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Kamala

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Western Phuket : Kamala
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Kamala (กมลา) is on the west coast of Phuket, just to the north of Patong, and immediately south of Surin Beach.

Understand

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.

Get in

By taxi, 500-600 baht from the airport.

Get around

See

The only two tourist attractions Kamala has to offer (besides the beach) are the Fantasea show and the Buddhist temple at the south end of the beach.

In the middle of the beach, there is a small park with a tsunami monument.

Do

If you are looking to spend most of the time on the beach enjoying the sea, this is a very good place to be. The beach is quite nice and is not too crowded. The 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 avoid a Thai massage. These are offered at small stalls along the beach, and the rate seems fixed at 300 baht/hour. 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 south end of the beach and is almost unnoticeable. The temple and its grounds have been restored since the 2004 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 3D effects and animals. The park is 140 acres and contains a 4,000-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 20:30. [1]

If more entertainment is desired, you can take a taxi to Patong. Taxis, however, are unreasonably expensive: ~500 baht one-way (less if you bargain). Tuk-tuks are a simple and (sometimes) cheap way to leave Kamala. Tuk-tuks to Patong cost around 300 baht. Some of the hotels provide an affordable shuttle to Patong.

Catching the songthaew to Phuket Town or further is a cheap cultural experience for travellers unwilling to pay the cost of 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 Diving Center has half-day trips to dive sites around Kamala, like Kamala Rock, a boulder site with plenty of fish; Ko Weo- a small reef island; Tin Lizzy, a dredger wreck; and Tai Pau, a shallow sand bottom site. The dives are done by longboat and are often quite enjoyable. [2]

Buy

Kamala has some small convenience stores, one of them a 7-11. There are quite a few souvenir shops on the road, along with some tour offices where you can book lots of different tours for diving.

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.

Eat

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, it's 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.

  • Kamala Bakery, (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 air-con. Not that cheap and will charge 5 baht extra for a little jam. Surroundings not as pleasant as Rockfish, but the food is more substantial.
  • Rockfish, (south of the beach, on the hillside), [3]. For breakfast, try the Rockfish. It is rather splendid, and not too cheap. Breakfast special is only 99 baht for juice, coffee and some breakfast (several choices)..
  • PP&P, (middle of the beach, adjacent to Smile Bar and across from the big pink shop-houses.). There is one Thai place on the beach that seems to get repeat visits from the locals that run the hotels. 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 650 baht for a 5-course meal for two.

Drink

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 south end of the beach and provides standard cocktails as well as exotic original cocktails, notably the "Kamala Sunset", a concoction designed by Bob himself.

Sleep

Kamala beach has a lot of small bungalows and huts directly on the beach, at about 1,600 to 2,000 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.

  • Aquamarine Resort & Spa (อความารีน รีสอร์ท แอนด์ สปา), 17/38 Mu 6, Hat Kamala, Amphoe Kathu, +66 76 310 600 (fax: +66 76 310 630). 202 rooms. 4,500 baht.
  • Ayara Kamala Resort & Spa, 22/10 Moo 6, Kathu, +66 76 310 777, [4]. Ocean view rooms, air conditioning, cable TV, DVD player, and Internet. Has bar, restaurant, swimming pool, and spa. From 13,000 baht.
  • Baan Chaba (บ้านชบา), 95/3 Mu 3, Kamala, +66 76 279 158. 8 rooms 1,200 baht.
  • Benjamin Resort, (on the beach). 600 baht per night for a 2 person room, including breakfast (ham & eggs, toast, coffee, tea, fruit)..
  • Kamala Bay Garden Resort (กมลา เบย์ การ์เดน รีสอร์ท), 100/10 Hat Kamala Rd, +66 76 325 722-7 (fax: +66 76 325 721), [5]. 200 m from the beach. Pool with waterslide, restaurant, and all rooms are suites (choice of one-, two-, or three-bedrooms). 180 rooms. 4,700-8,000 baht..
  • Kamala Bay Terrace Resort ((กมลา เบย์ เทอเรซ รีสอร์ท)), 16/12 Hat Kamala, +66 26 776 240-5, [6]. 123 rooms 5,900-15,000 baht.
  • no name hotel, (on). Three octagonal bungalows. Clean, stuffed with fresh flowers, and run by the owner herself only. 1,600 baht.
  • Kamala Beachfront Apartment, 107/1 Soi police station, +66(0)76-385 412 - 5. Their Phuket accommodation offers rooms equipped with electronic safety box, hair dryer, free ADSL Internet access, 29' satellite-TV and DVD player. Some of its facilities and services are pool bar, laundry room, saltwater swimming pool, jacuzzi, free internet service in the lobby, night time security, baby sitting, telephone and fax. Rate starts at 3,200 THB.

Contact

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.

Get out


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