Kata Yai (simply referred to as Kata), is the northern bay of the two Kata bays (Kata Noi is the smaller and southern bay). The first distinction you’ll notice here is a small island off in the distance named Koh Pu, or Crab Island. Unfortunately, there are no surfable waves out there but there’s plenty of surf along Kata Beach throughout Phuket’s surf season.
Surfing Kata beach is a must for visitors who want to get a surf town feel. Kata is known by locals to be Phuket’s surf hub with several surf schools offering lessons and board rentals for anyone interested in learning to surf. The southern end is where you’ll find three different surf shops/schools right on the beach (practically on top of each other). They each have plenty of boards of various lengths to choose from and all of them have top notch friendly surf instructors ready and willing to get you newbies up and riding! If you’re hanging out in the north end of the beach and don’t feel like walking to the south end, there are also a number locals who rent boards along the entire length of the beach.
The area directly in front of the surf shops and extending out from the Boathouse Wine & Grill Restaurant is the prime spot for beginners and experienced surfers alike. On the inside section, beginners are able to get their feet under them as they practice in the safe, shallow whitewater break around the low tide. It does tend to get crowded and there are plenty of beginners still learning about surf etiquette. Be mindful of this to avoid dinging your board or running over a Barney. Towards the middle of the bay are also some surfable peaks that are slightly less crowded. You’ll see more locals surfing in this area but it can also a great surf spot for beginners.
If you’re just giving surfing a try, rent a board for at least half a day to allow yourself plenty of time in the water. Or if you’re looking to improve, surf shops in this area offer weekly rentals and they will even let you keep your board with you throughout your stay. Go get your dawn patrol on! Avoid the crowds and experience the sunrise serenity that will guarantee to put a smile on your face. After all, you’re in Thailand!
For a true surf town feel, TripAdvisor’s 7th-ranked Top 10 beach in Thailand is the place to be! This is the area where you’ll see a good amount of skilled surfers in the lineup. A number of surf contests have been held here including some that have been sponsored by Quiksilver.
With plenty of other beach activities to choose from including parasailing, snorkeling, diving, or riding jet skis and banana boats, you won’t be bored. When there aren’t any waves but you still want to feel the surf stoke, go check out Surf House across the street towards the southern end of the beach. You’ll be in for another kind of ride!
Typical Thai food stalls and beachside restaurants are located on the north end of the bay. Order fresh seafood as spicy as you can take it! The fresh fruit shakes are especially thirst quenching and refreshing after spending hours of surfing Kata. The south end of the bay also has a number of sit down restaurants with amazing views that will surely have you gazing into the horizon of the beautiful Andaman Sea.
Medium to high
Best Swell Direction:
SW, W, NW
Beginner to above average
May to October
Park along the coastal street or in the small lots located towards south end of the beach
Can get crowded
Paddle Out Power:
3/10 (1=easy peasy; 10=feels like paddling on a treadmill)
1-8; can get messy after it rains
(1=clean; 10=dingleberries in the lineup)
Beginners still finding their way; flying/darting surfboards; swimmers galore on the inside; inflatable donuts of various flavors; rocks along the south end, few are semi-hidden