Rawai (หาดราไวย์ Hat Rawai) is a seafront village in Phuket. The north 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 located at the southern tip of Phuket. It is much less touristy than nearby Kata and Patong beaches and an excellent place to experience some real Thai culture. This palm-fringed beach is best known for sea gypsies, a formerly nomadic fishing minority believed to be of Melanesian descent.
Along with Chalong, Rawai is one of Phuket's two main ports and has connections to many of Phuket's islands.
Rawai is quite spread out and a scooter 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 scooter.
- Phuket Sea Shell Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์เปลือกหอยภูเก็ต). 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 the world's largest golden pearl (140 karats), large sections of sedimentary rock containing shell fossils, and a shell that weighs 250 kilograms. The museum is open daily from 08:00 till 17:30. Admission is 200 baht for adults and 100 baht for children. Tel: 0 7661 3666, 0 7661 3777, 0 7661 3678
- Laem Ka (หาดแหลมกา) Just south of the Phuket Island Resort Hotel and north of Rawai Beach is a small rocky bay, popular with Thais at the weekend.
- Ko Kaeo (เกาะแก้ว) Ko Kaeo is an offshore isle about 3 kilometres out from Rawai beach and can be reached in 30 minutes by boat. It offers picturesque beaches and underwater scenery. There is also a replica of the Holy Footprint on the island.
Rawai Beach itself is only used to moor fishing boats, long tail boats and speed boats, used for snorkelling and sightseeing trips to Phuket's neighboring islands. In mid-2007 the new pier opened. It 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.
- Rawai Muay Thai . A busy, well respected training camp where there are always many foreign students there to learn Muay Thai (Thai boxing).
- Mae Klong Sea Food (แม่คล่อง ซีฟู๊ด), Rawai Beach, ☎ +66 763 81 299.
- Nikita's Beach Restaurant, 44 Viset Rd (on Rawai beach), ☎ +66 76 288 703, . 10:00-24:00. Nikitas waterfront dining. Fresh seafood, international food, wood-fired pizza. 150 baht.
- Phromthep Cape Restaurant, 96/6 Moo 6 Vuses Rd, Rawai Beach (out of town high up on the cape near lookout), ☎ +66 76 288 656.
- Sala Loi (ศาลาลอย), Rawai Beach, ☎ +66 76 381 297.
- Suan Son Seafood (สวนสน ซีฟูด), Hat Rawai, ☎ +66 76 288 028.
- Tiffany Restaurant and Coffee Shop, 43/87 Moo 7, Rawai (on the main road), ☎ +66 857 866 272 . 08:00-12:00. European style buffet breakfast for 149 baht. Fresh coffee
Rawai has numerous 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). A complex of themed bars, open every night 18:00-dawn. 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.
Offshore, Ko Kaeo also has a few nightspots.
- Blue Marina Discotheque (บลู มาริน่า ดิสโก้เธค) Ko Kaeo, Tel: 08 1539 3386 (Vibrant Discotheque)
- Chili Pub Restaurant (ชิลลี่ ผับ เรสเตอร์รอง) Ko Kaeo
- Ko Bon island is 10 minutes away by boat and has a good beach, restaurant, and a unit of the Evason Hotel.
- Nai Han beach is only a few minutes away by scooter or taxi or local bus and is one of the nicest beaches on the island.