Bang Tao Beach is located on the west coast of Phuket Island, midway between the northern and southern tips of the Island.
The beach, the second longest on Phuket Island, is over eight kilometers in length.
The sand and water are excellent, and it is considered a good beach for swimming but it slopes steeply into the ocean in places making it a little dangerous for some swimmers.
Surfing is possible at the southern end of the beach during season. Rows of casuarina and coconut palm trees separate the beach from the beach road and its stores and shops, giving it a quiet and secluded atmosphere.
The beach is generally divided into three sections.
The central area is dominated by the five star Laguna complex resort, which consists of six hotels – Sheraton Grande, Dusit Laguna, Laguna Beach, the Allamanda, the Laguna Holiday Club, and the Banyan Tree Phuket - and a highly rated golf course.
The hotels front the beach and several lakes, which are really old mining excavations from the tin mining days of the island. At the Laguna complex, one will find excellent restaurants serving a variety of cuisines in lovely ambiences. Shopping opportunities are also excellent.
A number of boutique shops are located within and just outside the various hotels. The most prestigious area for shopping is Canal Village, which is located just outside the entrance to Laguna complex. One may find antiques, art and high end label clothing there.
The northern end of the beach – Layan – is the last part of the beach to be developed and now consists of luxury homes and apartments. This area has become a high end destination.
Generally, the accommodations are rented out by the owners or their agents for periods of weeks or months. This is not a place to come for a stay of relatively short duration. The beaches, however, are open to the public and the swimming is great.
On the southern end of the beach, one can find several hotels and bungalow type operations. These places are not exactly cheap and accommodate midrange tourists. Among the places in the 1,500 to 4,000 baht a night range are Bangtao Beach Chalet, Blue Garden Resort and Spa, Baan Rosa, Andaman Bangtao Bay Resort, and the Bangtao Village Resort.
Bangtao Lagoon Bugalows rents places for 600 baht to 1,500 baht a night. There is also one high end place, Best Western Bangtao Beach Resort, which some say represents the "wave of the future" for southern Bang Tao.
There are many restaurants, food stalls and shops here to serve those staying in these places. The area is also very near two predominantly Muslim fishing villages, Bang Tao and Cheung Thalay. Many tourists enjoy the open air markets in these villages and partake of genuine Muslim and Thai cooking there.
All in all, Bang Tao Beach is a nice place but it is not for the backpacker or those without ample financial resources. As time passes, this will probably be even more the case as developers are said to be planning development - which means construction of luxurious resorts – on the southern end of the island.