Phuket’s west coast is lined with glorious sandy beaches. If Patong is the island’s bustling beach with neon lights and wall-to-wall tourist crowds, then Kata, further south, is more sedate and friendly with less of the crowds and attitude. Although still touristy, with plenty of hotels and resorts (including the massive Club Med) lining the beach, the atmosphere is comparatively relaxed and casual.

Kata has two beaches separated by a headland: the main beach, Kata Yai, is lined with local eateries and back alleys (sois) full of interesting shops and cafes. Kata Noi (Little Kata) is a mini version with much the same. The beaches are spotlessly clean with a good selection of water sports from snorkels to body boards to dive gear. Evening time sees the locals playing volley ball or a casual game of soccer. A wide selection of international and Thai restaurants is on hand from the up-market Boathouse to local pizza joints, all interspersed with the usual girlie bars. Shops from tailors to trinkets vendors offer a wide range of tourist paraphernalia of varying quality.

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