several beach lounge chairs, umbrellas with the sunset at Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand

Ultimate Travel Guide for Karon Beach, Phuket

Karon Beach is one of the best beach areas in Phuket, known for its famous extensive long beach shoreline.

It’s known for being one of the quieter beach areas in Phuket, with many families and couples visiting.

The area has plenty of restaurants and a few bars, and it’s very walkable. With the area having two main roads where everything is, it’s impossible to get lost here.

My favorite thing about Karon is the plenty of room the beach has to offer. Some other beaches in Phuket get very busy, and room becomes limited. This is never a problem at Karon Beach!

In this complete visitor guide, I will cover everything about Karon Beach, including how to get to Karon, things to do in Karon, the best hotels and restaurants, and a few tips!

evening time along Karon Beach with tourist on the beach and mountainous range in the distance
Karon Park

How to Get to Karon Beach

Once you’ve landed at Phuket International Airport, you must travel south of the island to Karon Beach. Here are a few different ways to do just that!

Travel time from Phuket Airport to Karon Beach is 1 Hour, depending on traffic.

Private Airport Transfer: The most convenient way is by private airport transfer. A driver will be waiting for your arrival to take you to Karon Beach from Phuket Airport – PRICE: $36 – 40 US

GRAB: Grab is a popular ride-sharing app similar to Uber. You can download the app and find a ride easily around Phuket. But you can’t take a Grab from the airport doors, you must leave the airport, use my guide for more info! – PRICE varies by time of day 600 – 800 Baht / $30 – $35 US

Phuket Smart Bus: This is the cheapest way to get to Karon from Phuket Airport. This local bus travels from Phuket Airport along the coast of Phuket and stops at all the main beach areas. It leaves around every hourCheck the Schedule – PRICE: 100 Baht / 2.88 US.

Taxi @ Airport: Many taxis are ready to take you to your hotel once you arrive at Phuket Airport. You can take one, but I’d be careful with this option only because they tend to overcharge tourists. – PRICE: 1000 Baht / $40 US

Rent a Car: Another option is renting a car from Phuket Airport, an excellent idea for those exploring Phuket! – PRICE: Varies on vehicle and day amount

Best Things To Do in Karon Beach

Beach Day

several tourists sunbathing under umbrellas and clear skies, mountainous range in the distance at Karon Beach Phuket
Karon Beach Thailand

Famous for being one of the best beaches in Phuket, nothing beats going to Karon Beach when in the area.

The beach shoreline in Karon is 4km long and is full of beach lounge chair rentals, vendors selling drinks/snacks, and many water activities to enjoy.

The water at Karon Beach is a crystal blue color and see-through. As you’re in the water and look around your surroundings, you’ll quickly notice the mountainous range that surrounds Karon. Try to spot the Big Buddha when you’re in the water!

No matter what end of the beach you decide to spend the day, there are convenience stores, restaurants, and shops right across the street for your convenience.

Another convenient part about Karon is how close Kata Beach is. If you’d like to visit Kata Beach instead one day, it’s only a 4-5 minute drive away.

Visit Big Buddha

the famous Big Buddha in Phuket standing tall, a concrete Buddha statue sitting atop a hill

Phuket’s most famous landmark is the Big Buddha, standing 45 meters tall. The Big Buddha is located at the top of the Nakkerd hills. Visiting the Big Buddha offers spectacular aerial views of Phuket.

The Big Buddha in Phuket attracts tourists from all over the island because of how impressive the statue is. So you can imagine how busy it gets here, especially during Buddhist holidays.

Hours to see the Big Buddha are 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM Daily, by the way it’s FREE to visit the Big Buddha.

You may notice the Big Buddha around Phuket as you drive around Phuket. The giant statue can be spotted from various areas in Phuket because of its location!

Here’s how to get there: you can either rent a scooter and drive yourself, take a taxi/grab, or hike there, which takes around 90 mins to 2 hours.

To hike there, you must go to the Main Big Buddha Trail, which takes around 90 mins or more, depending on your speed. I’d avoid the hike for those not up for an adventure and workout.

For those looking to go to the Big Buddha by car, I recommend attending this organized tour!

Ladies visiting the Big Buddha, you must cover your shoulders and knees. Otherwise, you won’t be allowed in by security.

Visit Ethical Elephant Sanctuary

beautiful medium sized elephant by the river in the countryside of Chiang Mai

One of the most popular things to do in Phuket is to visit an elephant sanctuary and experience how these friendly giant creatures live, eat, and learn about them.

While this activity is popular and fun, please understand that most elephant sanctuaries in Thailand aren’t ethical. Elephants shouldn’t be chained up to the ground and shouldn’t be ridden.

