Difference between revisions of "Kamala"
Revision as of 03:36, 12 December 2011
Kamala provides a haven for those who prefer the quieter life. Although the southern end of the beach can get busy in the high season, the northern end is peaceful all year round. "Rim Haad" (Beach Road), at the southern end, has a number of small 20-30 room hotels for the low/medium budget traveller. Friendly service and village feel and a diversity of restaurants and small bars can be found on this small road. Cheaper food options/market stalls can be found on the main Kamala Road.
By taxi - 500 baht from the airport.
The only two tourist attractions Kamala has to offer (besides the beach) are the Fantasea show and the Buddhist temple at the southern end of the beach.
At the middle of the beach, there is a small park with a tsunami monument.
If you are looking to spend most of the time on the beach enjoying the sea, this is a very good place to be. Beach is quite nice and is not too crowded. Sea floor is nice and sandy. In the afternoons the water spectacularly recedes leaving a blanket of rocks at the left end of the beach for local fishing and a beautiful swimming area at the right end of the beach.
On the beach, you won't be able to get around a Thai massage. These are offered at small stalls throughout the beach, and the rate seems fixed (300 baht/hour, March 2007). Even if you're not comfortable with a full body massage, don't miss out on a heavenly foot massage. Get one daily and help support the local economy while enjoying a pampering.
The Kamala Wat is located at the southern end of the beach and is almost unnoticeable. The temple and its grounds have been restored since the Boxing Day tsunami and the Buddhist locals and resident monks welcome curious Australians and foreigners. It was the Australian television program Backyard Blitz that helped restore the gardens of the Wat after the tsunami. A memorial tree is placed in the garden with a dedication plaque and the walls of the main temple are a beautifully decorated story of Buddha. Visiting this Wat can be an enlightening and cultural experience; pictures and events of the Tsunami are displayed on a board for foreigners to see and the monks allow photos of the grounds as long as you're in the company of a local.
The extremely popular Phuket FantaSea is located in Kamala. Phuket FantaSea is an exuberant show/cultural theme park that combines the rich heritage of Thailand with unique 4D effects and animals. The park is 140 acres and presents a 4000-seat restaurant offering a grand buffet of Thai and international cuisine and a shopping street offering local products. The park operates daily except Thursdays and opens at 8.30pm. 
If more entertainment is desired you can take a taxi to Patong; however taxis are unreasonably expensive ~500 baht one way (but less if you bargain). Tuk-tuks are a simple and (sometimes) cheap way to leave Kamala. Tuk-tuks to the more popular Patong cost around 300 baht. Some of the hotels provide an affordable shuttle to Patong.
Kamala Dive Center has half-day trips to dive sites around Kamala, like Kamala Rock- a boulder site with plenty of fish, Koh Weo- a small reef island, Tin Lizzy - a wreck of a dredger, and Tai Pau, a shallow sand bottom site. The dives are done by longboat and are often quite enjoyable with less divers and more fish as compared to other Phuket diving options. 
Catching the local open-sided bus to Phuket Town or further is a cheap and cultural experience for travellers unwilling to pay expenses for taxis or tuk-tuks. The bus is fantastic and cheap - if you are willing to share it with curious locals. In Kamala the bus runs every hour and passes along the main road. You need only to flag it down and jump through the back - you pay the driver at the end of your journey.
Kamala offers some small supermarkets, one of them a 7-11. There's quite a few souvenir shops on the road, along with some tour offices where you can book lots of different tours for diving or beach watching.
Most noticeable are about 20 to 30 tailors (including two just outside the Kamala Bay Garden Resort), which all try to guess your nationality and offer the 'best and cheapest suits in western fashion'. Before entering one of them, you should be well aware what you want and what you are willing to pay for it. Upon delivery, you should check all seams.
There are quite a few restaurants directly on the beach. Usually they show some fresh fish and seafood on ice, where you can choose exactly what to eat.
One of them offers a weekly BBQ - all you can eat. You should make a reservation in time to get a table, but actually, its not worth it.
In the village you also find an abundance of restaurants, also with the seafood in the front on ice. Those which offer fewer Western dishes often have the best Thai dishes.
For breakfast, try the "Rockfish". This restaurant is located south of the beach, on the hillside. It is rather splendid, and not too cheap, but the breakfast special is only 99 baht for juice, coffee and some breakfast (several choices).
Another breakfast place is the Kamala Bakery, just a next door to the Siam Commercial Bank on the main road between Patong and Surin on the Patong side of Kamala. The bakery has good breakfast options and tasty breads. Clean and with aircon. Not that cheap and will charge THB5 extra for a little jam. Not as pleasant surroundings as Rockfish but the food is more substantial.
If you look for other beach-side restaurant, we would like to recommend "Salt & Pepper Restaurant" is better known for its steaks and pizzas than Swedish food. T: (076) 385 371, []
Insider tip: there is one Thai place on the beach that seems to get repeat visits from the locals that run the hotels. It is called "PP&P" -- hard to find, but absolutely worth it if you want quality, clean and authentic Thai food at excellent prices (sometimes hard to find in Phuket). The chef ("Wichet"), a friendly English-fluent former cook at the Four Seasons is incredibly approachable and gregarious. His Thai dishes are packed with local herbs and spices, and all made fresh. Get the pomelo salad, the coconut chicken soup, and anything you want in his special red curry/tamarind sauce. Right on the water, he can organize a romantic dinner in advance. About 650THB for a 5-course meal for two. Look for them in the middle of the beach, adjacent to "Smile Bar" and across from the big pink shop-houses.
There are several bars in Kamala - most designed to suit the tourists who flock to Phuket in the tourist season. For example the Welsh Bar and the Aussie Bar are bars that have a certain patriotic atmosphere but are rather quiet in the off season. Bob's Bar is located on the main road, towards the Southern end of the beach and provides standard cocktails as well as exotic original cocktails - notably the "Kamala Sunset" - a concoction designed by Bob himself.
Kamala beach has a lot of small bungalows and huts directly on the beach, at about 1600 to 2000 baht per night in the high season. If you don't want to book one of the bigger hotels, you should start with one night booked in advance and then look for accommodation yourself. Don't let some agency at the airport book rooms for you.
Most Internet providers charge 1 baht/minute, usually with a minimum charge of 10 baht.
Jackie Lee Tours charges 1 baht/minute and no minimum, and all the usual tours and events can also be booked here.
25 baht/hour in Kamala (Main) Road 78/6 opposite of CLUB EURO - coffee or tea 10 baht.