Scenery sunset behind Phuket big Buddha

Big Buddha & Kata, Karon Beaches

  1. Big Buddha
  2. Karon Temple and Karon Night Market
  3. Karon Beach
  4. On The Rock Restaurant
  5. Kata Beach – Surfing and SUP
  6. Koh Poo (Crab Island) Snorkeling
  7. Mom Tri’s Kitchen at Villa Royale and Spa
  8. Kata Noi Beach – Snorkeling and Kayaking
  9. Views from the Sunset Bar Strip above Kata Noi
  10. Karon Viewpoint

1 of 10 – Big Buddha

Phuket big Buddha

Big Buddha is one of the most important and revered landmarks on the island of Phuket offering 360 degree views of the island. The exterior of the Buddha is layered with beautiful Burmese white jade marble that shines in the sun.  It was built in 2004 and is 82 feet across at the base and 147 feet tall.  We are talking one huge Buddha!!
On a clear day the panoramic views are superb stretching from Chalong Bay to Phuket Town.
Big Buddha is a religious site, it is considered disrespectful to arrive in beachwear, short skirts or T-shirts with offensive texts or images.  Appropriate dress, like other Buddhist temples, would be to cover your shoulders and knees.
Next to the main Phuket Big Buddha is a smaller Buddha statue, which is gold in colour, though actually made of 20 tonnes of brass.  There are also many other Buddhas represented on the property and a section along the exit staircase with monkeys.

2 of 10 – Karon Temple and Karon Night Market


Karon Temple also known as Wat Suwan Khiri Khet is a lovely temple.  You can often see monks there tending to the grounds.  The ubosot (the main building) has 2 Naga snakes guarding it with their bodies continuing all around the building.  The wiharn (the shrine hall) is guarded by Yaksha (or “Yak” meaning giant in Thai) – a demon guardian that scares off spirits and keeps the Buddha images inside safe from harm. The Karon Night Market is held on the temple grounds on Tuesday and Friday nights.  The vendors are selling the usual market fare.  Excellent Thai food cooked while you wait, souvenirs and handicrafts.

3 of 10 – Karon Beach

Aerial beach view

Karon Beach is exquisite and one of the longest beaches on the island.  5km of fine white sand and the blue, clear water of the Andaman Sea.  Waves are much less during the high season (Nov-Apr).  During the rainy season (May-Oct) pay attention to warning flags put out by the lifeguards as Karon Beach can have substantial swells and riptides. You can walk along the beach or the walkway along the beach road from Karon to Kata (best done in the morning or late afternoon to avoid full on midday sun).  Beach chairs and umbrellas are available to rent for the day.  Massage areas, jet ski rental and parasailing are a few other activities you could intersperse into your beach day between soaking up the rays and cooling off in the sea.

4 of 10 – On The Rock Restaurant

Engraved rock

For sure one of the best seaside restaurants has got to be On The Rock.  It is situated at the southern end of Karon Beach and as its name suggests is perched up high with the waves crashing on the rocks below.  This beautiful open-air fine dining establishment serves excellent seafood and Thai cuisine.  It’s quite an adventure to get to this unique location. The anticipation builds as you are escorted from the parking area along a boardwalk through the soaring foliage that then opens up to an exceptional sweeping view of the sea and the beach.  The sound of the surf while you are dining coupled with impeccable service makes this culinary experience hard to beat.

5 of 10 – Kata Beach – Surfing and SUP


Kata Beach is 1.5km of perfect golden sand meeting crystal blue water.  A family friendly beach with lots of activities.  Kata has excellent surfing opportunities at its northern end (May to Oct). You can rent boards and/or grab some lessons.  Also available to rent are SUPs or try snorkeling or scuba diving.  The south end has Thai massage available in the shade, shops and restaurants.

6 of 10 – Koh Poo (Crab Island) Snorkeling

Longtail boat

Koh Poo is a deserted island very close to Kata Beach.  Only a short longtail boat ride away.  The east side of the island offers excellent snorkeling with depths ranging from 2 to 10 meters.  Lots of marine life and almost no crowds.  Snorkeling at this site is only recommended during the high season when the longtail boats are available and the sea is calmer. 

7 of 10 – Mom Tri’s Kitchen at Villa Royale and Spa

Restaurant table overlooking water

You will find a special ambience at Mom Tri’s Kitchen surrounded by the spectacular views of the blue Andaman Sea and the white sand beach of Kata Noi below. The food is exceptional and is coupled with faultless attentive service.  This fabulous venue provides a lovely dining experience particularly during the day or for sunset.  The Mom Tri’s Villa Royale is an upscale boutique hotel filled with unique Thai design elements, beautiful art and sculptures throughout the lush gardens.  The spa offers an outdoor steam bath and full range of treatments.

8 of 10 – Kata Noi Beach – Snorkeling and Kayaking

Closeup of wave

Kata Noi Beach is one of Phuket’s smaller beaches being approximately 700m long and has the same beautiful crystal clear water and soft sand.  You can find excellent snorkeling at the southern end of the beach near the rocks during high season from Dec to Apr as the sea is very calm.  The colours are most bright in the early afternoon and the visibility is clearest with the sun is high.  This time of year is also a great time to explore the beach from a distance in a kayak which are available to rent. From May to Oct the surf is up and it’s time to watch the surfers ride the waves off the northern headland. 

9 of 10 – Views from the Sunset Bar Strip above Kata Noi


The sunset views from the restaurants along the way between Kata Beach and Nai Harn village are spectacular.  The road up to these establishments (and Karon Viewpoint) is long and steep but worth the drive to take in the breathtaking view of the 3 beaches in the distance especially as the sun goes down.  The night view is also fabulous with the twinkling lights of Kata and Karon and the green lights of the fishing boats out on the water.

10 of 10 – Karon Viewpoint

Viewpoint with 3 beaches

The iconic lookout of Karon Viewpoint offers picturesque views over 3 beaches: Karon, Kata and Kata Noi.  The viewpoint is on the road between Kata and Nai Harn beaches.  It is among the most visited sightseeing attractions on Phuket’s west coast and one of the most photographed images. You’ll find drink and snack stands there along with a large gazebo with seats to sit in the shade.