Phuket’s most vibrant town is famous as much for its wild nightlife as for its long stretch of pristine sand and sparkling water.
Patong Beach is Phuket's main tourist resort. There’s no shortage of daytime activities to entertain families, and a host of restaurants, bars and clubs keep revelers going well into the night.
During the day, the beach’s two miles (three kilometers) of golden sand, surrounded by green headlands and clear water, are lined with rows of sun loungers and umbrellas. Take your pick (for a small daily fee) and be waited on hand-and-foot by vendors selling all sorts of delicacies. Enjoy everything from ice cream and cocktails to Pad Thai and burgers. For a true indulgence, book a beachside massage.
If you are not content to merely sit and watch the world go by, rent a jet ski, windsurfer or kayak. Adrenalin junkies can sign up for a banana boat ride, or go waterskiing, wakeboarding or parasailing. Vendors renting out equipment are dotted every 300 feet (90 meters) along the beach and no level of experience is necessary. There’s excellent snorkeling amongst the rocks at the north end of Patong. In the afternoon, there are usually games of beach volleyball for anyone who’s interested.
Literally hundreds of locals walk the beach selling goods such as jewelry, silks, clothing and carved wooden ornaments. It’s a good chance to pick up a souvenir. Try your hand at bartering for a decent price, or politely refuse and they’ll move on. Away from the water, Patong’s bustling streets are filled with shops and restaurants. After sunset, market stalls line the pavements selling beachwear, leather goods and electronics. Sign up for Thai cooking classes or take an elephant ride to soak up the local culture.
The two main clubbing strips – thoroughfares characterized by neon lights and go-go dancers – are Bangla Road and the Paradise Complex. These are best avoided if you’re not into the party scene. The Paradise Complex area is home to many of the gay clubs in the area.
Patong Beach is on the west coast of Phuket Island. It is around 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Phuket Town or 22 miles (36 kilometers) from the International Airport on the north of the island.