Boasting one of the longest beaches on Phuket’s west coast, Karon has long been a popular resort on the island. Quieter than neighbouring Patong Beach, its hotels and resorts are filled with couples and families who come to laze on the beach and enjoy the snorkelling at the coral reef which stretches toward Kata and Bu Island at its southern end.
Karon refers not only to its three-kilometre-long beach and its resorts which are set back from the sands, but also the local town which adjoins it, home to an elegant Buddhist temple and a lively weekly market. Most of the hotels and tourist shops are clustered around the centre of the beach, while the northern end is largely undeveloped and adjoins a beachside park surrounding Nong Harn Lake. The southern end offers the excellent snorkelling, and there are dive operators for those wanting to venture further afield to explore everything Phuket has to offer below the water’s surface. There is also an 18-hole mini golf course located next to the Marina Phuket Resort which features roaring dinosaurs and an erupting volcano, or for those looking for something more sedate, there are numerous spas where massages and other treatments are available. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, and for those that want to stay out after dark, there’s a small nightlife scene at Karon’s southern end along Luang Poh Chuan Road.
Both taxis and minibuses are available from Phuket Airport to Karon Beach, with the drive taking just under an hour. Songthaews are also available from the market in Patong to Karon beach, or motorbikes can be rented to explore the area.
Karon Beach was one of the areas most affected by the devastating tsunamis which hit Phuket following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The area has rebuilt since, and its surrounding environment shows signs of almost a full recovery today.