Karon is the second favourite tourist destination after the bustling Patong. Notwithstanding its neighbourhood, Karon is a quiet and relaxing retreat featuring with the wide stretch of tidy white-sand beach, catering to adventurous travellers, families and couples.
Karon is composed of three main areas: Karon Centre, Karon Beach and Luang Poh Chuan Road. Karon Centre is a charming tiny town comprising the vast selection of dining, drinking and relaxing establishments. The beautiful Buddhist Temple located in the centre of the area is a favourite tourist attraction, especially during the weekly markets.
Karon Beach stretches for three kilometres and features with white sand that squeaks under the feet and turquoise waters belting the shoreline. The beach is famous for its diving and snorkelling spots as well as surfing (during the offseason). Karon beach is rather undeveloped featuring with only a few rows of sun lounges and umbrellas available to hire. The long beachside sidewalk and several paths provide some excellent walking and jogging opportunities.
The most southern end of Karon, near the Luang Phor Chuan Road, is where some excellent restaurants and popular nightlife spots can be found. Karon attracts tourists of all ages to immense in the relaxed and quiet atmosphere offered by this extended coastal town.
WHAT WE LOVE
Long romantic beachside walks
Wide stretch of fantastic beach
Numerous trendy bars and restaurants
Endless day spas and massage shops
Peaceful and quiet atmosphere
Situated towards the south of Phuket International Airport on the western coast of Phuket Island, Karon is a perfect destination to indulge in diving and snorkelling and laze on the splendid white-sand beach enjoying seclusion.
Although it is possible to get to Karon, Phuket over land or water, the best way is to fly:
It can take anywhere between 1 hour to 1,5 hours to reach Karon from Phuket International Airport depending on traffic. Ministry of Villas can arrange a chauffeur to greet you upon arrival and escort you to your villa.
Alternatively, there is a taxi desk at the arrival level which arranges one-way fares at a fixed-price. You can opt one of the transfer options – a shared mini van with other travellers or a private taxi.
Minibus linking Karon beach and Phuket International Airport is an affordable way to travel to Karon. A one-way ticket costs around THB200 but take into account that there is no fixed schedule, so buses leave as soon as they get filled up.
There are plenty of options, so we’ve ranked them according to our recommendations for first-time travellers:
Ministry of Villas can arrange a private car and chauffeur for you. Depending on which villa you are staying in, the cost for the private vehicle with a driver can vary, so it’s recommended to contact our Ministry of Villas team to get the complete information about the private transfers.
One of the major appeals of Karon is its endless paths and sidewalks catering to active travelling wanting to explore the area on foot. The beachfront sidewalk links the northern Central Karon with the neighbouring Kata area on the south, providing perfect conditions for the long strolls.
You can flag a taxi down the street in Karon or request a pick-up by phone. There are two types of taxis available in Karon: multitude small bright red or orange coloured minivans or sedan-style taxis with the “Taxi-Meter” sign on top. It is recommended to use metered taxis for longer distances as drivers of minivans that are not equipped with meters are often reluctant to reduce the inflated price.
Both tuk-tuk and taxi services are mostly needed to explore further afield or to travel to other beaches. The price difference between taxi and tuk-tuk is usually insignificant but try your hand at bargaining for a better deal.
The most affordable and convenient way to more around Karon is on rented motorbike. However, a certain level of experience is needed as the traffic in Phuket can be somewhat chaotic. You can rent a scooter at any rental shop spread around the area for as much as THB200 per day. Take into account that you must have an international drivers license on your person at all times otherwise, the local police can issue you a ticket with a summons to appear in court. And, of course, make sure you wear a helmet.
MOTORBIKE TAXI RIDE
Motorbike taxi ride is a relatively new way of moving around the area invented by entrepreneurial locals. Depending on the length of the distance the price ranges significantly, still making it an affordable way to move around Karon. However, motorbike taxi ride is not recommended if you are travelling to longer distances due to reasons of comfort and safety.
There are no Ministry Approved villas in Karon, however, the nearby Kata boasts splendid villa accommodations to treat you with luxurious living, impeccable services and utmost facilities. With a dedicated staff including butlers, chefs, nannies, 24-hour security personnel, and many other services your holiday will turn to an unforgettable and exquisite experience. This is why we say “Spend just one night in a villa and you’ll never stay in a hotel again.”
If the priority is location, then opt some hotel or guest house among the great variety of accommodations available in Karon. Almost all upmarket and mid-range hotels are located within a short walk from the beach.
Karon has a great variety of dining venues to choose from. The unbeatable Thai and seafood are always the first choices, however, you can be sure that the Western-style favourites are all as good as the traditional dishes.
Most of the restaurants line the beachfront road and while walking along the sidewalk, you will have a plentiful choice. If you want to treat yourself with some fantastic dining experience head to one of the fine-dining serving the exotic mix of authentic and fusion cuisines along with splendid ocean vistas.
Karon, just like the nearby Kata, boasts of family-oriented eateries catering to families with children and offering an attractive and diverse kids menus along with some entertainment.
Bars and other ‘hot’ nightlife spots are mainly concentrated on the southern end of Karon city and around the Luang Phor Chuan Road. Even though Karon is sometimes described as “Patong’s little sister” its nightlife is not as hectic and bustling as Patong’s scene.
Luang Poh Chuan Road also known as Bangla Plaza is a collection of beer and gogo bars. It attracts young travellers and party lovers to enjoy the frantic parties from dusk-till-dawn.
The most central part and Karon beach features with the rather laid-back and sophisticated nightlife offering some elegant drinking establishments. Most travellers take a long walk along the large beachfront sidewalk after the dinner or head to one of the chill out beach bars for a cold beer or refreshing cocktail.
Karon Beach shopping includes numerous fashion shops, hectic bazaars and plazas. The upmarket fashion boutiques, though, are rather remote, and you might need a taxi or scooter ride to enjoy a retail therapy at full.
Even though most of the goods offered in Karon Beach Plaza and bazaar are the same as in other tourist destinations, you can be fortunate to fish out some unique handmade item. Beachwear stores, tailors and spa product stores are also plentiful in Karon Beach, so you will find there almost anything you may need.
The Central Karon is a home to various traditional souvenir shops, where you can buy an authentic gift or memento to bring back home. Karon shopping scene caters to all travellers seeking an exotic souvenir or gift, and offers a plethora of shopping options to choose from.
Karon is an ideal place to get a bit of pampering and relish in the divine massage available at most of the day spas. You will find there endless world-class wellness spas and massage centres offering fantastic procedures for the affordable price.
The renowned Thai massage is a must-try once in Phuket. Unlike the traditional relaxation massage, classic Thai massage is performed without the use of essential oils. Instead, the client gets a pair of loose linen pants and a shirt, in which he will feel more comfortable during the therapy.
The masseuse will use all her limbs to pull and push different pressure points, sometimes even walking on the person’s back. Although it may sound terrifying, at the end of the session you will feel yourself super stretched and relaxed.