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Before I took my parents, wife, and one-year-old son on a trip to Phuket, Thailand, I was on a mission to find the best place to stay in Phuket for families. Most importantly, we wanted to be very close to the beach, but spend less than $100 a night.
People told me that would be impossible, but then I found Kata Noi.
And if you like the looks of the beach I describe in this article but want something more luxurious, Kata Noi Phuket also has two amazing luxury resorts, which I’ll also introduce below.
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Why Kata Noi is the best place to stay in Phuket for Families
First and foremost, Kata Noi is NOT a party beach. People often associate Phuket with partying and overtourism, and a lot of backpackers snub it in favor of the smaller islands. But the truth is that Phuket is large and offers a diverse range of beaches, each with its own personality, and the island as a whole is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Thailand.
Hat Kata Noi lies just south of more popular and well-known Hat Kata Yai (usually just called Kata beach). Kata Yai is also not a bad option for families, but it is definitely more developed and has more tourist infrastructure, such as restaurants, massage parlors, souvenir shops, and so on.
Kata Noi, on the other hand, is a very quiet, one-street beach that is essentially occupied by two large resorts, Katathani Phuket Beach Resort (read reviews / see prices) just back from the beach and adult-only The Shore at Katathani (read reviews / see prices), which offers villas up the hill overlooking the beach. The two resorts blend into the scenery though, so rather than dominating the beach, you barely even notice them.
The best part is that even if you stay in a cheap hotel behind the main resort (as we did), you can still use the same beach as the resort! Every day we walked right through Katathani resort’s beautiful grounds, enjoying the same amazing beach as the resort’s guests, but for a fraction of the price!
Besides being very quiet and having an amazing beach with great swimming, there are some great little day trips you can make from the beach (see below), and we loved splurging on a fancy dinner at the amazing Mom Tri’s Kitchen restaurant on the northern end of the bay overlooking all of Kata Noi beach (see details below).
A few other beaches seemed great to us, but in the end, this combination of factors seemed to make Kata Noi the best family beach in Phuket on a budget.
Oh, I did I mention, the sunsets here every night were AMAZING!
Kata Noi Resort: The Best Family hotel in Phuket (on a budget)
As I said before, we wanted to be close as close as possible to the beach (we knew we probably wouldn’t find anything RIGHT on the sand for less than 100 bucks, we wanted a pool, and we wanted a villa large enough for all five of us.
That’s exactly what Kata Noi Resort (read reviews / see prices) offered. The hotel is down a little lane off the main road so you don’t hear noise from traffic. They offer regular rooms, but definitely opt for the private villas, which have great balconies, kitchens, two separate bedrooms, and safes for your valuables.
If you can, grab the villa right beside the little swimming pool. Nothing is better than having the balcony right by the pool when you’ve got kids, and we were almost always the only ones using the pool during our stay.
The hotel staff doesn’t exactly go above and beyond, but we were happy to be left to ourselves, and they are always there in the lobby if you do need them. There was a mini bar by the pool that never seemed to be open, but I was more than happy to grab my (much cheaper) drinks from the convenience store at the entrance to the lane on the main road.
From our hotel, it was only a few minutes walk to the beach, and we were allowed to walk through the gorgeous grounds of the Katathani resort to get there. We practically felt like we were staying at Katathani bur for way, way cheaper.
Our villa was large and more than sufficient, with comfy beds and a TV in the living room. It was great being able to have two separate bedrooms so my parents wouldn’t be bothered by our baby at night.
On the main road, just a minute from our hotel, we absolutely loved Nong Korn restaurant. Thailand veteran travelers may find it touristy, but we found every single meal there amazingly delicious and reasonably priced. Usually I like trying different places, but I think we ate almost every meal of our trip there, and the menu is so big, I had something different each time.
There were a few other similar places in town, but this one remained our favorite and was so close, so we stuck to it.
1. The Big Buddha: Besides the enormous Buddha itself, which is a symbol of Phuket and can be seen from many parts of the island, the path leading up to and area around the Buddha is interesting, and my son liked the overheating cats lying on the Buddhist souvenir stalls. We saw an elephant camp at the winding drive up the mountain, but didn’t stop.
2. Wat Chalong: The most important temple in Phuket is definitely worth a visit and is close to the Big Buddha.
3. Chalong Bay Rum Distillery: OK, not really for kids, but this was easily combined with our trip, and I can’t imagine most kids would mind the short but interesting tour and letting mom and dad enjoy one of the amazing mojitos that are included in the price.
We did this trip by taxi tour arranged by our hotel. I forget what we paid, but it was very reasonable! Another cool idea that we didn’t try is this Thai cooking class, which includes transportation from Kata Noi.
You also HAVE to splurge on a meal at Mom Tri’s Kitchen up on the cliff at the northern end of the beach. Having a meal at this luxury restaurant with an amazing balcony overlooking the beach and sea was the finishing touch on our trip, complete with amazing sunset, fantastic tropical cocktails, attentive service, and, most important, impeccable Thai cuisine. My soft-shelled crab curry was amazing and uber spicy (as I had requested).
I popped in a few days earlier to make the reservation, but if you are coming in high season, I’d call before your trip. Make sure to go a while before your reservation, because you’ll probably want to take many pictures from the hotel grounds before sitting down. You can quite easily walk there from the beach, of grab a tuk-tuk.