The Beach of Karon
Phuket Beach Guide
Karon Beach is very long, 5km (three miles), with fine white sand that squeaks when you walk on it throughout its entire length. At the north end, in front of the lake, the beach is usually deserted, making it a great spot to go if you want the beach to yourself.
Sea turtles are occasional nocturnal visitors, laying their eggs in the sand at night time. If you see any turtles or their tracks you should let your hotel know and they'll contact Phuket Marine Biological Centre who will incubate the eggs in safety.
In the Northeast monsoon season (November to April) there are very few waves and the water becomes crystal clear. In the Southwest monsoon season (May to October) there can be a very dangerous heavy swell. Pay attention to the red warning flags when they're flying and don't go into the water.
Karon is three kilometres south of Patong, directly north of Kata Beach. Take the hill road out of Patong, pass Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort and you will soon see the lengthy sweep of this five-kilometre long beach.
Karon Beach Facilities
Since Phuket Beach Cleanup, there are no sun-lounger or umbrellas for rent on Karon Beach. Visitors can easily purchase small umbrellas at most of the local shops and supermarkets near the beach for prices ranging from 300 to 600 baht (according to their size). Beach mats can also easily been found.
There aren't any public toilets, but many restaurants across the road from the beach will let you use their facilities, sometimes for a charge of a few baht. Tiny bars are available along the five-kilometre strip of sand, selling beers and soft drinks at reasonable rates. Wandering vendors roam the beach, mostly towards its southern end and in the area in front of Karon circle.
Karon Beach Restaurants and Food
Apart from the long-established Ruen Thep Seafood and @ Beach Restaurant in Beyond Karon Resort, there is no ‘right on the beach’ restaurant along Karon Beach. There is a good choice of Thai seafood restaurants immediately to the north of Karon circle - between the beach and Karon Lake - and a lot of dining options along the beach road between Karon and Kata centres.
These dining options feature resort restaurants – Ciao Bistro at Thavorn Palm Beach Resort and El Gaucho at Moevenpick Resort & Spa, for instance – and stand alone quality restaurants including a good choice of popular venues serving Thai and international cuisine set in Aroona Plaza, a small soi off the beach road.
Watersports in Karon Beach
Jet-ski and parasailing operators walk up and down the beach looking for customers. With fewer jet-skis than Patong there's more room to operate. Exercise caution and wear a lifejacket when participating in motorised watersports - some jet-skis have 'no insurance' stickers on them and there have been many tales of 'accident' scams.
Also popular are the banana boat, waterskiing and wakeboarding. Windsurfing is very popular on Karon Beach as it has some of the best conditions in Phuket and plenty of space in which to maneuver. Hobie cats and sea kayaks are also available.
Karon Beach is not so popular with surfers as it is very open to conditions. With constantly shifting sandbanks it is not a reliable location and just about anywhere else is better. However, you can surf when there are small swells and no wind.
Karon's shifting sandbanks mean swell from all directions. Winds are light and changeable and waves are up to two metres. (Read more about surfing)
Karon Beach Activities
Some good snorkeling can be found by the rocks at the south end. Equipment can be rented on the beach. Volleyball is popular when the sun begins to go down.
What better location could there be for a Thai massage than on the beach? Readily available and excellent value for money, the masseuses are set up in the shaded areas. Other types of massage and reflexology are also available.
Throughout the day beach vendors walk up and down the beach selling all manner of wares: silk, clothing, henna tattoos, costume jewellery, fruit, ice creams, nuts, ornaments, musical instruments and games, to name a few. Sometimes you'll see the oddest of items for sale that will make you laugh out loud.
A polite 'no thank you' is all that's required to ensure they pass you by, however the ice cream sellers are usually most welcome. Should you wish to look at something on offer you're not at all obliged to make a purchase. When actually buying something you'll need to use your bartering skills to get a good price, bartering should always be conducted in a warm friendly manner with a smile on your face (the smile is the most important part).