Karon Beach is one of the longest beaches in Phuket and the 3rd in beach popularity. Karon enjoys a huge stretch of white sand with a decent choice of dining and nightlife. And yet it never seems to draw crowds of tourists (which might actually be a good thing). The beach is also known to make a fun squishy sound when walking on the sand. Karon is divided in three areas: Karon Center, the Lake and the Beachfront Road.
Where to Stay in Karon
Two great hotels right on the beach you should consider if the price is right for you: Beyond Resort Karon and Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket. Two other resorts with good ratings just with a street to cross to reach the beach (with lots of sea view rooms) are Mövenpick Resort Karon Beach and Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa. Then you have a myriad of smaller hotels all around the place, you shouldn’t have a problem to find accommodation according to your budget. For something a little more upmarket is a nice semi outdoor space, have a look at El Gaucho inside Mövenpick Resort.
What to Do in Karon Beach
Apart from a fantastic beach there is not so much to do around Karon Beach. The temple at the end on Soi Patak is a nice photo opportunity and is famous for the popular Karon Temple Market every Tuesday and Friday. Never miss a chance to visit it, it’s full of fun thing to try, games to play and fun local food. You might even get a chance to eat giant water bugs, or at least to take a photo to share back home. Enjoy a couple of drinks at Coast Beach Club at Centara Grand Beach Phuket and end the day with a spa treatment. The god old Dino Park Mini Golf is technically in Kata beach but it’s not very far and good family fun.
- Karon Temple Market
- Coast Beach Club at Centara Grand Phuket
- Dino Park Mini Golf
- Spa at Centara Grand Beach Phuket or Movenpick Resort
- Parasailing but it’s rather controversial regarding safety issues
Where to Eat in Karon
The best view in Karon is without a doubt On The Rock restaurant near the stadium. More casual with really good food is EAT Bar & Grill Restaurant on the back road. For seafood you can choose the street stalls in front of the stadium or those by the lake. They are relatively cheap and more exotic. Karon Beach Square is a convenient group of restaurants on the grounds of the Movenpick Resort, mostly known for El Gaucho, serving Brazilian Churrasco and great steaks. For comfort international food, Two Chefs and Karon Cafe are very popular
There is a bit of nightlife in Karon beach. It’s modest but still fun. Angus O’Tool is also a long time Irish pub and the area is full of tiny beer bars such as Clapton Bar, and a small ‘Soi Bangla‘ type or alley. Nothing really exciting, but the place is very lively. There is a ‘mini Bangla street at the south end of Karon with beer bar and girls but it seems to shrink a little more each year.
One of the popular things to do in Karon beach is a visit to the Karon Temple Market that occurs only twice a week: Tuesdays and Fridays, from 4 pm to 10 pm.
The Geography of Karon
1. Karon Center and Patak Rd
Patak Road is mostly a street going perpendicularly inland from the very fancy and convoluted ‘Karon Circle’ to the temple. It’s small, messy and feels rather old and additionally parking there is impossible. Around here you will find few long-established restaurants, convenience stores and ‘Hellooooo you want massage‘ parlors and lots and lots of bars in all sizes and shapes. Just like everyone else, walk up and down Patak road and pick one bar, ultimately they are all ‘same same but different‘.
2. The Lake
The Lake near the circle has also been the subject of many attempts to make the area an upmarket zone or even a convention center. Once in a while it hosts a local fun fair which it’s fun, fair and crowded, but ultimately not really upmarket.
3. Karon Beach Front Road
The beachfront road goes all the way from the lake to Kata Beach and is mostly occupied by massive resorts with few small hotels squeezed between. At the beginning of the beach road you’ll find Karon Beach Square, the Night Bazaar, a temporary roofed market selling mostly tee-shirts and beach toys, including all the usual fake brands.
More interesting is Soi Aroonson, a small street in the middle of the beach road. Some good restaurants have opened here as well as lots of massage and few convenience shops. It’s still a bit quiet, but doesn’t feel as messy as Karon Center.
Then you’ll reach the end of the Beach Road, when a small hill leads to Kata Beach (boundaries have never been very clear). Noticeable around here is the restaurant really built on the beach, a football stadium (also used for cricket competitions) and one of the two nightlife areas around. This very narrow and hard to spot ‘Soi’ (an alley) is called ‘Bangla Plaza’ and has always been here, but nothing to compare with Soi Bangla in Patong Beach nightlife. Not much more than few beer bars with colorful spotlights and even more colorful staff. Plenty of tiny shops and foot massage as well.