The south end of Patong Beach
Patong Beach (หาดป่าตอง Haad Patong) is the largest beach resort on the island of Phuket.
Patong is the party capital of Phuket, with a sex-drugs-booze-saturated nightlife and a not so great beach. Mostly made up of hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and various tourist attractions, there's a thriving nightlife, with numerous "entertainment complexes" and countless bars clustered together in and around Bangla Road, and female, transgender and male prostitutes to cater to every taste. Massage parlors of the erotic as well the therapeutic (Nuad Thai) genre provide less alcohol/drug infested venues for punters and wellness seekers. One can even find masseuses practicing this medical art atop bamboo mats on the beach sands (100 baht and up).
Prices are higher than in Phuket Town, but there's more budget accommodation here than at the more southerly beaches. This may not be a good destination for the average backpacker, except in the rainy season when prices are far lower. Rooming houses ('Mansions') a few blocks inland provide nice, clean a/c rooms and suites as cheaply as 300 baht/day (less without a/c), or 3,000-10,000 baht/month.
Beach Road and the immediate surrounding areas were hit hard by the December 2004 tsunami, however the only signs now remaining are the "Tsunami" titles on sale at the VCD/DVD vendors.
Phuket Island in general and Patong Beach in particular are popular destinations for ships of the United States Navy. The navy sailors are generally well behaved and are policed by their own Shore Patrol. As Phuket is not considered big enough, very large navy ships usually visit Pattaya instead.
Patong's two main axes are the aptly named Beach Road (Thanon Thawiwong) and Thanon Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi (the last bit means "200 years" and is pronounced song roi pee) running parallel a few hundred meters inland. A handful of streets and sois (alleys) connect the two, the largest and most central of which is Bangla Road (Thanon Bangla).
Phuket International Airport is 35 km to the north of Patong. "Limousine" taxis from the airport to Patong are a steep 500 baht (45 minutes); meter-taxis 300+ baht (if coming from the airport, from outside the car park gates); shared minibuses limit the damage to 150 baht (but 180 baht in the Patong to airport direction, presuming you book through an agency). Cheapest way of all (however also the most time consuming) is to take the airport shuttle bus to Phuket Town, and switch there to a local bus to Patong.
Regular buses connect to Phuket Town (20 baht, 45 minutes) every 30 minutes or so between 07:00 and 18:00. The route starts from the southern end of the beach, after which the bus crawls through town (via Bangla Road), stopping to pick up passengers, before finally heading off across the hills.
Patong can (just about) be covered on foot, but there are plenty of taxis and motorbikes to get you around.
Phuket has two types of taxi - millions (or so it seems) of small songthaew-style minivans (usually bright red, occasionally bright yellow), and a much smaller number of conventional sedan-style taxis (yellow and red, with a "TAXI-METER" sign on top).
The minivans have no meter, and their drivers are notoriously mercenary, so always agree a price beforehand and do bargain hard. Short hops around town shouldn't cost more than 100 baht these days, but you'll have to bargain hard.
For longer distances the metered taxis are generally a better bet, so do your bit to break the iron grip of the minitaxi mafia and patronize them if you can. You can hail one by telephone on 076-232157.
Motorbike taxi rides within Patong start around 20 baht.
There are many sorts of beaches on Phuket, if one wants unspoiled and natural then Patong is not your kind of place, there are many unspoiled beaches in the north and south of this beautiful island.
Patong is for those of you who like a developed resort with a wonderful nightlife.
The beach is both stunning and busy. One of the finest developed beaches in Asia.
If one goes out in Patong with head full of prejudices and a determination to see the seedier side of Thailand, then this is what you will see. If on the other hand you go with an open mind and a willingness to understand rather than judge, you will find a highly sophisticated holiday resort with dozens of world class restaurants and entertainment opportunities.
There is a sex industry, but it easily avoided if you stay off the main drag of Bangla Road. If you do go there, please try not to judge what you see there, it is more complicated than you think.
Amongst the non sex related bars we can recommend are 'Erotica' off Soi Bangla, on Soi Seadragon - its aimed fairly and squarely at couples and is a sexy, smart, fantasy cabaret bar. Professional dancers perform a unique and highly entertaining series of original dance routines to some of the best tunes from the last 40 years.
Saxophone - on the beach road is the little brother of Bangkok's most famous live music venue. They have top quality Jazz, Blues, funk and soul outfits there each night and the place is very well designed. Can be hit and miss with the bands but usually very good quality.
Rock City - for those about rock - just down the beach road from Saxophone this place is easily spotted due to a giant, neon guitar outside. Live, hard rock and tribute bands perfromed by excellent musicians in a great atmosphere. Don't miss it.
- Jet-skiing, parasailing and other watersports.
- Most of the big Scuba diving companies have offices here too.
- Get a designer suit or dress made for peanuts. Jaspalas Tailor off Soi bangla is a good place to start.
- Pay to see the world famous ladyboy show at Simon Cabaret or see one for free at Katoueys R Us, off Bangla road.
