Mai Khao Beach is located on the west coast of Phuket Island, at its northern end. It is the longest beach on the island – about 10 kilometers in length – and is largely undeveloped as it is part of the Sirinat National Park.
It begins in the south where Nai Yang Bay and Nai Yang Beach end, and runs north until it blends into Sai Khao Beach. Generally, for practical purposes, the Sarasin Bridge is considered the ending point of Mai Khao Beach.
Most of the beach is fairly deserted most of the time, except for fishermen, hikers and some campers. And some giant sea turtles who come to the beach from May to February to lay their eggs in the golden but somewhat course sand.
The central parts of the beach are rather difficult to get to and the seabed of the beach drops off severely so swimming can be quite dangerous, especially from May to November. Most human activity takes place at the ends of the beach.
At the southern end, one will find the international airport and a few large luxury resorts: The JW Marriott Resort, the Anantara Phuket Resort, the Sala Phuket Resort and Spa and the West Sands Phuket.
There is one bungalow place in the area - Seaside Cottages, which offers reasonable accommodation.
One also finds the only real shopping opportunity on the beach, the Turtle Village. In walking distance of JW Marriott and the Anantara, it has two levels of over 3,000 square meters of boutique shopping for the rich and famous.
One should be aware that the southern end of the beach is the official entrance of the national park and that one will be charged a fairly high admission fee if one comes to the park this way and one is a foreigner.
One can get into the park in other locations without paying the admission fee. However, if one pays the fee, one can head for the government camping and toilet facilities in northern Nai Yang Beach.
The northern end of the beach is much less commercialized than the southern end. One just finds several small and simple Thai restaurants serving basic Thai food and seafood on the road to the beach, and on the beach. Some have toilet and shower facilities. There is some surfing at the far northern end of the beach.
Getting to the beach is not difficult. The main entrance is through a road just south of the airport. It leads to Nai Yang Beach and the Sirinat National Park. When one enters the park, one just goes right.
One can also enter from various roads that branch off from route 402. It is Phuket Island's main highway and it runs parallel to Mai Khao Beach. In the far north, it runs almost next to the beach. One can park nearby and enjoy the beach restaurants.