If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday destination in Phuket away from the throngs of partygoers in Patong, Kata Beach is the place for you! Whether you want to chill at the beach, hit the waves, or indulge in the Thai food scene, there are loads of amazing things to do in Kata!
This guide unpacks the absolute best things to do in Kata Beach Phuket, plus handy tips on getting there, where to stay, and where to eat!
Ready to plan your perfect getaway to Kata Beach in Phuket? Let’s go!
Disclaimer: This post probably contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase through one of these links, I might receive a tiny commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Before you go to Kata Beach
Kata is located in the southwestern corner of Phuket, right next to Karon, and it’s arguably one of the best areas to stay in Phuket. The vibe is laidback, and there are tons of trendy bars, cozy cafes, and gorgeous beachfront resorts to stay at. Additionally, it’s home to the famous Kata Beach – an idyllic strip of soft white sand fringed by palm trees and dreamy turquoise-colored water.
However, before you kick start your dream Thai beach vacay, here are a few travel tips to make your trip all the easier:
- Phuket is Thailand’s biggest island and almost as big as Singapore! Everything is quite spread out, and getting from one area to another will take time and effort. Renting a car or scooter might be wise if you want to explore the rest of the island and don’t want to bother with public transport or taxi. Make sure you have a valid license and stick to the traffic rules, as roadblocks aren’t uncommon.
- Along with Bangkok and Krabi, Phuket is arguably among the most popular places to visit in Thailand. While Kata is a very laid-back area, rooms fill up quickly thanks to its serene setting. Make sure to book accommodation well in advance. Find the best hotel deals in Phuket here.
- Thailand has a tropical climate, meaning it’s hot and humid throughout most of the year. Read my Thailand packing list so that you know what to bring along on your trip.
- Don’t forget to get travel cover – I recommend SafetyWing for their affordable packages and excellent customer service.
The Best Things to do in Kata Beach Phuket
Relax at the beach
Kata Beach, also known as Kata Yai, is one of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket. The 1.5km strip of soft white sand features luscious palm trees, warm turquoise waters, and lots of room to bake in the sun.
There are several spots where you can rent beach umbrellas and loungers for as little as 100 baht a day. The one right in front of Beyond Kata Resort quickly became our go-to spot. The staff is friendly, the loungers are clean, and there is an amazing fruit shake vendor stall mere steps away (don’t miss the coconut smoothie!).
While Kata is a great swimming spot year-round, the water can be a bit dangerous during the low season (May to October) when there are strong undercurrents and big swells. Keep an eye out for the red flags signaling hazardous conditions, and don’t go in too deep if you are not a strong swimmer.
Besides swimming and working on your tan, there are many other cool things to do at Kata Beach – from getting a massage right on the beach and surfing to snorkeling, kayaking, and jet-skiing. If your tummy starts to rumble, there’s a cluster of restaurants and bars at the southern edge of Kata Beach, but you’ll also find a strip of street food vendors near the beach’s main entrance selling all kinds of local Thai snacks and drinks.
Travel tip: Hawkers, selling everything from beachwear to ice cream to knock-off watches and sunglasses, can be a bit of a nuisance at Kata Beach, so don’t make eye contact if you’re not in the mood to buy anything.
Learn to surf
If you’re looking for one of the best things to do at Kata Beach, grab your swimsuit and head to one of the many surf schools that line the beach.
Kata Beach is the surfing spot in Phuket, offering consistent waves throughout the year. Low season is peak surfing season, and you’ll find throngs of surfers hitting the waves. For the best surf, head to the south of the beach. Here you’ll find several surf schools ready to give lessons no matter your level. You can also rent boards from them if you’re already a seasoned surfer.
Surfing lessons start from 800 baht per hour, and board rentals at 200 baht per hour. You can also book a beginner surfing lesson here in advance to guarantee your spot.
Grab a beer at Ska Bar
If you’re looking for the best beach bar in Kata, you don’t need to look much further than Ska Bar.
Ska Bar is a laid-back reggae bar right at the southern edge of Kata Beach, and it’s just the spot to kick back with a freshly cracked coconut or an ice-cold Singha.
They only sell drinks, but if you’re hungry, just pop over to the adjacent seafood restaurant, where you can fill up on freshly caught seafood and all the Thai classics.
