Rawai is a charming seaside town at the southernmost tip of Phuket. It’s famous for it’s splendid views, great seafood restaurants and friendly small-town atmosphere.
While Rawai’s beach is beautiful, for the most part it isn’t particularly swimmable: it can be quite dirty and fishing boats are zooming all over the place. But worry not, the beach lover! Rawai is connected to Nai Harn (most of 2 areas are within 10 minutes driving distance), so if you want to spend an afternoon on a beach, you might as well go for the best.
What Rawai is famous for, is great scenery and great seafood. Those fishing boats we mentioned above? They stay busy. There is a seafood market by the pier, and there is no lack of restaurants serving fresh, off-the-boat wares.
The beach is also a major departing point for long-tail boats heading out to nearby islands.
Heading inland you will find a big area filled with bars, restaurants and small hotels. Rawai has significant expat population, including retirees, younger families and, more recently, digital nomads who prefer the area for it’s laidback vibes, plenty of cheap stays and good coffee shops. In general the restaurant/cafe scene here is more modern and has less of a touristy feel to it (by Phuket standards).
One of the closest beaches to Phuket town, Rawai has traditionally been popular for family outings with local Phuketians. That, along with tourists and strong expat community makes for a very healthy mix, which allowed Rawai to stay open and active during COVID pandemic.