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Small and secluded places like Ya Nui beach are becoming a rarity on Phuket. Located between Nai Harn and Rawai beaches, this cove has a lovely strip of sand with waters ideal for swimming and snorkelling.
A quiet road runs past the beach and, on its other side, you'll find a few modest bungalow operations aimed at flashpackers and families travelling Phuket on a budget. More bungalows and midrange resorts have been built along the road leading back from the beach towards Rawai.
In mid 2014, Ya Nui was among several beaches on Phuket cleared of commercial activity in a post-coup army operation. The restaurant that had long been a fixture on the beach was torn down and all sunbeds were banned.
The rules on what can and can’t be done on the beaches have been very much in flux in the months following the beach clearouts, but as of February 2015 Ya Nui was host to a few vendors selling drinks and snacks, as well as limited umbrella and mattress rental services. Umbrella rental is 100 baht a day, or 200 baht for an umbrella with two mattresses.
Though the beach is nowhere near deserted, it is one of the better options in the area for some mellow relaxation. Some notable snorkelling can be enjoyed at the southern end of Ya Nui. Masks can be rented from one of the beach vendors for 100 baht a day, fins are an additional 100 baht. If you need some exercise, kayaks are 100 baht for one person and 200 baht for two. Don't get too excited — that's per hour.
You could feasibly walk here from Nai Harn beach, which is 2.5 kilometres away, but it's a lot easier if you have your own transport. A motorcycle will do, but be sure it has plenty of pick-up to make it over the steep, winding hills. Be careful if coming from either Laem Phromthep or Nai Harn as the road is extremely steep and dangerous when wet.
Ya Nui beach is found right between two of Phuket’s best viewpoints. Cape Promthep is the better known of the two, and a spectacular sunset is assured here if you can stand to share it with the crowds. Down the road towards Nai Harn is a lookout point at the base of a giant wind turbine – fantastic bird’s eye views over Ya Nui here. It’s also a popular launching point for paragliders.
If you’re in need of cash, the nearest ATM is about a kilometre away at the Family Mart at the entrance to Soi Ya Nui from Rawai. Several banks and ATMs are found in nearby Nai Harn and Rawai beaches. Nearly every restaurant and place to stay around Ya Nui offer free WiFi, including Ya Nui Bungalows & Restaurant just across the road from the beach.
By Lana Willocks.