Karon travel guide

Karon Tourism | Karon Guide

You're Going to Love Karon

Just west of Phuket in Thailand's southwest lies the gorgeous beach resort of Karon. If you just want to relax on the beach, Karon excels, but there's more here to explore, with natural attractions on the destination's doorstep too.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Karon

1. The Superb Beach

Karon's main attraction is obvious. The broad, long sandy beach attracts a huge summer crowd, but isn't as packed as other nearby resorts like Patong.

2. If You Love Thai Food, There's Nowhere Better

From the crab fried rice at the unpretentious Pad Thai Shop to delicate curries at Red Chopsticks, Karon offers the best of contemporary Thai cuisine.

3. You Can Visit the Big Buddha

Towering over the resort, the 147-foot-tall Big Buddha is one of Karon's star attractions. The views from the peak are simply stunning.

4. Take an Elephant Safari

Kok Chang Safari Elephant Trekking will get you in the saddle of friendly and humanely treated Asian elephants.

5. There Are Some Great Dive Sites

If you love to dive, Karon is perfect. Head out to nearby reefs with companies like Eco Divers who will show you the region's marine riches.

What to do in Karon

1. Karon Beach: Phuket's Quintessential Destination

Chinese legend has it that the island province of Phuket in southern Thailand is a golden sea dragon, Hai Leng Ong, who is duty-bound to protect inhabitants and visitors with good health and prosperity. Drawn to its rich natural resources and later the tin mining and rubber trade that shaped its destiny, visitors have come to and prospered here for thousands of years. Graced with a mountainous backdrop, an ancient rainforest and the gentle sway of palms skirting its beautiful beaches, Phuket's exotic allure continues to draw millions each year - especially to the island's quintessential destination, Karon Beach. Located between the street hustle and girly bars of Patong and the quieter, more upscale Kata, family-friendly Karon is the happy medium: accommodations for all tastes, fabulous dining, great nightlife, amazing water sports and scuba diving - and room to spread out along three glorious miles of white, sandy beach.

2. Wat Suwan Khirikhet: Tranquility At The Beach

First-time visitors to Thailand are often struck by the friendly, respectful, easy-going nature of the Thai people, traits associated with the prevailing impact of the Buddhist philosophy. A quiet, meditative visit to a Buddhist temple, such as Karon's quaint Wat Suwan Khirikhet, is done out of respect and gratitude for the Buddha's teachings. Providing a dose of tranquility for all, the small but elaborately ornate Buddhist temple and its beautiful gardens are a short walk from the north end of the beach.

3. Kata Beach: Waves Worth The Paddle Out

While not nearly as spacious as the beach at Karon, nor as congested as the one at Patong, the laid-back resort town of Kata just south of Karon has some of the best shopping, dining spots, and day spas on the island. It also has Phuket's second most popular beach and the island's only regular surfing site, especially during the May-October monsoon season. Carved into two beaches by a jutting, rocky headland, Kata Beach and the more secluded beach of Kata Noi are as gorgeous as any strip of sand can be.

4. Karon Temple Market: Mouth-Watering Local Culture

The grounds of the Karon Temple become a bustling center of activity on Tuesday and Thursday when the Karon Temple Market opens for business with an array of stalls and vendors serving up souvenirs like flower-shaped soaps and Thai-inspired scarves, and regional southern Thai delicacies like spicy, pasted skewers of fresh shrimp, colorful crayfish salad and steaming bowls of mango-sweetened sticky rice. Probably a reflection of the accepting Buddhist nature, it's a street fair where hard sells and price haggling is virtually nonexistent.

5. Karon Viewpoint: One Perspective of Paradise

It's a postcard-perfect photograph anyone visiting Phuket will want to take: the Andaman Sea, sparkling like turquoise glass, hurling snow-white surf against the dazzling white beaches of Karon, Kata and Kata Noi from the lush, green perspective of the hills surrounding Karon Viewpoint. As spectacular in the early morning as it is romantic at sundown, this hillside perch above Kata Noi is accessed by a mountainous jungle road connecting Kata with Rawai.

6. The Big Buddha: Phra Putthamingmongkolekanagagiri

Not only is the Big Buddha sculpture of Phuket Island a sight to behold, it also perches on the hilltop with the most sweeping views of the region. It is a dwarfing yet serene experience to climb the steps up to the massive white marble figure, which can be seen from almost anywhere on the island. Finally reaching the 150-foot Buddha is unforgettable, and one of the greatest photo opportunities around to boot.

1. Karon Beach: Phuket's Quintessential Destination

Chinese legend has it that the island province of Phuket in southern Thailand is a golden sea dragon, Hai Leng Ong, who is duty-bound to protect inhabitants and visitors with good health and prosperity. Drawn to its rich natural resources and later the tin mining and rubber trade that shaped its destiny, visitors have come to and prospered here for thousands of years. Graced with a mountainous backdrop, an ancient rainforest and the gentle sway of palms skirting its beautiful beaches, Phuket's exotic allure continues to draw millions each year - especially to the island's quintessential destination, Karon Beach. Located between the street hustle and girly bars of Patong and the quieter, more upscale Kata, family-friendly Karon is the happy medium: accommodations for all tastes, fabulous dining, great nightlife, amazing water sports and scuba diving - and room to spread out along three glorious miles of white, sandy beach.

