Bang Thao is a large open bay with one of Phuket's longest beaches. It was once used for tin mining, but has since been developed into a luxury resort. Most of it is occupied by the Laguna complex, a massive five-hotel development with golf course. There are, however, accommodations available outside Laguna at the bay's south end.
Dry season swimming is excellent, and at the bay's north end is a smaller bay, almost completely enclosed, at the mouth of which is some fine coral. Plenty of places to eat, tour companies, and other tourist facilities are available either at Laguna or in the nearby town of Cheong Thale.
Bang Thao is about 25 minutes from Phuket airport and transfers can be arranged for about 600 Baht. A metered taxi may cost about 50 Baht less. However, metered taxis are scams and no sane person will ride in a sketchy half-broken taxi.
Getting around Laguna is easy and free. There are free shuttle buses between all the hotels and the shopping centre as well as a ferry service around the lagoon to most of the hotels and the shopping centre. Leaving Laguna for other places in Phuket is expensive as few Phuket taxis travel to this complex. There are chauffeured cars available but these cost 600 Baht each way to Patong or Phuket town.
Surin Beach is within walking distance if you're not in a hurry, just follow the road south of Bang Tao for about 15 minutes.
The Laguna complex is about relaxation. All of the hotels have swimming pools with food and bar service to the pool side. There are a variety of day spa facilities at the hotels. All the hotels have private areas of the beach with lounges and towel service. Food and bar service is available on the beach but cannot be charged to your room. The beaches are not patrolled but do have roped-off swimming areas. Some of the resorts have sailing and rowing boats for use on the lagoon. Banyan Tree has a championship golf course which can be used by residents at all of the hotels in the complex - green fees can be charged to your room. Tours can be booked through the hotels for all of the standard Phuket tourist attractions.
Laguna Beach is where to see and touch baby elephants around 4pm each afternoon when their trainers take them for a swim.
The Laguna complex has a large number of shops but all are expensive. Much better deals can be found elsewhere in Thailand.
Canal Village Laguna, ☎ 0 7627 0957. Shopping village for crafted antiques to designer clothing.edit
Stand Up Paddle Thailand.,Co.Ltd (SUP THAI), 131/34-36 Moo 4 Srisoonthorn Rd (Middle of Phuket), ☎ 0819852478, . Stand Up Paddle Surfing and Fat water cruising Tours and Lessons. LONGtail SUP surfing Equipment and SUP School. Lessons Daily edit
The Laguna complex has a large number of very good and reasonably expensive restaurants. You can charge any of the restaurants in the complex to your room irrespective of which hotel you are staying in. There are some cheaper hawker-style restaurants on the beach which must be paid for in cash.
DeDos, 8 Lagoon Rd, Cherng Talay (5 minutes outside of Laguna), ☎ +66 0 76 325 182, . 18:00-24:00. French Gastronomy with an Asian touch. Creative Cuisine prepared by Bocuse trained, Swiss-Bolivian chef Pablo Blattmann.edit
Ceramic Kitchen Phuket, 185/15 Moo 7, Srisoonthorn Rd., . Western and Thai food in a clay house. Selection of wines and local Thai rums.edit
Babylon Beach Club, Situated between the Amora Hotel and the Laguna Beach Resort, ☎ +66 0 76 377 961, . Babylon Beach Club has become the most popular restaurant on Bang Tao beach. Situated between the Amora Hotel and the Laguna Beach Resort Hotel, the restaurant looks straight out over the Andaman Sea allowing drinkers and diners to enjoy fantastic ocean views, magical Thai sunsets while listening to the waves gently lap against the sand and feel the cool tropical breeze wash away those winter blues.edit
TOTO' Italian Restaurant, Laguna Resort Entrance. Lagoon Road, ☎ +66 0 76 271 430, . 11 AM - Midnight. Whether you are interested in a quick lunch, a romantic dinner or just sipping on one of our famous wines while listening to the sounds of new age lounge music, you will find the ambience warm and welcoming. All ingredients are fresh from the market and the sauces, bread and desserts are prepared in the finest Italian tradition, right on the premises. Special attention has also been paid to the preparation of seafood, grilled on a specially made traditional Tuscan charcoal grill.edit
There are a large number of bars throughout the Laguna complex but there is no nightlife to compare to Patong.
Just 5 mins walk south from the Laguna complex is a small Reggae Bar owned by an enterprising you local named Nam. The drinks at the "Wood Bar" are cheap and cold, the service is relaxed and the atmosphere is just amazing. Nam has built his bar almost entirely from debris washed up on the shore. The bar stands out at night with it's green, red and yellow lights, and as you get closer the alluring sound of reggae music draws you in. Well worth the visit if you are looking for a break from resort life or being pestered by some of the other local bars.
Beachfront Phuket, 110 Moo 3 Cherng Talay, Thalang, 83110, ☎ +66 76 303 200, . The hotel offers air-conditioned accommodation rooms, all of which have satellite TV, Wi-Fi internet, and en-suite bathrooms with hot shower. Some of its amenities are swimming pool, fitness gym, Castaway Restaurant, and Beach BBQ.Rates on official website start at THB 8,546.00. edit
Banyan Tree The most luxurious resort in the complex and includes full spa facilities and a championship golf course.
Dusit Laguna Part of the luxury Thai hotel chain and is geared to Thai nationals.
Laguna Beach Club Aimed at the younger tourist offering more of a party atmosphere than the other hotels in Laguna (but not anything like the party atmosphere available at Patong resorts).
Sheraton Grande A luxury hotel with standard hotel rooms and two bedroom villas built over the lagoon. This hotel caters to an international market.
Laguna Holiday Club Phuket Resort Almost identical to the Allamanda but geared towards time-share customers.
Villa Beyond, 30/42 Moo2 Chernglalay, ☎ 0 887 475 838, . 7 bedrooms villa with a mix of luxury and beauty nestled in a wonderful architectural overlooking the Andaman sea and Bang Tao area.from USD 795. edit
Villa Samakee, 77 Moo 6, T.Cherngtalay, Thalang, ☎ 0 887 475 838, . Villa Samakee is an elegant 5 bedroom pool villa located in the secured Layan Estate just near sand beaches of Layan and Bangtao on Phuket’s west coastline. from USD 695. edit
Villa Namaste, 32/42 Moo2 Chernglalay, ☎ 0 887 475 838, . Villa Namaste is a magnificent 4-bedroom villa offering a gorgeous sea views over Bangtao bay. Villa Namaste, previously named Villa Someday, is beyond luxury accommodation and serves its guests as a true holiday home.from USD 750. edit
BEST WESTERN Allamanda Laguna Phuket, 29 Moo 4, Srisoonthorn Road, Cherngtalay, Thalang, ☎ +66 76 362 700 (email@example.com), . All rooms have air conditioning, private balcony/deck, living room, kitchen with cooking facilities, coffee/tea maker, private toilet and bath, mini-bar, cable TV, radio, phone, hair dryer and ironing board on request. Common spaces include a restaurant and lobby bar, meeting rooms, the 18-hole Laguna Golf Course, massage and luxury spa by Angsana, and two outdoor swimming pools. The hotel also offers event services, wedding and honeymoon packages, free shuttle and boat service within Laguna, and room service.edit