- Pay to see Muay Thai - Thai Boxing at the Bangla Stadium, or see it for free further down the road at the Simon complex, next door to katoueys R Us.
- Take a river cruise with River Rovers.
- Have a massage, we recommend Bali Hai on 200 Years Road.
- Boogie at either Tai Pan, Banana, Tiger, D Club or Seduction discos.
- Buy fake goods off the many stalls all over the place.
- See the cabaret Show at Erotica - Soi Seadragon, off Soi Bangla.
- Take a two hour Thai kickboxing lesson for around 300 baht.
One of Patong's main attractions, besides the nightlife, is shopping. Many small stalls and markets line the streets offering everything from t-shirts and clothing, silk, carvings, souvenirs, shoes, CDs and DVDs. Bargain hard for anything you buy from these stalls, as everything is negotiable in Patong and starting prices are often ridiculously high. Get a local to help you haggle rather than complain about it.
- Jungceylon, Thanon Rat-U-Thit 200P (near the northern end of Bangla Road)  is Patong's first full-fledged modern air-con shopping mall, complete with 200 shops, integrated hotel, etc. The launch was postponed several times in the wake of the 2004 tsunami. Now open, July 2007!
- Patong OTOP Shopping Paradise, Thanon Rat-U-Thit 200P (south end). You might be excused for thinking that this has something to do with the "One Tambon, One Product" scheme to promote local industry, but no, turns out this market sells exactly the same copies of branded clothes and mass-produced handicrafts as everybody else. At least there's a fairly wide selection to choose from.
Patong offers an amazingly cosmopolitan array of eating options, including Arabic, French, German, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Scandinavian and pretty much any country that sends tourists here. Prices are, however, generally inflated (at least by Thai standards).
- Ali Baba, 2 Thanon Ruamchai, and Ali Baba 2, 206/17 Thanon Rat-U-Thit 200P  have two separate menus for two separate cuisines, namely Indian and Arabic; both are pretty good, and both locations offer air-con inside and smoking waterpipes outside. Appetizers 60-100 baht, mains around 200 baht.
- Baan Yin Dee Restaurant, 7/5 Muen Ngen Road  offers a fusion of European and Thai food in a warm and relaxed atmosphere, with a discreet ambience and outstanding service.
- Green House and Balcony Restaurant, Bangla Road. Extensive menu covering Thai and Western food, plus pastries and snacks from the in-house bakery. Terrace seating outside and air-con restaurant inside. A bit pricy though with most everything over 100 baht.
- Floyd's Brasserie,at Burasari Resort,Patong Beach:Highly recommend!Tel + 66(0)7637 0000, 
- Karlsson's Restaurant & Steak House, 108/16 Taweewong Road, Soi Patong Tower  is a good choice for imported steaks and Scandinavian specialities. Open 15:00-midnight.
- Lim's Restaurant & Bar, Kalim Beach (follow Beach Road out of Patong, turn right at Soi 7 after Kalim Beach, on your right 500m into the soi)  is a nice hide-away from the busy streets of Patong, with modern Thai cuisine served daily 18:30-22:30. LIM's also has an adjacent art gallery of modern style.
- Sam's Steak House, Holiday Inn Resort, 52 Thaweewong Road  serves the finest steaks only from top quality US or Aussie beef, free salad bar with all steak orders. Moderate to high price depending on the kind of food ordered but good value. Daily 18:00-22:15.
- The Old Fisherman's, Novotel Phuket Resort (Kalim Beach) has Thai and international food. Reasonable prices for a hotel outlet. Open 18:30-22:30.
- The Roma is down one of the little streets along Patong but easy to see you do go past MacDonalds. Good for imported Italian pasta and pizza, has indoor and outdoor seating.
- The Yorkshire Inn, Soi Sansabai, has "fabulous" European and British food, and an "amazing" Sunday lunch which is repeated on Wednesday.
- 99 Seafood Restaurant, Thanon Rat-U-Thit 200 Pee, is an open-air restaurant opposite the Royal Paradise Hotel and has excellent seafood selections. The price is also quite affordable and the place is usually busy at night!
- La Diva, Thanon Rat-U-Thit 200 Pee, is in a dead-end alley off Rat-U-Thit 200 Pee. It is a bit off the beaten path but you can find it right next to an Austrian, a Belgian, and a Mexican restaurant (go figure) at the bend of the alley. You can easily see it by its colorful neon sign. La Diva itself has a Latin theme and plays Latin pop non-stop. However, the menu is all Thai. And the Thai food there is the best I've ever had anywhere. One should not miss the green curry chicken (Gang Kiew Wan Gai) and the king prawn with glass noodles (goong po woon sen).
Patong's nightlife spills out in all directions but the center of the maelstrom is Thanon Bang La and its four sois - Crocodile, Eric, Gonzo and Seadragon, packed with a frenetic mix of pubs, beer bars, and go-go bars. Soi Crocodile is also known as Soi Katoey, a reference to its many transexuals. While many of Patong's establishments are little more than fronts for prostitution, there are also a couple of good nightclubs with dance floors - an unusual sight in Thailand otherwise.
