Karon

Karon Beach (หาดกะรน) is on the west coast of Phuket, south of Patong and north of Kata.

Understand

Karon is the second largest of Phuket's tourist beaches at 3 km length. It is 8 km south of Patong on Rte 4233 and 20 km from Phuket town.

Few, if any, hotels have direct beach frontage. Most are across the road (which usually is not a busy one). The entire beach is public (as are all beaches in Thailand). Large resort complexes line the opposite side of the road from the shoreline, but the long, broad beach itself has no development. The sand is very white, and squeaks audibly when walked upon. The southern point has a fine coral reef stretching toward Kata and Bu Island. Also, there is a wide pedestrian / bicycle path on the beach side of the road running the length of the beach.

Most restaurants, bars, tour companies and other non-hotel businesses are at the north central end, near the traffic circle, or near the south end, on Bangla Rd (not that Bangla Rd!) connecting the back road with the beach road. Nightlife is pretty much confined to dining and a few beer bars.

The northern third of Karon Beach is essentially undeveloped and flanked by Nong Harn Lake which is the largest beach side park in Phuket offering a nice exercise/jogging/cycling path. North Karon also offers white beach and clear water with no crowds.

At the south end of Karon, a narrow road between Kata and Karon has a number of small businesses.

There is a regular daytime bus service to and from Phuket Town.

Get in

If coming from Phuket Airport, you can pick up a voucher from the airport transportation booth for a flat rate of 750 baht. The drive is just under an hour. Many hotels offer transport from airport to the hotel for around 1,000 baht.

You can also take metered (yellow) taxis at about 650 baht. Turn right as you exit the airport building (ignore the touts) and you'll see a stand at the end of the walkway. You tell your destination to the staff at the stand and they will give you a paper with the taxi driver number for you to keep in case you need to report a problem. Fares to other destinations in Phuket cost around 300 baht and up. The rate is what is displayed by the meter plus 100 baht airport fee. The meter will start with a 50 baht display. You may stumble upon a freelance taxi driver that will take you from the airport to Patong for the flat fee of 400 baht. If the driver is pleasant, you may wish to ask for his mobile number for the return trip later. The same driver can take you from Patong to Phuket Town for 350-400 baht.

For those who are price conscious, the transportation booth inside the airport also sells seats on a minibus for 200 baht. The minibus makes several stops along the way to drop off other passengers.

For those who want to save even more, take a near-hourly (till 20:45) airport bus to Phuket Town (85 baht, 1 hour). From there, go to the downtown market (around 1-2 km away, but motorbike taxis will offer you rip-off prices like 40 baht, bargain or wait for a public songthaew), then wait for a bus/songthaew to Karon Beach.

Get around

Probably the cheapest and most convenient way to get around is to rent a motorbike for yourself which is suitable for one or two people. These can be rented at various shops around the island, with one located a few hundred metres to the east of the traffic circle on Patak Rd (east). Typical rates run 150 baht (manual) to 200 baht for an automatic. This would allow you to get around anywhere on the island for one flat rate for 24 hours. Be careful with this though, as driving up and down the winding mountain roads, as well as the unpredictable Phuket traffic, is not necessarily for the first-time driver. A wise strategy is to take public transport for a short period to orient yourself, then hire a motorbike.

You can easily get around by tuk-tuk or taxi, which are mostly needed to go to other parts of the beach or nearby towns. To get to Phuket Town taxis are available and cost around 400 baht. There are also public buses (songthaews) which leave from Karon to different places every hour for around 20 baht.

Karon-Patong will cost you 400 baht per tuk-tuk ride, though if you keep moving through the drivers you may eventually find one for 350 baht. (The local tuk-tuk Mafia seem to have stitched up the prices.) From Patong-Karon Beach should be cheaper as there are a lot more tuk-tuks vying for passengers.

See

Karon Beach

Unlike the bigger, busier, and noisier Patong further north, Karon offers visitors a nice long quiet stretch of sand, with plenty of beach umbrellas available for rent. Facing west, it gives a beautiful view of the sunset.

Do

Buy

Bars, tailors, and clothing markets are plentiful in Karon, either in the main part of town or along the beach front. There are also a number of supermarkets, convenience stores, and pharmacies; there's not much you need to travel elsewhere for.

Eat

Drink

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under 1,000 baht
Mid-range 1,000 baht to 2,500 baht
Splurge Over 2,500 baht

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

Beware of rip tides at the beach, especially during the summer rainy season they killed 10 people in 2009 alone.

Go next

Transport back to Phuket Town is relatively easy, local buses (rather large contraptions with wooden benches in back) run between Phuket and Karon/Kata. The fare is 30 baht per person. From Phuket Town, connections to buses to Bangkok or other destinations on the Thai mainland are available, as are shuttles, taxis and/or minibuses to transport you from the city centre to Phuket Airport.

Alternately, you can go straight to the airport by taxi, which would be more expensive (unless travelling in a sizable group) running about 600 baht. Phone number for the Phuket International Airport Taxi is +66 86 4781234.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, May 19, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.