Karon Beach, Phuket, is located on the west coast of the Island next to the beautiful Andaman Sea. Karon is home to the third longest beach in Phuket. Thus you won’t ever feel crowded as the beach is long and wide. It’s white sands, and the beautiful ocean will set you at peace. It is a fantastic place for swimming, snorkelling and taking diving trips.
Karon is known for being the quieter location compared to that of Patong (the neighbouring village). Karon has some fantastic places to visit and is very family friendly. You will find more couples and families here than single people.
Things to do in Karon Beach
It is mainly a resort town and has a good balance of things to do. Karon Beach has a fantastic nightlife similar to a mini Patong. Karon City centre features some brilliant restaurants and a plenty of shops, and markets for your retail therapy cravings. Sightseeing, clubbing, shopping, Spas and Thai Massage and Yoga in Karon Beach are everywhere.
Big Buddha is something not to be missed. Opening hours from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm daily. This is a tourist hotspot, so large crowds are very common.
The amazing giant statue can be seen located in the hills between Karon/Chalong. It is made up of Burmese white jade marble, reinforced by concrete inside. The statue is hand built. It shines in the sun reflecting off the marble making it a symbol of hope.
Big Buddha is situated on top of Nakkerd Hills/Karon Mountain, and when you are at the top, you will have a full 360 view of the incredible island. Big Buddha views also offer one of the best places to be to watch the sunset. It is truly incredible, make sure you have your cameras at the ready!
Head out on a nice day, as low clouds and the fog may be blocking the view. If you plan to trek up the hill, you will face a steep incline. The whole hike will roughly take you between 45 mins to over an hour in some cases. Take precaution on the road leading up as it is very bendy and in the wet with road vehicles, and it is dangerous.
Big Buddha is a very religious and respectful place. Underneath the Buddha, you will find many smaller statues. A lot of them are handmade with incredible craftsmanship. As you head up towards the Big Buddha itself, you will pass a place where the monks pray and give blessings.
Honour and respect this place, take your shoes off, don’t make any loud noises, and immerse yourself in the culture. It is a truly cultivating experience. Quite a few travellers who come to Thailand get the Sank Yat tattoo done. You can head up to the monks at Big Buddha to get those tattoo’s blessed. If you don’t have this type of tattoo, the monks can bless you as a person. You will receive a few taps on the head with the monk’s stick, and a lucky charm to take back with you.
The monks don’t have a set price for this, but it is out of respect to leave a donation to them. You may be lucky and see a group of younger monks chanting and practising the praise to Buddha sometimes too.
The place can get very busy depending on what day and season you head up there. The steps up to Big Buddha is not much of an effort if you are relatively in good shape. Once you are up there, you can actually see how they constructed the statue of Buddha with the marble slabs. The Big Buddha statue is still not 100% constructed. Thus you will also be able to write your name on one of the slabs (which are to be erected upon the statue). Make a wish, so a piece of you is left with the Buddha.
There are quite a few shops for souvenirs below Big Buddha. If you want, you can make a donation to help build Big Buddha. Donation boxes are everywhere in the area. One of the many donations boxes around this site.
You can decide to head out on tour days that take you to Big Buddha and surrounding areas, but a better idea would simply be for you to head up there with your group or on your own. This way you don’t have a time limit, and can just wander around. You can read many transcripts and translations although of course, most are in Thai.
If you are in Phuket, the Big Buddha is an absolute must to visit; it is the most popular landmark on the island.
If you are not staying in Karon or would like to explore the best sites in Phuket you could see Big Buddha as a part of Phuket sightseeing tour. To make it more exciting try a day motorbike tour.
Dino Park Karon (mini golf)
Looking for a day of fun? Head to the mini golf Dino Park in Karon where you can have a game of mini golf set amongst prehistoric themed environment.
The Dino Park is quite something else, featuring 18 holes, and actual full-size replicas of the Dinosaurs themselves. Therefore this place is probably one of the best mini golf settings you will ever play in.
Open from 10 am to 11 pm on a daily basis, with reasonable prices for games and groups to play. There is also an onsite restaurant and bar to relax in after your game.
Address: Patak Soi 7, Karon, Muang, Phuket 83100, Thailand
If you are more of the Jamie Oliver, then try one of the many Thai Cooking classes in Karon. You will learn up to 3 dishes to cook and eat per session.
There are quite a few Thai cooking lessons based in the area. Some will take you grocery shopping first around the markets, and others will already have the ingredients ready to provide you with everything you need.
The shopping around the markets is good fun, hence it will immerse you more into the Thai culture and how they do things regarding cooking. The choice of spices is simply incredible!
Markets and Shopping in Karon Beach.
Karon Bazaar and Karon Temple Market are two of the most popular places for a day/night of shopping.
