The information that I am about to share will probably get me into a lot of trouble with the Phuket Expat Mafia. I understand why this is such a well kept secret, but as an ex Phuket expat (an ex-expat?) I feel it would be a bit selfish to keep this information to myself.
Now as you can imagine, Phuket can get a bit crowded during peak times. The pristine beaches are packed with people and it is difficult to even find an open stretch of sand to lay your towel down. Once you’ve found a space big enough to lay down, the buzzing sound of jet-ski’s and speedboats will ring in your ears and pestering beach vendors will adamantly try to sell sunglasses and sarongs to you every ten minutes. This is not my idea of a relaxing day at the beach.
What if I told you that there is a beautiful beach free of people, free of speedboats and without any vendors. Sounds like paradise doesn’t it?
Hiding in plain sight just off the coast off Phuket, you will find a small island called Bon. Bon Island looks almost close enough to swim to but taking a longtail boat from Rawai, a small town in the south of Phuket, would be a safer bet.
The island has one restaurant on the eastern tip. I am not sure if it is open all year round but I highly doubt it. On the northern side there is a small beach which is a bit rocky but nice to swim at. The best part of the island is on the southern side. This part of the island is owned by one of the hotels in Phuket. They used to have a couple of chalets and a bar there but it hasn’t been in use for quite a while. Most of the structures are still standing but they are slowly falling apart and have seen better days. I have no idea why they ceased sending guests there but I am glad they did, because it meant that me and all my expat friends could go there whenever we pleased. The beach is beautiful with turquoise water and bright white sand. We always went there early in the morning (depending on the tide) and stayed there the whole day. We usually packed loads of snacks and beer and if we felt like it we even took some meat to braai (BBQ) for lunch.
Sometimes we did see a boat or two approach with a couple of tourists, but funnily enough they usually left as soon as they saw that we were the only people there. I guess the fact that we were a large group scared them off and made them feel that they were intruding on some private beach party event.
Once you are on the island the day passes really quickly and by the time the sun started to set I always felt tempted to stay for the night. So for my birthday I decided to do just that. I was told that were not allowed to sleep on the southern side of the island because this part was owned by a hotel as I mentioned earlier. We were however, allowed to sleep on the smaller beach on the northern side. The Thai people that dropped us off were so friendly and brought us a new batch of ice at around 5 o’clock and even gave us a couple of freshly caught fish for us to braai (BBQ) that night. We stayed up late and sat around the fire whilst having an awesome time. It was probably the best birthday I have ever had. How many people can say that they woke up on a beautiful beach on a small island in the middle of the Andaman sea for their birthday. I don’t think any birthday will ever top that one.
So whenever you find yourself in Phuket and you are tired of all the crowded tourist beaches close to your hotel, you know where to go. Bon Island will never disappoint, just make sure you never tell anyone that you heard it from me.