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Top 10 Phuket Hotels for 2020

Yes, it's 2020 and it's time for a 2020 Top 10 Phuket Hotels blog post. Hopefully Phuket and world tourism in general will be re-opening in the early part of 2021, let's hope the Covid-19 pandemic doesn't last for too much longer. I guess nobody much is booking hotels right now, and yes 2020 has been a bad year. It seems a little petty to complain that Phuket tourism has suffered when so many have suffered worse, but Phuket does rely to a very large extent on tourism and I hope things can get going again soon ... There are 4 new hotel entries compared to 2019. Last year's number 1 (Ayara Kamala) has disappeared - was ranked 12 on TripAdvisor at the time of writing, and so there is a new top hotel this year and a number 2 that was not on the list before. For each hotel listed you'll find a link to check online deals and availability with Agoda.com or Booking.com. The list is based on Tripadvisor rankings which of course may be imperfect and change all the time. Hotels get scores out of 10 on Agoda so you can compare reviews - on Agoda reviews can only be made by guests who have actually booked the hotel, so you can see if real hotel guests agree with TA ratings!

For sure the list is still subjective, your personal choice will depend on many factors, and you can search hotels easily on Agoda to try and find your Phuket hotel. It's a big place, Phuket. Take your time when looking for hotels, check the location on a map, read reviews, figure out if you want somewhere really quiet or close to lots of restaurants and bars. The right hotel is there, but you do have to do some digging! Happy Travels!

1. Avista Grande (Karon Beach)

Avista Grande at Karon Beach leaped into the top 10 last year and now tops the list. The full name is Avista Grande Phuket Karon MGallery by Sofitel .. bit of a mouthful. Sofitel is a chain, part of the Accor group, with MGallery being a more boutique luxury style of hotel. I worked at Karon beach at the Sunrise Divers shop and we had a fair number of happy customers staying at this hotel.

Avista Grande - Information, Reviews & Booking

2. The Cove (Cape Panwa)

The Cove is a smaller hotel (I think it has about 15 bungalows) which has been open for a few years and seems to have suddenly got very popular! It's located in the Cape Panwa area of Phuket which has long been one of my favourite areas miles away from the big beaches, but there are quite a few restaurants and plenty of local life. It's at Ao Yon beach, right by the sand.

The Cove - Information, Reviews & Booking

3. The Chava Resort (Surin Beach)

The Chava was number 1 in 2016, number 2 last year and now number 3 - pretty consistent! Surin Beach always has something in the top 10! The Chava Resort has 2 - 5 room apartments (an "apartment resort"), some are run directly by the hotel, while some are privately rented. Rooms are really big, great for families and groups. It's a place with sea views, slightly up in the hills, not right on the sand but just few minutes walk from Surin beach.

Chava Resort - Information, Reviews & Booking

4. BYD Lofts (Patong Beach)

BYD Lofts has been in the top 5 for 6 years. If you want a room near the heart of Patong Beach, close to the action and in the middle of the busiest beach area in Thailand, BYD Lofts offers serviced apartments with the hotel featuring a rooftop pool (and a view over the rooftops and hotels of Patong). There are 1 or 2 bedroom apartments of various sizes. I rarely used to venture into Patong myself - not my style, but Patong beach is very convenient for visitors, with huge numbers of restaurants plus shops/the big Jungceylon Mall and tour agents near you. And bars and nightlife too.

BYD Lofts - Information, Reviews & Booking

5. Navatara (Rawai Beach)

Navatara is another that remains popular - it has been at number 5 for 3 years running. Navatara opened in 2013, but with hotels opening all the time I'd not even heard of it until writing the top 10 list in 2016! Navatara has 37 rooms, built (I would say) "Thai style". Some rooms have pool access, and all rooms look pretty big. This is a smaller, Thai style resort away from the main beaches, but not too far - many people ask me to recommend a hotel like this or The Cove. Like many of the hotels on this list, it's not on the beach. Navatara is about 500m from Rawai beach and a few minutes drive from Nai Harn beach and Phromthep Cape. One of my favourite corners of Phuket.