Please make sure you visit an ethical elephant sanctuary. The official Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is an ethical sanctuary that properly cares for its elephants in Phuket.

You may notice the price of going to ethical sanctuaries is more than others, and that’s because it’s expensive to take care of elephants. They eat a lot and need lots of room to roam.

Karon Night Market

several tourists walking out and into the Karon Night Market in Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand

The Karon Night Market, also known as the Karon Temple Market, is one of the best night markets in Phuket.

The market is open on Tuesdays and Fridays, but at times when there are special Thai holidays, the market remains open.

At the night market, you will find several delicious foods, including pad Thai, BBQ skewers, fried chicken, freshly squeezed juice, coconut pancakes, sushi, fresh fruit, and much more!

You will also find many goods sold here, including all sorts of health products, soaps, creams, aloe creams, handcrafted goods, bags, t-shirts, and more.

Foodies, those who are serious foodies, if you’re looking for the best food tour in Phuket, attend this Phuket Old Town Food Tour. It’s great, I highly recommend it!

Other Night Markets in Phuket

  • Kata Night Market (open daily)
  • Sunday Old Town Night Market (Sundays only)
  • Night Market Patong (open daily)
  • Naka Weekend Market (open only on Saturday & Sunday)

Shop at Bazar Karon

interior space at Bazar Karon with the sunset setting in at Karon Beach in the distance

As you go down Karon RD, the main street along the beach, you will get to the Bazar Karon eventually.

Here you will find many similar products from the temple market, but Bazar Karon is open every day of the week. Also, the Bazar offers a wider variety of clothing, creams, beach toys and more.

So if you’re looking for bikinis, slippers, or beach towels for the beach, this is the best place in Karon to buy them.

Bazar Karon is also famous for its extensive selection of open-kitchen restaurants serving various bbq seafood every night. After your meal, I recommend you buy some Thai ice cream rolls!

Watch Sunset by Volleyball Courts

colourful skies at sunset at Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand

One of the best things to do in Karon Beach is watch the sunset with locals and tourists at the volleyball courts.

There is an area along the beach with around 12 full-sized volleyball courts. In the evening, you will spot many people playing volleyball or setting up their beach towels, ready to watch the sunset.

So get some food from the market across the street or snacks from 711, bring your towel, or sit on the ledge and enjoy the beautiful sunset!

Where to Stay in Karon Beach

There are many different hotels to choose from in Karon, some down the road closer to many of the restaurants, while others are closer to the beach.

But regardless of where you stay in Karon, hotels aren’t usually further than a 15-20 minute walk from the beach.

Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort – (5 Stars)

aerial views of the pools and private beach at Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort in Karon Phuket
Hotels near Karon Beach Phuket – Credit: LeMeridienPhuket

Slightly outside of Karon is the stunning Le Meridien 5 Stars beach resort. Ranked one of the best hotels in Phuket, for many reasons.

Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort has two large pools for guests to enjoy and a private beach only for hotel guests, Had Karon Noi Beach. This is a rare occurrence in Phuket for a hotel to have its own private beach area.

The decor here is modern with a tropical touch. Inside the hotel, you will find their exceptional on-site spa, playroom for kids, gym, and many other amenities.

Best For: Private Beach, 5 Star Accommodation

JonoX Phuket Karon – (4 Stars)

aerial photo of the JonoX Phuket Karon hotel
Credit: JonoX Hotels

Another great hotel in Karon is the beautiful JonoX Hotel. The best part about this hotel is the well-decorated modern decor, the rooftop pool with ocean views, and the hotel’s great location.

JonoX Karon has an on-site restaurant, and the rooftop pool is nice enough that you might want to sunbathe here instead of on the beach some days. There’s a kid’s playroom, office space, and more.

The hotel is just steps away from Karon Park, a 711 convenience store, and several restaurants. Also, it’s only 100 meters away from the main Karon Beach

Best For: Modern, Rooftop Pool

Sugar Marina Resort – (4 Stars)

Located steps away from the popular Patak Rd, one of the main roads in Karon full of several restaurants, bars, and shops, is Sugar Marina Resort—a quiet condo-style hotel with modern decor and finishes.

The Sugar Marina Resort has a pool, a yard for children to play, an exceptional on-site restaurant, a gym, and more.

Some rooms here are quite spacious and even offer a small kitchen-like area, ideal for those looking to stay for quite a few weeks.

Best For: Modern, Good Location

Best Western Phuket Ocean Resort – (3 Stars)

The best part about the Best Western Phuket is the exceptional ocean views from the front-facing rooms. See the ocean in the morning for those looking to go on their hotel balcony.

The Best Western Karon is steps from Karon Park and is only a 2/3 minute walk from the beach. There are two different pools here for guests to enjoy, and all types of breakfast types served in the morning.

