Panwa Beach, also known as Khao Kad Beach, is located toward the end of the Panwa peninsula (cape Panwa), in the southeast corner of Phuket Island, eight kilometers from Phuket town. It is on the western side of the cape, fronting Chalong Bay.
At one end of the beach is the Thai Naval Fleet Headquarters and at the other is the Phuket Aquarium and a mangrove swamp. As a beach, it generally gets, at best, only "fair" ratings. It is a narrow strip of stony sand and the seabed is sand and stone. The water is shallow.
A positive aspect of the beach is that its location protects it from the effects of the monsoons, so the water is calm and tranquil year round. The beach itself does not receive many tourists. Most people who come to this location come to see the Aquarium.
The area was a Muslim fishing village and many Muslim fisherman still live here. Luxury villas and condominiums extend almost the entire length of the beach, intermixed with the huts of the fishermen. There aren't many places to stay at Panwa.
The Cape Panwa Hotel, where rooms start at about 5,000 baht a night, is located on a hill overlooking the beach. Nearby, located on Makham Bay, is the 211 room Radisson Plaza Resort Phuket Panwa Beach, and the Sri Panwa Phuket.
All of these accommodations are five or four star facilities and thus have all have excellent restaurants, bars, and recreation facilities. There are few if any lower or lower-middle end accommodations in Panwa Beach.
Most facilities on the beach itself are controlled by the resorts. The Beach Bar, and a couple of other small and simple restaurants sell snacks and drinks. Most people who come here prefer to eat at a rather undistinguished looking restaurant a few hundred meters up the beach road toward Phuket called the "Best Food Good View".
The food might not really be the best, but it is okay, and the view is very good. It is possible to buy beach accessories from a few vendors on the beach during high season.
One gets to Panwa Beach by following Sakadit Road out of Phuket town. One must drive almost all the way to the end of the cape before coming to the beach road. After turning, it is necessary to drive another kilometer until one comes to a sign that says "Beach Bar", the name of the beach restaurant. One can turn here or at another turn about 150 meters latter.