Where to stay in Phuket: Kata or Karon?
- Where to stay in Phuket: Kata or Karon?
- The Beaches
- The Beach of Kata
- The Beach of Karon
- The Hotels
- The Hotels in Kata Beach
- The Hotels in Karon Beach
- What to Do in Kata Beach
- What to Do in Karon Beach?
- The Atmosphere
- Who is Kata Beach for?
- Who is Karon Beach for?
- Kata and Karon Maps
- More guides to pick the right beach in Phuket
There are many beaches to choose from in Phuket, and picking the right beach to book your hotel will impact your holiday. Once you have done your research and narrowed it down to Kata Beach vs Karon Beach, the decision can become daunting. Both have their charm and atmosphere, so here is a list of the features for each to help you make your decision.
The Beach of Kata
The beach of Kata is 1.5 km long in a crescent shape, a very soft white sand and a lot of trees all along. A small road runs all along, and there are only 2 hotels with direct access to the beach, so buildings have not disfigured the beachfront. There are beach loungers with umbrellas on 10 to 20 % of the beach, which should please everyone, those who love and dislike them. There are drink vendors under the trees. There are a few restaurants at the south end of the beach.
The Beach of Karon
The beach of Karon is much longer than Kata (3.5 km long) and wider too, maybe a bit less scenic. The sand is thicker than in Kata and is known to make a fun squeaky sound when you walk on it. The beach is long and wide, with fewer chairs and beach vendors than in Kata, so the atmosphere is very different: it feels quieter than in Kata, even a bit isolated outside the peak season. A wide road runs along the beach, and most beachfront hotels are across this road. There are only 2 hotels on the beach and a few local restaurants at the north end.
The Hotels in Kata Beach
There are only 3 hotels on the beachfront of Kata: The Boathouse and Beyond Resort Kata; then Club Med occupies almost the entire land across the street from the beach. You will find many hotels for all budgets along the second street that runs 150m parallel to the beach and some very popular properties at the south end of Kata, such as The SIS Kata.
On the downside, you cannot walk straight to the beach most of the time. There are only 2 or 3 accesses from the 2nd road to the beach: north and south. So if you stay at the Chanalai Romantica hotel, the beach is just 150 m from the hotel, but you would have to walk 500 m to the closest beach. Hotels in Kata are often near restaurants and shops, sometimes making it lively or busy.
The Hotels in Karon Beach
Many hotels are just across the road from the beach, making it a breeze to reach it. Some are a little higher behind the first line of hotels but not too far. Note that some of the hotels facing the beach cover gigantic properties, so even though the hotel sounds near the beach, you might have to walk through immense gardens to reach it. There are only three hotels in Karon with direct beach access: Centara Grand Beach Resort, Beyond Resort Karon and Marina Cottage.
What to Do in Kata Beach
Kata Beach is packed with restaurants, bars and shops, including a few popular venues in the south: Ska Bar and Kata Seafood. Parasailing and jetskis are available but less popular than they used to be. Surf is popular during the low season, and there are a couple of schools with boards for rent. Nightlife in Kata is getting small, with a few bars open late live bands and a couple of beer bars, but no clubs.
What to Do in Karon Beach?
Karon beach life is mostly concentrated in the small town that runs perpendicular to the beach. Visitors can easily find restaurants, massages, shops, and beer bars. There is a night bazaar nearby too. There are two beach clubs.
Who is Kata Beach for?
Kata beach seems to please families and groups of friends who prefer a beautiful beach with everything easy to find nearby: food, shops, beach with facilities, but don’t mind the streets and the beach being a bit busy during the high season.
Who is Karon Beach for?
Karon Beach addresses two types of travellers: those who prefer large quiet resorts with easy access to the beach and don’t mind spending time in the resort itself since the small town of Karon is a little far and requires them to use a shuttle or a tuk-tuk. The other travellers stay in budget hotels n the small town of Karon, where all the restaurants and bars are. Karon is less busy than Kata and has little nightlife.
Kata and Karon Maps