Karon Travel & City Guide
Karon is the perfect place to stay if you don’t need the shopping and vibrant nightlife of Patong.
Karon Beach enjoys the second longest stretch of golden coastline on the island, extending to an impressive five kilometres. The beach is a wonderful place for a walk and swimming is fine in the high season months between December and April. The low season however, brings strong currents and rip tides so swimming between May and November should be avoided at all costs.
There are three main areas that make up Karon. Its main attractions can be found along Patak Road East, which runs from the Temple (Wat Suwan Khiri Khet) to the beach road. Here you’ll find several bars and restaurants, as well as guesthouses, massage shops and convenience stores.
Aroona Karon along the beach road is another area with plenty of bars, cafés and eateries, as well as a few shops.
Karon Beach’s southern end on the borders of Kata is home to a sports stadium, hosting many assorted games, and Karon Police Station.
WHERE TO STAY
Karon Beach boasts a number of resorts along its expansive beach road, which enjoy being just steps away from the shore and contain bars, as well as restaurants that are also open to non-guests. Smaller hotels and guesthouses can be found dotted around the town.
WHAT TO DO
The beach makes for an ideal playground to a host of activities, such as waterskiing, wakeboarding and windsurfing. Try snorkelling at the southern end of the beach to see water’s rich in marine life visible just a few metres down. The sand at Karon Beach is quite unique in comparison to other parts of the island as it literally squeaks beneath your feet, which is sure to amuse during a long walk.
Beach volleyball is played in the early evenings near the north end and people jog up and down the beach road.
Temples often appear on lists of must-see places in Phuket and Karon’s temple is no exception. Known in Thai as Wat Suwan Khiri Khet it has seen a large amount of renovation work over the years and its ordination hall is quite a spectacular sight where two rather long naga sculptures greet you before the entrance.
The Temple also holds a popular market in its grounds, every Tuesday and Saturday from 16:00 to 22:00, selling mainly souvenir type items, as well as stalls full of flavourful food.
There are several spas and massage shops around Karon where you can indulge in a therapeutic treatment for a pampering day out.
WHERE TO EAT
There is lots of choice in terms of eating and drinking in Karon, both in privately run establishments and those that can be found within the range of resorts that line Patak Road West.
Karon is very much a family-friendly town so you can expect to find restaurants serving children’s menus across a selection of international cuisines. Many of the bars and pubs that can be found along Patak Road East serve tasty pub grub, as well as imported beers and ciders.
In addition to eating, you can also learn to cook some Thai dishes. There are quite a few cooking classes available within the many resorts around Karon.
Here you will learn that the culinary art of Thai cuisine is an enjoyable experience that will teach you some new skills to take home with you. There are quite a few seafood restaurants in Karon that serve fresh, tasty catches of the day. You can also find a selection of Scandinavian restaurants, as well as very many Thai eateries.
Karon’s nightlife is centred around the Patak Road East bars and restaurants where you’ll come across a lively atmosphere together with loud music.
There are a few plazas to frequent in which you’ll find a collection of brightly lit bars conveniently positioned close to each other for the easiest bar crawl ever.
You’ll also find a few venues that show live sports or have a pool table and stay open until the early morning hours. There are no nightclubs in Karon but you can easily reach them by heading 10 minutes north towards Patong or just a few minutes to Kata which is home to a small disco and a rooftop swimming pool.
Shopping is available throughout Karon and very much caters to tourists with a wide selection of novelty t-shirts, souvenirs and such. Karon Centre Plaza lies along Soi Centara One and is home to a number of little shops selling clothing and shoes. It also features a rather impressive leather stall.
Karon Bazaar is a conveniently covered market on the beach road (Patak Road West). It stocks all sorts of items, including a huge quantity of t-shirts, beachwear, shoes, sunglasses, hats and the list goes on.
Open daily, it is a maze of brightly lit vendors where you can bargain for the best deals.