- Molly Malone's is a nice place to sit down and have a decent pint or two.The prices are a bit high, but if you need some good pub food and want to sit back and watch the human traffic plus the great music band, this is a good enough pub.
- Irish Bar Is another nice and less expensive place also on Beach Road, though not with a view of the beach. One of the only places in Patong to sell Guinness, it also has a Celtic cross made with Guinness cans.
- Banana Disco, Thanon Thawiwong (50 m south of Bangla Road) - entry 300 baht, including 2 drinks. Small but good DJ.
- D Club, Soi Crocodile, Bangla Road  - recently opened nightclub under joint Thai/Swedish ownership
Accommodation is rather expensive during the peak season with simple air-con rooms ranging from 500-1500 baht; fan rooms start around 300 baht but availability is limited. In the low season, air-con rooms are easily found from around 300 baht and up. You can usually get at better deal for the more expensive rooms by using one of the local travel shops. It pays to haggle with them.
- Add Mansion. Cheap & clean rooms in the town centre.
- squareone, 241/34 Rat-U-Thit Road, ☎ 076 341 486 ([email protected], fax: 076 340 873), . Swimming pool, Wi-Fi, free Internet.
- KN Guesthouse, 076-294-151, . Just off Ratuthid Road on Soi Jintana, near the Paradise Complex. Swimming pool and restaurant. Squeaky clean and great hosts. Rooms from 1200 baht.
- Komma Bar & Guesthouse - fantastic location on the south end of the main Patong strip, right across the road from the beach, offers good food, warm vibes and hotel quality rooms for 1400 baht.
- Patong Inn 128 Taweewong Road, tel: +66-76292545. Right in the middle of everything, just across the road from the beach and steps away from Bangla Road. Friendly staff, clean and comfortable. 2000 baht including breakfast for 2 people.
- Yorkshire Inn. central location, nice people, and great rooms and suites starting from 1200 baht.
- Patong bayshore. central location, average service and poor quality rooms and from 1200 baht. best avoided.
If you have money to spend, consider staying on smaller islands around phuket. Kata and karon are better choice if you plan to stay on the main island.
- Amari Coral Beach Resort, by far the best you can get at Phuket with beach view from every room, a private gallery, 2 beach side and beach view pools, a private beach and rooms very exclusive. The only resort up on the small hill at the east end of Patong Beach and away from the noise of the town. Very peaceful, exotic views, extremely nice staff and ideal for honeymooners.
- Burasari, 18/110 Ruamjai Road, tel. +66-76292929, . Lovely boutique resort in a quiet soi on the south side of Patong, just 15 meters off the beach. Hit by the tsunami but quickly and competently restored, excellent swimming pool with direct access from the aptly named "Deluxe Pool Access" rooms. Regular room rates from 2700/4000 baht in the low/high season.
- Diamond Cliff Resort, , is located at the northern end of Patong and nestles into the hillside above the town. Commanding spectacular views, it overlooks the sparkling turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea below, as waves break onto the glistening white sands of Kalim Beach. The hotel has 333 rooms and suites, all with private balconies, set in 20 acres of lush gardens. Low-season rates are from 5797B for the Super Deluxe (Double/Twin) rooms.
- Holiday Inn Resort, , is conveniently located just 15 minutes from Phuket town and standing in its own secluded grounds just a step away from the island's most popular beach, Patong. The hotel offers accommodation either in the 265-room Main Wing or in the new Busakorn Wing, which offers 140 Studio and Villa rooms centred around two magnificently themed and landscaped pools. Rates are from 3700B to 5600B.
- Impiana Phuket Cabana, , is the island's one and only first-class boutique resort haven situated at the heart of Phuket's most popular beach, Patong Beach. The resort has 70 luxuriously appointed guestrooms with full services and amentities to make your holiday a real retreat in Phuket. Rates start from 8800B for a Superior, Patong-facing room and go into the stratosphere with the 15400B/night Impiana Suite.
- Novotel Phuket, , is next to the Diamond Cliff and offers magnificient views and stunning tropical sunsets over Patong Beach and the Andaman Sea. The hotel has six restaurants including the superb "Old Fisherman" seafood restaurant. There are 215 rooms available and rates start from 3260B for a Superior room.
- Thavorn Beach Village & Spa, , is situated amongst the lush greenery of Nakalay Bay looking across the crystal clear ocean and fine white sands. The Beach Village has 119 villas and 75 bungalows.
- Phuket Resort Hotel, , all phuket patong resort hotel.
Sections of the beach are not suitable for swimming due to strong currents, especially in the rainy season. Heed warning flags and be careful. They installed a huge Tsunami Warning Tower to warn Patong people in case of another Tsunami.
Beware of dogs! If you travel along the winding cliff roads leading away from Patong on foot please be aware of dogs near houses and hiding in the jungle flanking the road. They seem to be very territorial; if you walk away slowly and don't get to close you should stay safe.
- Kamala - next beach to the north
- Karon - next beach to the south