Karon Beach is the second largest of Phuket’s principal tourist beaches. The slightly curving beach is long, broad, and not very shady. The southern end has a fine coral reef stretching around the small headland into Kata Yai and Pu Island.
Karon has been developed with a number of mid-range resorts, most set well back from the shore. Escalating construction of beer bars, nightclubs and discos, as well as a few high-rise hotels, tarnishes Karon’s once proud reputation for environmental consciousness, and as a haven for families and couples who wanted nothing more than to relax on the beach and eat Phuket lobster.
Despite the recent increase in tourism, it still has a slower pace than Patong, and local fishermen still cast their nets in a charming lagoon at the north end of the beach. Among all the beaches in Phuket, Karon has arguably the whitest sand on the island, soft enough to filter through your toes as you saunter down the beach.
There are large resort complexes along the road back to the beach, among them The Hilton Arcadia Hotel. The beach itself is 3 km long and wide and has virtually no development, except for the Karon Beach Resort at the southern end, and a couple of restaurants and stalls here and there.
For those with snorkeling in mind, the southern end of the beach has a great coral reef stretching towards Ko Pu Island. However, like most beaches in Phuket, the monsoon season brings forth strong waves and currents, and may be dangerous to swimmers due to the strong riptides. Please pay attention to red flags, put up when it is too dangerous. Failure to follow the advice has led to several tragic deaths each year.
There are plenty of restaurants, bars, tour companies and other non-hotel businesses at the northern end, near the roundabout, and in the south, the small road connects the road back with the Beach Road. Take a walk off the beach and onto the road towards Kata, and you’ll find several small businesses as well as the Dino Park mini-golf facility- great for those with kids!
After a full day at a beach, enjoy some food at the beach restaurant just north of Karon Beach Resort. It has a variety of cuisines from all around, and at a very affordable rate. It’s been run by a local Thai family for 25 years, and has not failed to please several tourists. Have a drink, have some food, and look out over the horizon to see the sunset- a perfect way to end your day!