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 longtail 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 snorkel trip. The beach is also used as a mooring point for the many fishermen who live in the area. Rawai is home to the five-star resorts, Serenity Resort and Mangosteen and quite a few of Phuket’s foreign expat population live in the area, lending a bohemian and laid-back flavour to the way of life there. Favourite nighttime haunts are Friendship Beach, towards Chalong, and Rawai’s beachfront bars.