Kamala Beach in Phuket is known for its relaxing vibe. It is situated on the west side of Phuket, just north of Patong. Only a few kilometres away from the noise and the hustle and bustle of Phuket’s largest party scene. Only a few kilometres south of Surin Beach.
During the high season, the southern end of Kamala beach becomes quite busy, but still not as overcrowded as Patong or Kata Beach. The northern part of Kamala beach is usually very peaceful all year round. With the recently opened beach clubs like Cafe del Mar and HQ Beach Lounge, this part of the beach offers even more chilled atmosphere.
Kamala beach area, in general, has a very relaxed pace. Kamala beach itself is quite enclosed and is surrounded by a beautiful fishing village and an amazing forest on the hillside in the backdrop. In the middle of the beach, you will notice a park with a tsunami monument. This has been placed here as a memory for the devastation the tsunami caused back in 2004.
To find out more about other beaches in Phuket, read our blog about 5 best beaches in Phuket.
Kamala Beach Activities
Kamala beach is about 2 km long. The sea here is fantastic, with clear waters, immaculate, and beautiful golden crisp sand.
Kamala Beach is more geared towards the relaxed sun seeker. The beach has a lovely soft sand surface under the water, no hard rocks to stumble over. There’s just a little rocky formation on the north end of the beach. Here you can spot fishermen from time to time. And it’s an undoubtedly the best spot for snorkelling.
Compared to other beaches, there are fewer activities here, but that is not to say it’s a bad thing at all. You won’t get the crowds or jet skis riding back and forth all the time like you would at Patong Beach. At Kamala Beach, the sea is cleaner, and the currents are a lot less stronger than that of a more open beach. Due to the beach being enclosed, the rip tides and undercurrents are not as strong as an open front beach either. The waters are so clear it is lovely for swimming and snorkelling.
At certain times in the afternoon, the water recedes right back providing a large flat sand surface, and rocks on either side appear. This is great if you want to do a spot of fishing. You will notice many local fishermen come here at this point and sit on the rocks to catch their bait. This also the best times to watch the sunset as there’s a lot of colour game going on in the sky. Come see it around 5:30 pm and stay till the sun sinks into the sea at about 6:30 pm.
Kamala Beach has a small village which is also very nice. Here you will find some of the very best seafood you can get. Fresh from the sea, the choice is all yours.
A curious feature about Thai street markets is that if you come at the spot at daytime, you will see a waste-ground or a palm tree grove. But around sunset time a lively market suddenly springs up, and then around 9-10 pm it goes away the same way as if it was never there.
These two fantastic Kamala markets provide virtually everything a tourist could look for. You will find electronics, local foods, fruit, groceries, clothing and general household goods. There are also some beautiful handcrafted items such as rugs, hand-carved ornaments and so forth.
Both markets offer pretty much the same, but the one in the South has a much more local feel to it. It’s just the atmosphere and vibe of the market. The other market in the North, also known as Friday market, is more touristy with many tour outlets and gimmicky tourist stuff. The pricing at both markets is reasonable and remember you can always haggle for a bargain.
Moving around Kamala Beach is pretty easy. It is not a large town, and you can simply rent a scooter for a day, or bicycle if you are more environmentally friendly. You can easily find a rental shop n the main road. You can even explore it by foot, but be careful with walking under the hot sun as the distances can be quite long.
There are no buses here due to the nature of the town. There are two types of public transport in Kamala, the Tuk-Tuk and another called the songthaew. The songthaew is a Thai name for a modified pick up truck or 4×4 vehicle, and you will spot them all over the roads.
