Karon Beach is the nicer of the three beaches by far.
The water is like a warm bath, but does provide some relief from Patong’s mid-day heat. There are sun-beds as far as the eye can see, and the water is separated off into sections for the many chair sellers.
On second thoughts, perhaps the barriers are to protect swimmers from the many (dangerously) nearby jet ski rentals running in and out from the shore. Either way, the barriers in question would provide as much protection against an inexperienced jet skier colliding with a dozen swimmers, as they do containing the putrid fumes spewing from their engines.
Read about our time at Patong Beach: Bay:
Arriving at Maya Bay on Phi Phi Island, it was evident that we’d want to leave this place as soon as we got a couple of photos. Of course no locations can live up to those in movies, and we knew this, but the numbers of people and rows of loud speed boats meant this was not somewhere to relax. That being said the place was beautiful, and we got some really nice photos.
If you want to see the location for the filming of The Beach, I suggest you do it this way. Make the experience as quick and cheap as possible, and keep expectations in check. If you do this, acknowledging there will be hoards of tourists, you can appreciate the natural beauty of the place and have a memorable time.
Read about our time at Maya Bay: Beach:
Our time at Karon Beach was the best beach day we have had since arriving at Phuket. As soon as we reached Karon, we could tell that it had a much more relaxed atmosphere. The locals didn’t try to get us into their stores, or spruik their wares. In fact, we weren’t approached by sellers very much at all during out whole stay at the town, or on the beach.
The sands of Karon are nicer, and the beach itself is also notably cleaner. We walked to the northern end of the beach which had much fewer sun chairs (only one row), which were also mostly empty, and situated much further off the water.
Read about our time at Karon Beach: