Thailand doesn’t have the best reputation as a surfing destination. Most of the tourist hotspots in Thailand, including Bangkok, are located off the Gulf of Thailand which has notoriously calm waters. But not all of Thailand is terrible for surfing: Phuket is an exception.
Phuket is an island province in southern Thailand. Aussies know this area well, as do surfing enthusiasts. Surfers are particularly keen on the west coast of Phuket bordering the Indian Ocean, which produces much taller and longer-lasting waves than the mild Gulf of Thailand. On Phuket, you are never more than 20 minutes away from a beach offering a solid surf spot. From April to October, the surfing conditions are ripe: northwest monsoon winds consistently create quality waves in these months. Here are the best beaches to go to for a good wave.
If Phuket had a capital of surfing, it would be Kata Beach, located on the south end of the island. Surf schools and surf shops abound. Some big corporations have noticed the emerging surf culture here, including Quiksilver, who have hosted an annual surfing competition here for several years.
Despite the schools, shops and sponsored competitions, Kata Beach is surprisingly uncrowded most of the time. This is an added bonus: when a great wave comes, there won’t be any competition for space to surf.
Kamala Beach offers something to surfers of all skill levels. Beginners should take to the north section of Kalama Beach, which features gentle swells. A short walk south takes you to an area where sandbars create waves up to three metres high, perfect for intermediate and advanced riders. This is a great place to learn how to surf, and also a great place to show off your skills once you’ve learned a thing or two.
Beginner surfers should avoid this spot. The water is rough, with strong currents and frequent rips. Of course, this always means the waves are very heavy, resulting in fast and thrilling rides. Surf at your own risk, but you can have a great time here if you know what you’re doing.