Hat Karon (หาดกะรน) is like the love child of Hat Patong and Hat Kata: chilled-out and starry-eyed but a tad sleazy. Despite the mega-resorts, there’s still more sand space per capita here than at Patong or Kata. The further north you go the more beautiful the broad golden beach gets, culminating at the northernmost edge (accessible from a rutted road past the roundabout) where the water is like turquoise glass.
Within the inland network of streets and plazas you’ll find a harmless jumble of good local food, more Russian signage than seems reasonable, low-key girly bars, T-shirt vendors and pretty Karon Park, with its artificial lake and mountain backdrop. The northern end of town, near the roundabout, is more package-touristy, while southern Karon blends into more sophisticated Kata.