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Nai Yang - The Planespotters Beach

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Phuket has a lot of beaches, Nai Yang is long stretch of sand in a bay, with the Phuket Airport at the north and a huge deserted hotel at the south. It has everything, from plane-spotting to coral spotting, with good food in-between.

I arrived along the road to the airport, and followed the signs to Nai Yang Beach, completely missed the tiny turn off to the beach itself and ended up at Phuket Airport. A short detour later I found the beach, got onto the warm soft sand and headed up to the headland to see the planes at the north end.

The swimming area is marked with yellow/red flags, but this is a very narrow part of the beach, as I headed north, red 'no swimming' flags tell me to stay out of the rolling waves. 3 tourists were drowned last month, the currents are very strong here on Phuket and rip tides pick off the weak and drunk.

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Red flags, but I wasn't disappointed. A little way along the beach a river exits, and creates a small shallow, freshwater lagoon behind the sand banks. This is perfect for a quick cooling splash.

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As you approach the headland at the north, uprooted trees cover the beach. Waves have undermined their roots, the wind has blown them over. A life guard tells me it's better not to swim here, the branches of the trees can catch you as you swim.

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Just around the headland is the airport, separated from the beach by a high security screen of invisible laser detectors, invisible fences, and teams of invisible security guards! If the photo makes it look as if you can just walk into the airport from the beach, well that's just an illusion! The invisible tiger will get you!

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Now I find a peaceful patch of sand and wait for the planes to take off. The roar of the surf drowns out the airplane noises, so you have to keep your eyes open.

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This is one the best beaches to spend a day plane-spotting. The runway leads out towards the sea, and when the wind is blowing inland, which is most of the time, planes take off into the wind and out to sea and across the beach. It's only a shame it's such a long runway, and the planes get a decent height before passing over your head.

Part 2 - Nai Yang, Tsunamis and Textures

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