Phuket has been popular with westerners since the seventeenth century, when the Dutch, English, and French all competed for trade dominance over the large island located off Thailand's southwestern coast in the Andaman Sea. A real island paradise, Phuket has been a popular tourist destination for many years – especially with surfers. Surfers consider the west coast of Phuket to offer the best surfing in all of Thailand.
Phuket is the surfing capital of Thailand, and Kata Beach is the surfing capital of Phuket. With nearby Kata Beach Resort, it's very easy for tourists to catch a wave in the consistent surf of Kata Beach. The beach is crowded during peak tourist seasons, but still very friendly, and always international. It's not unusual to see surfers from different parts of the world taking a break from the waves to play a little bit of beach volleyball. Thanks to the popularity of surfing at Kata Beach, the biggest surf competition in Phuket is held annually here by Quiksilver.
With winds running southwest to northeast, the waves are fast but only make it up to about two metres at their peak heights. The south part of Kata Beach is home to the highest waves, thanks to the sandbar.
Compared to Kata Beach, the other beaches are less famous, but this doesn't mean they're bad places to surf. Here's a few of the beaches you might want to check out when you go surfing in Phuket, in no particular order:
As Kata Beach is the most popular beach in Phuket for surfers, it's should come as no surprise that Kata Beach is also the best place in Phuket to hire boards and find surf lessons. Perhaps it will come as a surprise that boards and lessons in Phuket are actually fairly hard to find in Phuket; many beaches do not even have boards available for hire. Surfboards usually rent for about 150 Baht per hour (that's £3.03 per hour), 500 Baht per day (£10), or 7,000 Baht per month (£142). Some tourists buy surfboards in Phuket rather than renting them because the price is much cheaper, but be sure to contact your airline before you buy – some airlines will charge quite a bit to check a surfboard.
As for surfing lessons, most private instructors will cost you 800 Baht per hour (£16), or 1,500 to 3,000 Baht for two hours (£30 - £60).
The surf season in Phuket begins in April and ends in September. During October, you can still find some limited surfing, but from November to February, don't plan a holiday to Phuket if you're planning on surfing.
Compared to other surfing spots in the world, such as California, Hawaii, and Australia, surfing in Phuket isn't really that exciting. However, Phuket has so many other attractions, from nightlife and dining to scuba diving and snorkeling, that Phuket makes a good “well-rounded” destination for surfers. After a day of surfing, you can hit Phuket's nightclubs, or take a day off from riding on top of the water to exploring beneath it in a diving adventure. Overall, Phuket, like many places in Thailand, has something to offer to everyone.