Kamala (กมลา) is on the west coast of Phuket, just to the north of Patong, and immediately south of Surin Beach. Kamala is one of the quieter areas on Phuket's famed west coast. 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/mid-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 Rd.
By taxi, 500-600 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 south end of the beach.
The popular Phuket FantaSea is located in Kamala. Phuket FantaSea is a 140 acre cultural theme park that combines the rich heritage of Thailand with 3D effects and animals. The park has a 4000-seat restaurant offering a buffet of Thai and international cuisine and a shopping street offering local products. The park operates daily except Thursdays and opens at 20:30.
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 Boxing Day tsunami and resident monks welcome curious foreigners. 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 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.Kamala Beach - panoramio.jpg
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 along the beach, and the rate seems fixed (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.
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 to Patong cost around 300 baht. Some of the hotels provide an affordable shuttle to Patong. Catching the local open-sided bus to Phuket Town or further is a cheaper way to get out of Kamala! It is how locals get around. 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 Dive 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 wreck of a dredger, and Tai Pau, a shallow sand bottom site. The dives are done by longboat and are often quite enjoyable with fewer divers and more fish as compared to other Phuket diving options.
Kamala has some small minimarkets, including a 7-Eleven. 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 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 the 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 barbecue, 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 Siam Commercial Bank on the main road between Patong and Surin on the Patong side of Kamala). Breakfast place. 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. Not as pleasant as Rockfish, but the food is more substantial.
- PP&P (hard to find: look for them in the middle of the beach, adjacent to Smile Bar and across from the big pink shop-houses). One Thai place on the beach that seems to get repeat visits from the locals who run the hotels. 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 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.
- Salt & Pepper Restaurant, ☏ +66 76 385371. Beachside restaurant. Better known for its steaks and pizzas than for its Swedish food.
There are several bars in Kamala, all touristy. 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 on the main road, towards the south end of the beach.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
|Budget||Under 1,000 baht|
|Mid-range||1,000 baht to 2,500 baht|
|Splurge||Over 2,500 baht|
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.
- Benjamin Resort. On the beach. Includes breakfast (ham & eggs, toast, coffee, tea, fruit). 600 baht.
- Baan Chaba (บ้านชบา), 95/3 Moo 3, ☏ +66 76 279158. 8 rooms. From 1,200 baht.
- Kamala Beachfront Apartment. On the beach with one and two bedroom apartments, breakfast not included, up to 5 persons per apartment. From 1,800 baht.
- Kamala Beach Hotel Resort. On the beach, very nice, clean rooms, friendly staff, and is affordable. 2,000 baht.
- Andara Resort Villas (อันดารา รีสอร์ท แอนด์ วิลล่่า), 15 Moo 6, Layi Naka Lay Rd, ☏ +66 76 338777, fax: +66 76 338949. Luxury resort on the hillside above Kamala Beach on the west coast of Phuket. A range of accommodation options (from 1-6 bedrooms).
- Aquamarine Resort & Spa (อความารีน รีสอร์ท แอนด์ สปา), 17/38 Moo 6, ☏ +66 76 310600, fax: +66 76 310630. 202 rooms. From 4,500 baht.
- Ayara Kamala Resort & Spa, 22/10 Moo 6, ☏ +66 76 310777. Grand deluxe ocean view rooms, Air conditioning, cable, DVD player and Internet. Bar, restaurant, swimming pool, and spa. From 13,000 baht.
- Baan Andara. Above Kamala Beach, part of a gated estate where you’ll find some luxurious homes. Each secluded villa owns their private pools and manicured gardens. From 49,500 baht.
- Ice Kamala Beach Hotel, 84/1 Moo 3 Rimhad Rd, ☏ +66 76 385437. All rooms equipped with balcony/ terrace, air conditioning, phone and Wi-Fi. Restaurant, terrace, laundry service, and airport shuttle. From 3,000 baht.
- Kamala Bay Garden Resort (กมลา เบย์ การ์เดน รีสอร์ท), 100/10 Hat Kamala Rd, ☏ +66 76 325722-7, fax: +66 76 325721. 200 m from the beach, has a great pool with water slide, tasty hotel food, and all rooms are suites (choice of one-, two-, or three-bedrooms). 180 rooms. 4,700-8,000 baht.
- Kamala Dreams. All rooms equipped with air conditioning, kitchenette with microwave oven, cutlery, crockery, and balcony/lanai/terrace. Charoen Seafood Restaurant, swimming pool, laundry service and Internet.
- Villa Analaya. With a big infinity pool and views of the beach. From 60,000 baht.
- Villa Liberty. Six-room pool villa on Kamala headland. From 43,500 baht.
- Villa Yang. From 26,850 baht.
- Villa Yin. On Kamala headland. From 43,500 baht.
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 at 78/6 main road, opposite Club Euro. Coffee or tea, 10 baht.
The only medical service centre is Kamala Clinic on Kamala main road. It operates daily 16:00-20:00.
- Laem Sing, the next beach heading north
- Surin, the next beach with a village, about 1 km beyond Laem Sing