Don’s Gym has been in Kata Beach since June 2003. Kata is a little village along a kilometer-long beach of fine white sand on the west coast of Phuket. If you are looking for a real description of the place without the ‘fabulous’ and ‘stunning’ use of marketing, like you find it written by resorts or travel companies, read on.
We don’t need to embellish the information with to say that we truly think Kata Beach is one of the best beaches in Phuket. It is natural and sheltered enough to enjoy it as you should with a tropical beach, but developed enough to get anything you may want. If you move a bit north and go to Patong, it is too crowded and dirty. Go south a bit and you will be too far from infrastructure and facilities for a longer stay.
When we opened Don’s Gym in 2003, Kata Beach still had more nature, but it also was hard to find basic supplies. During the rainy season it was a very quiet place, without tourists and seasonal workers. You could feel how small the village actually was.
Nowadays, there is hustle and bustle all year around, but without big night clubs and shopping centers it still retains its village atmosphere. That is, if you ignore the screams and calls of the hundreds of ‘massage’ salons.
The beach has also changed over the years. Where it used to be a luxurious place where you would pamper yourself with food and drinks served to you on a cheap sun bed, it now is a more natural place with strict rules regarding eating, drinking and a no smoking policy. Not bad, just different. If you see pictures of the beach with rows of beach chairs on it, you can be sure that these pictures are old ones.
Thanks to the shape of the beach and the little island (Koh Pu) in front of it, there is plenty of snorkeling to do and swimming in safety during the dry season (December to April). During the monsoon season it can get quite dangerous in the sea, and yes people drown here in Kata Beach every year. Listen to the life guards and don’t swim when the red flags are up.
Transportation is still an issue in Kata Beach, with a lack of public services. A bus will leave from the Municipality building next to the beach to Phuket Town every 20 minutes, but that is it. You will rely on expensive tuktuks or taxis or rent a motorbike, which is statistically not the best idea. However, inside Kata it is perfectly fine to walk everywhere. It may be a bit hot outside, but walking is the best exercise.
If you really enjoy walking or hiking, you may even go into Patak Soi 10, opposite the post office, and do the 5 km hike up to Big Buddha. (Just follow the signs.) Or walk to Black Rock Viewpoint, another hidden gem. For this you will have to walk up to the big View Point after Kata Noi and keep walking a few hundred meters more. There will be a small road on the right side to turn into.