Kathu Holiday Planning Guide
Located on the western coastline of Phuket Island, the district of Kathu stretches along the Andaman Sea and contains some of the most popular beaches in Thailand. With European vacationers flocking here since the late 1980s, Kathu boasts numerous hotels, bars, and restaurants that make this area a tourist mecca. Patong represents the hub of Kathu tourism, known for its shopping and nightlife options--and boasting a reputation as one of Asia's party capitals. Travelers looking to eschew the rowdy crowds on their Kathu vacation may prefer a string of smaller beaches just north of town, an area known for its sea views and a surprisingly developed restaurant scene.
Places to Visit in Kathu
Destinations in KathuKamala
: Located on the seaside, this small town features charming local businesses, scenic beaches surrounded by forested hills, and a secluded, peaceful atmosphere. Patong
: If you're looking for a busier Kathu vacation, head out to this nightlife capital, with international restaurants, tour operators, and an urban lifestyle.Phuket Town
: The economic center for the entire area, Phuket Town offers a unique blend of Mediterranean architecture mixed with local heritage, including a vibrant music scene as well as modern restaurants and museums. Karon
: For a serene tropical holiday in Kathu, base yourself in this quiet resort town, where you can combine beach time with trips to nearby temples and the many cultural activities organized on site.
Popular Kathu Tourist AttractionsBangla Road
: Inexpensive food and drinks in streetside restaurants make Bangla Road the perfect place to experience Kathu tourism through shopping, dining, and street performances.Patong Beach
: Relax on one of the region's longest sandy beaches, and then take to the skies by parasail.
Tiger Kingdom: Meet the big cats of Tiger Kingdom, where a safe environment ensures memorable close encounters, as well as performances during feeding time. Jungceylon
: Find exactly what you're looking for at one of the largest shopping malls in the district; with separate zones for different businesses, you can head straight to the part you need. Magnifique Tailor
: This tailor shop whips up garments in famous styles and shapes, just your size. Instyle Fashion
: Take your pick from the diverse fabrics in all kinds of styles, textures, and patterns, then get measured for your bespoke garment. Freedom Beach
: In the serene, secluded atmosphere of Freedom Beach you can spend the day snorkeling, swimming, and playing volleyball on a sandy shore that remains relatively untouristy.RK Fashions and Tailors
: This tailor stocks a wide array of fabrics for classic, high-quality pieces at an affordable price. Sweet Lemongrass Massage
: Pamper yourself during your trip to Kathu at Sweet Lemongrass Massage, where trained professional masseuses offer traditional Thai massage, as well as sport massage and aromatherapy. Picasso Tailor
: Create your ideal wardrobe at Picasso Tailor, which allows you to design your own garment or have a favorite outfit repaired or tailored to your needs.
Planning a Kathu Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in Kathu with Kids
From secluded getaways on islands around the peninsula to the urban buzz of Phuket Town
, families have a range of Kathu vacation ideas from which to choose.
A Kathu holiday wouldn't be complete without a visit to Kamala
and its nearby beaches, which embody the picture perfect image of a Thai landscape. The area around the small town also offers plenty of cultural events and different family-oriented attractions.
Families seeking a more active vacation in Kathu should consider staying in or around Patong
, where opportunities include scuba diving, exploring the nearby jungles, and hitting the main strip if the kids are a bit older.
Things to Do in Kathu with Kids
No matter where your Kathu itinerary takes you, hitting the beach is a must for everyone. Try out the perfect soft sand of Surin
or Laem Sing
beach, where snorkeling, swimming, and volleyball games can easily fill a whole day by the sea. Underwater reefs protect the shallow water of the bays, where gentle currents are perfect for inexperienced swimmers and little ones.
Amusement parks top the kids' list of things to see in Kathu: Phuket Kart
or Rollerball Zorbing Phuket
offer safe and entertaining diversions for children. If you visit during the low season, you may have the entire place to yourself.
Do pack some hiking shoes for your trip to Kathu--you'll want to get out and explore the impressive natural surroundings with a walk to Kathu Waterfall
Tips for a Family Vacation in Kathu
Famous for their hospitality towards children, Thai people will welcome babies and toddlers like celebrities no matter where they go. This can be heaven for little extroverts who love meeting new people, but keep in mind that people may try to befriend your children even if they are shy, while older children won't attract the same attention as babies. Make sure that the kids are prepared for the bustling lifestyle of Kathu cities if you're heading out to a busier area, since they might find the traffic and the relative chaos a little overwhelming.
