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Karon Beach, Phuket Overview

Located on the west coast of Phuket, Karon Beach is the third longest beach in Phuket. Sandwiched between Patong to the north and Kata to the south it is a vast and uncrowded place for those looking for some quiet time. Karon Beach has some excellent snorkelling spots and clean crystal blue water that is a joy to swim in.

Karon has three main areas. Karon Beach Road, leading up to the beach where most of the big resorts are located.
Then there is Karon Centre, which is a 500-metre street, in the small busy city centre that has many excellent dining and shopping options for tourists.

Karon Centre is flanked on the beachside by the elegant Karon Circle, and on the inland side of it stands the majestic Wat Suwan Khiri Khet or Karon Temple. This beautiful Buddhist temple also hosts a famous bi-weekly local market. There is the area around Luang Poh Chuan Road, towards the southern end of the beach, which is the hub of nightlife. This last area comes alive with sunset and is always bustling until the wee hours of the night.

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Things To Do in Karon Beach

1. Water Sports
Hit the beach. Swim, snorkel, build sandcastles with your kids or laze around on a beach bed under an umbrella. With soft white sands, no rocks or obstructions, clean blue water and a spectacular view of the horizon, Karon Beach is the perfect place to spend the day on the beach. Play Volleyball on Karon Beach. It is the only beach in Phuket where volleyball nets set up every day for public use. Take a go at these, and perhaps you may even make some new friends.

2. Sunset View
Witness the sunset by going on an evening stroll across the Karon Beach road. 

3. Visit Wat Suwan Khiri Khet
Visit Wat Suwan Khiri Khet, commonly known as Karon Temple, the quaint Buddhist temple. If you go there early in the morning, can connect to your spiritual side, without the hassle of crowds.

4. Bi-Weekly Bazaar
Check out the bi-weekly bazaar at Karon Centre for a slice of the local life and cheap souvenirs. The Karon Bazar also provides massage centres.

5. Karon Bazar
If you need any everyday items like clothes, cosmetics, baby care products, head to Karon Bazar.

6. Karon Plaza
Drop by Karon Plaza for foot reflexology instead of a massage at Karon Plaza.

7. Luang Poh Chuan Road:
Enjoy the night at some of the hotspots around Luang Poh Chuan Road. Although not bustling, the Luang Poh Chuan Road nightlife has some great restaurants. 

8. Dino Park Mini Golf:
Checkout Dino Park Mini Golf, which lies somewhere between Karon and Kata beaches. Dino Park is a fun place for both kids and adults. It has an 18-hole mini-golf course with different dinosaurs at each hole and can be easily covered in about 40 minutes.

Nightlife in Karon Beach

COAST Beach Club
With its picturesque seafront views, COAST Beach Club inside Centara Grand Beach Resort has a relaxed barefoot vibe. The cocktail bar and bar-restaurant offer some great drinks, albeit on the steeper side. Try the varied selection of international and local cheeses here, along with some Blue Swimmer Crab and the Three COAST Sliders. You can lounge in either the indoor, or outdoor section of the club, in the restaurant or hang around the bar. Live music and DJs make the evenings come alive here.

Karon Beach Square
Located inside Moevenpick Resort on Karon Beach Road, only 250m from Karon Circle, Karon Beach Square is a fun nightlife complex that has four different kinds of spaces. Each of these has a specific type of decor, ambience and cuisine. It has both indoor and outdoor areas to sit and relax. With a contemporary design, it is the perfect place to dine under the stars.

Angus O’Tool’s
As in most places in Thailand, there is an Irish Club around the corner in Karon as well. On the edge of a contemporary building, Angus O’Tool’s, with international ales, bottled beer and simple pub food, there is none of the sleazy vibes of Patong here. Sports on the huge screens and an occasional live music act make this place a dependable place to chill in.

Bangla Plaza
This is a stretch of road filled with open bars, rather than a single bar, which you can spot on the right-hand side of the road while coming from Karon beach. With simple tables on the roadside and an occasional pool table, this stretch called Bangla Plaza has shops like - Nightflower, Black Cat, Jinda, Winner Bar, Nan and My Way Bar. Montana Music Baris the only air-conditioned place here that also plays retro music.

