South of Bang Thao is a jagged shoreline with little inlets. Once secluded, these areas are developing quickly with villas, restaurants, high-end resorts, cheap backpacker hotels, and what is becoming the usual Phuket beach development.
Surin Beach is about 550 yards of sand, where you can get a beer and pretty much anything else that you want. There's a public parking lot above the beach, which is literally a garbage dump in the off-season. Construction is ongoing here, though post-tsunami developments have been more measured than in the pre-tsunami years.
Head north a bit and things change. On the spit of land separating these beaches from Bang Thao sit two of the island's most luxurious resorts, though you may never find them without careful sleuthing. An overgrown sign points the way up a small road to the chedi; no sign marks the Amanpuri resort beyond that, from where tiny Pansea beach is accessible.