Top 8 Things to Do in Kamala, Thailand

Top 8 Things to Do in Kamala, Thailand

Home to some of the best beaches in Thailand, Phuket – the popular rainforest island on the Andaman Sea – takes the top spot in any traveler’s Southeast Asian holiday list. While Patong attracts more footfall, the adjacent Kamala Beach is more peaceful that actually allows you to hear your own thoughts – if you get the drift. Basically, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds – more beach space while being close enough to the main tourist areas. Plus, there’s plenty to do in and around Kamala once you’ve had your fill of the soft sands and the gorgeous turquoise waters.

Here are the top must-do things when in Kamala.

1. Kamala Beach

Kamala, Phuket, Thailand
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user https://www.flick... used under CC BY 2.0

You’re in Thailand! Swim, snorkel, sunbathe, build sandcastles – in other words, simply enjoy the beach. And Kamala Beach is one of the best spots to unwind without other tourists breathing down your neck. Though quieter than the two main beaches – Surin and Patong – this place has been found out and is now quite popular with tourists looking for a less noisy beach experience. With the massage ladies on the prowl (you can get a great massage at a reasonable price, but make sure to bargain) and the beer shacks close by, Kamala looks like it’s got the balance just right. Moreover, this slice of paradise boasts calm waters and coral reefs that provide the perfect conditions for idle swimming, snorkeling and even kayaking. A word of caution though: No matter how relaxed you are, be careful not to fall asleep on the beach without protection or shade, as the strong tropical rays can burn you badly.

Kamala Beach

Access: 18 min driving distance from Patong Beach

Food Nearby: authentic Mediterranean food at Plum Sky Bar and Lounge, seafood at Rock Fish

2. Kamala Friday night market

Friday Night Market
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Karelj used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Also known as Fantasea Market because of its location, Kamala Friday Night Market has gained immense popularity over the years and is known as a shopper’s paradise. Along with the usual suspects like apparel, bags, shoes, hats, gadgets, toys and souvenirs come the fake designer brands. If you want a great imitation at bargained rates, this is the place! Browse through the colorful stalls, pick up small gifts for folks back home, or simply stroll around (and photograph) the vibrant lively bazaar.

But the most interesting part of the market is its food hub. Table after table showcase the best of local Thai food and other ready-made snacks, ranging from salads to sushi, soups to satays (meat skewers), tropical fruits to pancakes and much more. This is street food done right! Including one Friday in your trip calendar doesn’t seem like a bad idea now, right?

Kamala Friday Night Market

Opening Hours: 4 to 9 pm on Fridays

Access: the coconut plantation opposite Phuket FantaSea (north end of Kamala)

3. Phuket Fantasea

Phuket fantasea
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Lerdsuwa used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The beach-adjacent cultural theme park is the ultimate entertainment zone and Phuket’s largest tourist attraction. Often compared to Las Vegas’ night performances, only with elephants, the park hosts the most extravagant show on the island, complete with trapeze artists, performing animals and an exotic story line that keeps both children and adults absolutely hooked. And that’s not all.

The in-your-face carnival bash has incredible shopping options, fun games, a Similan Adventure Center, a Palace of Elephants (though you’ll see plenty milling around) and lots of food outlets, among which The Golden Kinnaree Buffet Restaurant is your go-to place if you want to witness one of Asia’s biggest buffet spreads. Two long buffet tables serving traditional Thai fare along with international dishes, several seasonal ‘special-dish’ kiosks and a delectable choice of desserts feed some 4000 diners each night. This dazzling entertainment arena is backed by seamless operations and hard-working staff who are always around to help. To sum up, at the end of the day, the entire package has you picked up, entertained, well fed and then dropped off safely at your hotel.

Phuket Fantasea

Address: 99 Moo 3 Kamala Kathu Chang Wat Phuket 83150, Thailand

Price: from 53 USD

Opening Hours: 5:30 to 10:30 pm (daily)

Duration: around 4 hours required.

Access: 9 min walking distance from Kamala Beach

Contact: +66-76385000

Website: Phuket Fantasea

4. Pang Chang Kamala

Elephant camp
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nitesh S D used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

‘Pang Chang’ means elephant camp. Get the drift? For the thrill-seekers, this might be the highlight of your Phuket trip - ride these exotic beasts, feed them, take your day’s shower and learn about their habits. Take your pick from their packages of Elephant Trekking and Bareback Riding, Elephant Care Program, and Shower/Bath with Elephant, or maybe do all of them!

The first one will see you atop an elephant, without any harness, through an exciting jungle trail along mountainous territories - a landscape unique to this area. The Care Program includes an interaction tour at the camp, which basically shows you what it takes to be an elephant keeper. Get up close and personal with these friendly creatures, cuddle the young ones, observe their habits and watch them bathe and splash about in dust and clay. The Shower with Elephant is a huge hit with the tourists as these Asian elephants are extremely friendly and well-trained and they love to give people a ‘bath.’ The program is so safe that even a child can touch them closely and play with them. What’s more, the Pang Chang Kamala guys also provide private services for weddings, personal events and local festivals.

