Our resident villa expert Max Vee visits Kamala Bay on Phuket, a.k.a Millionaire's Mile thanks to the exclusive parade of exclusive and luxurious private residences that grace the area. He gives his inside tips on the area and points out the attractions that make this one of the island’s top choices for a private villa stay.
Kamala Bay has long been known as one of Phuket's most appealing and prestigious addresses. The area quickly developed as an upscale alternative to the largely mass market choices in nearby Patong beach, and thanks to Kamala's forested cliffside landscape it has remained something of an exclusive enclave, despite the continuous development of new properties and hotels in the area.
Renting a villa in Kamala is the perfect option for groups or families looking for that rare balance between total seclusion and a range of fun packed holiday options.
About the location
Kamala beach is located on Phuket's ever popular and picturesque west coast and although it is the next beach north of the bustling tourist capital of Patong; the bay has a much more relaxed, almost residential feel to it. Steep coastal hills protect the bay and hidden within the tropical foliage are numerous private luxury properties, many of which can be rented as exclusive holiday homes. The southern part of the beach is backed by a small lane that is lined with modest local restaurants and shops, while to the north the sand widens out, framed by towering casuarina trees and extending in a sweeping curve towards a rocky headland. Just north of Kamala beach, the largely hidden sands of stunning Laem Singh beach can be reached by pathways from two hillside car parks (again quite busy in high season).
Why choose this area?
The coastal hills around Kamala offer an excellent choice for visitors that want to stay right in Phuket's holiday heartland but without being disturbed by the tourist masses. If you choose one of the private villas perched on the bay's southern or northern headland, you will feel completely removed from the commotion, yet with a car or taxi you can easily reach the island's main beaches, attractions and shopping areas. The small town that backs Kamala beach is also home to a number of convenience stores, banks, local restaurants and bars, making it a convenient location for a wide range of holiday needs.
Where would you eat?
Villa guests staying in the hills above Kamala Bay will most likely only venture out occasionally to eat, as the views and surroundings at their private villa will already provide the ultimate location for oceanview dining. Beachside in Kamala, the small local restaurants that line the southern end of the bay offer a range of Thai and international dishes, as well as some tempting fresh seafood. A long time favourite is Charoen Seafood, run by a local family, which serves up reliable fresh fish and prawns in a friendly atmosphere. For a more upmarket meal, the small lane that hugs the southern Kamala headland leads to a couple of sophisticated options. The quaint and cosy Rockfish combines stunning views of the bay with some delectable western, fusion and Thai dishes, also including plenty of fresh seafood choices. Meanwhile, if you crave good Italian food, head for Diavolo at the Paresa Resort, which is perched high on the headland further south and combines a full menu of Mediterranean classics with fabulous views to complement the taste.
For a big night out?
There's a choice of north or south when it comes to partying the night away from Kamala (although best get a taxi if you plan to make the most of the cocktails). To the south lies the endless though somewhat chaotic entertainment zone of Patong, where just about every form of after dark diversion can be enjoyed, from old school pubs like the Irish Times to live music at the Hard Rock Cafe or the infamous Go Go bars and cabaret shows. Those looking for a more relaxed, upmarket evening out can head to the next main beach north of Kamala bay – Surin Beach – which now boasts a choice of sophisticated beach clubs, including Catch, Diamond and the newly launched Martinis & Bikinis.
What keeps you busy?
Phuket's maturity as a holiday destination means the choices for activities and exploration are vast and diverse. This means it really is up to each visitor how much or little they wish to do during a stay on the island. From the comfort of a private villa in Kamala, the staff can arrange for a whole host of trips, tours and activities. Marine based activities include snorkelling and scuba diving, kayaking, speed boat trips and sailing through the dramatic limestone scenery of nearby Phang Nga bay. On land there are top class golf courses to play on, waterfalls to visit like Bang Pae, situated in the Thaeo National Park in Thalang, just north of Phuket Town, as well as man-made attractions such as the quaint Chinese buildings in the Old Town itself, as well as a range of family friendly attractions that includes water parks, an aquarium and a shell museum. For a cultural evening out in Kamala, the Phuket Fantasea show offers an impressive performance in a theatre that seats 3000 people. The show is also an excellent chance to learn a little about Thailand’s rich culture and traditions and the theatre is surrounded by replica temples and monuments that are intended to represent traditional Thai life.
What about the villas?
A wide choice of villas are available to rent in Kamala. They range from sprawling hillside mansions to more modest but equally luxurious apartments. Dramatic locations and sublime views come are guaranteed, so your choices will most likely be based more on bedroom configurations, design, facilities and services.
A two bedroom luxury apartment overlooking Kamala bay, the living spaces flow without boundaries between indoor and outdoor areas, giving an overwhelming feeling of being truly at one with the environment.
Baan Lom Talay
A luxurious 5-bedroom oceanview villa spread over 4 separate levels with an impressive swimming pool and sala at the centre of the property overlooking the Andaman Sea.
A mountainside estate featuring modern-designed three-,four- and five bedroom hilltop residences fashioned from aluminium, steel and whitewashed concrete and set amongst lush, tropical gardens.
A Phuket luxury gem located on a spectacular half-acre site overlooks the breathtaking turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. The four-bedroom property features a unique private stairwell down to a natural, shallow swimming enclave in the sea below.
Mixing elements of classic, soft-lined Thai architecture and tropical gardens with the hard, crisp lines of contemporary furnishings, four bedroom Villa Yang personifies ancient 'yin yang' philosophy through its luxurious natural environment, architecture and interior design.
Kamala Beach Estate
The perfect location for holiday makers in search of relaxation, autonomy, privacy and security. Kamala Beach Estate features a choice of one- to three bedroom oceanfront villas and apartments set amongst lush tropical gardens with swimming pools.
Talaefun Holiday Villa
Combining enchanting Thai traditional architecture with the state of the art modern comforts, Talaefun can accommodate up to 12 adults in its six luxurious suites, each with accompanying walk-in closet and en-suite bathroom.
One of the island's most in-demand properties, this seven bedroom residence sits on over 5,000 sqm of oceanfront land and comes absolutely complete for a memorable luxury family or group vacation, corporate retreats or special events. Villa I is also the perfect setting for a dream wedding.
An outstanding design and location make Villa Liberty one of Phuket's top private residences. Designed by renowned Paris-based architect, Arte Charpentier, every element of this six bedroom grand villa has been exquisitely detailed as an imaginative architectural response to the outstanding surrounds.
Designed as a private home, this modern, exclusive two bedroom property comes complete with private poolside massages, a gym, fabulous dining options and glorious sunsets from one of its many terraces.
by MAX VEE