Kata and Karon Beach, Phuket
It was "our" beach, with the hotel well located by the sea, and… we met the monsoon.
Impossible to swim. The 1st day an helicopter flying around announced us the death of a tourist in the neighbor Kata beach. We didn’t take risks, and only Tito and me entered the water, in a shallow area, but with full precautions, because even there, we felt the very strong undertoe.
The beach was neglected (low season) but Patong beach was safe and near. Anyway, everybody enjoyed our stay, the tranquility of the place, and the ease to explore the several good attractions in the island. But I would like to come back with a different sea.
Kata Beach is definitely one of my favorite beaches. Be sure to arrive early to reserve a sun lounge as it fills up very quickly. You must hire a sun lounge first - not very expensive or the man will come chasing after you! My advice is to reserve one near a kiosk so you don't have to walk to far to get something to eat or drink. The water is so warm as well, it was like having a warm bath! Will definitely be back!
If the Karon beach is popular for scandinavian and eastern european tourists and honey mooners, Kata Beaches (Kata Yai and Kata Noi) is more popular for families and groups who value some peace and quiet and like in Karon Area, Kata is a sub disrtrict of Karon and both are under Muang Tambon (town). Kata of has far less commercial establishments than Patong and Kata area is split into two focal areas: Kata Centre, which is at the northern end close to Karon and Kata South, home to several resorts and many russian commercial establishments. Visitors will find an abundance of shops to browse in, from souvenir and ready-to-wear outlets, to 7-Elevens and local mini-marts, to name-brand fashion stores. There are far less bars here in kata and they are not noisy as in Bangla Road in Patong.
Karon Beach, Unlike Patong Beach, has far less commercial activity and the hustle and bustle of touristy Patong Beach in The North. The Beach here is finer, the sands more white and there is more privacy and the best deal is that Karon Town near the beach is small and are concentrated around three main areas: The Karon Plaza area on the south end features a number of budget guesthouses, restaurants and bars. Thavorn Palm Beach Resort and the Hilton Phuket Arcadia dominate much of the central part of Karon and finally the side soi streets karon where there are art galleries by local thai artisans. The north end of karon is practically bare and underdeveloped.
Karon Beach is located 3 kilometers south of Patong Beach and the beach is less congested and less crowded than patong. The sands here are finer and the quality is better and more fine than Patong but the nearby Kata Beach has the best Fine White Sands among the beaches of Phuket Province. Karon Beach is the second longest of the many phuket island beaches at 4 kilometers in length and again has less the number of establishments you can find at patong. this beach is popular with scandinavian and eastern european tourists (mostly russians) and there are many russian establisments at the vicinity of the beach. A road runs the entire length of Karon beach, just behind a line of sand dunes. All hotels are set back from the road and ther is a concrete pavement just beside the beach front where you can jog or bike or walk of just hang around. there are less people here so you have more privacy then in patong but again, beware of the strong currents and rip tides present if you are visiting in the monsoon season like us (from may to october).
There are many tuk tuks waiting at particular areas of karon beach for passengers and the average price to and from patong is 300 baht if you are good at haggling.
I love to swim at kata beach more than at Patong Beach and even ay Maya Bay eventhough Maya Bay in Phi Phi Le has more breath taking views. why? since the currents here at Kata Beach is not as strong as in Maya bay or at Patong and Karon beaches and even though we visited it during the monsoon season (october), the currents are not that strong and there is less incidence of rip tides here and more so, it is less congested and there is more personal space than in the other beaches. Kata Beach has less beach activities than in Patong or Karon as the beach here is smaller but again this is an ideal destination for swimmers who want to have more peace and quiet. The water is even clearer than at Patong Beach.
Kata Beach and the nearby Kata Noi Beach has the best quality of White Sands in Phuket Province and is the best destinations for families and people who want some privacy. Plus the sunset views here are better than at Patong with the Poo Island providing a back drop in contrast. if you just plain hanging around on a vacation to a beach paradise with no worries and no time pressure to do anything then try hanging around here at Kata Beach during the sunset as you would see wonderful views of the sun setting down slowly and the color of the beach sand turning from white to gray and what better thing to do it while lying down in one of the beach beds lining the beach and having a cocktail or beer or two either with your friends or your loved one. the views here are priceless and the experience is wonderful.
Being Far from the Action of Patong Beach, Kata Beach is just a small 3 kilometer stretch of white sand beach among the many beaches in phuket province. it is located 8 kilometers south of patong beach and 1 kilometer away from Karon Beach.There is less people swimming here and there is more privacy than in Patong Beach. What Better way to do here than hanging around and having brewskies (beers) with your wolf pack hehehe. There are less beer bars and commercial establishments at the Kata Beach and there are some beachside Stores and Food Stalls at the beach front and you can order your favorite beers, drinks, cocktails, bar chow, snacks at these establishments as they have runners along the beach that get your order and bring it you your spot at the beach (if you rent the assorted monobloc beach beds lining the Kata Beach). prices of these drinks are 100 baht for local beers like singha or chang, 120 baht for tiger beer and 150 baht for assorted cocktails. 300 baht for pizza, 150 baht for pad thai and more.
you can lounge around the beach front up to 6:00 pm as these beachside food stalls and stores closes at 6:00 pm.