2. Wat Suwan Khirikhet: Tranquility At The Beach

First-time visitors to Thailand are often struck by the friendly, respectful, easy-going nature of the Thai people, traits associated with the prevailing impact of the Buddhist philosophy. A quiet, meditative visit to a Buddhist temple, such as Karon's quaint Wat Suwan Khirikhet, is done out of respect and gratitude for the Buddha's teachings. Providing a dose of tranquility for all, the small but elaborately ornate Buddhist temple and its beautiful gardens are a short walk from the north end of the beach.

3. Kata Beach: Waves Worth The Paddle Out

While not nearly as spacious as the beach at Karon, nor as congested as the one at Patong, the laid-back resort town of Kata just south of Karon has some of the best shopping, dining spots, and day spas on the island. It also has Phuket's second most popular beach and the island's only regular surfing site, especially during the May-October monsoon season. Carved into two beaches by a jutting, rocky headland, Kata Beach and the more secluded beach of Kata Noi are as gorgeous as any strip of sand can be.

4. Karon Temple Market: Mouth-Watering Local Culture

The grounds of the Karon Temple become a bustling center of activity on Tuesday and Thursday when the Karon Temple Market opens for business with an array of stalls and vendors serving up souvenirs like flower-shaped soaps and Thai-inspired scarves, and regional southern Thai delicacies like spicy, pasted skewers of fresh shrimp, colorful crayfish salad and steaming bowls of mango-sweetened sticky rice. Probably a reflection of the accepting Buddhist nature, it's a street fair where hard sells and price haggling is virtually nonexistent.

5. Karon Viewpoint: One Perspective of Paradise

It's a postcard-perfect photograph anyone visiting Phuket will want to take: the Andaman Sea, sparkling like turquoise glass, hurling snow-white surf against the dazzling white beaches of Karon, Kata and Kata Noi from the lush, green perspective of the hills surrounding Karon Viewpoint. As spectacular in the early morning as it is romantic at sundown, this hillside perch above Kata Noi is accessed by a mountainous jungle road connecting Kata with Rawai.

6. The Big Buddha: Phra Putthamingmongkolekanagagiri

Not only is the Big Buddha sculpture of Phuket Island a sight to behold, it also perches on the hilltop with the most sweeping views of the region. It is a dwarfing yet serene experience to climb the steps up to the massive white marble figure, which can be seen from almost anywhere on the island. Finally reaching the 150-foot Buddha is unforgettable, and one of the greatest photo opportunities around to boot.

Where to Eat in Karon

You'll find fantastic Thai food at the Pad Thai Shop and Mama Noi's, great curries at Red Chopsticks, and stir fries at Bai Toey. Meals should come to around ฿300.

When to visit Karon

Karon in March
Estimated hotel price
€76
1 night at 3-star hotel
Karon in March
Estimated hotel price
€76
1 night at 3-star hotel

High season generally lasts from November through early March. Either end of the season is ideal, with fine weather, little rain and smaller crowds.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Karon

Plane

From Phuket International Airport (HKT) a minibus should cost ฿200, while taxis usually cost about ฿650.

Car

From Phuket, take route 402 and switch to route 4021, which takes you straight down to Karon Beach.

Bus

Regular bus services run from Phuket to Karon and cost ฿100.

Airports near Karon

Airlines serving Karon

United Airlines
Good (2,838 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,152 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,378 reviews)
KLM
Good (348 reviews)
Air France
Good (399 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,414 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,045 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,324 reviews)
SWISS
Good (454 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,206 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (958 reviews)
Iberia
Good (915 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,413 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (278 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (308 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (320 reviews)
Finnair
Good (694 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,297 reviews)
Air Europa
Good (146 reviews)
Cathay Pacific
Good (51 reviews)
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Where to stay in Karon

Karon Beach - the third-longest beach on Phuket Island, Karon Beach offers swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing - pretty much everything you could ask from a beach.

Popular Neighborhoods in Karon

Karon Village - bordering on the beach, Karon Village is full of lively nightspots like the Ombre Bar and Restaurant and Sanook Sports Bar.

Ban Karon - just south of the main village, Ban Karon is if anything slightly livelier, being home to restaurants like the Pad Thai Shop and attractions like Dino Park Mini Golf.

Where to stay in popular areas of Karon

Most booked hotels in Karon

Mandarava Resort And Spa, Karon Beach (Sha Plus+)
Excellent (9, Excellent reviews)
€125+
Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach (Sha Plus+)
Excellent (8.9, Excellent reviews)
€179+
Kalima Resort And Spa
Excellent (8.7, Excellent reviews)
€92+
Katathani Phuket Beach Resort (SHA Extra Plus)
Excellent (8.7, Excellent reviews)
€180+
Grand Mercure Phuket Patong (Sha Plus+)
Excellent (8.7, Excellent reviews)
€97+
Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa (SHA Plus+)
Excellent (8.6, Excellent reviews)
€127+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Karon

Public Transportation

There are no buses or trams in Karon, but you can catch tuk-tuks (passenger scooters). The trip to Patong Beach will cost around ฿300.

Taxi

Expect taxis to charge a flag drop of around ฿200, then ฿50 per mile.

Car

To rent a car, try places like Grand Car Center or Tulip Car Rental. Rates will start at around ฿500 per day.

The Cost of Living in Karon

Shopping Streets

Most of Karon's best stores are located along the seafront, where you'll find boutiques like Baru Fashion, but Kata Beach to the south has slightly more shopping options.

Groceries and Other

Supermarkets in Karon include Super Cheap 24 Karon. Expect to pay around ฿50 for 12 eggs.