When organising my itinerary in Thailand I hesitated to include Phuket because I have been warned by friends to avoid this busy area famous for nightlife, dodgy massage shops and over touristic.
I decided to go and see by myself and I booked a small apartment in Kata, a small town famous for its 1.5 km long sandy beach and I have been positively surprised to see that it is actually a family-friendly location where you can find all facilities (restaurants, hotels, shops, pharmacies, bars, nightlife etc).
The beach is great for swimming thanks to the shallow crystal water, it also has a superb view on a small iconic island just in front and it is equipped with sunbeds and parasols; unfortunately a big part of the beach is privatised by Club Med’s resort and other hotels nearby, forcing tourists to hire deckchairs and parasols on private beaches to find shelter from the heat and sit very close to other people.
The beach is considered on of the best ones for sports such as surfing, kite-surfing, and it is definitely children friendly since the water is shallow and very warm from November to March and there are no waves.
In Kata town you will find several tourist kiosks selling organised shared or private tours to explore on a day trip the nearby Khai Islands, Phi Phi Islands, Pha Nga Bay and many more.
They generally keep the same prices, but a good idea is to compare 5 or 6 different places before choosing and book the one that looks the most economic. For this reason is good to have cash ready to use: the price is going to change if you go to withdraw money and come back.
A good price per person is around 1300-1500 Baht. If it is higher, it is probably a scam and you should negotiate harder or simply change vendor. If you travel with a group of friends, you are advantaged because you can easily hire a guide and a long-tailed boat having the chance to have a private and more flexible tour of these wonderful islands.
My personal tip to enjoy this beach at its best, it’s to have a drink in one of the various beach bars at the late afternoon or to buy some local take away food, a drink and enjoy the sunset on the beach listening to the seagulls and other tropical birds singing. This sunset has entered in my top ten list of the best sunsets I have ever seen because of the wonderful colours and relaxed atmosphere on this lovely beach.
Phuket has a tropical climate and it never gets too cold. The cooler season goes from November to February when the days are sunny, breezy and dry without being too hot. The temperature varies between 23°C and 30°C This period corresponds to high season where prices are higher and the beaches are very busy.
The climate stays hot until mid May, but from April it will be hotter and more humid, the perfect climate for mosquitoes. Monsoon season begins mid-May and goes on till October and it the of course the most quieter and cheapest moment to visit Thailand if you don’t mind some scattered heavy rain during the day, high levels of humidity and tropical heat.
In addition to compulsory vaccines scheduled during childhood such as MMR, Polio, Hepatitis B, Tetanus (check when you need a booster on your Government Official website), the following ones are recommended too depending on the length of your travel and if you are going to stay in remote areas: Hepatitis A ( which spreads through contaminated water, food etc), Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Malaria (infected mosquitoes are most present at the border with Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia), Rabies (if in contact with animals) and Japanese encephalitis.
My advice is to always take a good travel insurance and to ask advice to your doctor before travelling.
We reached Phuket with a direct flight from Chang Mai. The company we used and we recommend is Thai Smile Airways: this airline is excellent good value for money, efficient, and they serve free tasty lunches with local products during your flight, no matter the journey length. Moreover staff is extra kind and professional! I wish we had more company like this in Europe!
Local currency is the Thai Baht, and as usual, my advice is to withdraw a consistent amount money directly on arrival at the airport or at local ATM to avoid paying extra expensive commissions at the exchange bureau.
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