A former fishing village, now home to a collection of Phuket's most luxurious properties, Kamala is a town in transition. Set along a curving, white-sand bay on Phuket's west coast, Kamala has emerged as a more low-key resort destination than the neighbouring beaches of Patong and Surin, and something of an expat enclave. Families particularly enjoy Kamala's shallow sea waters and less chaotic feel, and fishermen-turned-tour guides now offer trips to nearby beaches on their traditional long-tail boats, still seen bobbing in the bay's south end.
Local eateries and
bars remain mostly casual watering holes – chilled-out Kamala has neither the hectic debauchery of Patong nor the swankiness of Surin. Shopping is done at local open-air markets or the small shops that line the village's streets selling tourist fare, beachwear and convenience items. Those seeking more upscale choices head north to Surin Beach (4km), to the Laguna Phuket Canal Village shopping centre in Bang Tao Beach (10km), or south to the Jungceylon shopping centre in Patong (15km).
A few minutes south of Kamala town, yet a world apart, is the headland known as Millionaires' Mile, a luxury enclave where Phuket's most stylish and pricey resorts and private villas can be found along its stunning coastal road. Among these is the smart Andara Resort, owned by Hong Kong's famed entrepreneur Allan Zeman, with its popular Silk restaurant, the Hyatt Regency Phuket and the five-star Cape Sienna resort, whose rooftop bar, Vanilla Sky, is a hot spot for sunset cocktails. Kamala is a 28km drive south from Phuket International Airport.