Natai is a gorgeous beach that faces west and so gets an incredible sunset. I recommend turning the sound off and just enjoying the images, as the woman talking on the video detracts from the natural beauty of the area.

Natai beach is just 20 minutes drive from Phuket International Airport. It is one of the first beaches you encounter when you cross Sarasin Bridge onto the mainland. Natai Beach is officially part of Phang-Nga Province and separate to Khao Lak. However, since it is just a short journey down Highway 4 to get to Natai Beach it is worth mentioning in this blog.

Natai Beach is a rare thing in Thailand, namely a beautiful beach near a major urban center (in this case Phuket) that is relatively unvisited. Moreover, little information about  Natai Beach is available on the net.

Natai Beach has the slightly golden sand found on the beaches of Khao Lak. The beach is about 2 km long. The sea is calm and the sand is fine. It is great for swimming. Behind the beach it is mostly rainforest punctuated in places by a few 5 star hotels and expensive private residential developments.

As much of the land near a beach or with sea views has already been taken by hotels and land developers in Phuket, the market has naturally spread beyond the island. Phang-Nga land prices are considerably lower, and so it is no surprise that the Phuket villa market has come to Natai. Indeed, some would argue that Natai beach is more pristine and relaxing than Phuket beaches, and thus a better place for a second home.

Don’t be put off by this talk of luxury developments and 5 star hotels - there are still some cheap accommodation options available on Natai Beach. The best mid-range hotel in the area is the Hot Spring Beach Resort and Spa. It is located near the beach. You just have to cross a small footbridge to get to the sand. The resort has rooms and villas for rent. They have air-con, hot water, 29” satellite TV and bath tub. There are 2 communal hot springs as well as a swimming pool, fitness center, restaurant and bar. The cheapest rooms start at around 2,000 Thai Baht a night. That’s $60.

The special thing about Natai is that it is an area that has natural hot springs. This makes the spas at Natai  ‘real spas’ not just places to get a massage and a beauty treatment. There are a number of places in and around Natai where you can enjoy the spring waters.

Near the main road there is a small town. It is not a party town, or one that especially caters for tourists. However, you can find a range of shops as well as a few good local bars and restaurants to try out. You won’t find Phuket nightlife in Natai, but you will find enough amenities to have a comfortable holiday. Anything that you can’t find in Natai can soon be sourced by crossing over the bridge onto Phuket Island.

Between Natai town and beach you can also find cheap rooms to rent. If you are on a small budget then you will have to just turn up in Natai and look around for the cheap deals as the internet is little use in trying to secure cheap accommodation in Natai.

If you don’t find anything you like in Natai then just south is the equally as nice beach of Pilai. Again there are a few local places to stay if you look around. Another great thing about Pilai beach is that in February you can see turtles coming up to the beach to lay their eggs. In April the eggs hatch and the hatchlings make their mad dash for the ocean.

It is recommended that you get to Natai Beach soon before it becomes overrun with the Phuket spill over, Japanese tourists crazy for hot springs and package tourists. Perhaps it is a good thing that so little has been written about Natai on the net.

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