Navatara - Information, Reviews & Booking

6. The Surin (Pansea Beach)

The Surin (formerly called The Chedi) reopened with the new name about 10 years ago, but The Chedi had already been in Phuket for years, with it's uniquely excellent location on a semi-private beach between Surin and Bang Tao beaches in the north of Phuket. I'd like to stay here! Another resort that is a little bit remote but you can get to Surin or Bang Tao for restaurant options. Personally, I'd rent a car if I stayed here. And The Surin is not ridiculously expensive compared to the neighbour - the beach is shared with the very very fancy Amanpuri.

The Surin - Information, Reviews & Booking

7. Marina Phuket Hotel (Patong Beach)

Quite surprised to see a hotel like Marina Phuket Hotel in the top 10 - a block by the side of one of Patong's back roads, a fair walk to the beach, not really a pretty area, but it does seem to have a lot of good reviews on TA and on Agoda (see link below). And it does have a rooftop pool and bar/restaurant. And the price is pretty good.

Marina Phuket Hotel - Information, Reviews & Booking

8. Renaissance Phuket Resort (Mai Khao Beach)

Renaissance is one of several Marriott resorts north of Phuket Airport at Mai Khao Beach. Renaissance has been on this blog before as part of the Best Luxury Phuket Resorts list and was in the Top 10 Hotels for 2019, 2018 and 2017. Mai Khao beach is still really quiet and unless you stick to the various Marriott hotel restaurants you'll need transport or taxis to get to other places. Rent a car, explore, drive just a few minutes from here and you're over the bridge into Phang Nga province. Ideal for relaxation and a quiet base for exploring the greater Phuket area!

Renaissance - Information, Reviews & Booking

9. Kantary Bay (Cape Panwa)

Another hotel in the Cape Panwa area to the south of Phuket Town and a long way from the busy main west coast Phuket beaches. Kantary Bay is part of the Cape and Kantary group which have very nice hotels all over Thailand - the nearby Cape Panwa Hotel is also theirs. It's located right by the Phuket Aquarium on a quiet road with a few nearby restaurants and there are often lots of local food stalls on the roadside. Nice view across the bay, but there's not much beach there. The hotel cafe is apparently very good.

Kantary Bay - Information, Reviews & Booking

10. Chanalai Hillside Resort (Karon Beach)

And another at Karon beach! There are several Chanalai resorts in Phuket (Garden, Hillside, Romantica, Flora) and all are in Kata or Karon. Note - if you stay at one of these, be sure if you book tours that you know which Chanalai you are at (I speak from experience booking people for dive trips!) Chanalai Hillside is .. you'd never guess, on the hillside - about 5 minutes walk to Karon beach.

Chanalai Hillside Resort - Information, Reviews & Booking

And that's the Top 10 hotels in Phuket 2020. Have you stayed at a hotel that's not listed, but you think it should be? Go and give it a big review and get it's TA ranking up! Phuket has been on the mainstream tourism route for 30+ years now, and there is a great mix of old and new resorts (hard to keep up with openings and re-brandings!), big hotels, guesthouses, villas, apartments, hillside, beachfront, busy areas, quiet areas. There really is something in Phuket for everyone!

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Railay Beach and Phra Nang Beach (Krabi)

Yes, this is the Phuket Blog, but Krabi is very close to us ... We had a 2 night trip to Krabi back in April 2017 and I really wanted to visit Railay Beach. I'd been in Phuket since 1999 and somehow never really checked out Krabi until this year! Well, we never got to Railay in April, but we saw enough of the Krabi area to plan another trip, so we had another 2 night trip in Krabi in July 2017. Railay was very much on my must-see list despite my wife thinking it would be just another beach. And although we only spent a couple of hours checking out Railay beach and Phra Nang beach (right next to Railay) we really like it and we are already thinking of our next Krabi trip and will spend a bit more time at Railay.

Krabi Travel Tickets

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We were staying in Krabi Town at the River View Hotel, which is right next to the river. The pier for longtail boats to Railay Bay (or Ao Nang) was just a few minutes walk from the hotel. And the boats are not expensive - just 150 Baht per person each way.

