During this 2019 four day stay just north of Patong we took a day trip to reminisce over previous trips further south in Phuket. As we prepared for this Snowbird Escape we had really thrown around the idea of spending the entirety of our time by leasing a condo near Kata but then we decided to “explore” instead of just sticking to one spot for our two month adventure. Our day trip all the way to the south end of the island enticed us for a stay. We booked our next room for 3 days in Rawai, we were still entertaining a return to the north near Khao Lak but by the end of the first day we added another night stay. And then before we knew it this quaint little town had us knowing why we would spend a full week in Rawai. Check out this list made to entice you to book a stay for yourself!
1) Beautiful quiet beaches–While Rawai Beach itself is not ideal for a day at the beach due to the number of boats that moor in the area, there is a plethora of others within easy distance. Nai Harn would be my favorite for a mix of people watching, swimming, sunning, street side food stalls and even some souvenir shopping. Quiet is the key. There are just plain less people then in Kata, Karon or Patong. (Although they are beauties too;-)
2) Easy island access–Rawai Beach itself is a great launching point with ease of proximity to the multitude of islands this area is known for. As I mentioned in number 1, there are plenty of boats moored just off the beach offering private and group rides. We did not take advantage of boating here as we had taken a boat trip during our stay in Krabi and it is more expensive to do most adventure bookings in Phuket and we happily occupied ourselves without the additional expenditure. (2 months of “holiday” makes us limit ourselves somewhat.)
3. Snorkeling–This is our favorite sport to participate in. Our week long stay in Rawai allowed us the luxury to participate in it everyday. This is the stuff my dreams are made of! My perfect day starts with fresh ground bean coffee and fresh from the street vendor tropical fruit and yogurt consumed on my patio while I review email and catch up on the news. Next some toning and cardio exercise followed by a swim in the pool and then writing and soaking up the sun while listening to music or podcasts. After a light lunch, heading to the nearest spot for snorkeling and soaking up the sun on the beach while I write some more or daydream a bit. Shower, dinner, maybe a massage or a movie and some reading/research and writing. Perfection. Rawai gave me these perfect days. We found two spots that were our favorites and alternated between them. Ao Sane and Ya Nui. An underwater camera is next on my wish list. I’m sad I cannot share the view with you. The plant life, coral and fish were all amazing. The starfish were so numerous I lost count! This chart posted at Ao Sane clues you in a little to the underwater beauty we saw.
4. Scuba Diving–While we did not take advantage of this opportunity on this trip it is certainly worth putting on the list. Our first trip to Thailand included Scuba Certification in Rawai and we did a refresher course our third trip as well off Kata. Our certification from Andy’s Scuba Diving included fun dive just off Phi Phi. Incredible. I’ve included a couple pictures from those dives to add to the enticement. Most dive boats take off from Chalong Pier which is a short ride from Rawai.
5. Great Restaurants–We love Thai food and there is plenty of great options for places to eat in this country but honestly every meal we had in Rawai was delicious and the options were vaster than just Thai. We also found great Mexican, Italian, European and health conscious options. My favorite spot for Mexican was Sala Mexicali on the highway that leads to Rawai Beach to the south and Phuket City to the north. It is a garden atmosphere (sadly I forgot to take pics on this day; busy living in the moment ;-), so be sure to use the mosquito spray provided at the tables. Each dish was prepared in a unique style. We ate chips which were freshly made and served with mango salsa, guacamole and traditional red salsa as well as a beautiful shrimp cocktail and spicy wings for appetizers and we had a trio of chicken tacos for our entree, one flour, one corn and one rolled. Every bite was excellent and the atmosphere was topped off with an eclectic music mix playing in the background and service was top notch with attention to detail. Although we were not in cocktail mode we found the 150+ brand of tequila list quite interesting. My second favorite place was a breakfast stop. We enjoyed lattes, bought house roasted beans for in room coffees and savored our omelette and croissant and smoked salmon platters. Spoonful of Sugar was a zen type of atmosphere with friendly staff including lots of creativity in the healthy options menu. Modena’s Pizza is third on the out of the ordinary, non Thai menu list. We ordered the Salumi and Antipasto Platter to start and the portion was more than enough for two including a pizza size garlic bread and the house smoked meats were delicious. The pizza was beyond good and there were many original options like the Tom Yum Shrimp but we ended up choosing BBQ Chicken and were satisfied and had late night snack leftovers. The service was interesting here as the chef/owner himself played front waiter while his Thai staff backed him up. (Seafood and Thai food is abundant and all places we ate were excellent as well.)
6. Lower Rates–Beautiful, residential neighborhoods with apartments and villas for short or long term rental abound in Rawai. There are some resorts but predominately the best deals are away from them in the peaceful seaside neighborhoods. We found Happy Eight and as I mentioned above extended our stay for a night and would have stayed here the entire week if they would have had availability. There are just eight efficiency apartments at rhis location, privately owned by a young man who spent time in Florida working on a tourist visa and learning the hospitality industry and coming home to Rawai to be an entrepreneur. He runs a first class, modestly priced establishment. Each unit has a front patio with table and chairs and the front door opens into living and dining area with large window that offers picturesque view of the hillsides. It has a fully equipped kitchen with apartment size frig, stovetop and microwave. The bath with shower is just off the kitchen area and large bedroom with king bed lies beyond that with sliding glass doors to a small area outside. One couple from South Africa arrived four years ago and only have “visited home” ever since! The pool area and surrounding gardens are perfectly immaculate. Our last half of the week was at a place about 1/3 of a mile away as the crow flies called Mayan Apartments. We arrived to this location being somewhat of a madhouse. The American owner greeted us and explained he’d had to discharge the manager for mishandling of funds and had just arrived that morning to find artwork, linens and keys to all units missing. The locksmiths were at work and soon we were in our apartment. This is a lavish building with beautiful grounds and pool. There are one and two bedroom apartments with unbelievable square footage and ornate woodwork and doors. While this property needed some attention, we saw the owner in action everyday getting things attended to. We would definitely go back for an extended stay at Mayan where it would be really easy to settle in!