Things to do and to see in Kamala Beach
Wat Baan Kamala
At the southern end of Kamala Beach, there is a beautiful traditional Buddhist temple – Wat Baan Kamala. It was renovated due to the 2004 catastrophe, but it still holds its original spiritual vibe. When visiting here, although it’s located on the beach, you must be respectful and cover up. No bikinis or just shorts without tops etc. This is a very important spiritual place for the Thais, and on a lot of occasions, you will see monks here. Inside the temple, you will find many pictures of Buddha, Buddha statues, and also a Bell Tower. The pictures tell the story of Buddha and provide you with a clear insight into his life. This is a holy place, so you will find it very peaceful in here. If you are interested in the culture and history of Thailand, then this is a must-visit when you are in Kamala.
Massage on the beach
As with most of the beaches in Phuket, Kamala Beach has many relaxing massage spots, providing massages under cover in front of the sea. Prices are fixed as usual at a standard 300 baht per hour ($8). The Kamala Beach massages offer a range of different massages from a neck, back, all body and the famous foot massage. Definitely, something to take up if you have been walking around a lot and needed to re-energise your feet. Also, this is the best way to finish your day on the beach when your body is exhausted with salt air and sun exposure. Pro tip: get an aloe vera massage to soothe the skin after a sunburn.
If you’re not a fan of open-air massages, there’s a choice of massage salons not far from the beach on the ‘Tourist’ Street as locals call it. One of the best places here is Planet Sabai Massage. Besides the traditional Thai massage, oil massage and all other kinds of relaxing massages, this salon also provides quite good manicure and pedicure procedures.
Diving is very popular in Kamala Beach, and many tour outlets offer diving packages. There is also a Kamala Diving Centre in the village. This is the main place to head to if you are serious about diving. They will be able to take you out in the sea and far away from Kamala shores.
The local excursions are great as well. Your dive trip will take you out to the likes of Kamala Rock. It is a small boulder site just out from the beach, with hundreds of fishes. It is a great spot to take your underwater camera if you want to catch some good pics of sea life.
Aside from Kamala Rock, you can head to Tin Lizzy, which is a wreck site, and Tai Pau, which is mainly a shallow sandy area of the sea. Ko Weo is another great place you can head to for diving from Kamala. Ko Weo is a small reef island not far from Kamala Beach. The reef here is beautiful and again a must for underwater pic snappers.
Accommodation in Kamala Beach
The beach road (also known as Tourist Street) which is located at the Southern end of Kamala Beach has some well-priced accommodation. You will find many apartments and rooms from low to medium budget here. Of course, it depends on budget and what kind of stay you are looking for.
To name a few, you have the Sunwing Resort on Kamala Beach with direct access to the beach and Kamala Resort and Spa. Prices for example for Kamala Resort and Spa start at 1450 baht per night ($40) and upwards. You will have access to all the resorts facilities including the spa. There are air conditioning, good sized rooms and a decent swimming pool.
Along the side of the beach, you will find quite a few beach huts and small bungalows to rent out. Depending on the season, the prices, of course, vary slightly. Usually, for a night in a beach hut or beachside bungalow, you are looking around 1600 – 2000 baht per night. $45 -$55 which is very reasonable for your own private space on the beach front. If you are tight on the budget, then Baan Chaba at 1200 baht per night ($33) is still your choice.
Maybe you would prefer more of the high end, then you have to go to the posh ‘Millionaires’ mile’. It’s a road to the South of Kamala beach that features luxury resorts and villas. Here you can see Thai Royal residence, as well as villas of many celebrities. Here, there’s no limit for the budget, really. The area offers fascinating views of Kamala bay and beach, though there’s no access to a good swimming area.
If you stumble upon Kamala as a backpacker and looking for just a bed to rest. In the village, you should be able to find numerous rooms for rent that are not commercially advertised. Again, depending on the season, you can usually find a simple room for around 600-800 baht per night ($16 -$22).
Kamala Beach Road
Rimm Haad, also known as the beach road or Tourist Street has a great selection of places to visit. Mainly consisting of small bars, open bars, restaurants, and shops. In essence, there is enough here to keep you happy if you are looking for a somewhat peaceful stay on your trip. It has a very friendly atmosphere here, and a nice local traditional feel for a Thai village.