Longtail boats from Krabi Town to Railay

(above) We got a longtail boat from the river in Krabi Town. The trip to Railay is about 12km and took about 30 minutes on a lovely sunny morning with calm seas. Our boat arrived at a large floating pier at Railay Bay East - not much of a beach here, it's mangroves and a bit muddy. West Railay Beach is the place you want to be! We first bought some bottles of water in a minimart - everything double the normal price because everything here has to be brought in by longtail boat. Small bottles of water - 20 Baht. Note for next time - bring some water with us from town (small bottles of water can be as cheap as 7 Baht). Jeez, I sound like a cheap backpacker!

Longtail boat approaching Railay Bay

(above) Approaching Railay from Krabi Town

Railay Bay East

(above) Floating Pier at Railay Bay East

Railay Beach Alleyway

The walk from Railay East to Railay West is down a narrow path passing the backside of a couple of hotels and restaurants, not that pretty, but arriving at Railay Beach, we were confronted with a truly spectacular view. Although I had really wanted to visit I was prepared to be disappointed, as often happens with very touristy places. But this really is a beautiful place and I think it helps that this was low season and we arrived by about 10am - you can certainly expect more people later in the morning and during the afternoon. I wonder if we might stay here next time rather than in Krabi town ...

Railay Beach

Railay Beach (west) Krabi

(above) Railay Beach (West). It gets lots of hype, so I was expecting something less, but it really is gorgeous. I am not really a beach person, I don't "go to the beach", but I think I could stay in a hotel here for a few nights and just enjoy the scenery, the sand and the sea (and a few beers). It was quiet when we arrived and that certainly helps. There are only a handful of hotels (check hotels at Agoda), many people visit from Ao Nang and other nearby areas (Krabi Town or even from Phi Phi) during the day. Also at Railay West we saw plenty of supplies being unloaded by hand from longtail boats. Plenty of work goes into that 20 Baht bottle of water!

Unloading supplies at Railay Beach West

(above) Unloading supplies at Railay Beach

Railay Beach West

(above) My boy could run around at Railay Beach all day I think! We have to come here again. On this trip we had limited time, as we needed to be back in Krabi Town by about midday or 1pm to check out of the hotel. From West Railay, to get to Phra Nang Beach you have to walk back to East Railay and then turn right until you find the path to Phra Nang. Not a long walk, just a few minutes. Heading to Phra Nang Bay you walk past caves and stalactites for a couple of hundred meters. There is a sign to a viewpoint that we'll have to explore next time.

Phranang Bay is maybe even more beautiful than Railay, but smaller. It's hemmed in by high cliffs and as you can guess the only access is by foot, plus we saw that some tour boats drop people directly here rather than Railay. It was about 11am when we got to Phra Nang and it was noticeably busier than Railay West. But anyway. Wow.

Phra Nang Beach, Krabi

(above) Phranang Beach - click photo to see a bigger version (opens in a new browser window)

Phra Nang is certainly a place we could stay for a while, bring a picnic, swim a bit ... it's on the list for next time! There are several points of interest here aside from the beach, the sea and the views. Right by the beach you can find a cave which features an extremely unusual shrine. Offerings are made hereto the princess of Phranang cave in the form of lingams. What are lingams? They are phallic symbols resembling the male organ (ha ha, won't get me to say penis here!) The offerings are said to bring good luck, wealth and fertility to the local people. It seems these beliefs are still held today, as there are plenty of new phallic offerings.

Phra Nang Cave, Krabi

(above) Our daughter checking out the shrine at Phra Nang Cave

Cave and Beach, Phra Nang, Krabi

(above) Looking out from a cave at Phra Nang Beach (not the willy cave, it's the next one). There are a few caves here and I saw someone crawling up a narrow passage, but where to? Gosh we really do need to come back and explore more!

Phranang Cave

(above) Lots and lots of lingams. Yeh, you don't get this on any other tourist beach!

Phra Nang (and Krabi in general) is also well known as a place to go rock climbing. Krabi is a good place to learn/try climbing, and there are plenty of cliffs if you are an experienced climber. We found a load of climbers next to the beach. Some looked like novices, others were climbing higher.

