A Phuket institution, Kata Beach is one of Thailand’s most popular holiday destinations. With its soft white sand, swaying palm trees and crystal clear water, it’s a favourite with travellers wanting to do little more than soak up Thailand’s world-famous sunshine. While accommodation options are varied, luxe resorts like Club Med and Kata Thani do a good job of dominating beachfront real estate.
On calm days Kata Beach is fantastic for snorkelling, with a coral reef that stretches all the way out to picturesque Pu Island which sits just offshore. Unlike other Thai beaches, Kata’s nightlife scene is pleasantly laid-back. It’s home to great restaurants and lively bars, though the vibe is far more relaxed than the raucous scene at nightlife hotspots like Patong. From May to October Kata Beach serves up world-class waves, which sees surfers descend on the beach.
Technically, Kata Beach is made up of two main sections, Kata Yai Beach and Kata Noi Beach. It’s just a few minutes south of Karon Beach and is just a 20-minute drive from Phuket Town. Small open air buses make the trip, though there are also plenty of taxis and tuk-tuks available.
While today Kata Beach is one of Phuket’s most popular beach resorts, it wasn’t always such a tourism hotspot. In the 1980s Kata Beach was a sleepy village, fringed by rice paddies and small fishing villages.