Kathu Travel & City Guide
Relaxed residential area, cheaper than any other part of the island with great restaurants and bars.
Kathu lies in the centre of the island and has both a traditional old village, as well as more modern areas that make up the rest of the town.
It spreads from the edge of Phuket Town westward towards Patong and is mainly a residential area with a lot of locals and expats choosing to make it their home. This is due to its quiet atmosphere and convenience, however with being connected to major thoroughfares it offers easy access across the whole island. It is also the location of a major medical centre, namely Phuket International Hospital.
A few notable points of interest in Kathu include the beautiful structure that is Wat Kathu, a small Buddhist temple of intricate design and another is Kathu Shrine. This Chinese temple has seen some extensive reconstruction over the years to renovate it to its former glory and contains historical artefacts, such as Taoist deities. It is also the birthplace of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, which runs from 23 September to 3 October in 2014.
WHERE TO STAY
Kathu is not a place where you want to spend your holiday except if you wish to play golf on a daily basis. It is more of a residential area for locals and expats who live and work in Phuket. A lot of property has been built around the golf courses ranging from condominiums to private villas, most of them with security.
WHAT TO DO
If you’re after adrenalin fuelled activities while you’re in Phuket, Kathu is the place to go! Here you’ll find bungee jumping, go-karting, wakeboarding, zip-lining and football golf make up the list of available thrills.
If you prefer to spend a day more sedately, Kathu Mining Museum offers an insightful look into Phuket’s past tin mining industry. Housed within a magnificently beautiful pink Sino-Portuguese building, it takes you through the history of this once booming trade by way of displays and presentations. The area also has the islands’ highest concentrations of golf courses. Loch Palm Golf Course, Phuket Country Club and Red Mountain Golf Club, all of which are set in pristinely kept grounds, provide a diverse range of challenges that are unique to their landscapes.
Kathu Waterfall is a magnificent natural feature made up of several drop pools that is most impressive during the rainy season (May to November) when it actually holds some water. You can climb to the top of the falls by way of some steps, as well as natural ground to reach an inviting pool to have a soak in.
WHERE TO EAT
New restaurants are popping up with frequency in Kathu, continuously adding to its already impressive list of eateries. You’ll find many other types of cuisine aside from Thai, such as English, Indian, Italian, Scandinavian, Belgian and a number of steak houses, snack bars and bakeries.
Its laid-back lifestyle ensures that you’ll be greeted with a warm welcome and experience high standards of service. There are also many bars from where to enjoy a relaxing drink in a town that has a strong sense of community. You’ll often meet locals and expats in such watering holes who can tell you more about the local area, as well as the whole island.
If you have a fast-food craving, you’ll not find yourself far from a whole range of well-known eateries, which are within the larger malls, Central Festival and Tesco Lotus, nearby. The former also houses a supermarket that sells imported food and drinks.
There are a few food markets to visit in Kathu, which sell tasty food at a cheap price. Markets are well-worth visiting when you’re in Phuket as you’ll find authentic and traditional dishes that guarantee a taste sensation unlike what you would experience in a restaurant.
Kathu’s nightlife is centred around its bars, many of which are expat owned and show live sports. There are a few karaoke venues too, should you fancy a sing-along. Again, as this area is very much residentially focused, you’ll come across locals and expats, which makes for a more intimate night out as you’re sure to find yourself engaged in interesting conversations.
If you choose to explore the quieter roads in Kathu, you’ll no doubt come across some cool places to hang out. Please note that a few words of Thai are necessary to communicate.Expect a much more chilled out atmosphere than other parts of the island, which will bring about a feeling of familiarity.
Head towards the junction to Phuket Town where you will find one of the island’s largest and most impressive malls, Central Festival. Here you will find loads of familiar clothing brands, sports shops and an expansive bookstore that sells lots of CD’s, DVD’s and stationery among its hardbacks and magazine selection.
The department store housed within this complex also offers a 6% VAT refund for tourists. In addition, there are a whopping amount of restaurants to choose from that serve flavours from Japan, Russia and Thailand, among several others.
You’ll also spot several dentists and pharmacies throughout town, which are worth popping into if you so require their services. Kathu’s local shops serve the community by way of selling everyday items, like food and homeware requirements.
24 Hour convenience stores can be found on several corners, handy for basic necessities, as well as snacks and beverages. Please note that alcoholic drinks might not be available for purchase between 14:00 and 17:00.
Being so centrally situated, it’s easy to venture to commercial shopping areas, like Patong, or for boutique-style stores head in the other direction towards Phuket Town.