To be honest, visiting Kata beach was not on our agenda for day 1 in Phuket. However, gazing out over the southern part of Phuket from the Big Buddha, we spied several nice looking beaches and decided we needed to take advantage of having a driver for the day and check one out! On the west side of Phuket, Patong beach is the most popular beach. It is also crowded, over-commercialized and a big party area. Kata beach was exactly what I would expect from a laid-back small Thai beach. There were umbrellas and chairs for rent, pop-up food stalls and temporary restaurants, but it was a peaceful place. The boys enjoyed dipping in the refreshing (but so WARM!) water and digging in the sand.
Because it is a smaller, less touristy beach, it was difficult to find restrooms. We changed the boys into their swimming clothes in the open air, but it took me quite awhile to hike around and find a bathroom. We sat on the north end of the beach, and from there, the closest bathroom was one block inland and one block south. Feeling a bit under the weather, but also anxious to swim, I walked all the way there, only to find that it was a paid restroom and I had to go back to get the equivalent of 10 cents to pay the bathroom attendant. Ugh.
But the good news is, when I returned after changing, I ran into the sea and had one of those moments where you look around and think, “Is this really my life right now?! Am I really doing this?!” We visited several beaches on Phuket, from the commercialized to the secluded, but this beach was the most idyllic with fewer people, great views, and peace. Before heading out, we picked up freshly-made Pad Thai from a lady in a little food cart for what amounted to $6 for all of us. Yum!
Kata beach is not very far from the Big Buddha, on the west coast south of Patong beach. It happened to be on our way back to our hotel, but I think tuk-tuk and taxi rides to the beach area from Patong are reasonable. It may be difficult to find a ride back, unless the drivers have specific instructions to wait. Bring snacks, water, and lots of sunscreen and sun protection for everyone! There are some snack, food and drink stalls, but I did not notice if there was much in the way of kid-friendly food. Parking and drop off is so close to the beach that we didn’t need any sort of carrier or stroller for our little guy. If you’re in the southern part of Phuket island, check out Kata beach!