Rawai (หาดราไวย์ Hat Rawai) is a seafront village in Phuket. The northern part of Rawai is known as Hat Mittraphap (หาดมิตรภาพ), and has some beachfront, while the southern portion is the urban area and a port called Laem Ka (แหลมกา).
Rawai is at the southern tip of Phuket. It is much less touristy than nearby Kata and Patong Beaches. This palm-fringed sea front is best known for sea gypsies, a formerly nomadic fishing minority believed to be of Melanesian descent.
You will often see references to "Rawai Beach". Forget it. There is no beach in Rawai, at least not of the type you can swim in, except at the north end, where few tourists will venture. Why bother, when you can go to Nai Harn Beach? The tides in Rawai are pronounced. Boats moor, then are beached when the tide recedes. It is picturesque, but it's not a beach.
Rawai is quite spread out and a motorbike is highly recommended. The longer your hire period, the cheaper it becomes, and is possible to hire one for around 120 baht/day. Otherwise expect to pay 150-200 baht/day depending on the type of bike.
- Ko Kaeo (เกาะแก้ว). An offshore isle about 3 km out from Rawai. Can be reached in 30 min by boat. It offers picturesque beaches and underwater scenery. There is also a replica of the holy footprint on the island.
- Laem Ka ((หาดแหลมกา) (Just south of the Phuket Island Resort Hotel and north of Rawai). A small rocky bay, popular with Thais on weekends.
- Laem Phromthep (Phromthep Cape), Rawai/Nai Harn (travel to the southeast tip of Ko Phuket). 24/7. Literally translated as "God's Cape", Phromthep is one of the island's most notable natural landmarks and lies to the far south, around 2 km from Rawai. With high cliffs and uninterrupted views, Phromthep Cape is famous for its dramatic sunsets, which regularly attract crowds. At the summit you can visit the lighthouse and a small and interesting shrine featuring elephants prominently.
- Phuket Sea Shell Museum ((พิพิธภัณฑ์เปลือกหอยภูเก็ต), ☎ +66 76 613666, +66 76 613777, +66 76 613678. Daily, 08:00-17:30. The emphasis is on shells from Thai waters, which are among the most sought-after by collectors, however, shells from every part of the world are featured. There are numerous rarities and freaks including what may be the world's largest golden pearl, large sections of sedimentary rock containing shell fossils, and a shell that weighs 250 kg. Adults, 200 baht; children, 100 baht..
Rawai Beach itself is only used to moor fishing boats, longtails, and speedboats, used for snorkelling and sightseeing trips to Phuket's neighbouring islands. The new pier is not used for boats, but makes a nice walking/fishing pier.
There is a sea gypsy village just north of the pier with shops and longtail boats for rent, and lots of seafood restaurants on the waterfront. This is where Phuket Town comes on the weekend for a beach party. There are a few popular cocktail bars on the beach for a limited but fun night life.
- PhuketFit Retreat, 91/26 Viset Rd (near Phromthep cape), ☎ +66 076 289 458, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 07:00-23:00. Health & fitness retreat for detoxification and fitness services.
Rawai has plenty of muay Thai gyms. If you're interested in a one day lesson or a six month training stint, it's a good place to look. Two gyms below, but there are at least half a dozen more within a 4 km radius.
- Rawai Muay Thai. A busy, well-respected training camp where there are always many foreign students learning Thai boxing.
- Thailand Camp, 91/19 Moo 6, Viset Rd, Rawai, ☎ +66 87 4711351. 7:00-21:00. Fitness, detox, weight loss and muay Thai training holidays. 10,000 baht.
- Mae Klong Sea Food (แม่คล่อง ซีฟู๊ด), ☎ +66 76 381299.
- Moo's, Viset Rd (Near the Laguna nightclub, on same side of road.). Great Thai food. Open late. Just look for the many parked motorbikes and the prominent sign.
- Nikita's Beach Restaurant, 44 Viset Rd (On the sea front), ☎ +66 76 288703. 10:00-24:00. Waterfront dining. Fresh seafood, international food, wood-fired pizza. 150 baht.
- Phromthep Cape Restaurant, 96/6 Moo 6 Vuses Rd (High up on the cape near the lookout), ☎ +66 76 288656.
- Sala Loi (ศาลาลอย), ☎ +66 76 381297. Very good Thai restaurant on the Rawai sea front.
- Suan Son Seafood (สวนสน ซีฟูด), ☎ +66 76 288028.
- Tiffany Restaurant and Coffee Shop, 43/87 Moo 7 (On the main road), ☎ +66 85 7866272. 08:00-12:00. European-style buffet breakfast for 149 baht. Fresh coffee.
Rawai has many beer bars along the seafront. They close at 02:00. Clubs/discos such as Laguna stay open past 02:00 every night and are popular with local bar girls when they finish work.
- Laguna Plaza (Bars and nightclub) (Viset Rd, next to SCB Bank). Daily, 18:00-dawn. A complex of themed bars. A great place to have a few drinks, play some pool, or just chill out and listen to some music before the adjoining Laguna Club opens its doors at 02:00 where tourists and locals party until the sun comes up.
- Phu NaNa Boutique Hotel, 43/234 Moo 7, ☎ +66 76 2266734, e-mail: email@example.com. Seventeen rooms provide modern comforts near the beaches of Nai Han and Rawai. In a very quiet area. 2,800+ baht.
- Ko Bon is 10 min away by boat and has a good beach and restaurant.
- Nai Han is only a few minutes away by motorbike or taxi or local bus and is one of the nicest beaches on the island.