Karon Temple Market
Open on Tuesdays and Saturdays Karon Temple Market is another decent market to head out to, based on the temple grounds itself, you can immerse yourself in the Thai culture with all the local foods, groceries and street items, as well as some fashion items. Again this is on a smaller scale compared to that of the Phuket town market that takes place on Saturdays and Sundays. Karon Temple market is a late afternoon, night market, and the vendors start to open up around late afternoon, 4-5pm and carry on throughout the night. It has a great authentic feel to the market, similar to most of the well-known markets in Phuket. You will have sections which are mainly for tourists- i.e., silly t-shirts, neon-lit outfits, selfie sticks and so on, and then traditional Thai hand crafted goods.
Karon Bazaar being typically similar on a slightly smaller scale to the night market in Phuket town centre. Here at the Bazaar you will find anything from street food to designer handbags to funny t-shirts, and basketball kits, as well as a huge amount of fashion accessories and much more. It is great as it’s open till late, so even if you fancy just a walk to window shop, you can do that. It’s quite an enjoyable place to go. There are many bars close by if you fancy a break and want to chill out with an alcoholic drink. Therefore the whole night market shopping vibe with neon-lit floors makes it a decent stroll even if you aren’t going to shop actually.
Nightime in Karon, you can head down to the Patat Road, and spend your night at Bangla Plaza, Karon Plaza or One Man Soi! The streets in all these places are lit up at night. Due to this lighting the streets have a very neon atmosphere. The streets have plenty of action all around: a mix of loud music and many girls.
Karon Plaza and Bangla Plaza
Here you will find a large variety of beer bars, go-go bars, with many girlies, ladyboys and hostesses around to keep you company. They call this place the mini Patong, because of the fantastic atmosphere you get here when it turns into night. Most of the bars here have an open side. They have outdoor tables, jukeboxes, live music, and a few w bars with pool tables.
Because most of the bars have terraces, the music clashes and gets very loud during the night, similar to Bangla Road. The main bars here would be Nightflower, Black Cat, Jinda, Winner Bar, and My Way Bar, as well as plenty of others along the road. If you don’t want girlies and ladyboys to “hassle” you on the street, then head to Montanas Bar. Fully air-conditioned it’s a breath of fresh air compared to the other bars in the area.
All in all, drink prices are the norm here, relatively cheap. Therefore a night out in Karon Beach won’t hurt your pocket. Keep in mind that Bangla Road is only 15 minutes away, so if you are looking for a wild party perhaps you would like to go there.
One Man Soi
If you fancy some good live music, head down to One Man Soi, where you will find the two Aussie bars, Karon Aussie and Kenny’s’ Aussie bar. The bar also serves some fantastic beers and have a good chill out area with different types of entertainment provided.
The bars you will find here are pretty much the same as in the Bangla Plaza Karon. Look out for a few of the recommended ones such as Kenny’s bar, Sahara, Eva, September Bar, Bacchus, Lucky Bar and Cherry Bar. Most if not all the bars here have plenty of girls, as well as a selection of games to play in-house, like pool, darts, and connect 4.
The nightlife in Karon is very busy in high season, but in low season it can die down quite dramatically.
Angus O’Tools Irish pub in Karon is a hot spot for tourists alike, due to the great international pub grub available. The pub has a good selection of ales and beer. All at a very good price, and some fantastic live music of an evening. Fridays mainly, usually starting around 8:30- 9 pm. Many expats head here for the big sports games. Since the bar area has a huge roll down screen.
Restaurants and Dining in Karon
There are so many restaurants to choose from in Karon Beach, and it depends on the mood and what you fancy eating at the time. You will find everything from traditional Thai cuisine, Turkish, European, Italian and much more. However, a speciality in Karon’s well-known restaurants is the fresh seafood menu.
On the Rock Phuket Marina Resort is a fantastic dining experience if you are looking for a lovely restaurant beside the beach. The restaurant’s design is half open air, half inside. The restaurant has some seriously unbelievable seafood on the menu! Therefore, a tip would be to book in advance in high season. Grab a table outside near to watch the amazing sunset on the beach. A truly pleasant experience with a glass of your favourite wine.
Another popular restaurant on Karon Beach is 2Gether, which is a combination of bar and restaurant. Here they serve up some fantastic English, Italian, and Swedish foods. Most of the restaurants open from around 6 pm local time, until about 11 pm. Some you will find are open in the daytime for lunch also.
To sum up Karon Beach, it is a beautiful part of Phuket. Karon beach is one of the nicest and largest beaches in the whole of the area; it is also a good spot for snorkelling and diving. Prices in some cases do tend to be a bit more upmarket in the town due to being a resort town for tourists. But don’t let that put you off visiting Karon Beach. The place really does have many excellent ventures for the whole family to do a day.