Patong Beach is a 2.68 km long stretch of white sand beach that fronts the Western side of Pa Tong Town on the island of Phuket in Thailand. Patong Beach is a great beach and the most popular in Phuket for all the wrong reasons.
About Patong Beach
Patong Beach has been popular with foreign visitors since the beginnings of mass tourism in Thailand in the late 1980s. Patong Beach is probably Thailand’s second most famous beach after Pattaya Beach and certainly the most popular in Phuket.
Patong Beach is undoubtedly a great beach. It’s wide, the sand is clean and white, and for most of the year you can swim on this beach safely so long as you stick to the designated areas which mostly are free from the menace of jet skis and taxi boats. Patong Beach has life guards who do a good job of trying to police the swimming zones and helping people who get into trouble particularly during the rainy season when swimming on Patong Beach, or indeed any other beach in Thailand, becomes a hazardous proposition.
Patong Beach has it downsides in equal measure, and the ways it has been ruined by mass tourism are emblematic of the negative ways in which mass tourism has made many parts of Thailand a much less pleasant place to visit than it was before lots and lots of people decided to come here on holiday.
Some local Thai people appear to have decided that they own parts of Patong Beach, particularly the southern parts of the beach. The sun loungers, food vendors and massage stalls on certain sections of the beach are a genuinely beneficial service. Tourists use them and enjoy them. However, people who don’t want to use these services tend to get harassed, despite the best efforts of the local authorities to stop this happening. This is, however, an easy problem to avoid. It’s a long beach and there are parts of it where you get left alone by the various sun lounger operators and massage girls. The problem is that when it gets busy, it really gets really busy and lots of other foreigner visitors are trying to occupy the same area. It gets very crowded on Patong Beach. Some visitors will enjoy this. Others won’t.
The town behind Patong Beach is similarly very developed. The road which runs parallel to the beach, the Thawewong Road, has lots and lots of restaurants. Most of them very expensive in comparison to the rest of Thailand. Many of these establishments are very well run and offer premium food and drinks. There are also branches of McDonalds and Burger King on this road, as well as several convenience stores. The northern end of the road, where luxury hotels such as the Sheraton are located, is much quieter and a better option for families. What isn’t normally quiet is the Bangla Road which runs at right angles to the beach, joining the Thawewong Road about half way along the beach. Before the pandemic (and doubtlessly after the pandemic fades away and tourism starts up again) this 340 metre long stretch of road was full of go-go bars and was generally considered, jointly with Pattaya and the Patong Road in Bangkok, the epicentre of sex tourism in Thailand. Patong attracted, and still attracts if see the kind of people coming during the sandbox programme, the wrong sort of tourists for this reason and some pretty unpleasant types of people, both foreign and domestic. Unless you are planning to come to Thailand for sex tourism then to be honest it’s best you avoid Patong Beach altogether and go to one of the many better beaches in Thailand.
Location of Patong Beach
- Patong Beach is 38.4 km by road from Phuket Airport