Kata Beach Things To Do
It would be easy to accidentally waste your first time in Kata Beach if do not fully prepare for it. The bustling, family-friendly town on Phuket’s west coast has a lot to offer. Aside from the beautiful beach itself (and its equally beautiful but lesser-known neighbour, Kata Noi Beach), the area is home to a small number of fun attractions.
Kata Beach has quite a lively atmosphere throughout the year. It’s just as popular with the surfers and sailors in the low season as it is with sunbathers and snorkelers in the high season. It has quite an international feel, with an impressive selection of restaurants serving a wide range of cuisines.
Kata Beach at a Glance
Kata is one of the best beaches in Phuket. It’s the perfect all-rounder – great for everyone from families to solo travellers. Whether you’re travelling in luxury or on a budget, there are hotels, restaurants and shops for you.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT KATA:
- Amazing viewpoints and beaches
- Great selection of fine dining and mid-range restaurants
- Excellent shopping options
- Lots of sports and activities available
- One of Phuket’s best surfing beaches (between May and November)
Things To Do in Kata Beach
Most Popular Attractions in Kata Beach
The best things to do in Kata Beach are mostly water sports. The beautiful 1.5km-long beach and the azure Andaman Sea lapping at it the area’s star attractions. Shaded by Pandanus and tropical almond trees, Kata Beach is among the prettiest parts of Phuket. Its turquoise bay hosts a small islet – Koh Pu (Crab Island) – that completes the undeniable tropical touch of the scenery. The laid-back atmosphere perfectly suits the setting.
The sea off Kata Beach is among Phuket’s best spots for surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, diving, snorkeling and swimming. There’s also plenty to see and do on land, with fantastic viewpoints and popular sporting facilities. It’s definitely a place for the active visitor, as well as being family-friendly.
Karon Viewpoint (it used to be named Kata Viewpoint but was renamed Karon Viewpoint due to the fact that Kata belongs to Karon municipality) is one of the most frequented viewpoints in Phuket. From here, it is possible to take in views of Kata Noi, Kata Yai and Karon beaches.
Located between Nai Harn and Kata Noi beaches, the viewpoint is busy most days of the year and is a staple of many tour itineraries. There’s plenty of parking space at Karon Viewpoint and when things do get a little crowded people simply park roadside. You’ll find drinks and snack stands here along with a large gazebo (with seats) to provide shade
•Kata Noi Viewpoint Bars
Some of the island’s most spectacular viewpoints are along the winding, hilly road from Kata Beach to Nai Harn village. This is where you’ll find the oddly-named Karon Viewpoint (it’s actually above Kata Noi Beach) that many people refer to as the ‘Saam-haad’ (Three-beach) viewpoint.
Just above Kata Noi, a couple of minutes’ drive out of Kata you’ll come across four adjacent hillside bars/restaurants – After Beach Bar, Small View Point Seafood & Bar, Baan Chom View, and Som Tam Kit – that enjoy pretty much the same views and are a lot more relaxing than the sometimes crowded Karon Viewpoint location. A fifth interesting bar/restaurant named Sabai Corner also offers a stunning view to Phuket west coast; it is located down the road starting right next to Karon Viewpoint.
•Dino Park Mini Golf
Dino Park is a mini-golf course and restaurant located right in between Karon and Kata beaches on the Beach Road itself. The 18-hole course is themed on – you guessed it – dinosaurs, and has many large and life-like cement statues of the pre-historic creatures, along with an erupting ‘volcano’ as well as a themed restaurant.
Popular with both adults and kids, Dino Park is an ideal family outing destination. Because of Phuket’s high humidity and heat, it’s best to arrive after the heat of day has subsided. You won’t find much in the way of cooling breezes in Dino Park so be sure to wear mosquito repellent, dress light and to pack some bottled water. After a typical round of around 1 hour, the restaurant makes for a great place to cool off with a cold drink or burger.
