A quick and dirty list of lists: What to do, things to see, where to eat
Where to stay in Patong:
Patong Beach, located on the west coast of Phuket, Thailand, has a history that spans several decades. Here’s a brief overview of its history:
Early Days: Prior to becoming a tourist hotspot, Patong was a quiet fishing village with a small population. The area’s natural beauty and coastal location attracted local fishermen and traders.
1960s-1970s: Patong Beach started gaining attention from travelers and backpackers in the 1960s. Its stunning coastline, clear waters, and relaxed atmosphere began drawing in tourists seeking an off-the-beaten-path destination.
1980s-1990s: The 1980s marked a turning point for Patong as it rapidly transformed into a bustling tourist destination. The construction of hotels, resorts, and entertainment venues began to change the landscape. The famous Bangla Road, known for its vibrant nightlife, emerged as a major hub for nightlife and entertainment.
2000s: The early 2000s saw further development and expansion of the tourism infrastructure in Patong Beach. It became a popular destination for beach lovers, water sports enthusiasts, and partygoers from around the world. The beach’s popularity was also fueled by its accessibility, with Phuket’s international airport nearby.
Tsunami of 2004: Patong Beach, like many coastal areas in the region, was greatly affected by the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami on December 26, 2004. The disaster caused significant loss of life and widespread destruction of infrastructure along the coastline. However, the area was gradually rebuilt, and tourism eventually resumed.
Modern Times: Patong Beach has continued to be a major tourist destination in Thailand, attracting visitors from all walks of life. It offers a range of activities including sunbathing, swimming, water sports, shopping, dining, and vibrant nightlife. The area has evolved into a bustling urban beachfront with a mix of luxury resorts, budget accommodations, and various entertainment options.
Throughout its history, Patong Beach has evolved from a quiet fishing village to a vibrant and dynamic tourist destination. Its transformation has been driven by the allure of its natural beauty and the demands of a growing global tourism industry.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand, largely depends on your preferences for weather, crowds, and activities. Phuket has a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The two main seasons to consider are:
Dry Season (High Season): This runs from November to February. During this time, the weather is generally pleasant, with cooler temperatures, lower humidity, and minimal rainfall. It’s the peak tourist season due to the favorable weather, so you can expect larger crowds and higher prices for accommodations and activities. This is a great time for water activities like swimming, snorkeling, and diving.
Wet Season (Low Season): The wet season spans from May to October. This period sees higher chances of rainfall and occasional storms. However, it doesn’t necessarily rain all day, every day. The landscape is lush and green, and you might find fewer tourists, which could mean better deals on accommodations and activities. Keep in mind that some businesses might close during the low season, and certain water activities might be limited due to the weather.
March and April are considered transitional months between the dry and wet seasons. These months can be quite hot, and there’s a possibility of short rain showers.
The best time to visit Patong Beach ultimately depends on your priorities. If you prefer pleasant weather and don’t mind larger crowds, November to February is ideal. If you’re looking for better deals on accommodations and a quieter atmosphere, the wet season might work for you. Just be prepared for occasional rain showers if you visit during this time.
- Patong Beach: The main attraction itself, this beautiful sandy beach is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports like parasailing and jet skiing. It’s a hub of activity during the day.
- Bangla Road: This vibrant street comes alive at night with neon lights, music, bars, nightclubs, and entertainment venues. It’s the heart of Patong’s nightlife and a must-visit for those seeking a lively atmosphere.
- Jungceylon Shopping Mall: A large shopping complex offering a range of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. It’s a great place to shop for souvenirs, clothes, electronics, and more.
- Banzaan Fresh Market: If you’re interested in experiencing local culture, this market is a great place to explore. You’ll find fresh produce, seafood, local street food, and a variety of goods.
- Patong Boxing Stadium: For those intrigued by Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing), this stadium hosts regular matches that showcase this traditional sport.
- Simon Cabaret Show: A famous cabaret show featuring dazzling costumes, elaborate sets, and talented performers. It’s a blend of entertainment, dance, and music.
- Kalim Viewpoint: Just a short drive from Patong, this viewpoint offers stunning panoramic views of Patong Bay and the surrounding coastline.
- Paradise Complex: This area caters to the LGBTQ+ community with bars, clubs, and entertainment options. It’s a diverse and welcoming atmosphere.
- Freedom Beach: While not in the immediate vicinity of Patong, Freedom Beach is relatively close and offers a quieter and more secluded alternative to the bustling Patong Beach.
