Patong Beach, Phuket
Patong Beach is the most popular beach resort area on Phuket. Whether you stay in Patong or elsewhere in Phuket, the wide variety of restaurants, clubs, bars, entertainment, shopping and other (some would say infamous) nightlife outlets make Patong an ideal place to enjoy yourself while sun bathing, partying and dining.
Like in most tourist destinations in Thailand, there is something for everyone in Patong. Whether you are with a group of friends, with the family or with work colleagues, you are certain to find the right spot in the bustling nightlife which includes a very large number (in the hundreds) of restaurants (local and more upper market in resorts or stand alone), chic lounge bars, beer bars and the clubs with their after hour sessions. After a look around, you will quickly notice that most of the nightlife is centered on Soi Bangla (Bangla Road) which becomes a busy and interesting walking street from dusk till dawn; however there are quiet parts of town with less entertainment but good restaurants.
Saxophone, on the beach road, is the little sister 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. It can be hit and miss with the bands but it's usually very good quality.
Rock City, just down the beach road from Saxophone is easily spotted thanks to a giant, neon guitar outside. Live, hard rock and tribute bands performed by excellent musicians in a great atmosphere: we recommend it for a fun night out.
As the town is at night, Patong beach is one of the most popular beaches in Phuket. probably due to its 2 km strip of golden sand. Activities one would find there include parasail and jet-ski operators, boat drivers, beach vendors and masseuses, unfortunately all competing for the attention of the many visitors relaxing on the beach chairs.
The sea condition varies depending on the 2 main seasons of Phuket. From November to April (NE monsoon) the water is very flat and calm. From May to October (SW monsoon) there can be some heavy waves on some days however the beach is safe to swim on most days. There are no lifeguards but the municipality does put up red flags to warn visitors of large waves not suitable for swimming.
You can hire Sun beds directly on the beach where a set (2 beds, a table and an umbrella) would cost approximately THB 200 for one day (2007).
There are also public toilets spaced out along the beach, the fee to use them is 5 baht.
From a tiny fishing village to a bustling tourist town, Patong Beach has dramatically evolved for the better especially, and unfortunately, since the Tsunami of 2004. All facilities have improved which help to make the visitors experience a more memorable one.
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.