Phuket’s first tourist destination, Rawai, is now more of a fishing town than a resort town, although there are two well-known luxury properties located here. The Evason Phuket & Bon Island occupies 64 tropically landscaped acres in Rawai, and the Golden Tulip Mangosteen Resort and Spa pampers guests with 360 degree views and Ayurveda spa treatments.
Unlike the beaches on the island’s west side, the beach at Rawai is not very suitable for swimming, as the water is occupied by a wealth of fishing boats and tour boats. For visitors looking to explore the many beautiful islands surrounding Phuket, Rawai is an excellent starting point; the tour boat business at the beach here is quite competitive. Besides the boats, rocks and mud flats also make swimming here more difficult than at many of Phuket’s other beaches. The beach at Rawai is still an interesting place to visit, as visitors can observe local fishermen unloading their daily catches, mending their fishing nets, and working on their boats.
Thai boxing is a popular attraction in Rawai; the Suwit Gym hosts live matches, and visitors who want to learn for themselves can visit the Rawai Muay Thai Gym. Another popular pastime here involves chartering a boat to explore the multitude of islands within the Andaman Sea; Koh Hae, Koh Racha, and Koh Lone are all popular destinations near Rawai. Horseback riding at the Phuket Riding Club provides another pleasant diversion for visitors to this town.
When it’s time for a meal, Rawai offers many choices from high-end resort dining to local no-frills spots. Beach side restaurant options include Nikita’s, with its Thai and international menu, and Mando Steakhouse, which offers traditional Thai food in addition to their namesake steaks. Visitors in search of organic menu items enjoy Savoury, which is located inside the Vijitt Resort; for beer and barbecue in a friendly location run by ex-pats, Moby Dick’s is a popular location.
Shopping options in the Rawai area are less plentiful than in other Phuket resort towns, but there are a few interesting spots worthy of mention. The Rawai Shell Museum provides an excellent selection of shells for sale, and the Phuket Orchid Farm sells fresh-cut orchids that are packed for travel. Baan Batik provides locally-made batik goods for sale, and the Muay Thai Shop sells Thai boxing accessories. Some of the best souvenir shopping in Rawai can be found at the Shops at Phromthep Cape near the Phromthep Viewpoint.
For visitors who are searching for colorful local flavor over a traditional beach vacation, Rawai is an excellent choice of locations.