There’s a reason why I’ve delayed telling you too much about where we’ve spent the last few days- because I don’t want the secret to get out.
Most people who know of the island of Phuket mostly know about Patong, and when it comes to Patong, they mostly know about Soi Bangla, or Bangla Rd- where all the kratoey or ladyboy action and ping pong shows happen. I wrote a bit about it last time I was on the island. Some also know about the beaches to the south- Karon and Kata. There’s a Club Med there and a more family friendly vibe.
Not many, though, have heard of Kamala.
Kamala was, like Patong, heavily hit by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. There’s a lovely memorial in the park near the beach that commemorates this.
Although this area was originally a muslim fishing village, the South end of the beach is where you can still find fisherman- if you’re up early enough. We’ll start our walk up the beach from here.
There’s also a temple, wat, here that has been rebuilt since the tsunami struck.
When I was wandering around there was still a lot of construction and improvement work happening outside, but it’s a lovely place to contemplate.
The beach isn’t great for swimming this far south- there are a few canals that drain into the ocean here, and the water isn’t as nice as it is further up. So, we’ll keep walking.
When you get as far as the school, you can continue walking on the beach, or turn down the narrow road that takes you through town. This strip is lined with tailors, shops, restaurants, guest houses and little bars.
It’s a cute little strip that comes alive at night.
As we continue to walk north up the street, you’ll come to the Memorial Park I told you about. You enter the beach through here. On the path down are little stalls during the high season (November- March). Our banana pancake lady is here, you can also buy beach things, fruits, and freshly cooked corn.
Once you’re past here, you’re on the beach.
Apparently there used to be deckchairs all over the beach, but not any more. Since the military coup, the beach is divided into zones and locals are not allowed to rent deckchairs to tourists anymore. Instead, each morning they pile up little mounds of sand as head rests, pop a padded mat- like the ones they use in school gyms- onto it, and stick an umbrella up.
A double costs 200BHT for as long as you want it, and is remarkably comfortable.
Of course, you can always bring your own too… It will save you almost $7.
And this is the view you get. Not bad, hey?
Wandering past all day will be hawkers. Don’t worry, they’re not too intrusive- a simple shake of the head is all that’s required if you’re not interested in what they have to sell. Since the coup they all have to be licensed and, like every seller on the beach, can only operate during the high season. In the pic below one of the beach dogs had made himself comfortable at the base of my mat. The offer was made to move him on, but he wasn’t doing any harm so shared our umbrella for a while.
Directly behind are some stalls selling drinks of all kinds, and massages, pedicures etc.
I buy a coconut each day and sip it while I read. A coconut costs around 50BHT- just under $2.
At this part of the beach is also where you’ll find little restaurants and bars. We lunch here each day (I’m addicted to the Thai soups), but they’re also great spots to have a beer or a cocktail and watch the sun go down.
There are plenty to choose from.
This is what yesterdays lunch looked like. My tom kha gai (chicken in lemongrass and galangal coconut soup)
Sarah chose a pizza
and Grant had the pad thai.
Apparently even in high season it’s never as crowded here as it is down at Patong, but the further north on the beach you walk, the quieter it gets- and the clearer the water gets.
Aside from a couple of pockets of activity out the front of resorts,
up here, it’s strictly BYO umbrella.
The water is even clearer than it is on the main beach, and glorious to float in. And yes, when the sky is blue, the water really is that colour.
Right at the northern end of the beach is another resort- I think it’s a Novotel. Around the headland is Surin Beach.
All your usual Thai beach activities- jet-skiing, para gliding, banana boats, long-tail boats- happen on the southern end. There are exclusion zones, so if you’re there to swim or float or bob about a bit, you won’t be disturbed.
So, there you have it, a little piece of paradise in Phuket. Just don’t tell anyone…we’ll keep it our little secret.