Photo: Getting ready for some parasailing on Karon Beach.

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Both the northern and central areas of Karon are stacked with accommodation running from cheap, crumbling guesthouses up to plush, large-scale beach resorts.

Northern Karon Beach

Most of the hotels here are found just to the south of the round-about while the guesthouses are clustered around the seedy Soi Islandia.

Sugar Palm Karon Resort
Midrange - 1,500B to 4,000B
542/1 Patak Road, Karon
T: (076) 39 6611-5

We snickered at the Sugar Palm brochure with photos of gorgeous 20-somethings rough-housing in the pool and a description that alleges this new resort is ultra-hip, but it's true: the atmosphere here really is more youthful than anywhere else in Karon. The colours are bold, the rooms are modern, and the clientele is young — hell, they advertise on Facebook! However, families will also love... Read our full review of Sugar Palm Karon Resort.

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In on the Beach
Midrange - 1,500B to 4,000B
697 Moo 1, Patak Road, Karon Beach
T: (076) 39 8220

Just past the food stalls and sitting directly on the sand towards the northern end of Karon beach is this small resort. The 26 rooms and four suites are set in three wings of a two-storey building and conveniently sits steps from the water. The furniture in the rooms is a bit outdated but the room is still equipped with LCD TVs, tea- and coffee-making facilities, hot water, air-con, free WiFi... Read our full review of In on the Beach.

Karon Whale Resort Phuket
Midrange - 1,500B to 4,000B
538/3 Patak Rd, Karon Beach
T: (076) 39 8140

Even though the resort has taken the aquatic mammal theme a little too far, your children won't be the only ones with a smile on their face when walking in here. If you weren't paying close enough attention, you may think you are walking into an aquarium with wax whales hanging from the ceilings but this place is certainly worth a stay. Sitting just 50 metres from Karon Beach, the 64 rooms are... Read our full review of Karon Whale Resort Phuket.

Welcome Inn
Flashpacker - 600B to 1,500B
526/21-22 Patak Rd, Karon Beach
T: (076) 286 500

This is the heart of northern Karon's sleazy area and we wouldn't actively choose to stay here, but if, for some reason you are, the Welcome Inn is a decent place to rest your head. At the top end of Soi Islandia you'll find this guesthouse whose lobby and guestrooms are spotlessly clean but somewhat bare (perhaps this makes all the cleaning easier). The very big, very white rooms have air-con,... Read our full review of Welcome Inn.

Karon Sea Sands
Midrange - 1,500B to 4,000B
208/2 Karon Rd, Karon Beach
T: (076) 286 464

On the main road that runs along the length of Karon Beach, the Sea Sands resort is set back far enough to offer plenty of space and privacy for its guests. Prices are high but so are the standards. The rooms are chic and modern with a few carefully-chosen decorative touches to remind you what country you're in. All rooms are more or less identical with air-con, separate shower and bathtub,... Read our full review of Karon Sea Sands.

The Little Mermaid Hotel
Backpacker - Under 600B
643 Patak Rd, Karon Beach
T: (076) 396 580

Many moons ago the Crystal Beach hotel, this ageing building is run by the same crew behind the Little Mermaid in Kata. The rooms have received a mini-makeover — the fresh coat of paint helps, but the cheap Thai trinkets tacked to the walls don't add anything at all and the outdated furniture certainly doesn't help. Most rooms have one double bed, but 14 of them have twin beds. All rooms... Read our full review of The Little Mermaid Hotel.

Karon Beach Inn
Flashpacker - 600B to 1,500B
526/4 Patak Rd, Karon Beach
T: (076) 398 066

One of the dozen or so guesthouses down the the cluster of sois near the roundabout, the Karon Beach Inn stands out from its identical-looking competition by actually offering some pretty attractive rooms. From the shopfront reception area you ascend a shiny new wooden staircase to the 19 rooms above. They're spacious, bright, clean, and, for the price, very well furnished. All have air-con,... Read our full review of Karon Beach Inn.

Rattana Beach Hotel
Flashpacker - 600B to 1,500B
514/1-8 Patak Rd, Karon Beach
T: (076) 396 415-7

A mid-sized hotel among Karon's shopfront guesthouses, the Rattana Beach Hotel's exterior is much more attractive and has higher standards than its neighbours, but very few frills. The rooms have new paint and textiles so are prettier than they used to be, but contain what guests expect of a cheapish hotel and not a thing more. Rooms are air-con and have a TV, minibar, and phone. A balcony with a... Read our full review of Rattana Beach Hotel.

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Karon Beach

Central Karon is dominated by large hotels, but budget travellers should head to Luang Pho Chuan Road which has a few good spots to stay.

Casa Brazil
Flashpacker - 600B to 1,500B
9 Luang Pho Chuan Rd, Soi 1, Karon Beach
T: (076) 396 317

This whimsically colourful place does double-duty as an art gallery. The minimalistic but cosy rooms all have a mini-fridge, cable TV, hot water showers and a private balcony. They haven't gone overboard with the decorative touches in the room — no fake flowers or silk pillows here — just one gorgeous painting from their collection. The bathrooms are also beautiful with earthy,... Read our full review of Casa Brazil.

Marina Phuket Resort
Toprange - 4,000B to 8,000B
47 Karon Rd, Karon Beach
T: (076) 330 625

The Marina Phuket Resort is a top-notch place that's set way back from the road on the southern headlands of Karon Beach. The sprawling grounds were once a coconut plantation but now host an extensive botanical garden and two swimming pools, and provide private access to Karon Beach. The chalet-style bungalows blend luxury Thai styling with technology; the rooms have high ceilings with solid teak... Read our full review of Marina Phuket Resort.

Phuket Orchid Resort
Toprange - 4,000B to 8,000B
34 Luang Pho Chuan Rd, Karon Beach
T: (076) 396 519-23

This is a massive, family-orientated resort that's frequented by tour groups. It has some completely over-the-top design touches like gigantic Angkorian bas-reliefs and water-spouting elephant statuary, but what the hell, you are on vacation in Thailand after all. The rooms are a bit of a snooze but are fully equipped with a minibar, air-con, satellite TV, safety box and a balcony. It's in a good... Read our full review of Phuket Orchid Resort.

Smile House
Backpacker - Under 600B
24 Moo 3 Luang Pho Chuan Rd, Karon
T: (089) 874 0928

A short walk to Karon Beach, the Smile House is a new guesthouse surrounded by flora and fauna with appealing rooms at a great price. The rooms are spacious and bright with a king-sized bed, TV, minibar, free WiFi and some very cool lamps. All rooms have both air-con and a ceiling fan, and paying for a fan room means they'll keep the remote that controls the air-con. The bathrooms are spotlessly... Read our full review of Smile House.

Kata Villa
Backpacker - Under 600B
100 Karon Road, Karon Beach
T: (076) 33 3030

Just a stone's throw across from the beach, even though the title suggests it's in Kata, Kata Villas is indeed on Karon's southern end. The resort is ageing but was completely jammed at the time of research with young travellers who know you don't need to pay top dollar to stay this close to the sand. The rooms are basic but they do come with all the amenities you would want during your stay –... Read our full review of Kata Villa.

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Karon Beach? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.

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