Seek and ye shall find paradise. Or at least a very peaceful, picture postcard beach. Layan Beach, just North of Bang Tao Beach, has two halves. The southern part (pretty much an extension northwards of Bang Tao Beach) is simply stunning if you like blue seas and white sand. The land is privately owned, well cared for and kept simple. We were there at the weekend for lunch in the high season and I counted about 12 other visitors and I reckon half of them were local residents. You'll find a small restaurant, a small collection of beach chairs, palm trees and the sound of waves gently lapping the shore. Too good to be true?
The restaurant has basic Thai food, sea food.. not super cheap, but hey - look at the location. I guess we are used to local prices, so 80 Baht for fried rice seemed expensive! It was tasty food, though and if you are coming for a holiday, lunch for a few dollars is not going to break the bank! Next to the restaurant was a bar called "Beer Conner" :)
UPDATE JANUARY 2014 - Well, this "conner" of paradise is not the same now. A fancy beach club has opened here and so I reckon we won't be back anytime soon!
Just behind the beach, you have a mix of local life and modern development. This stretch of coast is being invaded by a large amount of villas, sea view apartments, hillside condos...and yet you also find scenes like this...
A little further North, Layan Beach is split by a small island (Koh Kala) and a sand bar, creating a semi enclosed lagoon and a natural paradise. A sign at the edge of the beach says this area is to be made a National Park.. although I read recently in the local news that a marina might be planned for this location. It's a beautiful spot. I'd like to walk out along the sand spit to the island, but not with the little kids - it's quite a hike on a hot day. We've been here for beach BBQ's a couple of times. Not a swimming beach, but of you walk 15 minutes south you get to the beach by the restaurant.
(above) Panorama of the north end of Layan Beach - click to enlarge.
You'd hardly know it, but there are 2 small, quite exclusive, very nice looking resorts in this section of Layan Beach. They blend in with the scenery, offering beachside or hillside bungalows. If you like a bit of seclusion, the Bundarika Villa or the amazing Trisara (on the headland just north of Layan) might be for you.
• Bundarika Villa
• Trisara Resort
Layan Beach is perfect for me and the family as a little getaway for a couple of hours - we like the small scale, the little restaurant, the fact that the beach is clean and hard to find. How we never found it until 2007 is beyond me.... Well, I guess we are not on holiday so can't be out exploring every day, but it's pleasing that after many years here Phuket still manages to surprise me.
Update 2012 - not been for a while, hope it still looks like this!
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