Tranquil Nai Harn Beach has only a few hotels, including The Royal Phuket Yacht Club, while accommodation elsewhere ranges from basic huts to luxury resorts. Picturesque Chalong Bay is Phuket's principal boat anchorage and the island's largest bay. Nearby Rawai Beach stretches east to west with a cape at both ends and is therefore very shady and pleasant.
The numerous beachfront and street bars have a predominantly quiet and relaxed atmosphere. On the whole, dining and nightlife is far less frenetic than in the more touristy areas. Local sea gypsies can still be seen bringing the fresh catch of the day to the colorful Rawai fish market, just to the left of the pier.
Most of the island’s scuba diving, snorkeling and boat hire companies are based in the area, and it is an ideal base for visitors using their services as it is only a short walk to the sailing, fishing and tour boats. Popular day-trip destinations include Coral Island, Phi Phi Island, and Koh Racha for day trips. Swimming in Chalong or Rawai beaches is limited because of the many boats moored there in the shallow waters. However, neighboring Naiharn offers great swimming in the high season (November to April).
Besides island-hopping, the area offers a diverse range of activities, including Thai boxing, cooking classes, shooting, go-karting and paintballing, as well as horse, ATV and elephant riding. Rawai’s Phuket Sports and Tennis Club also offers a good range of outdoor and indoor sports. Local attractions include Nai Harn Lake, Nai Harn Monastery and some spectacular viewpoints such as Phromthep Cape and Big Buddha, where the Phi Phi islands can be seen on a clear day. Phuket Orchid Farm is a unique opportunity to admire some of Thailand’s famous and colorful orchids, and the nearby Sea Shell Museum exhibits valuable seashells from all over the world.