The Beach of Patong
Phuket Beach Guide
Patong's three-kilometre strip of golden sand is one of the most popular beaches in Phuket. It's a place to watch the world go by and a hive of activity, with parasailing and jet-ski operators, boat drivers, beach vendors and masseuses all vying for the attention of the many visitors relaxing on the beach. The best time to come to Patong Beach is from November to April (during the northeast monsoon) as the water is very flat and calm.
Some welcomed shade can be found all along Patong Beach, under a row of coconut, half flower, palm and tropical almond trees separating the beach from the road. The slightly cooler area also houses small snack and drink stalls, and beach massage parlours. A few beach restaurants – including Sole Mio (former Barefoot Beach Shack), Chez Bernard, Patong Beachfront Food Court, The Beach Seafood, and more - are available between Bangla and Sawatdirak roads.
From May to October (during the southwest monsoon) there are larger waves and dangerous swells. Although it is possible to go in the water on some days, you should pay strict attention to the red flags when they're out.
The northern part of Patong Beach, where the Novotel Phuket Resort is located, hides a beautiful small sandy creek where water is very shallow and clear during high season.
The southern part, near the bridge leading to Amari Coral Beach Resort is the mouth of a river where several fishing boats anchor. The other side of the bridge leads to a small fisherman village.
Patong Beach Facilities
The sun bed renters are no longer operating on Patong Beach, after being removed by the military after they took power over Thailand in May 2014 (read Phuket Beach Cleanup). However, almost everything you could possible need is still available, except for someone to rub sun cream on your back.
There are three sets of public toilets spaced out along the beach that are reasonably clean, though you usually have to pay a few baht to use them. There are plenty of parking spaces along the beach road – car and big bike renters have ‘politely’ been asked to install their vehicles elsewhere – yet, due to the massive popularity of the beach, it is best to come early in the morning to find a good spot.
Patong Beach Restaurants & Food
Despite the Beach Cleanup 2014, small stalls and wandering vendors carry on selling a wide variety of food, drinks, snacks, and of course ice cream, as well as sarongs and beach mats, sunglasses and handcrafted souvenirs, and more.
A great part of the length of Beach Road (from Haad Patong Alley to Prachanukhro Road) is lined with restaurants and cafés (there's even a choice of international fast food chains such as McDonald's, KFC, and Burger King), so lunch won't be a problem, nor any other meal for that matter. On the beach itself, a good choice of restaurants and bars – including Sole Mio (former Barefoot Beach Shack), Chez Bernard, Patong Beachfront Food Court, The Beach Seafood, and more - is available between Bangla and Sawatdirak roads.
Patong Beach Watersports
Patong beach is jet-ski and parasailing heaven, operators can be found every few hundred meters.
Exercise caution and wear a lifejacket when participating in motorised watersports - most jet-skis are not insured and jet-ski scams exist here so be warned... Also popular is the banana boat, waterskiing and wakeboarding. Hobie cats are available, as are kayaks and windsurfers.
The best place to surf at Patong Beach is at the north end, where the waves can be quite good, fast and open to the wind.
Slight winds with waves up to a metre and a half with a beach break. (Read more about surfing)
Patong Beach Activities
Some good snorkeling can be found by the rocks at the north end of the beach, equipment can be rented on the beach easily.
There are a couple of volleyball nets for those who enjoy beach volleyball, everyone's welcome to play - it's a great way to meet people. Games usually start around 16:30 as it starts to get cooler.
What better location could there be for Thai massage other than the beach? Readily available and excellent value for money, the masseuses are set up in the shaded areas. Other types of massage and reflexology are also available.
Throughout the day beach vendors walk the beach selling all manner of things, silks, clothing, henna tattoos, costume jewellery, fruit, ice creams, nuts, ornaments and games to name a few. Sometimes you'll see the oddest of items that will have you laughing out loud.
A polite 'no thank you' is all that's required to ensure they pass you by, however the ice cream sellers are usually most welcome. Should you wish to look at something on offer you're not obliged to make a purchase. When actually buying something you'll need good bartering skills to get a good price. Bartering should always be conducted in a warm friendly manner with a smile on your face (the smile is the most important part).