No matter when you take your trip to Kathu, apply sunscreen to everyone on a regular basis throughout the day to avoid damage from the hot sun. When crossing the road, remember to look right: they drive on the left side of the road in Thailand.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in Kathu
Cuisine of Kathu
With many different nations having passed through Kathu, the local cuisine reflects a unique blend of local products and different spices prepared in a variety of ways. Ingredients like lemongrass, galangal, lime, and basil add subtle flavor, while seafood takes pride of place. You can count on fresh, flavorful dishes from street stalls to upscale restaurants. Two highlights to try during your Kathu holiday are pla pao, roasted fish with lemongrass stalks, and pla kapong neung manao, steamed Asian sea bass accented with garlic and chili peppers.
If you want to take home some secrets of the cuisine, sign up for a Thai cooking class
to learn about different techniques, spices, and dishes native to the area.
Shopping in Kathu
A trip to Kathu presents plenty of tempting shopping opportunities. While you can spend time at the popular retail center of Jungceylon
, you'll need to scour the markets to really get your finger on the pulse of Kathu. Look for quality souvenirs and products, such as Thai silks, charming wooden elephants, carved frogs that "ribbit," and quality spa products that will recall that utterly relaxing massage.
On another note, you may want to consider having a bespoke garment made for you by one of the quality tailors, such as Magnifique Tailor
or Picasso Tailor
. Take your pick from a broad array of fabrics in different patterns and colors, and then select your garment style--you'll pay but a fraction of most manufacturers' prices.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Kathu
Interesting Facts About Kathu
* The late king, His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej, was actually born in Massachusetts in the United States of America, as the grandson of King Chulalongkorn, or Rama V--credited with having established Thailand's modern culture. The highly educated king received his engineering degree in Switzerland.
* The lush forests of Kathu are home to over 1,000 orchid species, making it as beautiful as it is diverse in flora.
* Kathu beaches enjoy a worldwide reputation for translucent water, in which objects seem as if they're floating in the air. Much to the delight of visitors, these spots often remain secluded.
* Patong Beach ranks as the hub of Kathu tourism, with bargain shopping and a burgeoning nightlife scene.
* Patong in Thai means "the forest filled with banana leaves."
Holidays & Festivals in Kathu
Adding a local festival to your Kathu itinerary can infuse your visit with the colors, traditions, and classic Thai cheerfulness, and also give you a taste of the region's unique culture. The best representative of the district is the rather new Kathu Street Culture Festival, held in July. It embodies all the cherished local customs and traditions through live music, performances, traditional Thai children's games, and more.
Other festivals happen on a national scale and reflect Thailand's deeply ingrained Buddhist traditions. In July, Asarnha Bucha Day celebrates the first sermon given by Buddha to his five disciples. Many people also celebrate Buddhist Lent, a period of three months when monks retreat to their temples, and the Khao Phansa, or merit-making festival, to renew spirituality.
Useful Kathu Travel Tips
Climate of Kathu
A tropical monsoon climate dominates in the region because of its proximity to the equator, meaning that temperatures don't vary much during the year, and Kathu is indeed a year-round vacation destination. Annually the temperature rises up to 32 C (90 F), but doesn't drop much below 25 C (77 F) during the coldest months. As for precipitation, the district experiences two distinct periods: the dry season (December-March), and the wet season (April-November). While the dry season may prove most auspicious for a Kathu holiday, rainfall happens even then on a fairly regular basis, so pack accordingly. Conversely, you can expect some lovely days during the rainy season--plus the benefit of fewer crowds.
Transportation in Kathu
Don't let the lack of a rail line discourage you from traveling all across Kathu. You can reach many Kathu attractions on songthaews--the ubiquitous pick-up trucks with two rows of benches fit into the back. The most common and affordable form of transportation in Kathu, they go from town to town and make stops at popular beaches.
In cities, you can zip around town in buses, auto rickshaws, and motorbike taxis--all relatively inexpensive. Expect to pay more, sometimes much more, for the convenience of a car taxi, though on-demand chauffeur services have recently gained more of a presence here. Most bigger towns have a main bus stop where you can find all the different kinds of transit, so pick what works best for you.
If you'd rather rent a car for your Kathu holiday, you can choose from international and national companies. Just keep in mind that the Thai drive on the left side of the road.