Kata Beach offers kids a great environment and activities....

Kata Beach is indeed a family-friendly beach, and many bring their children here.  The biggest drawback is the relatively small choice of true beachfront hotels.  It is no fun staying high up the hillside when you have young children.  

During the high season months the water is so calm it is excellent and safe for children to play in.  Water clarity is always excellent and the quality good – except after big storms that can wash a lot of rubbish down into the bay.  There are many trees at the top of the beach providing good shade when kids need to get out of the sun, but want to remain in the sand.   And just to the back of the beach are many convenience stores and facilities that make life easy for families.

Kata Noi Beach must be included as very family-friendly, for this beach dominated by the Katathani Resort has lots of open space for kids, no roads to worry about and another great beach. 

The fact that Kata has no wild nightlife scene of the Patong-type is an added plus for families.  The atmosphere of Kata village is, like the beach, entirely child-friendly. Dino Park restaurant and mini-golf in the village at the North end is a double winner with children, and can make a full family night out.  Kata also gives easy access to some of the other things kids love... like the many elephant camps on Kata hill for elephant rides, and ATVs and paint ball for the bigger ones. 

children's activities in Kata Beach area; elephants, dinosaurs and waves

Kata Beach offers quite a few activities for children of different ages. The very young ones will need little but sand, water and sun, then lots of sleep. But as they get older feeding their curiosity and burning up the excess energy is a challenge that can drive parents to distraction. Kata and its environs can help, somewhat.

ride the (artificial) waves: The newest here attraction is right by Kata beach, at the south end of the beach road. The wave rider is fun for a wide range of ages, from kids of 10 years old to big boys of 30. Children can get help and tuition, and may just slide around for laughs or learn to become serious wave riders.

Dino Park restaurant and mini-golf in the village at the north end is a double winner with children and parents alike. The Jurassic theme of the mini golf course, complete with a fire-breathing volcano, real waterfall and roaring dinosaurs, enchants children of all ages. The garden-and-stream restaurant is fun, and this establishment can make a full family night out.

Centara’s water park: A major daytime attraction requires a trip to the next beach, Karon, where we find Centara Resort's water park with streams winding through caves and pools in a jungle setting. It's another natural for kids young and old, and is open to outsiders. Day tickets can be bought at the hotel reception, and in the high season of 2014 they cost 1,000 Baht each (about $30).

Kid’s love elephants: Kata also gives easy access to one thing that kids the world over really love, elephants. Jungle camps of the lumbering pachyderms are scattered over the high mountain to the south of Kata beach, the only road to continue down the coast, crossing to Nai Harn and Rawai beaches. In 2014 there were four camps, so look around before taking your choice – if you have your own transport. Meeting and riding an elephant can etch tender memories to rival a child's visions of the beach itself.

ATVs & paintball: These same camps also offer ATV (All Terrain Vehicles) tours and fun on steep mountain tracks, with the activities and itineraries varying with the age and skill of the drivers and passengers. The other offering here, at one or two of the camps, is paintball. Customers are supplied with everything needed to play shoot-em-up in the jungle, not just the guns and ammunition. Full body suits protects the visitors' own clothing, and helmets and visors protect the eyes.

Longtail boats: Hiring a longtail boat and taking an open ocean outing – be it a fishing or snorkelling trip, or visiting a more remote island – can provide children with a real adventure. They're available right there on Kata Beach, or can be rented from Rawai beach or Chalong jetty for half the price. See details of where to rent longtail boats on Phuket .

Phuket's Big Buddha: this huge image of the Buddha sits on the hill above Kata Beach, but faces away to the east. It makes a fascinating half-day trip for the family, and there are plenty of things that kids might want to know about both the Buddha and the philosophy he left behind. See some of the things that can be done while visiting Big Buddha on its mountain top .

beachfront hotels & resorts for family & children on Kata Beach

Unfortunately for the many visitors who have a hot, dusty toad to trudge between beach and hotel, Kata Beach has very few beachfront hotels or resorts. It can make a major, sweaty inconvenience for families with young toddlers – all the more reason to make an effort to get accommodation right on the beach. Here are the few options, with exact locations displayed on the beach map.

Villa Elizabeth has a great location, but no swimming pool, and the steps up to the hotel are quite steep – not good if the kids are really little.

The Boathouse resort is definitely the finest upmarket choice on Kata. Here is the most comfortable, and most famous hotel on the beach, with an outstanding restaurant and wine cellar. Its new beach Club, Re Ka Ta, is also the best of its kind in the area, and quite good for kids too. However, the standard rooms in The Boathouse are small and it is much more suitable as a romantic escape for couples than as a family hotel – unless you take one of their larger, special suites facing the ocean. True Beachfront has included The Boathouse in our list of Phuket's Top 10 romantic retreats .

Thus, the big Kata Beach Resort provides the all-round best family accommodation on this beach – due to its location right on the sand, its big swimming pools and shady gardens. Among full-service resorts in excellent, on-the-beach locations, Kata Beach Resort is competitively priced. The convenience stores, restaurants, banks etc of Kata village are right along the back of the hotel, adding more convenience for parents who have to carry or guide little ones.

If you cannot secure real beachfront accommodation on Kata, the alternative is obvious – look to the many hotels up the hill behind or in the backstreets of Kata village, though it’s something of a hot and dusty concrete jungle. However, a better alternative might be to jump over the hill entirely, and check the large, beachfront resort right on Kata Noi beach. The Katathani Phuket Beach Resort offers more space than any other beachfront resort on Phuket's famous southwest beaches, has games and facilities for children and a beach that is so similar to Kata itself, incredibly calm and beautiful during the high season. Another excellent beachfront alternative in this area is Marina Phuket Resort , at the bottom end of Karon Beach.

by John Everingham