Kata Beach Phuket - The danger of snapshot reviews
We arrived in Kata Beach on the 1st October. We were aware we were visiting Phuket during the rainy season and were happy to take our chances with the weather. A reasonable trade-off for a quieter resort, and cheap accommodation we thought.
Kata Beach sounded very much like our kind of place. A good choice of restaurants, and somewhere to get a drink, but unlikely to attract the party crowd, particularly in off-season.
We had also read that it hosted one of the best beaches in Phuket.
Our room, at Phuket Kata Resort, was an absolute bargain at 600 baht per night. Hardly luxury accommodation, but a large clean room, with 2 showers???, for that price, who can complain?
Well OK. I’ll give it a shot. The bed was rock hard and the traditional wooden doors made a right racket when anyone on the block entered or left their room.
Also there was no net curtain on our window. As we were at ground level, we could have the curtains open exposing ourselves to the entire complex, or have the curtain closed, in effect condemning ourselves to a windowless room. We chose the latter.
On our first day we won the weather lottery and headed down to the beach. A little earlier in our travels we had visited Koh Samui which was fantastic. We had read that Kata Beach was as good if not better than anything Samui had to offer.
To say we were disappointed was an understatement.
I actually felt quite angry.
We had walked onto an extremely narrow band of dirty sand crammed with pale bodies jostling for position, reminiscent of the seals at Pier 39 in San Francisco.
What there was of a beach was being lapped by a foamy, oily brown sea. Apparently this is a regular occurrence in Kata at the end of the Monsoon Season, as reported in Phuket News.
Hardly the stuff of postcards!
We chose to walk the length of the beach along the road shouldering it, as this was much cleaner.
It did not improve.
During the following week as well has returning to Kata Beach we also visited Karon beach, and Patong beach.
Both were better, but not much.
We were well-informed that the weather would be changeable, and the sea may be rough if we visited during rainy season. What we hadn’t read anywhere was that the beach disappears and the sea looks like an oil slick.
It’s fair to say had we only been in Phuket for 7 days, this post would be far from complimentary.
But, as it happens we were in Kata for almost 2 weeks.
And by the end of our stay things had changed dramatically.
The brown oiliness of the sea had almost cleared up.
As the rough sea had settled, a beautiful wide beach of soft golden sand had emerged.
And the tractors had been out clearing up the rubbish.
The majority of the beach was still red flagged due to strong tides, but considering how much the water had settled over the past 10 days, I suspect these will soon be gone, leaving the type of beach we had expected to see when we originally arrived in Kata.
I must admit, this experience has made me a little reluctant to make sweeping statements. Based on the first week, I would have been warning against visiting Phuket in the rainy season. Had I arrived a week later I would have been singing it’s praises.
And I guess that’s the problem with any review. It’s a snapshot of a single experience. To get a balanced perspective you have to do your homework.
Or experience it for yourself, of course.
Have you visited Phuket during the rainy season?
We’d love to hear what you thought of it.