Phuket's more traditional side
Cape Panwa is located on Phuket’s southeasternmost tip. Though this part of the island was one of the first areas to boast a luxury hotel, today it lags the development seen on the west coast.
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We can’t say we dislike that Cape Panwa is behind the trends. The majority of the cape is largely untouched tourism-wise, with rubber and coconut plantations and quiet streets throughout. Primarily Muslim, this is the perfect place to relax to get away from the crowds, as locals here are really doing the same.
Spending time in Cape Panwa you’ll come to see why it remains relatively quiet. The western facing beach, while quite quiet, has swimmable water and great views across to nearby Ao Chalong and Ko Lone, but is certainly not the prettiest beach on Phuket. Some of the hotels however sit on some of the most beautiful private beaches on the island — but that’s just it, you usually have to pay a big buck to enjoy them.
When you arrive at Cape Panwa, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the few low-key sights the area does have. Families tend to enjoy the Phuket Aquarium with its shark tunnel while the Khao Kad Viewpoint Tower offers fantastic views of the surrounding bays and islands — on a clear day you can see all the way to Ko Phi Phi.
Most of the restaurants on Cape Panwa are attached to the upmarket hotels. On the western side however are a few options worthy of your time and plenty of vendors are located along the main roads.
Heading south towards Cloud 19 Beach Retreat keep your eyes peeled for The Beach Bar (T: (087) 893 5337) which sits on a quiet beach that serves up delicious seafood at friendly prices. It is family owned and has an easy-going atmosphere — there is even a table in the water you can enjoy a sundowner at.
Heading back north on the same road as The Beach Bar, just a bit past the Novotel you’ll find Nice Food, Good View, which is another pleasant family-run operation. The title says it all: the Thai food is scrumptious and very economical and the views are pretty hard to beat. Cape Panwa doesn’t see much passing traffic so the family here will be elated you’ve stopped by.
The most convenient ATM sits just in front of the Radisson Plaza Resort.
A regular songthaew bus service runs between Phuket Town and the aquarium on Cape Panwa, which stops all along the main road during daytime hours only.
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