Patong is the most famous – some would say infamous – beach resort on Phuket. With its wide variety of activities and nightlife, Patong is an ideal place to party and play.
Visitors hoping for a glimpse into the exotic East will likely not find it here among the McDonald’s, KFC, Boots and Starbucks outlets, though the steaming hot streets, neon lights and chaotic atmosphere of Patong can be overwhelming for the new arrival.
The key to full enjoyment of the place is to pace yourself, drink lots of water and learn the meaning of ‘mai pen rai’ – which translates roughly to ‘It doesn’t matter’ or ‘Don’t worry, be happy’.
By day, Patong’s curved sandy bay is a hive of activity with parasail and jet-ski operators, boat drivers, beach vendors and masseuses all vying for the attention of the many visitors relaxing on the beach chairs.
Those looking for more to do than sunbathe can try their hand at diving, sailing, elephant-trekking, ATV-riding, Harley Davidson tours, sea canoeing, bungy jumping, water-skiing and more, all of which can be arranged at the many tour desks set up around town and in the hotels.
And those needing some pampering can indulge themselves with a relaxing massage, spa or beauty treatment.
Patong’s food choices are nearly endless. Spicy noodle stands, fast food outlets and fine dining spots featuring cuisine from all parts of the globe are all readily available.
At the top end are the Baan Rim Pa, Otowa and Da Maurizio restaurants – all clinging to the rocky shore, side-by-side, just up the road north of Patong – offering fantastic cuisine, stunning views and some of the island’s best range of wines.
The elegant beachfront Sala Bua restaurant at the Impiana Phuket Cabana is fast becoming a ‘must visit’ spot with its inventive, award-winning dishes. Other favourite spots known for their excellent service and food include Sam’s at the Holiday Inn, Baluchi Indian restaurant at Horizon Beach Resort and Lim’s.
Budget and mid-priced options are too numerous to mention, and best discovered by strolling Patong’s streets. If the place is packed, it’s a good indication that the food is tasty. Be adventurous and don’t be afraid to try some of the more casual, local spots, where unexpected delights may be found.