- Spa and Wellness: Patong has a range of spas and wellness centers where you can enjoy traditional Thai massages and other rejuvenating treatments.
- Water Activities: Apart from swimming and sunbathing, you can also enjoy activities like snorkeling, diving, paddleboarding, and kayaking.
- Street Food: Patong offers a variety of street food stalls where you can sample local delicacies and international cuisines.
- Tri Trang Beach: This nearby beach offers a quieter atmosphere compared to Patong Beach, making it a great option for relaxation.
- Amari Phuket: A luxury resort with stunning views of Patong Beach, offering spacious rooms, multiple pools, and excellent dining options.
- Burasari Phuket: A boutique hotel with a tropical garden setting, close to the beach and nightlife, known for its unique design and relaxing atmosphere.
- Millennium Resort Patong Phuket: A modern resort with direct access to Patong Beach, offering spacious rooms, several pools, and a variety of dining choices.
- Holiday Inn Resort Phuket: Situated near the beach, this family-friendly resort offers a range of facilities, including a kids’ club, multiple pools, and comfortable rooms.
- Patong Beach Hotel: A well-established hotel right on Patong Beach, offering a mix of room types, pools, and easy access to the beach and nightlife.
- Diamond Cliff Resort & Spa: Perched on a hill, this resort offers panoramic views of the Andaman Sea, along with multiple pools, spa facilities, and various dining options.
- Deevana Patong Resort & Spa: A peaceful resort with lush gardens and pools, providing a relaxing escape from the bustle of Patong while still being close to its attractions.
- The Kee Resort & Spa: Located in the heart of Patong, this modern hotel features contemporary design, rooftop pools, and a vibrant nightlife scene.
- Novotel Phuket Resort: Set on a hill overlooking Patong Beach, this family-friendly resort offers spacious rooms, pools, and beautiful tropical surroundings.
- Crest Resort & Pool Villas: Situated on a hill, this resort offers stunning views, private pool villas, and a tranquil atmosphere away from the main hustle and bustle.
- Avista Hideaway Phuket Patong – MGallery: A luxurious retreat with breathtaking views, elegant rooms, multiple infinity pools, and a serene spa.
- Buriram Beach Resort: A budget-friendly option with basic amenities, located close to Patong Beach and within walking distance of various attractions.
- Bedbox Guesthouse: A budget-friendly option with a central location, offering dormitory-style rooms and a friendly atmosphere.
- Lub d Phuket Patong: A modern and trendy hostel with both dormitory and private rooms, featuring a pool, bar, and common areas.
- Bodega Phuket Party Hostel: Known for its lively atmosphere and social events, this hostel offers dormitory accommodations and a fun nightlife scene.
- The Luna Hostel: A cozy and laid-back hostel with a communal kitchen and common area, located within walking distance of Patong Beach.
- Doolay Beachfront Hostel: Just steps away from the beach, this hostel offers dormitory-style rooms and a friendly environment.
- Balcony Hostel Patong: With a convenient location, this hostel provides budget-friendly dormitory accommodations and a rooftop terrace.
- Good Nice Hostel Patong: A simple and budget-friendly option offering dormitory-style rooms and a central location.
- Book a Bed Poshtel: This stylish poshtel offers both dormitory and private rooms, along with a trendy design and social spaces.
- Bodega Phuket Party Resort: Part of the Bodega chain, this hostel provides a lively and social atmosphere along with dormitory accommodations.
- Chao Hostel: Situated in a quiet area, this hostel offers a peaceful stay while still being within reach of Patong’s attractions.
- No.6 Restaurant: Known for its seafood and Thai cuisine, this restaurant offers beachfront dining with stunning ocean views.
- Baan Rim Pa Patong: Offers authentic Thai cuisine in an elegant setting, with a focus on traditional flavors and presentation.
- The 9th Floor Restaurant & Bar: Provides a mix of Thai and international dishes, along with panoramic views of Patong from its rooftop location.
- La Gritta: Located at Amari Phuket, this restaurant offers Italian cuisine with oceanfront dining and a romantic ambiance.
- Hard Rock Cafe Phuket: A well-known chain restaurant offering American-style food, live music, and a lively atmosphere.
- No.9 2nd Restaurant: A popular spot for seafood, Thai cuisine, and fresh seafood BBQ in a casual setting.
- Salvatore’s Restaurant & Pizzeria: Offers authentic Italian cuisine, including pizzas and pastas, in a cozy and welcoming environment.
- Sea Hag Restaurant: Known for its seafood and Thai dishes, this restaurant is located in a laid-back setting with ocean views.
- White Box Restaurant: A beachfront restaurant with a focus on Mediterranean and Thai fusion cuisine, along with a stylish design.
- Pan Yaah Restaurant: Offers a variety of Thai dishes in a traditional Thai-style teak house setting overlooking the sea.
- Bangla Road Street Food Stalls: As the night falls, Bangla Road transforms with street food stalls offering a variety of local and international treats.
- Savoey Seafood Restaurant: A well-regarded seafood restaurant offering a wide range of fresh seafood dishes.
- No. 9 Restaurant & Bar: Offers a mix of Thai, seafood, and international cuisine with a beachside setting and live music.
- The Coffee Club: A casual cafe-style eatery offering a selection of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.
- Siam Indigo: Known for its contemporary Thai cuisine and stylish decor, providing a fusion of traditional and modern flavors.
Neighborhoods and Areas to Visit
- Patong Beach: The central area and main attraction with the famous sandy beach, water sports, and a range of beachfront activities.
- Bangla Road: The heart of Patong’s nightlife, known for its vibrant bars, nightclubs, and entertainment venues.
- Jungceylon Shopping Complex: A large shopping mall with numerous shops, restaurants, a cinema, and entertainment options.
- Paradise Complex: Catering to the LGBTQ+ community, this area offers a variety of bars, clubs, and entertainment venues.
- Kalim Beach: Just north of Patong Beach, this quieter area offers a more laid-back atmosphere and stunning sunset views.
- Tri Trang Beach: South of Patong Beach, this area features a more tranquil beach setting and is great for relaxation.
- Patong Viewpoint (Three Beaches Hill): Offers panoramic views of Patong, Karon, and Kata beaches from a high vantage point.
- Nanai Road: A street with a mix of local shops, markets, restaurants, and small bars, providing a glimpse into local life.
- Banana Walk: A shopping and dining complex offering a variety of shops, restaurants, and a food court.
- Royal Paradise Complex: A complex with shopping, dining, and entertainment options, including a theatre for cultural performances.
- Sirirat Road: Parallel to the beach, this road has more budget-friendly accommodations, local markets, and dining options.
- Patong Hospital Area: In the northern part of Patong, this area offers access to medical facilities, as well as local eateries.
- Soi Bangla 2: A quieter side street off Bangla Road, offering a slightly more relaxed atmosphere for dining and drinks.
- Soi Sansabai: A street with a mix of shops, massage parlors, bars, and restaurants, running parallel to Rat-U-Thit Road.
- Soi Gonzo: A street off Bangla Road known for its vibrant nightlife scene and entertainment options.
- Illuzion Phuket: One of the largest nightclubs in Patong, known for hosting internationally renowned DJs, impressive liht shows, and a stylish atmosphere.
- Tiger Discotheque: A well-known and large multi-story nightclub on Bangla Road, offering different music zones and a lively party scene.
- White Room Nightclub: This nightclub features a mix of electronic music genres, a spacious dance floor, and a modern design.
- Sugar Club Phuket: Offers a mix of electronic dance music, hip-hop, and R&B, along with live performances and a vibrant crowd.
- Tai Pan Discotheque: Known for its energetic atmosphere and a mix of music genres, this nightclub is a popular spot for dancing and partying.
- Seduction Nightclub: Located on the famous Bangla Road, this club offers different zones with varying music styles and a beachfront setting.
- Hollywood Phuket: A large nightclub with multiple bars, dance floors, and themed party nights, offering a fun and energetic experience.
- New Tiger Disco: An updated version of the original Tiger Discotheque, offering a modern dance club experience with a variety of music.
- OXYGEN Phuket: Known for its EDM and trance music events, this club features impressive visual effects and a high-energy atmosphere.
- Black Club Phuket: Offers a mix of hip-hop, R&B, and electronic music, with regular events and a lively party scene.
- Inferno Nightclub: A popular nightclub featuring a variety of music genres and a large dance floor, creating a lively and fun environment.
- Catch Beach Club: Located on the beachfront, this club offers a more relaxed and upscale atmosphere with live DJs and beachside lounging.
Things to Eat
- Pad Thai: A classic Thai dish of stir-fried rice noodles with eggs, tofu, shrimp or chicken, and a flavorful tamarind sauce.
- Tom Yum Goong: A spicy and sour shrimp soup with fragrant herbs and spices, a signature dish of Thai cuisine.
- Green Curry: A flavorful Thai curry made with a paste of green chilies, lemongrass, and herbs, usually with chicken or seafood.
- Massaman Curry: A rich and creamy curry with influences from Indian cuisine, often made with tender beef, potatoes, and peanuts.
- Som Tum (Papaya Salad): A spicy and tangy salad made from shredded green papaya, tomatoes, peanuts, and lime juice.
- Grilled Seafood: Enjoy fresh seafood like prawns, squid, and fish grilled to perfection with aromatic Thai herbs and spices.
- Phad Krapow Moo Saap (Stir-Fried Basil Pork): A quick and flavorful stir-fry of minced pork with Thai holy basil and chili.
- Khao Pad (Fried Rice): Fried rice with a choice of meat, vegetables, and often served with a fried egg on top.
- Gaeng Keow Wan Gai (Green Chicken Curry): A creamy and aromatic curry made with chicken and Thai green curry paste.
- Pla Rad Prik (Fried Fish with Chili Sauce): Crispy fried fish topped with a spicy and tangy chili sauce.
- Mango Sticky Rice: A popular Thai dessert featuring sticky rice drizzled with coconut milk and served with ripe mango slices.
- Tom Kha Gai: A coconut milk-based soup with chicken, flavored with galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves.
- Satay: Skewers of marinated and grilled meat, often served with a peanut sauce and cucumber relish.
- Hoy Tod (Thai-style Oyster Omelette): A crispy omelette made with eggs, oysters, and sometimes mussels, flavored with a tangy sauce.
- Kao Niew Mamuang (Mango with Sticky Rice): A delightful dessert featuring sweet sticky rice served with fresh mango and coconut cream.
- Jungceylon Shopping Mall: A large and modern shopping complex featuring a wide range of shops, including international brands, fashion, electronics, cosmetics, and more. It also has dining options, a cinema, and entertainment facilities.
- Bangla Road Night Markets: As night falls, parts of Bangla Road transform into vibrant night markets, offering clothing, accessories, souvenirs, and street food.
- Banzaan Fresh Market: A local market where you can find fresh produce, seafood, meats, and a variety of local products. It’s a great place to experience the local food scene.
- Patong OTOP Market: A market that specializes in “One Tambon, One Product” items, featuring local handicrafts, textiles, souvenirs, and gifts.
- Malin Plaza Night Market: A popular night market offering a mix of clothing, accessories, electronics, and street food in a bustling atmosphere.
- Paradise Complex Market: Located in the Paradise Complex area, this market offers a variety of LGBTQ+ themed products, clothing, and accessories.
- Beach Road Shops: Along the Beach Road, you’ll find a range of shops selling swimwear, beachwear, souvenirs, and more.
- Patong Beach Road Stalls: As you stroll along the beachfront, you’ll come across various stalls selling clothing, accessories, beach toys, and more.
- Otop Plaza Patong: A shopping plaza featuring local products and souvenirs, with a mix of clothing, handicrafts, and more.
Strange and Bizarre (Patong and beyond)
- Baanzan Fresh Market: This market is known for its variety of exotic fruits, vegetables, and local delicacies. You might encounter some unusual items you’ve never seen before.
- Trick Eye Museum: Located in Phuket Town, this museum features 3D paintings and optical illusions that allow visitors to become a part of the artwork. It’s a fun and quirky experience.
- Upside Down House: Another attraction in Phuket Town, the Upside Down House is a house built completely upside down. Everything inside is designed to make you feel like you’re walking on the ceiling.
- Love Art Park: This adult-themed park features sculptures and artwork related to human intimacy and relationships. It’s definitely an unconventional and somewhat controversial attraction.
- Wat Mae Lao: Also known as the “Hell Temple,” this Buddhist temple has graphic and gruesome depictions of hell and punishments for wrongdoers. It’s a place that offers a unique perspective on the afterlife.
- Phuket Indy Market: This night market offers a mix of local crafts, clothing, and food stalls. While not bizarre per se, it has a vibrant atmosphere and eclectic offerings.
- Ghostinium Museum: Located in Patong, this museum is dedicated to the supernatural and features exhibits related to ghosts, spirits, and paranormal phenomena.
- Shell World Museum: While not exactly bizarre, this museum houses a vast collection of seashells from around the world. It might appeal to those interested in marine life.
- Gibbon Rehabilitation Project: This project focuses on rehabilitating gibbons that have been rescued from the illegal pet trade or other unfortunate circumstances. It’s a unique opportunity to learn about these primates and their conservation.
- Siam Niramit Phuket: This cultural show presents a spectacle of Thai history and mythology. While not strange, it offers a unique and grandiose presentation of Thai culture.