Kata Beach is a 1.5-km strip of golden sand and is considered one of the most popular beaches in Phuket due to its combination of beauty, facilities and activities. Hundreds of people come each day to soak up the sun and swim in the sea. Often busy but never crowded, this beach is pleasing in many ways.

During the north-east monsoon season (November to April), the warm sea is often as flat as a pancake, crystal clear and turquoise in colour. The south-west monsoon season (May to October) can make for rougher swimming conditions, but it's at this time of year that the surfers flock to enjoy the waves. On days when red warning flags are flying, you should not enter the water due to dangerous rip tides and swells but on these days you probably wouldn't want to go to the beach anyway.

Late in the year as the waters turn calm, Kata Bay fills up with beautiful yachts which arrive from all over the region to compete in December's King's Cup Regatta, one of Asia's premier sailing events.

The Beach of Kata - one of the highlights of 10 Best Beaches in Phuket and 13 Best Beaches in Thailand (Read all about Phuket Province here)

photo by Jeff Gunn (CC BY 2.0) modified

Kata Beach facilities

Sun loungers and umbrellas are available to rent on Kata Beach on a total of 10% of the sand, at intervals along its length. Beachgoers can also purchase small umbrellas (a few hundred baht in local shops and supermarkets near the beach) and beach mats (at the entrance of the beach, near Kata Beach Resort). The southern end has shops, restaurants and toilets close by.

At the top of the beach, and for most of its length, there are shaded areas, sheltering beach massage parlours and street vendor stalls selling a great variety of snacks (fruits, grilled chicken and more) and drinks. The far south is ideal for families with small children as it becomes shaded later in the day and is also close to amenities. Wandering vendors roam the beach with ice-creams, fresh fruits, sarongs, sunglasses and beachwear.

Kata beach restaurants

Many restaurants serving seafood, Thai and international dishes line the southern part of the beach. Hawker stalls can be found at both ends of the beach road, particularly in the car park at the southern end next to Kata Beach Resort.

Kata Beach watersports

There's a small island at the northern end with good snorkelling around it. Kayaks can also be used for exploring. Parasailing is also good here as the reefs at either end can be seen from the air.

Scuba diving enthusiasts and students are active at the northern end of Kata Beach, particularly during the high season when the water is at its calmest. The rougher conditions of the low season make swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving impractical, but are ideal for surfing.

Surfing in Kata Beach

For many, the southern and central parts of the beach offer the best surfing in Phuket, which is why Kata Beach can get rather busy at times, even in the low season. The waves are fast but manageable and at times can really buck high at the sandbar.

The south end of the beach is the best place to watch or join in on the surfing action because there's a beach break there. Rentals are available for those who leave their boards at home or just want to have a try. Pay for the day and you can use any of the surfboards or keep switching until you find one you like. The waves are a nice size for beginners and surfing tuition is also available.

Close to shore, the waves have far less power and are perfect for little ones, so boogie boards can be rented for children. This will keep them amused like nothing you've ever seen.

photo by edwin.11 (CC BY 2.0) modified

The Beach of Kata

Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveller