Life’s a Beach: Patong Beach Guide
Phuket is one of Thailand’s most popular beach islands and is flocked to by tourists in their thousands from all around the world. Arguably the most popular area, especially for party lovers, on Phuket is the Patong Beach area. Bodega Phuket is just a short walk from it, so here’s everything that you need to know.
Patong Beach is everything that you would associate with a trip to a Thai beach. Backed by palm trees, azure sea and surrounded by beautiful scenery. Behind the beach is Patong town. Probably the busiest of Phuket’s tourist spots with the infamous Bangla Road for all night partying. Explore the area, hit the beach and drink the night away.
Where is Patong Beach?
Thankfully, if you’re staying with Bodega you’re right in the heart of it anyway! You won’t have to worry about getting to Patong because it’s on your front door. To get to Patong in the first place you’ll need to head for the west coast. It’s only 30-minute ride from the airport or from Phuket town.
Patong grew in popularity primarily because of the beach. It’s over 3km long and made of pure golden sand. The times of beach shacks springing up every high season has been squashed by the Thai government but this has, in turn, protected the environment of the beach.
You’ll easily be able to grab a sun lounger, find a cool drink and enjoy an afternoon, day, week or more on the beach. It’s a beautiful spot for watching the sun go down and then you’re in the right place for the night life too.
Expect there to be a huge amount of water sport vendors offering jet skis, boat rides, parasailing and more exciting activities in Phuket. During the high-season (November-April) the sea is extremely calm and perfect for swimming.
When hiring out any of the equipment make sure that you understand the terms completely as there have been some mix ups in the past. Make sure to check for damage. The stand-up paddleboards and kayaks are a great leisurely way to explore the bay and get away from some of the crowds on the beach itself.
Parasailing is extremely popular and relatively affordable. We suggest that if you’re planning on having a go to only do so during a period of no wind. There have been times when the high winds in September-October time have caused parachutes to fail and people have been badly injured or killed.
This road warrants an entire page dedicated to itself but you should hear about it here too. Leading straight down onto Patong Beach is Bangla Road. This is Thai hedonism incarnate. Pure adult fun. Bars line every inch of the street with excitable bar staff yelling for your business. Every bar has an offer, most are loud and lively, a lot of live music, almost all of them have poles and accompanying girls.
You can find something for any taste. Looking to relax and shoot some pool? Head for one of the many pool bars (just watch out for any local girls looking for a game for cash). All night dancing more your thing? There are clubs a plenty. If the heat is really getting to you then there’s even an ice bar waiting for you.
Eating and Drinking Near Patong Beach
Keeping your stomach satisfied is easy in Thailand and Patong is no exception. The whole area is awash with restaurants from all around the world but seafood is by far the most popular. Depending on your budget you can grab quick and simple calamari or a prawn pad thai right up to whole fish grilled on open charcoals in front of your eyes by a masterful chef.
You have options for more casual dining right up to formal restaurants where turning up in boardshorts or t-shirts would be frowned upon. If you’re not feeling local cuisine, or you fancy a break, there are hundreds of international options too. Mexican, Indian, European, it’s all here, as well as the usual fast food joints like McDonalds and cafes such as Starbucks.
Of course, there’s also the street food on offer for you. Freshly cooked satay, delicious juicy fruits and even deep-fried insects are all on offer. Make sure to try some of the more substantial dishes such as Pad Thai and Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad) they are always absolutely amazing.
Spas and Massages
It’s not difficult to find a massage in Patong. You can even get one on the beach if you choose to. These will often come at a premium but everything is negotiable. If you’re looking for a more private experience then Patong offers some incredibly high-quality massage parlours and spas. For a casual walk in foot or back/shoulder massage then one of the shops on the street will suit you fine. If you’re after a more in-depth treatment and the whole spa experience then consider stopping by one of the internationally renowned hotel chains that offer incredible spas.
Day Trips from Phuket
Patong is one of the best spots to arrange day trips. You can explore the islands off the coast. Organise a zip lining trip. Visit elephant sanctuaries. Explore ancient temples. And so much more in between. There’s plenty of places to go diving in Phuket and there are snorkeling tours all around too. There are thousands of tour operators, some of which are more legit than others, so we recommend talking to other tourists and travellers to gauge some opinion on which ones are the best. Two of our favorites include Phang Nga Bay and Khao Lak!
When to visit?
Patong Beach, being on the coast, is affected by Thailand’s seasons. There are 2 key seasons that affect Phuket. The dry season and the wet season. The dry season is split into 2 slightly different seasons, one cooler than the other.
The High season begins in November and runs until February. During this time the weather is cooler (but still warm!) and there is barely any rain at all. From February until May it begins to warm up and begins to get to the point where the heat is too much during the peak hours of the day.
After May and until mid-late October it is monsoon season. When it rains here, it pours. It can, in fact, pour for days without stopping. We’ve witnessed the streets completely fill and flood within half an hour with cars and carts becoming completely submerged. During this time prices drop dramatically but you’ll need a poncho or two.
The main thing to ask yourself is what do you want from the trip. You should be asking yourself what you want to be doing, where you want to be going and what weather you’d ideally have. If you’re keen to relax and sunbathe with a lot of beach action then high season is going to be your best bet but expect it to be a lot more expensive. If you’re happy to face some of the rain, see the local waterfalls in full flow and are on something of a budget then maybe aim for the shoulder seasons at the beginning and end of the monsoon season. It won’t be wall to wall blue sky but maybe that’s not your thing!
Patong Beach is in its element when it caters for those of you who love a drink and a sunset. There is a plethora of rooftop bars each of which with their own charm. Some are seriously classy and offer incredible cocktails and views of the entire bay. Others are more relaxed, Wassa Homemade Bar is your quintessential plastic chair bar that has bagged one of the best views in Phuket and is only a short distance from Patong Beach.
Patong Beach isn’t all that spread out and if you’re staying in the center then you won’t need to worry much about transport. If you do want to get around quickly and independently then scooter hire is an easy option. There are many, many different people offering their scooters for hire. The key thing is to discuss terms in advance, check for any damages and make sure you have a valid license. Once you’re on the road they’re a great way to explore the area and the rest of the island.
If hiring a scooter isn’t your thing then there are plenty of bus and taxi options. You can also jump in one of the many red songthaew mini trucks. They work as an open taxi dropping off and picking people up as they go. They have a fixed fare system that is set up by the taxi companies working in collusion with each other. They are a rare example of Thais who refuse to negotiate. The price is the price.
Using Patong Beach as Home Base
Patong is placed in an excellent location to explore the rest of the island. It has excellent and simple transport links making for an easy jumping off point. To the south there are further beach resorts and tourist attractions such as the Big Buddha. To the east, Phuket town with it’s old city charm. To the north is the more rural side of Phuket and the high class 5-star resorts along the coast.