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PHUKET
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We first visited Phuket on our very first trip to the far east in 1990 - the trip which awakened such a wanderlust in us! We stayed in Karon Beach then, returned to Karon Beach on our round-the-world trip in 1992, stayed in Kata Beach in December 2005 and in Kamala Beach in December 2006.

HOTELS IN PHUKET

Kamala Beach

A very pleasant, small, low key resort in the north of Phuket. Nice beach with deck chairs and umbrellas in the centre. Some bars and restaurants on the beach along the front and others on the main street. Probably best suited to couples and families but just about 10 minutes in a taxi from Patong for those who want to party.

Kamala Beach Resort

Stayed here in December 2006. It's a large hotel, almost definitely the biggest hotel in Kamala. Two beautiful swimming pools and ample chairs round the pools. Right on the beach. Clean rooms, large restaurant, good massages (*300B per hour). The restaurant was good for lunch - a large selection and all the food we had was nice. Visit Kamala Beach Resort's website. Click here to make a reservation at Kamala Beach Resort, view photos and read reviews by other travellers.


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Deluxe Ground Terrace room at Kamala Beach Resort
Kamala Beach Resort swimming pool
Second pool at Kamala Beach Resort
Massage area at Kamala Beach Resort
Deluxe ground terrace room (2019)
at Kamala Beach Resort
Largest pool at Kamala Beach Resort
Second pool at Kamala Beach Resort
Massage Area at Kamala Beach Resort
Main street in Kamala
Sunset at Kamala Beaach
Kamala Beach
Main street in Kamala
Main street in Kamala
Beautiful sunset on Kamala Beach
Kamala Beach
Main street in Kamala
 
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Kata Beach

This is a very popular area in Phuket. As you can see from the photograph of Kata Yai Beach below, the main beach is very large and although there are lots of tourists the size of the beach means it always appears relatively uncrowded. The photo is taken in December 2005, in high season. There is a good selection of shops, restaurants and bars in the area. There is another beach, to the south called Kata Noi and it is a quieter beach, although much of the beachfront is occupied by the Kata Thani hotel.

Kata Palm Hotel

This is a very nice hotel in Kata Beach where we stayed in December 2005. The hotel has the most amazing pool - well, two pools in fact. The small one is nice and has a swim up bar, but the second one is spectacular. It is huge and meanders round beautiful gardens, underneath a waterfall and has the nicest ambiance. It was just so nice to swim in! Our room (Superior, pool view) was nice and spotlessly clean. If you wanted to spend a bit more, the deluxe pool access rooms looked nice and you can enter the lovely pool direct from your balcony. It's about a 10 minute walk to the beach. We didn't eat at the restaurant, apart from breakfast which was fine. Visit Kata Palm's website. Click here to make a reservation at Kata Palm Hotel, view lots of photos and read reviews by other travellers

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Room at Kata Palm
Swimming pool and massage area
Swimming pool at Kata Palm
Room at Kata Palm Hotel
View of smallest pool & massage area
Largest pool at Kata Palm
Largest pool at Kata Palm
Swimming pool with waterfall
Kata beach
Kata Palm entrance
Swim under the waterfall
Kata Yai Beach
Kata Palm entrance
Room at Kata Palm Hotel
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Karon Beach

Another good option if you're looking for a lively area to stay. Lots of hotels, bars, restaurants and shops and a nice long stretch of beach. Karon and Kata run into each other, Kata being further south and still a bit quieter. As you can imagine, we noticed an incredible difference in Karon when we visited in 2005 after having last been there in 1992! It has developed so much, but we would still go there before Patong any day!


Surin Beach

Surin Beach

 

Didn't stay here but got a taxi from Kamala and had a look round. The beach was very nice (probably nicer than Kamala - less busy) and some nice beach restaurants, but think it would have been too quiet at night for us. There weren't many shops or restaurants back from the beach and the main street was very quiet.

Patong

We first visited Patong in 1990 and found it a fun place to go for the day - good beach, nightlife, a bustling market. We went there once for a night in 1992 and didn't see much change, but when we decided to have an evening there in December 2006 we absolutely detested what we saw so much so that we got a taxi back to Kamala after about an hour and a half and were so relieved to be back there! We found it over-commercialised, overcrowded, polluted - not what we think of as the real Thailand. The central area was crammed full of neon lit noisy bars, all playing different music loudly - a complete assault on the senses. There was also an overwhelming smell of traffic pollution. Judging by the crowds of people, however, many do not share our view, although we suspect that people who have never been to Thailand before end up there courtesy of their travel agents, who put them there because it the longest established and busiest area with lots of hotels. Also, if someone requests nice beaches but lots of nightlife that might be a reason for travel agents to recommend Patong. Please note that we only walked around the centre of Patong at night in 2006, so maybe we're being unfair and there may be some very charming areas. The ambience during the day may be completely different. There do seem to be many lovely hotels and the beach is probably still nice, but to us Patong is the very worst side of Thailand.

 

Interestingly, we were quoted 7100B in a shop on Patong main street for an item we'd seen for around 2000B in Bangkok and Ao Nang. When the assistant realised he wasn't going to be able to rip us off, he gradually kept reducing his price till he got down to 1700B!! Obviously by then we'd lost trust and doubted the quality of the item. Prices can vary from place to place, and it's always worth getting prices from a few different shops to compare, but we were never quoted such a ridiculously high and unrealistic price anywhere else.


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