•Surf House Phuket
Surf House Phuket is every surfer’s dream: a place where you can ride the waves every day no matter what the weather conditions. Surf House is a vibrant place to be. Apart from the pool area there’s a trendy and busy café/restaurant to the side with cool sounds, bamboo trimmings, buffed concrete floors, heavy wooden furniture and wall-mounted mini surfboards as a decorative theme.
Located by the Kata/Karon administrative offices at Kata Beach, Surf House is centered on a high-pressure wave-generating machine that throws a four-inch-deep sheet of water up a sloping ‘pool’. Beginner surfers hold onto a guiding safety rope held by a staff member and, if they happen to fall or slip, instead of falling downwards the strong water flow ensures they fall upwards. Surf House Phuket is a world to itself and as a result it is tremendously popular.
Kata Noi is a cosy little bay found at the end of a beachside dead-end, just a few minutes’ drive over the hill from Kata beach. There’s not much to do in Kata Noi apart from relax, take a walk along the shore, snorkel, swim, or admiring the wonderful scenery. Soft sand, crystal clear water and the lush green jungle backdrops are the main attractions that ensure visitors keep coming back for more.
•Snorkelling and Diving
Kata Beach is home to some of the best snorkelling and diving immediately around Phuket. There is a small coral reef between the northern tip of Kata Beach and the nearby Koh Pu, which is especially interesting. You can buy cheap snorkelling gear in some of the markets around Kata Beach or, if you want to really explore the undersea landscape, sign up for scuba lessons. There are more spectacular dive site further away from Phuket but, for ease of access, nowhere beats Kata Beach.
•Kata Night Market
Kata Night Market is a covered shopping area with a very large food court and a selection of mostly tourist-oriented stalls. Found on Kata New Road, it is impossible to miss the giant gorilla and Hulk statues by the entrances. Indeed, it should not be missed as you will find plenty of good savings on meals and souvenirs. The main market contains fairly typical wares, including herbal treatments, t-shirts, bags, flip-flops, souvenirs, swimwear, beach toys and some artworks.
•Stand-up Paddle Boarding
The warm and clear waters surrounding Phuket, and especially Kata Beach, are the perfect playground to try stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). It only needs a few lessons to learn the proper position to keep balance on the surfboard, how to use the long-handle paddle and how to ‘safely tame the potential waves’. This activity is only available during the high season, when the waters of Kata Beach are calm and flat. It is mostly offered by the same companies which offer surfing during the low season.
•Surfing in Kata Beach
Kata Beach is the surfing capital of Phuket. At Kata there are two surf shops and seven beach outlets where you can rent a board. Renowned for its consistent waves, this is the logical venue for the island’s biggest annual surfing competition. For many, the south end of the beach (outside Kata Beach Resort) offers the best board riding in Phuket and this is why Kata Beach can get rather busy at times.
Still, the vibes you get whilst sufing the waves or just relaxing on the beach itself is friendly, international and laid back. Many surfers join in at the volleyball net afterwards and there is even a surfer’s bar close by. With a maxium height of two metres, beginners and advanced riders can have fun in Kata Beach. If you’d like to experiment surfing in a super-safe environment beforehand, try out the new Flow Rider simulator machine at Phuket Surf House, a cool venue opened in 2013. Kata Beach hosts yearly international surf contests.
•Kata Temple (Wat Kittisankaram)
Kata Temple is located on a big piece of land covering about 48 rai, surrounded by beautiful nature at the feet of the mountain covered with tropical forest that marks Kata eastern side . The temple itself was built in 1832 and was simply known as Wat Kata, after the village’s name. 80 years later it was renamed Wat Kittisankaram.
The temple features a beautiful ordination hall housing the temple’s main statue of Lord Buddha, a monastery pavilion, monks’ dormitories and a primary school on the same grounds. Although the temple was built a long time ago it is well maintained and steadily being renovated. The result is an impressive sight with bright and fresh colours throughout most of its buildings. Wat Kata is truly a lovely local temple to pay a visit. Dressing with respect is a must.