Kamala, pronounced “Ga Ma Lar” provides a haven for those who prefer the quieter life. Although the southern end of the beach can get busy in the high season, the northern end is peaceful all year round. “Rim Haad” (Beach Road), at the southern end, has a number of small 20-30 room hotels for the low/medium budget traveller. Friendly service and village feel and a diversity of restaurants and small bars can be found on this small road. Cheaper food options/market stalls can be found on the main Kamala Road.
The only public transportation is via blue songthaews, which run from Kamala to Surin to Phuket Town. They do not run south toward Patong or north toward the airport-you must change in Phuket Town.
From Phuket Town, you can take a blue songthaew bus for 40 baht. The route is Phuket Town – Surin – Kamala. However if you’re coming from the airport it’s worth paying the extra 600 baht for a taxi – using the government bus and songthaew can take 4 hours + quite easily.
Kamala is easily walkable. You can also rent motorbikes or even pedal bicycles at several shops. The only public transportation are the blue songthaews that run north and east toward Surin Beach and Phuket Town, which can be caught from the beach road in Kamala or a bit north on the main road just outside the Kamala Post Office.
An elephant trekking experience is available south of Kamala. Early in the morning, you can see an elephant walking along the highway road that leads to Patong!
There are two weekend markets in Kamala. One is located across the street from the Fantasea show, and begins at around 3:00 PM every Friday. While local food is available and prices are relatively low, there is still a very “touristy” feel to this. The other market is across from the Big C supermarket on the main road, occurring every Wednesday and Saturday from early morning until 7:30 PM. More local people tend to flock to this market. Prices tend to already be marked. Both offer clothes (new and used), food, fruit, shakes, electronics, tourist trinkets, and general household goods for sale.
There is a Buddhist temple at the south end of the beach, while several locally-frequented mosques are located in the residential areas along the eastern side of town.
In the middle of the beach, there is a small park with a tsunami monument, which devastated the local area in 2004.
If you are looking to spend most of the time on the beach enjoying the sea, this is a very good place to be. The beach is quite nice and is not too crowded. The sea floor is nice and sandy. In the afternoons the water spectacularly recedes leaving a blanket of rocks at the left end of the beach for local fishing and a beautiful swimming area at the right end of the beach.
On the beach, you won’t be able to avoid a Thai massage. These are offered at small stalls along the beach, and the rate seems fixed at 300 baht/hour. Even if you’re not comfortable with a full body massage, don’t miss out on a heavenly foot massage. Get one daily and help support the local economy while enjoying a pampering.
The Kamala Wat is located at the south end of the beach and is almost unnoticeable. The temple and its grounds have been restored since the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and the Buddhist locals and resident monks welcome curious Australians and foreigners. It was the Australian television program Backyard Blitz that helped restore the gardens of the wat after the tsunami. A memorial tree is placed in the garden with a dedication plaque and the walls of the main temple are a beautifully decorated story of Buddha. Visiting this wat can be anenlightening and cultural experience; pictures and events of the tsunami are displayed on a board for foreigners to see and the monks allow photos of the grounds as long as you’re in the company of a local.
Kamala Diving Center has half-day trips to dive sites around Kamala, like Kamala Rock, a boulder site with plenty of fish; Ko Weo- a small reef island; Tin Lizzy, a dredger wreck; and Tai Pau, a shallow sand bottom site. The dives are done by longboat and are often quite enjoyable.
Kamala has some small convenience stores, one of them a 7-11. There are quite a few souvenir shops on the road, along with some tour offices where you can book lots of different tours for diving.