Kata village is split into two areas: Kata centre and Kata south.
Kata centre is a cozy area 5 minutes walk away from the beach where you find many small restaurants and cheaper guesthouses. To get to the beach you can walk 5-10 minutes to reach the "Kata south" or walk 10 minutes to the north to reach other beach called Karon beach.
Kata centre is good for families with small children and has some places children like, f.ex Dinasour Park restaurant. I normally stay in Kata centre when I'm in Phuket and I have stayed there 5 times.
The beach of Kata is very nice. The sand quality is soft and there are a lot of water activities along the beach. Some larger resorts are spread besides this area. But you will also find some cheaper guesthouses in the area behind.
Karon Beach Phuket has a very long and wide sandy beach. The resort area is a lot quieter than Patong which is located to the north of Karon Beach. Hotels and resorts are located acrosss the beach road from the beach at Karon except for the Karon Beach Resort. There are now a large number of restaurants in Karon as well as shopping both at the north end near Karon Circle, at the south part and also some shops along the main beach road at Karon.
Karon beach is located south of Patong. It's a long and wide beach with some large resorts and many small hotels and guesthouses. The central part of Karon houses the biggest hotels.
Karon area is melting together with Kata village at the southern part of the beach. This place has many budget guesthouses, restaurants and bars. I like the south-end of the beach.
Karon beach has unfortunately light incidents of jellyfish with burning fibres. I felt an intense itching on my back when I was swimming there in March 2005.
we stayed at Karon beach and we were so happy we chose there, we found Patong Beach too busy, Karon is better for families, you can easliy go on a scooter of a tuk tuk to Patong beach, there was heaps of shopping here and plenty of bars and restaruants.
Kata beach is split into two with Kata Yai Beach to the north, and the smaller and more secluded Kata Noi to the south. Kata Yai is a particularly scenic beach, with squeaky soft sand and gentle lapping waves. Kata Yai, like Karon Beach to the north, is a hit with families. A small islet sits off its northern headland and when the waters are calm, able swimmers can make it across for a spot of not unreasonable snorkelling. Kata Noi is a contrast to big sister Kata Yai. This lovely little beach is hidden away over the headland to the south and gets but a fraction of the crowds you'll see elsewhere. This is in part because the beach is dominated by a massive resort owned by the Kata Thani group, but there is also a smattering of budget accommodation just off the beach.
Karon is the second largest of Phuket's tourist beaches, some 20 kilometres from Phuket Town and is located just south of Patong. Large resort complexes line the road behind the shoreline, but the long, broad 3km long beach itself has no development. The sand is very white, and squeaks audibly when walked upon. The southern point has a fine coral reef stretching toward Kata and Bu Island.
There are three main districts along the beach: the north, centre, and south.
At the northern end, most of the accommodations and restaurants are scattered near the round-about and on the sois running off Patak Rd. Heading south on the beach road are a handful of low-key self-contained resorts. Continuing south you'll see a supermarket that marks the turn-off for Luang Pho Chuan Rd. There's a few mid-range places around here and, at the far end, a cluster of budget guesthouses and dorms. Further south on the beach road, just before Karon fuses with Kata, is a small group of mid and upper range resorts on southern headlands. Most of the entertainment and restaurant options are on Patak and Luang Pho Chuan Rds. There is some nightlife but nowhere near what's on offer in Patong.
Karon town is quiet with a few resturants and cheap places to stay. Up towards the beach are more resturants and more expensive hotels but these are all quite spread out. The beach is very long, a good few kms and beware it is dangerous to swim here at certain times of year so you either have to take the risk or travel somewhere else.
Although quiet i found this a very central and convenient place to use as a base. Patong is about 7kms away and Kata about 5kms. The local Tuk Tuks are very expensive about 500 TB to Patong so we hired scooters at £2 a day each ( this is based on the exchange rate being 62 TB to the £ ).
Easily accessable from here by scooter is Phuket city, all of the south Phuket, Patong Beach, Kata Beach and a fabulous place to take an elephant ride is called Kok Chang ( near Kata beach on the way to Karen veiwpoint ) where they have a bar with if you are lucky 2 resident monkeys who will sit with you. Elephant rides are 1000 TB for one hour but you can get shorter rides.
There are many fabulous beaches within reach and a good temple called Wat Chalong