Kamala village is less developed than most of the other surrounding villages. If you compare it to the likes of Kata Beach, Karon or Patong, then it’s a very quiet one. It is an old fishing village with mostly Muslim and expat inhabitants. It has a lovely peaceful vibe. There are 7/11 local convenience stores and tour outlets spread across the town.
You will undoubtedly notice many tailor clothing shops in Kamala. You can actually get a very decent suit tailor-made here. Always haggle with the price, so you get a good deal. On the collection of your suit, try it on, make sure it fits as it should to your measurements, and check the seams. Because there are so many tailor shops, they compete and some have more work than others. Just a small tip, quality control can be an issue here.
Dining and Drinking in Kamala Beach
Kamala Beach offers a variety of foods, but you can’t expect the mass choices compared to the surrounding towns. There are quite a few sea front restaurants offering fresh, delicious sea foods. In the village, you will find a few more local and mixed food places to dine out for the evening. Bear in mind, because of the nature of Kamala village, a lot of the restaurants close fairly early, some start to close from around 9 pm. In surrounding towns such as Patong, this is just the opening time for some restaurants.
If you have a taste for barbeque food, then a must-visit is Grill Bill. It’s a Swedish-run restaurant with absolutely amazing BBQ cooked just right at the entrance. The place is a little more expensive than the nearby restaurants, but it’s justified by the quality of food, great service and cosy atmosphere.
The best breakfasts are served at Kamala Bakery – you will find it next to Kasikorn Bank on the Southern end of the main road.
For a beachfront dinner, there’s a wide choice of restaurants with Thai and European food right in the middle of the beach. The prices here are quite reasonable. An average seafood dinner without alcohol would cost you about 300-500 baht ($8-12). Lillo Island is one of the favourites for the food and service quality.
Bars in Kamala
Fancy a nice cold pint? Then head over to the White Sun bar, Welsh bar, or the Aussie bar. All these bars have great beer and ale, and a decent atmosphere. If you fancy an exotic cocktail, then Bob’s Bar at the southern end of the beach is the place to go. Sometimes facing the Andaman Sea while sipping a delicious cold cocktail can not be beaten in the tropical climate.
Perhaps you are more the type to enjoy a game of billiards while having a pint. Head over Beer Garden and next door to this you will find the billiards place. These set of places can be very quiet in the low season, and sometimes even in the high season as many flock to head to the more extravagant Patong for a night out. Most of the bars (again standard for Phuket), will have accompanying bar girls. If you are heading out on your own, you will always find company in one form or another. The vibe in general for the drinking and nightlife scene in Kamala is laid back and quiet.
Thanks to the recent developments in Kamala beach, locals and tourists alike are now enjoying a couple of nice beach clubs. If you move to the northern end of the beach, you will find the world famous Cafe del Mar and HQ beach Club here. Fancy cocktails, trendy music, sun beds and chill out zones – all is here to make your stay on the beach memorable, even when it’s dark.
Kamala Beach In a Nutshell
One of the quiet spots of Phuket, on the west coast, facing the beautiful Andaman Sea. It is a fabulous peaceful village, with all that one could want regarding local amenities. Pricing is very good here, but a lot of the main shops do tend to stick with the price rather than budging. This is due to being away from the main tourist places. So they need to make a living. When it comes to tailored suits and the markets, haggling is a lot easier. As mentioned there is a lot of tailored clothing shops, so they compete with each other on price.
The beach itself is very clean. The accommodation is suitable for everyone’s budget. Local cuisine is tasty and for a small village, the variety is very wide considering. Nightlife wise, you can still find company, in the way of a girl, or perhaps a drinking partner at one of the expat bars. Kamala Beach is about 5km from Patong, very cheap by tuk-tuk, around 300 – 500 baht ($8 -$13).
It’s a perfect place to stay if you want peace, but also want to head out occasionally for a heavy night out.