Classier than Karon and without Patong's seedy hustle, Kata (กะตะ) attracts travellers of all ages to its lively beach. While you won't bag a secluded strip of sand, you'll still find lots to do. A prime spot for surfing in the shoulder and wet seasons, Kata also has some terrific day spas, top-notch food and a highly rated yoga studio. The golden-sand beach is carved in two by a rocky headland: Hat Kata Yai lies on the north side; more secluded Hat Kata Noi unfurls to the south. The road between them is home to Phuket’s original millionaire’s row.

The main street, Th Kata, runs parallel to the beach. There are cheaper restaurants, bars and guesthouses on Th Thai Na, which branches inland just south of where Th Kata heads up over the hill into Karon.