The second largest of Phuket's tourist beaches. Large resort complexes line the road behind of 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.
Karon Beach, featuring a long stretch of squeaky white sand, is less hectic than Patong but still offers a full range of facilities, dining and activities. While it's a fast-growing area, Karon is spread out and rarely feels crowded.
The beach is very exposed and the sand much coarser than on other Phuket Beaches (except Mai Khao to the far north) but, in the high season, it's terrific for swimming. Other than the portable man-made variety, there's very little shade on the beach. You can either give in and pay whatever the guy renting chairs and umbrellas is asking (do not pay more than 200B for a full day) or slather on litres of sunscreen.
During the monsoon season the water becomes rough and is frequently too dangerous for swimming, especially for children. If there are red flags flying on the beach you'll need to go south to Kata or north to Patong where the sea is calmer year-round.
Restaurants, bars, tour companies and other non-hotel businesses are at the north end, near the traffic circle, and at the south end, on the little road connecting the back road with the beach road. The narrow road between Kata and Karon has a number of small businesses as well as the Dino Park Mini Golf facillity. Karon is the most up-scale of Phuket's beaches. There is a regular daytime bus service to and from Phuket Town.
Karon Beach is the second largest of Phuket's principal tourist beaches. The slightly curving beach is long, broad, and not very shady. The southern end has a fine coral reef stretching around the small headland into Kata Yai and Pu Island.
Karon has been developed with a number of mid-range resorts, most set well back from the shore. Escalating construction of beer bars, nightclubs and discos, as well as new high-rise hotels, tarnishes Karon's once proud reputation for environmental consciousness, and as a haven for families and couples who wanted nothing more than to relax on the beach and eat Phuket lobster. But it still has a slower pace than Patong, and local fishermen still cast their nets in a charming lagoon at the north end of the beach.