Kata Noi: The Best Place to Stay in Phuket for Families (on a budget)

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Before I took my parents, wife, and one-year-old son on a trip from where we live in Taiwan to Phuket in Thailand (see the difference between Taiwan and Thailand here!), 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 to find in Phuket – well known as one of the best places to visit in Thailand, but also overdeveloped and super popular. But then I found Kata Noi.

Kata Noi: the best place to stay in Phuket for families on a budget
Pretty, laid-back Hat Kata Noi

So now I’m writing this post to share why I think Kata Noi is the best family beach in Phuket, and Kata Noi Resort (see on Agoda / TripAdvisor / Booking) is the best family hotel in Phuket if you are looking for a cheap deal. If you aren’t constrained by a low budget, then check out this article on the best family resorts in Phuket or perhaps even consider doing a liveaboard in Thailand!

At the end, I’ll also also cover some of the best things to do in Phuket which, conveniently, were within easy reach of Kata Noi in southern Phuket! For fitting it all together, here is a recommended Phuket itinerary, and you can plan your trip beyond the island with this Thailand itinerary!

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Why Kata Noi is the best place to stay in Phuket for Families

My one-year-old son on Kata Noi, Phuket
My 1-year-old son Sage playing in the sand on quiet Kata Noi, Phuket

First and foremost, Kata Noi is NOT a party beach. People often associate Phuket with partying, 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. On top of that, scuba diving in Phuket is a big deal, with some of the country’s best coral reefs surrounding it.

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.

Road from Kata Noi to Kata Yai, Phuket
Road from Kata Yai to Kata Noi (see the Big Buddha on top?)
Main street of Kata Noi, Phuket
Kata Noi is a quiet, one street town

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 (see on Agoda / TripAdvisor / Booking) just back from the beach.

There’s also the adult-only The Shore at Katathani (see on Agoda / TripAdvisor / Booking), 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. It has one of the best infinity pools in Phuket.

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!

Kata Noi, the best family beach in Phuket
Looking north…
Kata Noi, a great Phuket family beach
and south from the middle of the beach

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!

Amazing sunsets at Kata Noi, Phuket
My parents with my son Sage at sunset from Kata Noi beach
Amazing sunsets at Kata Noi, Phuket
Incredible sunsets at Hat Kata Noi

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 (see on Agoda / TripAdvisor / Booking) 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.

Kata Noi Resort, the best family hotel in Phuket
The tiny quiet lane to Kata Noi Resort. You can see the normal rooms on the side, and villas at the back.
The pool at Kata Noi Resort, Phuket
The little swimming pool at Kata Noi resort was perfect for us! That’s our room on the right!
Villa balcony at Kata Noi Resort, Phuket
Sage on our villa balcony overlooking the pool
My mother and son at Kata Noi Resort, Phuket
My mom and and son Sage

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.

Thai pineapple fried salad
I wish all my food came in a pineapple…
Thai red curry
Red Curry

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.

Amazing Thai food
Lemongrass seafood salad
Thai raw mango salad
Famed Thai raw mango salad

Things to do while staying at Kata Noi

Besides hitting the beach every morning and then retiring to your balcony and pool with drinks in afternoon, there are many things to do in Phuket and  day trips you can take from the island, including visiting some of the most beautiful rock formations in the world.

We chose to stay a little closer with this easy day trip from Kata Noi that included three sights:

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.

Big Buddha Phuket
Big Buddha, visible from many parts of Phuket.
My son at the Big Buddha, Phuket
Sage at the Big Buddha temple

2. Wat Chalong: The most important temple in Phuket is definitely worth a visit and is close to the Big Buddha. If you’re interested in Thai temples, make sure to see my guide to the best temples in Chiang Mai!

Cat at Wat Chalong, Phuket
Sage cared most about the cat at Wat Chalong.

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.

Chalong Bay Rum Distillery, Phuket
Chalong Bay Rum Distillery, an easy trip from Kata Noi. Something for mom and dad!

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).

Amazing food at Mom Tri's Kitchen, Kata Noi, Phuket
Mango lobster cakes at Mom Tri’s Kitchen
Amazing curry at Mom Tri's Kitchen, Kata Noi, Phuket
Soft shelled curry at Mom Tri’s Kitchen.
Cocktails at Mom Tri's Kitchen, Kata Noi, Phuket
Star Fruit cocktail in the sunset’s glow
Sunset cocktails at Mom Tri's Kitchen, Kata Noi, Phuket
Star fruit and pineapple cocktail at Mom Tri’s Kitchen, the best sunset spot

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.

If you love this view, you can also stay at Mom Tri’s Vill Royale (see on Agoda / TripAdvisor / Booking).

View of Kata Noi beach from Mom Tri's Kitchen, Phuket
My wife Emily and Sage. If you do one thing at Kata Noi, splurge on a sunset dinner at Mon Tri’s Kitchen!
Sunset meal, Mom Tri's Kitchen, Kata Noi, Phuket
Best seats in the house for sunset at Mom Tri’s Kitchen

Last, if you do get bored because Kata Noi is TOO quiet, you can always walk (30 minutes) or grab a tuk tuk (100-150 baht) to Kata Yai to explore the shops or try some different restaurants.

Getting to Kata Noi

We booked a private car on arrival at the airport. It cost around 850 bath and took a little over an hour.

I hope you can see now why I think Kata Noi is the best place to stay in Phuket for families. What do you think is the best family beach in Phuket? Please comment below!

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