Having done some research into Phuket beaches before arrival, and not being the commercial touristy types, we couldn't wait to try Freedom Beach. All the reviews said to take the long tail boat from Patong, and we would be greeted by a slice of heaven. My first advice would be to avoid the boat if you can, and do the trek down the cliffside instead! More of the trek in a minute, but concerning the long tail boat, while we were lying on the beach, one came in to try and drop some people off and couldn't get close to the beach. Low tide, rocks and large waves meant they had to turn back. So we are glad we didn't risk this. I would imagine it's only like this in low season when the sea is choppy. So we drove up to the parking place instead and paid the 100 baht per person to walk down - there's quite a nice guy sitting there in a hut near the parking ready to take your money. We were only charged for 2 adults and 1 child and our 8 and 2 year old were free.
Now for the trek… no one had actually mentioned how dangerous it is walking down. It's not just a trek, its an assault course. Most of it is very unsteady, and as you near the bottom you have to walk over a long stretch of rocks which if you fall, has some pretty nasty crevices (we also had an 8 ft snake slide out in front of us). It is strewn with rubbish all the way down, and at the bottom you have to walk through a pile of trash to get to the beach - no kidding, literally a huge pile of rubbish at the bottom of the climb. Such a shame that no-one cares enough to clean this up. On the drive (in a truck) up the track to the parking spot, there are piles of rubbish that line the road all the way up the 1km road. It's not just disgusting, it's shameful. But trash is something that we've seen a lot of in Thailand, so we weren't surprised.
When we got to the beach, true it is a lovely stretch of cove and barely anyone there. But has anyone wondered why so many people give this beach a miss??? Again there is rubbish washed up and this has all gathered at the back in the brush. So this ruins the beauty of the place.
There is shade at one end under trees where there are some houses, and maybe there's a restaurant but it's closed at the moment. You literally need to bring everything with you. There is no food, water, beds, chairs, umbrellas…the beach in low season is literally empty. We brought a picnic and a few bottles of water. bring more water than you think you'll need for the walk back up. We ran out and it was painful!
The one good thing is that someone is obviously updating the flags as they were both flying on red. But there are no lifeguards so it's not safe for kids who can't swim strongly in currents. Don't leave them for even a minute in these waters. We did swim in the shallows but would not have risked going further as this bay is renowned for rip tides.
The climb back up is seriously back breaking. I'm in awe of my husband who did it with our 2 year old on his shoulders and pulling our 8 year old up whilst also carrying bags. My honest view of this beach is that it just isn't that special to warrant the effort, the price (100 baht per person) and the walk (dangerous) or the boat (expensive). Do yourselves a favor and visit Laem Singh or even Nai Harn, both are just as pretty and safer and you don't have to pay!
A word of advice to those guarding the entrance also to the walk down - if you're going to charge people to do this walk down the cliff, have the decency to actually make it safe for children. Add some steps, some rope rails, anything to help people…and clear up the rubbish. I shouldn't really care more about the beauty of your country than you do!!!!
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