Beaches in Phuket – we just can’t stop talking about them.
But who could blame us? They are as diverse as they are picturesque. You want excitement and a place to get yo’ groove on? Patong Beach is where it’s at. Or are you longing for a peaceful beach away from the crowd? Then let us introduce you to the Freedom Beach aka William Wallace Beach.
A middle ground can be found at today’s pick: Karon Beach. It is one of the largest beaches in Phuket. Thus, it is easy to find a quiet spot to recharge your batteries after battering half a dozen buckets the night before. But due to its increasing popularity particularly among families, there are also plenty of massage parlors, luxurious hotels and resorts, shopping venues, and markets as well as restaurants, bars, and pubs.
Does this sound like a suitable fit for you? In that case, let’s have a closer look at what makes Karon Beach such a sought-after destination.
For The Beach Bums
Although Karon is neatly tucked away between Patong and Kata beach, it is not as popular as the other big boys. Not that we are complaining. The good thing about Karon beach is thatthe dense trees and towering hotel resorts protect it from the noise and liveliness of Patak road, the center of the area. All the requirements we need for a swell time on a sunlounger underneath one of the palm trees with a beer in one hand and… another beer in the other.
We think it’s also the best spot to go for a stroll. Not only is it one of the longest beach but you also have an open view over the vast, beautiful ocean. Is stretching your legs not enough for you? In that case you’d be happy to find out that you can go paddleboarding, parasailing, kayaking, and snorkeling. Just like on Patong, there are a few agencies spread out on the beachfront renting out all the necessary gear and equipment. Or grab your club and sink a few holes with your balls by going to the Dino Park Mini Golf course at the southern end of the beach.
At The Beachfront
The Beachfront Road runs parallel to Karon and, similar to any other bustling beach,there are more than enough massage parlors, shops, restaurants, and bars to put a smile on that sun-kissed face of yours. Your wallet, on the other hand, won’t have a reason for smiling, since the prices tend to be higher than elsewhere. The small Soi Aroonson is better suited for us backpackers. There are more affordable options when it comes to massages, food, and souvenir hunting.
But in case you are willing to spend a little more money not only on quality food but on a quality sunset as well, then head to the On The Rocks restaurant. This is the best and most popular spot among both families and backpackers. Therefore, you should arrive rather early to grab a good seat so that you can marvel at the last rays of the sun. On The Rocks serves great seafood for which Karon is so famous for. It’s a given, really, for an area located right next to an ocean brimming with marine creatures. Fortunately for us budget-conscious backpackers, we don’t have to dig too deep into our pockets to enjoy exquisite seafood. The street food scene around the lake shore and beachfront is a lot more affordable. But more importantly, based on our experiences, it won’t leave you with a mild case of food poisoning.
Then at the northern end of the Beachfront Road, we have the Karon Bazaar. This one focuses mostly on selling the familiar types of t-shirts, sarongs, flip-flops, counterfeits of famous brands, and the like. But the bazaar is large enough to also offer other sorts of trinkets and keepsakes as well as plenty of food and beverages.
Still have a few Baht and space in your bag left? Not for long, you won’t, because now Karon Center awaits us.
Karon Center, Patak Road and The Big (Bad) Buddha
If you plan on spending a day at Karon,we recommend coming here either on a Tuesday or a Friday. Mark it red on your calendar because you don’t want to miss out on the Karon Temple Market. Sure, you have all the street food stalls and shopping opportunities you would get on any other market. But what we like about the Temple Market the most are the carnival-style game stalls to keep our inner child entertained. Beer Pong is, unfortunately, not part of the games selection. Boo!
And, lest we forget, the magnificent Wat Karon as the centerpiece gives the market a spiritual flair.
Browsing through the temple market would already be enough to please tourists and locals alike. But walk through the vibrant and lively Patak Road, and you will be hard pressed to emerge at the end of the road without having spent any money. It’s a little like the ‘smaller brother’ of Bangla Road in Patong, which is actually only 15 minutes away. There are numerous bars and pubs (Slumber Recommends: Angus O’Toole Irish Pub) as well if you prefer a good night without Bangla’s intensity and madness.
Now, we have already written an entire piece about the iconic Big Buddha, but how could we not mention it here again? This 45-meter tall statue at the top of the Nakkerd Hills is the landmark of Phuket. The roughly 45-minute hike to the peak rewards you not only with this awe-inspiring work of art but also with an unrestricted 360° view over the entire island of Phuket. We advise you to come here before going on a shopping frenzy at the beachfront or in Patak Road. The less “useful” stuff you have to carry around and up, the better.
Keep Calm and Karon
For us, Karon beach is a welcome change to Patong in a sense that it’s more peaceful but still with enough going on to not be entirely boring. There is something for everyone here whether you want to relax at the beach or have a couple of pints in an Irish Pub. Or maybe even both! It is easily accessible with one of the blue trucks connecting the two beach areas.
Finally, let us know in the comments if you like Karon as much as we do and what your favorites spots are. And which beach, of the many in Phuket, is your favorite? Sound off and share some of your incredible Instagram shots!