Pang Chang Kamala Elephant Camp

Address: Kamala Branch (PangchangKamala) 17/71 Moo6, 83120 Kamala, Kathu, Phuket

Price: from 35 USD

Opening Hours: 8 am to 5 pm

Duration: around 2 hours required

Access: 9 min by car from Kamala Beach

Contact: +66-898683852

Website: Pang Chang Kamala

5. Surfing in Kamala

Kamala Beach - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ralf Schmidt used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A surfer’s playground, the waters of Kamala Beach offer ideal conditions for these adrenaline junkies, both enthusiasts and amateurs alike. The beach is divided into three sections - the southernmost part (from temple to village) is clearly for the beginners with its gentle swell during high tide; the central part (from village to Phuket Fantasea) hosts around 3-meter (9.4 feet) high waves thanks to sand bars and is meant for slightly advanced surfers, while the northern part is quite tricky because of the surrounding reefs and requires excellent skills.

You can surf any time from May through October, but the best months are from November through April when the waters are much calmer. The locals love to surf too, and you might come across some waving at you and offering you the best waves. So rent a board and head down to the beach for an incredible ride.

Kamala Beach

Access: 18 min by car from Patong Beach

Food Nearby: authentic Mediterranean food at Plum Sky Bar and Lounge, seafood at Rock Fish

6. Diving through Merlin Divers

Scuba Diving
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Summitandbeach used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Diving is one addiction that cannot be shaken off easily. If you’re a victim of this particular one, it can be easily tended to in this part of the island. Merlin Divers offer reasonable rates for a half-day trip to dive off the Kamala Beach. The trip begins by departing the beach on a Thai longtail boat to nearby local dive sites like Nakala Reef, Laem Son, and Ko Weo which is a tin-mining wreck.

To ensure quality diving experience, the company takes on small groups of people, no more than 8 divers with 2 well-trained divemasters, on a shaded boat with plenty of drinks and fruits. The package includes 2 dives and also free pick-up from the hotel but charges an additional 15 USD for the full set of rental diving gears for the day. Since all the dives are safely planned and no deeper than 18 meters (59 feet), it’d be crazy to miss this amazing opportunity as the marine-rich waters of the Andaman Sea provide great visibility to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of life and colors down under.

Merlin Divers

Address: 74/3 Moo 3 Rim Had, 83150 Kamala, Phuket, Thailand

Price: from 73 USD

Opening Hours: 9 am - 9 pm (daily)

Duration: 25 minutes to 1 hour

Access: 12 min walking distance from Kamala Beach

Contact: +66-76385518

Website: Merlin Divers

7. Kamala Beer Garden

Beer Garden
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user aiva. used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

The Beer Garden is the hippest place to relax after a day’s hard work. Attracting locals and expats alike, this chill zone offers just the kind of laid-back atmosphere you’ve been looking for, with varied musical scores adding to the mood but soft enough for flowing conversations. The craft beer paired with the Garden special artisan sausages is exactly what you need to put your feet up and watch your favorite sports live. Just keep an eye on their weekly specials. Or you could make liberal use of the pool table, or simply indulge in idle chatter with friends over some of the best cocktails served in Kamala. The friendly staff makes the Beer Garden experience even more enjoyable with excellent service and open smiles. And treat you like long-lost friends. Well, they did say “our backyard is your backyard.”

Kamala Beer Garden

Address: 66/5 Moo 3, Kamala Main Street Rd., 83120 Kamala, Kathu, Phuket, Thailand

Opening Hours: 4 pm to 2 am (daily)

Access: 9 min walking distance from Kamala Beach

Contact: +66-876297258

8. Tsunami Memorial Park

Tsunami Memorial Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user gayathri g a used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Though only a small park on the way to the beach, Tsunami Memorial Park is the only place that provides a visual reminder of the natural disaster that hit the island in 2004, leaving unbelievable devastation in its wake. The peaceful place is serene and green and is a beautiful spot to commemorate the victims of this tragic incident, marked by a large bronze circular statue. A few benches offer resting place under the trees where the locals are often seen remembering a loved one or simply paying respects. A walk in this park will definitely make you feel humbled by the force of Mother Nature and warrant further appreciation for these rainforest islands that have risen from the ashes.

Tsunami Memorial Park

Address: 75/2 Rim Hat Rd, Tambon Kamala, Amphoe Kathu, Chang Wat, 83120 Phuket, Thailand

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Access: 10 min walking distance from Kamala Beach

Visit Kamala for the perfect holiday!

Phuket, Kamala
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Roma Neus used under CC BY 3.0

So that makes Kamala the perfect base for your island adventures - stay at a peaceful retreat and explore the most happening places. It’s called smart planning. And yes, you might want to add a few more days to this beach holiday if you wish to exploit the island to the extent possible. For those who haven’t done half of these things, a second visit with an updated itinerary seems almost mandatory. It’s time to break away from monotony and head towards an exotic Southeast Asian beach holiday, don’t you think?

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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A spontaneous trip-planner, Diya is a freelancer from India who is now settled in Singapore. She loves reading, sketching, and exchanging travel stories with her friends (mostly for her handwritten...Read more

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