Bang Thao (อ่าวบางเทา Ao Bang Thao), also known as Bang Tao and Laguna Beach, is a beach on northwestern side of Phuket.
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 300 Baht.
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.
- 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
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.
- Ceramic Kitchen Phuket, 185/15 Moo 7, Srisoonthorn Rd., . Western and Thai food in a clay house. Selection of wines and local Thai rums.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- Baan Oasis, Bang Tao, Phuket, ☎ +62 361 869 1881 ([email protected], fax: +64 9 353 1995), . Baan Oasis is set in a secluded and guarded patrolled estate within the Laguna enclave of 5 star hotels. The villa stands in magnificent tropical sweet smelling floodlit gardens on a large double plot , the villa is configured for the living room, master bedroom and all other bedrooms to have direct access to the crystal clear swimming pool and jacuzzi all overshadowed by a fragant smelling mature jasmine tree. Accommodation is 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms. Separate maids quarters and laundry room. Double car garage.Internet access throughout. From US$650/night.
- Private 4BR Villa, . checkin: 2:00pm; checkout: 12:00pm. A private, protected territory in the exclusive area of 'Laguna', this beautiful 2-storey villa has 4 bedrooms, making it suitable for large gatherings with friends and family. It is centrally located and the pristine Bangtao beach is only a few minutes away. USD$290.
If you want nightlife or shopping you can go with a taxi to Patong beach in about 20 minutes.