Rock Climbing at Phra Nang Beach

(above) Rock climbing at Phranang, Krabi

Our longtail boat driver was waiting for us at East Railay and it was already midday by the time we walked back from Phra Nang. I am glad to say this area has surprised me. I am sure it can get crowded at times, but there's a lot of natural beauty here and now we're planning our 3rd Krabi trip and will spend more than a couple of hours at Railay and Phra Nang!

More about Krabi

Krabi Hotels (Booking at Agoda.com)
Krabi Tours - contact my friends at Easy Day Thailand
Tiger Cave Temple
Emerald Pool
Our Trip to Krabi in April 2017
Our trip to Krabi in July 2017

Railay Beach and Phra Nang Beach - Location Map

Our House For Sale (or Rent) in Phuket

If you follow me on social media (Twitter or Instagram) you may have seen that, after 19 years in Phuket, I headed back to the UK last year. Reasons? School/education for my kids, a new challenge, a new life, being close to family in the UK ... we plan to stay for quite a few years, maybe forever - we are keeping our house in Chumphon (my wife's hometown), but in order to fund this big move we are selling our house in Phuket. Or we'd be happy to rent it long term (at least 6 months). Anyone interested, please contact me by email (jjjjmonk@yahoo.co.uk) or if you are in Phuket and want to see the house please call +66 97 993 1549 to arrange a viewing. Cheers!

Location, Location Location

Sure everyone has an idea of their preferred location. If you want a seaview, sorry we can't help, but .. we are in the Kathu area. The center of the universe! Within 5-10 minutes we can drive to all major malls and supermarkets, cinema, international hospitals, many of the best schools, local markets, golf courses, lots of restaurants .. Patong is a 10-15 minute drive in one direction and Phuket Town is 10-15 minutes in the other direction. Nearest minimart to our house is a 2 minute drive or 10 minute walk, and there's a gasoline station in the same location. We are on a quiet side road, but close to everything. There's a clubhouse with a pool and gym right over the street from our house. There's no through traffic passing our house, it's very peaceful.

Our house sits of 140 Wah of land, which is 560 square meters. This is divided into 2x70 Wah plots with separate land titles. The house is on 70 Wah and we bought the extra land later so we have a big garden area and space for parking multiple vehicles and lots of space to expand the house or build your own pool or even build a second house.

The house is one floor (unless you count a climb of 2 steps to the bedrooms. There's a large living room/dining area, a not-so-huge kitchen that we often thought to enlarge, 3 bedrooms, one main bathroom, plus 1 bedroom has en-suite shower/toilet and another bedroom has en-suite shower. Main bathroom was recently redecorated. All bedrooms and living room have aircon. Behind the kitchen is a covered utility area where we have washing machines/dryer/storage. At the front of the house there's also a decent size shed.

Water supply to our street is very good, and we also have a water tank with pump. Electric supply in Kathu is very reliable. We have 3bb internet / wifi in the house which a new owner can take over if they want. There are multiple wall mounted fans around the house which will stay there. All windows have new mosquito screens and bars. Security in the street has never been a problem. It's a very safe area.

If you need more information - please contact me by email (jjjjmonk@yahoo.co.uk) or to see the house please call my wife +66 97 993 1549 to arrange a viewing.

We lived there 15 years and we were the first occupants of the house, so it has had 1 careful owner! Perfect for a family, lots of space, quiet area but close to everything.

Selling Price : 7,500,000 Baht or near enough offer. For a house in this location with a big land area, it's a good price.

Rental : 20,000 Baht per month - discount possible if paying long term in advance.

Location Map

House Photos

As you can see - lots of space and different areas around the house. We have enjoyed living here, adding extras to the house, redecorating, repainting, growing the garden - lots of big mature plants which we planted many years ago. I am biased, but it's a very nice place to live.

Anyone interested, please contact me by email (jjjjmonk@yahoo.co.uk) or if you are in Phuket and want to see the house please call +66 97 993 1549 to arrange a viewing. Thanks!