Kamal beach in Thailand is a great place to recharge the batteries. It is one of the less touristy parts of Phuket that has all you need to relax: a beach, good Thai food, cheap massages, not too many tourists and the added pleasure of Chinese bride-watching.
I stopped at Kamala beach for a long weekend and stayed at Kamala Tropical Garden Resort. The accommodation was fairly cheap for a three-star resort although it was noticeably empty (it was just me and one other guest) so the pool bar was not tended and the breakfast buffet was not served. I was happy with the price as I literally just needed a place to crash at night, however the rooms were not very comfortable and quite dark so I wouldn’t recommend it to holiday makers looking to lounge around the hotel all day.
A long weekend is all you need for a break at Kamala beach as there is not a great deal to do here. The main attraction is the beach, which has white sand and lots of waves. The waves are very big and strong and perhaps not ideal for children or weak swimmers, but the water was warm and clean and I enjoyed the surf. You can rent an umbrella for 200THB for the day but most people tend to lay a towel out among the many palm trees along the sand.
You must have a cheap massage whilst you are here. For 300THB I enjoyed a one hour Thai massage on the beach, listening to the pleasant crash of the waves. A Thai massage involves firm pressing, pulling and stretching of all your limbs as well as your back, neck and head. The way the masseur firm pressed and rubbed my poor tired feet was particularly relaxing.
There are plenty of places to enjoy a beer or cocktail however not all of the places are nice. Most of the pubs feel a bit sleazy as they are full of older white males and scores of young Thai ladies, which are best avoided. However during the day you can go to one of the cocktail bars right on the beach, which serve fresh juices mixed with rum and fabulous Thai mohitos made with brown sugar that you can take away and drink on the sand as you sunbathe.
On Friday’s there is a big market opposite the FantaSea building, which is worth a visit and attracts equal numbers of tourists and locals. The start of the market is crowded with stalls selling fresh fruits and juices as well as BBQ meat and seafood skewers, whole fish, fried chicken, and bags of fresh mussels and halal curries. Further inside there are shops selling swimwear, sarongs, t-shirts, fake designer handbags, and various other knick knacks that make for good souvenirs and presents.
I love Thai food and here it is cheap and tasty. Thai salads are a good choice in the hot weather when you fancy a light lunch, and I enjoyed a zingy clear noodle salad made with lots of fresh chilli, lime juice, clear noodles, prawns and calamari right on the beach for THB150.
However I particularly recommend Duck Spicy restaurant on the Kamala main road for authentic Thai food. I dined here twice and on my first night had the most amazing green Thai curry with fresh fish. The curry sauce was very generous and creamy and was more like a soup. It contained lots of round Thai aubergines and fresh chili and was served with steamed rice and a coconut shake I ordered to drink. On my second visit I ordered the fried duck and papaya salad. The duck was deep fried and crunchy and it completed the thinly sliced onions, carrots and beans soaked in lime juice well. The dish was topped with toasted peanuts and fresh chilli and served with sticky rice. I couldn’t detect any papaya at all however it was still an enjoyable meal.
For breakfast I went to the Kamala Coffee house, which is on the road that runs parallel to the beach and it serves simple and cheap café food. The French toast with honey was my favourite and their coffee was very decent.
However the greatest spectacle at Kamala beach is the huge number of Chinese brides. In the morning and early evening you will see dozens of brides in big puffy wedding dresses holding hands with their grooms and posing along the shore for photographs. These are not actual brides but Chinese couples who come to Kamala for a photoshoot before their wedding. Upon closer inspection you will notice that the wedding dresses do not fit so well as couples choose from various package deals where they are loaned a wedding dress and suit for the purpose of taking photos to print on the wedding invitations.
Needless to say, the weather is beautiful. I highly recommend a trip to Kamala beach to recharge your batteries and catch the stunning sunsets over the beach!