Rawai village is located in the southmost tip of Phuket island. Rawai seduces visitors with its secluded bays and natural beauty. While the southern end of this beachfront village is mostly occupied by the local fishermen, the northern end is a preferred area among expats, retirees and artists who have chosen this uncrowded oasis as their permanent home base.
Before the first tourist stepped on the Phuket island, Rawai was a major beach retreat among locals. Drawn by the beautiful beaches and the safer way to the seaside, Thai people would prefer Rawai to while away the afternoon under the pine trees and soak in the gorgeous Andaman Sea rather than travel over the dangerous hill to the West Coast shorelines.
Much has changed since then. Today, Rawai attracts Thai expats, mature travellers and foreign artists offering seclusion and tranquillity. Amazing restaurants, friendly local community and reasonable development stand our Rawai among touristy hectic western retreats. It is also a home to the Sea Shell Museum – one of the most popular Phuket’s attractions.
The bay is naturally divided into three areas. The southern “Gypsy Village” is a home to fishermen who still make their living by fishing, selling shells and organising chartered boat trips. The centre of the bay is an anchorage for numerous long-tail and fisher’s boats, while the northern end of the bay is where most of the exclusive villas and hotel resorts are located.
WHAT WE LOVE
Island hopping chartered boats
Incredible seafood and Thai restaurants
Renowned Phuket Sea Shell Museum
Fantastic beachfront villa accommodations
Incredible feel of the real Thailand
Situated towards the south of Phuket International Airport on the south-eastern coast of Phuket island, Rawai is the ideal base to experience the real Thailand and take in all sights of the southern coast of the island.
Although it is possible to get to Rawai, Phuket over land or water, the best way is to fly:
It can take between 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach Rawai from Phuket International Airport depending on traffic. Ministry of Villas can arrange a chauffeur to greet you upon arrival and escort you to your villa.
Alternatively, there is a taxi desk at the arrival level which arranges one-way fares at a fixed-price. You can opt one of the transfer options – a shared mini van with other travellers or a private taxi.
There are several options, so we’ve ranked them according to our recommendations for first-time travellers:
Ministry of Villas can arrange a private car and chauffeur for you. Depending on which villa you are staying in, the cost for the private vehicle with a driver can vary, so it’s recommended to contact our Ministry of Villas team to get the complete information about the private transfers.
It is easy to walk around Rawai as the region is reasonably small and offers fantastic beach strolls along the boat anchoring point and further south the fishermen village.
Due to the remoteness of Rawai region, some visitors feel the necessity to rent a scooter to be able to travel further afield. There are several rental shops in the area offering various bikes at different cost. However, be careful when renting a motorbike, carefully check the condition of the vehicle and possible malfunctions. Also, take into account that you must have an international drivers license on your person at all times, otherwise, the local police can issue you a ticket with a summons to appear in court. And always make sure you wear a helmet.
By the chartered boats departing from Rawai beach, you can explore the nearby idyllic islands within a one-day tour. Thus, you can visit the infamous Bon and Coral Islands, Koh Lone and Racha Islands, which also boast fantastic diving and snorkelling sites.
There are four Ministry Approved villas in Rawai. As Rawai is a rather remote and secluded location in Phuket, villa prices tend to be lower than in other parts of the island. Rawai villas range from USD $730 per night for five-bedroom villa resorts to over USD $1,700 per night for an eight-bedroom luxury villa.
Most of our villas have dedicated staff including butlers, chefs, nannies, 24-hour security personnel, and many other services you won’t find in a hotel. This is why we say “Spend just one night in a villa and you’ll never stay in a hotel again.”
If any location can deservedly be called the seafood paradise of Phuket, it’s Rawai. Dotted with hundreds of simple Thai-style eateries, Rawai dining offers an ample range of fresh and delicious seafood on choice. Huge tiger prawns, daily tuna or red snapper, freshest calamari and oysters can be grilled, fried or steamed at your liking.
These beachfront eateries getting filled up with locals long before the sunset, so if you want to sample a delicious Thai-style seafood, it is better to take place earlier. The tables are one foot tall and visitors sit on mats put right in the sand.
For the more sophisticated dining experience, head inland to one of the upscale restaurants serving, besides the habitual Thai and seafood menu an ample selection of the international cuisines: from the favourite Italian pizza and pasta to the more elaborated French cuisine.
Rawai nightlife scene caters to travellers of all ages providing an ample selection of various bars and drinking establishments.
There are sports bars broadcasting the live sports, venues, where you can listen to the live music played by the local bands, numerous beer bars offering various entertainment, and laid-back beach bars where you can relish in the mesmerising sunsets while sipping wine.
Rawai is also a home to one nightclub, which is located in the Laguna Plaza – an imposing complex on the northern end of the bay. During the peak season, the nightclub gets packed full with tourists and Thai expats, who are getting attracted to great parties and fantastic shows.
If you want to enjoy a retail therapy in “Rawai-style”, head to the “Gypsy Village”, where local fishermen sell beautiful shells varying in sizes, colours and shapes.
The area near renowned Rawai Shell Museum operates as an improvised local market, offering fake brand T-shirts, bargain-priced jewellery, electronics and other souvenirs and knick-knacks. You can also buy sea shells here, but in a more commercial appearance, covered with enamel and nacre.
Phromtep Cape, to the south from Rawai, offers a more serious shopping, providing a wide selection of souvenir shops for batik, natural spa products and Muay Thai accessories.
Island hopping is one of the reasons why travellers opt Rawai as their home base. Dozens of long-tail and speed boats organise the chartered one-day boat trips to the nearby paradisal islands, including Racha island, famous for its world-class dive sites.
Ko Bon another neighbouring island off the eastern coast of Phuket can be reached within a 10-minute boat trip from the Rawai beach, and it’s an idyllic islet to snorkel and just lay around on the blinding white sand.
Besides the island hopping, there are endless relaxation opportunities available in Rawai village. Get a bit of pampering in one of the wellness spas scattered through the village, sweat during the highly intensive Muay Thai training or treat your family with something special, prepared in the Thai cooking class – Rawai has something for everyone.