Karon Plaza
Another open-air place to party in Karon is an L-shaped location along Lung Phochuan Road in Karon, called Karon Plaza. This is where the rowdier crowd likes to party, but it is still very tame compared to Bangla Road. Enjoy Joy’s bar, and Happy Bar are two such popular joints to party like crazy on this stretch. 75 Cent Reggae Bar and Art occasionally has live music for which there is an entry fee.

Food and Restaurants

There are many great restaurants at Karon Beach, offering a range of cuisines and ambiences. Most restaurants are inside resorts, but there are some exceptions as well. The best of these eateries are -

Bai Toey 
Bai Toey, located in The Old Phuket Karon Beach Resort is a quaint little restaurant serving mostly traditional Thai dishes. Some of the highlights of the place are Pad Thai, Tom Yam Goong, Green Curry, Red Curry, deep-fried fish with garlic and pepper. Tasteful soul music discreetly piped in a décor that is accentuated by with period fittings complements the dishes. This reasonably priced restaurant has a small review wall, where you can leave a review.

Karon Café 
Established in 1989, Karon Café is one of the oldest restaurants here. Known for its juicy steaks from Australia, Karon Café prepares these steaks to perfection under the supervision of American owner fondly called ‘Uncle’ Eric. Some soup, salad from the salad bar and red wine will round off your meal perfectly.

Two Chefs 
Part of a four-restaurant chain based in Karon, Kamala and Kata, Two Chefs is an excellent family restaurant that can be depended on for quick service and quality food. It has an extensive photograph menu in ten languages and live music every night, making it the perfect place to chill post sundown.

EAT Bar and Grill Phuket
EAT Bar and Grill on Thanon Patak, just a short walk from Karon Beach, is the best option for enjoying some Western-style grill dining in Karon. While the drinks are expensive, there are a variety of meats available here. If you have any queries, ask the team members here, who will provide quality recommendations.

On The Rock 
Located at the end of a rocky promontory inside the Marina Phuket Resort, On The Rock is a romantic restaurant right by the sea. With a predominantly seafood menu, an excellent wine list and great service, this place is ideal for a romantic evening on a holiday. Tables are mostly booked, so it is better if you make a reservation in advance.

Coast Beach Club
Coast Beach Club at Centara Grand Beach Resort not only has a stunning beachfront setting, but offers a laid back vibe, and a cocktail bar. The best things to have here are pizzas, tapas, and a variety of international and local cheeses along with the perfect glass of wine. It also hosts many private events.

2gether Restaurant
If you are looking for budget food, 2gether is the place for you. Located on Patak Road, 2gether is a popular joint on Karon Beach. Started in 2005 under Swedish management, the restaurant has been awarded by Trip Advisor as the ‘Best Karon Beach Restaurant’ in both 2012 and 2013.

Ging Restaurant 
If you want to keep things simple and real, head to Ging Restaurant near Soi Old Phuket Resort. You will get quality Thai food without any fuss here. With tiled interiors and basic fan cooling, Ging makes up for its simple look with its fantastic food and warm and friendly service.

Karon Beach Shopping

There are two main places to shop near Karon Beach – Karon Market a bi-weekly bazaar at Karon Centre and a shopping plaza called Karon Bazar close to the Beach Road. The former is also a night market. Other than these two, there are a few smaller plazas and stand-alone stores.