Spend a day at Kata Noi Beach
Kata Noi, also known as little Kata beach, tempts beachgoers with its laidback vibes, soft sand, and warm turquoise waters.
Located just 2km south of Kata Yai (the main beach), Kata Noi is a stunning little bay perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or strolling. There’s quite a strong undercurrent here, especially in the northern corners, so watch out for the red flags.
You’ll find several bars and cafes towards the middle of the beach, and it’s also here where you can rent sun loungers and umbrellas. However, for a quieter experience with minimal crowds, head to the northern corner of the beach near the Katathani Resort.
Kata Noi is easily accessed by songthaew from Kata Beach, but if you’re up for it, you can also walk. Keep an eye out for the staircase leading down to the beach just past Mom Tri’s Kitchen. It’s a steep climb, but the scenery to the bottom is absolutely stunning!
Go island hopping
Thailand’s southern corners are littered with gorgeous islands. And as a result, island hopping is one of the best things to do in Kata Beach and the rest of Phuket.
Day trip packages are easy to arrange online in advance, but you can also pop by the many tourist information booths in Kata to book an excursion to the dreamy islands of the Andaman Sea.
Eat your way through the Kata Night Market
If you’re looking for the best place to eat a wide variety of cheap Thai food, add the Kata Night Market to your list of things to do in Kata Phuket.
Located in a huge covered building Kata Night Market (Google Maps) tempts visitors with all the local Thai dishes like pad thai, spring rolls, and roti, plus a few more daring options like crocodile meat.
Besides indulging in all the food, the market is also a great place to shop for everything from souvenirs and clothes to bags, beachwear, handmade jewelry, and artwork. Don’t forget to haggle!
Another popular Kata beach activity among more adventurous travelers is kayaking. And if you’re up for it, you can even kayak out to Koh Pu – a small uninhabited island floating offshore. There are some good snorkeling opportunities here, so bring your gear.
You can rent a kayak on the south side of Kata Beach for as little as 200 baht per hour. And if you want to take it up a notch, clear kayak rentals are also available at 600 baht per hour.
If kayaking is not thrilling enough for you, other popular water activities at Kata Beach include stand-up paddleboarding (300 baht p/h), parasailing, and jet skiing.
Get a Thai massage
No trip to Thailand would be complete without getting a massage, and Kata Beach Phuket is no different. There are scores of massage places all over town, and you can even get a massage right on the beach.
The most common massage is the famous traditional Thai massage, but if you’ve never had one before, know that it involves a lot of twisting and pulling, so it might not be the most relaxing experience. If that’s not for you, opt for something more low-key, like a foot and back massage. A typical Thai massage starts at 300 baht for one hour, while an oil or aloe vera massage will cost a little more.
While you won’t need to look far to find a massage salon, Pearl Spa quickly became our go-to place for a pamper session. The spa features bright modern interiors and has a lovely relaxing atmosphere. On top of that, the staff was super friendly, and we left rejuvenated every single time!
Drink cocktails at Swagen Bar
Swagen Bar is a cool roadside truck bar and a great pitstop if you’re wandering along Kata Road.
There is a nice little seating area in front of the VW bus, and the owners are super friendly and attentive. Plus, the cocktails are the real deal!
If you’re looking for another great bar in Kata, this is it! It’s a lovely place to sit back, listen to music, and sip boozy cocktails at affordable prices. Prices start around 100-120 baht per glass, but buckets are also available if you want to go all out. Don’t miss the Passion Fruit Mojito!
Join a Thai cooking class
If you get tired of lounging on the beach or simply want to learn a new skill, why not join a cooking class?
Thai food is one of the best cuisines in the world, and taking a cooking class is a great way to remember your trip (and impress your friends back home). It’s also one of the top activities in Kata!
Kata Thai Cooking School is one of the best-rated cooking schools in Phuket and just the place to learn the ins and outs of Thai cuisine in a fun setting.
Hike to the Karon Viewpoint
Located just a 10-minute drive from Kata, the Karon Viewpoint is a must on any list of things to do in Kata Beach.
It’s one of Phuket’s most popular viewpoints, and it’s not hard to see why. The viewpoint offers an unbeatable view over Phuket’s ocean, hilly slopes, and the beaches of Kata Noi, Kata Yai, and Karon Beach.
