Rawai holds the distinction of being the very first tourist beach on Phuket. Years ago, people from Phuket Town would drive the 17km to Rawai on weekends to while away the afternoon underneath the beach's casuarina trees rather than risk the (then) dangerous drive over the hill to Phuket's west coast.
Nowadays, Rawai is a 'working beach' and a launching point for day boat excursions out to Phuket's surrounding islands. Many long-tail boats available for hire line its shores, where you can arrange a trip to Coral Island, Koh Lone or Racha Island, or a fishing or snorkelling trip. The beach is also used as a mooring point for the many fishermen who live in the area.
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