Thai Mueang Beach between Phuket and Khao Lak
Thai Mueang (or Thai Muang) is a small town in between Phuket island and Khao Lak. It's just over 20km from the Sarasin bridge to Thai Mueang via another small town called Khok Kloi. We have driven this way many times on the way to Khao Lak, or Takua Pa or Khao Sok National Park, but only stopped a couple of times either in the town to visit a minimart for a drink or just a quick look at the beach. I recall stopping many years ago at the beach and it looked really messy, but it seems that a big tidy up has taken place. We stopped for a quick look last year on the way to the Little Amazon boat trip in Takua Pa, and we thought the beach looked great, but it was just a quick stop. I wrote it down on my "to blog" list and 6 months later (last weekend) we had a free Saturday, the skies were blue and I said "Let's go for a drive!" My wife and I like taking drives and exploring now and then. The kids always moan and say "Do we have to?", but they always have a good day!
Last weekend happened to be Chinese New Year, and it seemed like half of Phuket was heading out for the day, so traffic was heavy through the island, the kids were hungry (we'd skipped breakfast) and although Thai Mueang is not far away, we decided to stop for lunch instead at Nern Khao View Talay, just north of Khok Kloi town. We ate there on January 1st also, so that made 2 New Year meals at the same place .. it's become a favourite of ours since we found it last year. From lunch to Thai Mueang was only another 15km. Only a very small town. Along the main street plenty of shops and businesses, and then just as you reach the entrance to a Chinese shrine on the left, there's a junction - left to the shrine, right carries on towards Khao Lak and straight down to the beach.
(above) Thai Mueang town, main street
We drove about 2½ km along the beach road passing a few small restaurants. The short section of beach road with restaurants was quite busy, but the road is about 10km long, and most of the area is a national park - there are no hotels here! I wanted to stop first at the Phang Nga coastal fisheries research and development center which features a sea turtle conservation unit. I was not sure what to expect here. I thought maybe just a few tanks of baby turtles, but it's actually quite big, only 20 Baht entry fee and we spent about 45 minutes looking around. Yes, a good day trip to the beach should include something educational for the kids too!
There was more than just turtles here. Also tanks growing giant clams, seaweeds, anemone fish, cuttlefish, even a crocodile (the sign said beware of the 'jumping crocodile') and an araipama!
(above) At the Thai Mueang fisheries research center. Certainly worth a stop. And then just over the road from here you have the beach ...
(above) You can pull off the road just about anywhere, so we chose a spot with no other people (but some garbage ... I gotta say Thai picnickers don't always take home their rubbish). We found a shady spot and then walked through the trees to the beach ...
(above) Looking north
(above) Looking south
I know that people are looking for uncrowded beaches in the Phuket area. But at the same time, people want restaurants, bars, a dive shop, beach chairs, massage .. It's really really hard to find a place like that. A beach that is paradise, but barely developed. But developed enough to have everything you want. Thai Mueang beach is very quiet, more than 10km long, and aside from a short stretch with a few restaurants on the other side of the beach road, there are no facilities.
(above) Fisherman at Thai Mueang beach
(above) My daughter at Thai Mueang beach
Yes, on a lovely sunny high season day, a beautiful place! After some wandering around on the beach on this hot day, we stopped at one of the little restaurants for a drink.
(above) at a small roadside restaurant on Thai Mueang beach. I was surprised at the menu prices for food. Very similar to the much nicer restaurant (Nern Khao View Talay) where we'd already had lunch. OK, so you have a seaview, but .. and OK, compared to "back home" it's cheap, but .. anyway, we were happy to just have a drink. Last time we came, we just got some microwaved meals from 7-11 (yes they are tasty actually, do not judge me) and ate by the beach!
Before leaving, I wanted to stop at the Chinese shrine. We took the turning and found ourselves in the real (off the main road) old Thai Mueang town. The name means "behind the mine". I had thought it just means "Thai town" because of the English spelling - often written Thai Muang .. but in Thai language it's ท้าย (behind) and not ไทย (Thai), and it's เหมือง (mine) not เมือง (town). This is because Thai Mueang was an old tin mining town. Many Chinese moved to south Thailand in the 1800s to work in the mines, just like in Phuket. A visit to the Phuket tin mining museum is also a good way to spend an hour. With the mining history, no surprise to find a Chinese shrine here ...
(above) Chinese shrine at Thai Mueang town.
A very enjoyable day out again :) Did you enjoy it kids?
(above) da kidz at Thai Mueang beach. Enjoying their day out.
Thai Mueang Beach - Location Map