Nov 05 2012
With millions of visitors arriving to Phuket for sun-drenched holidays each year it’s safe to say that there are no hidden beaches left on the island, but Banana Beach comes close. Found on a tiny bay and reached only by longtail boat or a jungle path, Banana Beach offers a peaceful escape from Phuket’s tourist hustle.
The 200-metre-long stretch of sand is known to locals as Haad Hin Gluai, or Banana Rock Beach, for the shape of a rock formation jutting out of the sea on the bay’s south end. It’s found along Phuket’s west coast between Naithon and Bang Tao beaches, about half a kilometre north of Trisara, of one of Phuket’s most exclusive five-star resorts.
Life at Banana Beach is significantly more rustic than its nearby celebrity holiday enclave, with a single restaurant run by a local family serving fresh seafood on plastic tables set on the sand under shaded tree cover. Prices at the restaurant are not so cheap, however, with dishes costing 100 baht up, but the view is divine. The family has a monopoly on commercial activities here, also renting out sun beds for 100 baht a day and offering fishing and beach-hopping trips on its longtail boat through the high season months of November through April.
Banana’s sands are grainier than the fine, squeaks-underfoot variety at Naithon and away from the restaurant area there is a bit of a trash problem. The water, however, is crystal clear and snorkelling around the rocks just offshore is the main activity aside from lazing on the sand sipping a cold drink.
Found along a winding coastal back road that connects Bang Tao to Naithon, Banana Beach is a challenge to reach by road if you don’t have your own wheels but it’s possible to hire a longtail boat from one of the main beaches nearby to take you there.
By road, the easiest way is to first drive to Naithon Beach on Route 4018, about eight kilometres south from Phuket International Airport, then continue along the main beach road to the south. Banana Beach is about two kilometres away, and there’s a small sign at the roadside indicating the path’s entrance. There are no car parking spots but everyone just parks along the roadside. The path down to the beach takes only a few minutes. Young kids should be able to manage it with some help, but those with mobility problems might have trouble making their way down.
In any case, the sight of Banana’s white sands and sparkling emerald water through the coconut palm fronds provides ample motivation for anyone making the short jungle trek to quicken their step.
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