Phuket City (Kata Beach), Thailand
I literally only wanted to go to Thailand for the beach. I wanted to lay out in the sun like a seal and I was very successful in that venture. The beaches and water of Phuket, Kata Beach, and Phi Phi Islands were exactly what you imagined they would be. They were absolutely amazing wonderful. If anyone wants to rent me a yacht for my birthday to let me roam around these islands I will accept it. The water was so blue/green and seethrough. The beaches were hot. I mean don't walk, but run to the water hot. I would highly recommend going to the Phuket beaches because it is a great experience.
Luckily, you will not need a visa to enter Thailand from the US! The airport is a little smaller and easy to navigate.
Once you get out of the airport you will need to get to the beaches. There are a few different ways.
1. Taxis which will be more expensive, about 800 Baht
2. Shared bus which is 200 Baht one way. This way is definitely the cheapest, but be aware, they will not leave without a full bus which means you could wait a few minutes or an hour, depending on when you come in and how busy it is. They won't tell you that, they will tell you they are still waiting for the bus, but be aware. This method will take about 1.5-2 hours.
3. Hired car. This will be the most expensive way to go, about 1200 Baht, but will be the "nicest" option.
When going around the beaches you can take the little taxi in the picture on the right. They come in different colors and designs. They are open air and don't seem as safe as other options, but I think for the experience and short rides they would be fun. These little taxies are everywhere.
Please note that from here on out my experiences will be regarding Kata Beach and the Phi Phi Islands. I didn't go to the other beaches because they were about a 20-minute ride away and I didn't see the point when I was already at an amazing beach that had all I needed.
The area in Kata Beach where I stayed had a great little night food market that would pop up. It had very good food at cheap prices. The market is on Kata Night Plaza Kata Road, near the Fin Hostel. I ate pad Thai there every night because both places I ate were amazing! It was cheap.
All around the area you can buy fruit shakes that are dairy free and delicious. They put them in these little carriers which is the smartest thing ever. I tried to have them as much as possible as they make them with fresh fruit and perfect to drink on a hot day. Passion Fruit and Mango was my go to!
The people were ok. Some friendly and some of the employees were not that helpful or friendly, but it was a place I would love to go again now that I have the layout of the land and what to expect. All the beaches are very different within Phuket City and you have to know what type of experience you want to determine where you want to stay.
Kata Beach: This is where I stayed and it was more family friendly. This beach is where a majority of the Russians go for vacations. The signs are in Thai, English, and Russian. The little center of Kata Beach was about 100 meters to the beach and very walkable. It also has a very nice little open-air food market that opens up when the sun goes down. You can find many different foods there, made fresh for you and very cheap. To rent the umbrella and two chairs it is 200 Baht standard. They will also close down the chairs and umbrellas at 6pm.
Patong Beach: This is the party beach. You will find younger people here, a lot of bars, restaurants, places to drink, and clubs. If you are interested in partying then this is the place to be. It is also closer to the airport than the other beaches.
Karon Beach: This beach is close to Kata Beach, but I didn't think as nice. It seemed a little more difficult to get to as you had to cross some busy streets to get to it. This beach is going to have more resorts near it. You can do some snorkeling and diving att he southern tip of it.
Phi Phi Islands: I took Rak Talay Travel out to the islands and it was the best decision I made. He was always on time, took the reverse route to the islands so we weren't with the crowds, used his go pro to take pictures and uploaded them to a Facebook site, and was genuinely funny. The islands are so worth it. The water and views were simply amazing. It is a nice day trip, you will hit a few islands, see monkeys, snorkel, get lunch, hang in the water, and feel the sun in your face.
Here are a few tidbits of information to help your trip go smoothly!
1. Voltage: Thailand uses 220V which means if you use your American/Canadian hair dryer or straightener at 110V you will blow your stuff up and probably blow a fuse where you are staying. Don't be that person.
2. Make sure to schedule your return trip back to the airport when you schedule your shared bus to the beach as it will be much cheaper. If you wait to do it when at the beach it will be about 300-350 Baht. Also, the trip from Kata Beach will be about 2-2.5 hours with all the pick ups that have to occur so make sure you give enough time.
3. Get a Thai massage when here, actually get a bunch of massages when here. They are so cheap for an hour. The Thai massage will make you think you are a WWE wrestler and try to tap out. They put my body in positions that I have never been in. The massages should be 300 Baht and less. If they are more go to another place.
4. Bring a whole lot of sunscreen. The sun feels like it is sitting on your shoulder.
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