The easiest way to get to Karon Viewpoint is to self-drive (scooters can be rented all along Kata Road). Alternatively, hop in a songthaew. Remember to ask the driver to stick around as you might battle getting a taxi back. Come at sunset for the best experience!
Visit the Big Buddha
One of the most famous landmarks in Phuket is the Big Buddha – a 45-meter-tall white marble buddha perched on Nakkerd Hill. It’s visible from just about anywhere in southern Phuket, and you can easily spot it from Kata Beach.
The buddha took some 14 years to complete, and to get right in front of the massive statue, you’ll need to tackle the 94 steps leading to it! However, the panoramic views from the top will be more than enough reward!
Getting to the Big Buddha can be a bit expensive if you don’t have your own wheels, costing around 500 baht. So if you want to see a few other highlights like Phuket Old Town and Wat Chalong Temple, consider joining this Phuket highlights tour. Alternatively, hire a driver for the day so that you can plan all your own stops.
Like other religious landmarks in Thailand, remember to dress appropriately and cover your knees and shoulders. The temple complex is free to enter, but donations are always welcome.
How to Get to Kata Beach from Phuket Airport
The distance between Kata Beach and Phuket International Airport is only about 46km, but it can take anywhere from 1-2 hours to get to Kata, depending on the mode of transport you choose and the traffic.
The fastest way to get to Kata Beach is by private transfer. You can book a private car online here in advance or arrange one upon arrival at the airport. There are several booths in the Arrivals Hall where you can book a private vehicle straight to your hotel in Kata. Prices are fixed at 1000 baht no matter which company you choose to use. While it is a bit pricey, it is the most convenient way to travel between the two destinations.
A much cheaper option to travel between Phuket Airport and Kata Beach is by minivan. The minivan only costs 200 baht to Kata Beach. The only problem with taking the minivan is that you’ll need to wait for it to fill up with at least ten people before it leaves. Since the van will drop people off all over the place, the journey is generally much longer than a private car. Another thing to note is that the van might not drop you right in front of your accommodation, but it will always be within walking distance. So if you are traveling with lots of luggage, choose your base wisely. With that said, the van is spacious, has AC, and it’s definitely the most cost-effective way to travel between the two areas. You can book the minivan at any of the booths in the Arrivals Hall.
Where to Stay in Kata Beach
Kata Beach has a host of amazing accommodation options to cater to all travelers. The best part? You can easily book a luxury beachfront resort at a fraction of the price you would pay elsewhere in the world. Here are my top picks:
You can’t go wrong with the lavish Boathouse Phuket for easy beachfront access. But Beyond Resort Kata is also a great base if you’re looking for a hotel right on the beach with a friendlier price tag.
SIS Kata is a gorgeous 4-star resort and a great option for mid-range travelers. The hotel features a dreamy infinity pool, beautifully decorated spacious rooms, a spa, and a fitness center. It’s a bit away from the main hustle and bustle but the beach is only a 5-minute walk away.
Best places to eat in Kata Beach
Along with the night market mentioned above, here are a couple of other must-eat spots in Kata:
- Kiri Burger & Grill: If you’re looking for a beautiful setting and the best Thai fusion food, Kiri Burger & Grill is the place for you. Don’t miss the mango sticky rice!
- Kata Beach Night Market might be much smaller than Kata Night Market, but it’s at a super convenient location and has a good selection of cheap local dishes.
- Food Market Kata has a great selection of Thai food and an expansive wine list (including South African wine). The vibe is very laidback, and the staff is friendly and attentive.
- Two Chefs Kata Beach: If you’re looking for a more lively setting, check out Two Chefs. The menu offers a wide variety of local and western cuisine, while the live music provides much entertainment.
What to do at Kata Beach in Conclusion
Kata Beach is one of the most beautiful areas in Phuket, and whether you’re visiting to enjoy the sand, sun, or surf, there are loads to keep you busy for a few days.
Well, that’s all I have on Kata Beach for now. I hope this guide has given you loads of info to help you plan your trip to Kata Beach Phuket!
Liked this guide on things to do in Kata Beach? Don’t forget to pin it to your favorite Thailand travel board!