Will be a first time visitor Nov/Dec 2011. I know this is getting into busy season and need to book soon. I am in my young 40s and will be traveling with my 30 yr old sister. I was considering Kata, but still not sure. I already found that a few of the more affordable places in Kata booked. We prefer a nice beach where you can swim and some mid level nightlife. We enjoy happy hours and dinner, maybe a few drinks after dinner. Funny, I find on vacations I go to bed earlier than in my regular life. I do not necessarily need to be on the beach, but definitely want to rent chairs for the day. I would prefer to stay within 6000 bahts ($200) per night. Thanks for responding.
BTW: I was also also considering Krabi, but as a first timer, I have decided on Phuket especially with my single sister with me. Hopefully, I love Thailand to come back again with the DH and will do Krabi then.