Karon Market
  • A local market in Karon Beach, Karon Market is held twice a week in the temple grounds of Wat Suwan Khiri Khet or Wat Karon. A vibrant market, you can drop by only on Tuesdays and Saturdays. 
  • Karon Market is like a mini Phuket Weekend Market, which is held in Phuket Town’s southern suburbs on every Saturday and Sunday.
  • Like most open markets in Thailand, it starts late in the afternoon market is and has plenty of touristy stuff. From T-shirts to Thai-style bags, scarves to multi-coloured swimsuits, sarongs to beachwear, Muay Thai (Thai boxing) shorts to knock off handbags and watches, to cheap souvenirs and flower-shaped soap carvings, you can find an endless list at this market.
Karon Bazar
  • Also check out Karon Bazaar or Shopping Sale Karon Plaza, which is a large, well-lit and covered market, set in the central area of Karon Beach Road, right between Moevenpick Resort and Woraburi Phuket Resort, only 350 metres south of Karon circle. It is open till 10 PM every night, and all the things here are slightly higher priced than the local markets.
  • Other than the usual clothes, bags and jewellery, Karon Bazar has some specialized stores that mechanically carve souvenirs.
  • There is also a small parlour here, where you can get foot reflexology done for THB 300.
  • A room at this bazaar also has a range of massages. From Thai massage, which costs around THB 300; to Thai hot herbal massage, which costs THB 1,000, you can pick a massage according to your pocket here. Or get a manicure and pedicure done to feel pretty.
  • There is also a Tattoo studio here called Bird Tattoo Studio that does some good tattoos here.
  • There are also some stalls in front of Karon Bazar where you can re-energize with fresh coconut milk, fruit, cold beer or soft drinks.
Soi Old Phuket Area aka Aroona Karon
Soi Old Phuket Area or Aroona Karon is a full street near Karon Beach Road, which is named after the adjacent Old Phuket Resort. This beautiful road designed in the Sino-colonial style takes one to a bygone era. There are a host of boutiques, tailor shops, massage parlours, bars and restaurants here. The best buys here are colourful dresses, breezy beachwear, tropical shirts and silk scarves. You can even get something stitched from local material if you are staying here for a longer time.

Centre Point Village
Set in an 80 metre small long covered corridor, Centre Point Village is a shopping plaza right next to Karon Princess Hotel on Karon Beach Road. There are only about a dozen shops and restaurants here and nothing too fancy. The leading shop here is the convenience store called Chang Siam Minimart. A pharmacy, Herbs & Spa products shop, a clothes shop, souvenir shop are also here. Phu Thai Massage Spa & Beauty Salon is a unique place as they offer excellent massages. If you want to eat, there are some excellent options, including banana pancakes, fruit shakes and smoothies at the small stalls on both sides of the entrance to this tiny plaza.

Siam Herbal
A renowned store Siam Herbal is in Karon Centre 30 metres from Little Mermaid Hotel. It is more than just a pharmacy; it has many traditional herbal medicines and skin and hair care products. You can find the perfect fit for your skin and hair type at this little shop.

How to Reach Karon Beach

Karon Beach is only 30 to 40 minutes away from the heart of Phuket city.

From the Airport to Karon
- If you are coming from the airport, you can take a bus, minibus, taxi or car rental, depending on your budget.
- It will take 2 hours 40 minutes by bus, as you have to go first to Phuket town and then take another bus heading to Karon Beach.
- It is better to take a minibus, which comes directly to Karon and covers the distance in 2 hours. The Minibus charge from Airport to Karon or vice versa is around THB 18.
- If you take a taxi, you will reach your hotel or resort much sooner, in about 55 minutes but the charge is much higher at around THB 730.
- If you rent a car for yourself (provided you have an international licence), you will reach the fastest at around 45 to 50 minutes. But at the airport, they charge a deposit of a whopping THB 4900 and the car itself will cost you about THB 800.

From Phuket City to Karon

By Songthaews

The cheapest way to travel from Phuket city to Karon is by a Songthaew. You can take one of these blue buses, which leave every 30 minutes, from Phuket City near the fresh market on Ranong road. Fares start at only THB 15.

By Tuk-Tuk
Although a lifesaver for short distances, Tuk-Tuks are not ideal for travelling from Phuket City to Karon. For such long distances, the charge is around THB 400, and the journey isn’t even comfortable.

By Taxi
You can take a taxi from Phuket City to Karon, but this comfortable travel will be expensive, upwards of THB 500.

By GRAB
If you have to book a taxi, make use of the coupons on the mobile app GRAB. Similar to UBER, it will undoubtedly get you a better price rather than a regular Taxi.

By Rental Car
Cars are available for hire for the day from many places in Phuket, if you have an International licence. It’s cheap, at around THB 200 to THB 300 for the day, plus fuel. But you will have to go back to Phuket city, to return it, before you head to your next destination.

By Rental Bike
You can also rent a bike for the day from Phuket city, again only if you have an International licence. This is cheaper at around THB 150 per day, but here you will have the same hassle of returning the bike before leaving Phuket.

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