Best For: Great Views, Value

Karon Sino House – (hostel)

Located on Patak Rd, steps away from many convenience stores, restaurants, and shops, and only a 10-minute walk from the beach is Karon Sino House.

A perfect accommodation stay for those looking for a hostel.

Karon Sino House is the highest-ranked hostel in the area. It’s very reasonably priced considering its location and very clean, exactly what you’re looking for in hostel accommodation.

Best For: Clean, Hostel

sunset being reflected along the pond water at Karon Park in Karon Village Phuket

Best Restaurants in Karon Beach

No guide to anywhere is complete without excellent restaurant recommendations to visit!

Having spent many weeks in Karon trying several restaurants, here’s my shortlist of the best Karon Beach restaurants for you to consider when visiting. Or refer here for more restaurants in Karon Beach.

  • Pinto Karon (best Thai restaurant in the area)
  • Napoli in Vespa (best pizza in all of Phuket)
  • Cappadocia Turkish (excellent Turkish cuisine)
  • Coral Inn & Rosmarino (best pasta in town)
  • Nui’s Kitchen (breakfast place serving western breakfast)
  • Mama Jin Restaurant (humble Thai restaurant)
dungeness crab served on a cold lemongrass salad and massaman curry with rice being served at Pinto Karon, Phuket
Pinto Karon

Karon Beach Nightlife

When it comes to nightlife in Karon, it’s pretty non-existent. Karon isn’t known for its nightlife, the beach area is calm, laidback, and full of families and couples.

The nightlife in Karon consists of a few bars open till around 12 AM or slightly later and some offer live music, but that’s about it! Alternatively, you can also go to Kata Beach and check out the bars there as well!

You won’t find any nightclubs or anything like that in Karon, for that type of night out in Phuket, you’ll have to go to Patong!

  • Walkabout Sports Bar
  • The Garage OG Phuket
  • Karon Aussie Bar
  • O’Reilly’s Irish Pub

Best Time to Visit Phuket

Phuket has two significant seasons: the dry season and the rainy season, also known by locals as the monsoon season.

The best time to visit Phuket is during the dry season, from late November to April.

During the dry season in Phuket, you can look forward to hot, sunny weather daily with minimal to no rain and low humidity.

Dry Season in Phuket: November to April

The rainy season in Phuket is from May to October, sometimes even till mid-November.

If you visit during the rainy season, you will experience sunny weather but understand the chances of it raining are much higher. Also, humidity levels are increased during the monsoon/rainy season.

Rainy Season in Phuket: May to October

old couple walking along the Karon Beach boardwalk in Phuket at sunset amongst clear skies and palm trees / best things to do in Karon Beach

Is Karon Beach Safe?

You don’t have anything to worry about when visiting Karon Beach. It’s very safe here, I had the pleasure of staying in Karon for quite a few weeks and never ran into any trouble, even walking the streets at night.

Locals are friendly here, and most tourists visiting are either families staying here for an extended period or tourists visiting to be by the beach for a few weeks.

As I mentioned earlier, Karon is relatively quiet, so it doesn’t attract large crowds or partygoers. It’s a calm, quiet beach area.

That said, be sure of your surroundings, know where you’re going, and exercise simple safety measures.

a stunning sunset setting in with several palm trees and a small statue of a man with a hat in Karon Park Phuket Thailand

Karon Beach Guide — Final Thoughts

There you have it, that’s everything you need to know about Karon Beach in Phuket! Overall Karon Beach is one of the best areas in Phuket to stay in. I say this primarily because of the extensive beach shoreline.

Besides that, there are many great Thai and international restaurants in the area, Karon Beach is walkable, and next door, only five minutes away, is Kata Beach, another great area to discover!

Is Karon Beach better than Patong?

Karon Beach is better than Patong if you’re looking for a more laid-back and authentic experience in Phuket. Also, Karon has a much nicer beach than Patong.

Patong is quite touristy but is the best area in Phuket for nightlife. The nightlife in Karon Beach is very laid back, with only a few local bars.

Is Karon Beach a good place to stay?

Karon Beach is an excellent area for couples, families, or solo travelers looking for a laidback time in Phuket.

Also, those looking for an area that has an excellent beach shoreline with plenty of room will love staying in Karon Beach.

Is it safe to swim in Karon Beach?

Yes, it’s safe to swim in Karon Beach, the only thing you should be mindful of are jellyfish sometimes. They do approach the shallow part of the shoreline sometimes.

Is Karon Beach quiet?

Yes, Karon Beach is quiet, it’s a laidback beach area perfect for families, couples and solo travelers looking for a calm beach area in Phuket.

Happy & Safe Travels

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