Phuket’s first beach
Patong Beach, is over 3 km’s of golden sand beach and semi naked tourists of all shapes and sizes. Patong beach is notorious as much for it’s nightlife as for the beach itself. There is nowhere else quite like it. Even if you stay on another beach a vacation in Phuket would not be complete without visiting Patong beach.
Some people like to put Patong down for being over crowded, not really Thailand, over priced, a rip off and so on. But hundreds of thousands of people come every year and have a great time. Sure if you want a deserted beach it’s not for you. But if you’re looking for fun it’s impossible not to find some in Patong.
Patong was the first bay discovered by backpackers in the 70’s and they stayed on Patong because of it’s incredible natural beauty. Of course in those days there were just a few bamboo huts and now it’s completely developed. But the beach is still great for swimming, and now there’s all sorts of other activities to keep you occupied. Jet skiing, parasailing, windsurfing, cat sailing, banana boats, beach football. The list goes on.
If you need a beer or a burger there are restaurants on the beach. Fancy a massage or a manicure? You can get that too. Or just sit back and people watch, Patong is a very multi cultural place. Vendors will come by selling ice creams, drinks, snacks and trinkets. If you are interested you can bargain down the price. If you are not just sat “Mai aw krup/ka” and they’ll move on.
Every type of food is available in Patong, from every country. You can eat in 5 star restaurants but you must try some local food. One of the best things about a holiday in Thailand is the food and it’s pretty much safe to eat everywhere. Eating from a small local restaurant or stall guarantees that you are eating “real” Thai food and not just a dish made for tourists. If you can’t eat spicy food ask for “mai pet.”
The best restaurants on the beach are just north of the Patong Immigration office. Rath-u-tid road, the middle road that runs parallel to the beach road, is also full of restaurants. “Number 6” is popular, people queue to get in there for good cheap Thai food. Jung Ceylon mall has all your fast food needs and a supermarket if you want self catering supplies.
There really are too many good restaurants to mention here. You could stay a month and eat at a different place every day.
When other beaches are going dark Patong beach is just getting started. The centre of the nightlife scene is Bangla road. Take a stroll up and down until you find a bar where you can sit and watch the action.
Most of the go-go bars are down soi Seadragon, off Bangla. Do not go in with a tout, go by yourself. Check the price of drinks before you order to avoid being scammed.
If you fancy clubbing after the bars you have a few choices. Seduction, Thai Pan, Banana Disco, Famous and Tiger Disco are all within a few minutes walk of each other.
If you are staying in Patong you are bound to find yourself in Jungceylon shopping mall at some point. Apart from shopping it also has restaurants, bars, a nightclub and a cinema. You can change money at the banks there or at any number of other change bureaus.
Patong is also the place to buy your copy designer brand goods, fake sunglasses and watches. Don’t pay the first price you get quoted, it’s normally double the fair price. Bargain hard but with a smile.
Near Patong beach
Just around the corner from Patong beach heading south are some smaller beaches. Some you can reached by road, like Paradise beach or Tritrang beach. Others like Freedom beach require a long tail boat ride. Longtail drivers will also give you a tour across the bay for a price.