Always lively, usually crowded and hugely popular with a wide range of people from around the world, who come for the sun, sand, shopping, beach activities and a vibrant nightlife that ramps up the volume once the sun goes down, Patong Beach is hardly the exotic East, but it is an intriguing amalgam of cultural influences that define its unique appeal.
Blue skies, dazzling white sand and a warm, turquoise sea
The beach itself, all 2850 metres of it, extends along the entire bay of Patong’s western side, and offers a level of convenience that no other beach on the island can match. Apart from the sand and sea, there are restaurants, bars, massage stations and all sorts of watersport activities on offer.
An aerial view of Patong Bay
After dark the beach is largely deserted, so if you are fond of romantic walks with a fresh sea breeze in your hair this is the time to take advantage of the lack of people and stroll along under the starry sky with the twinkle of lights from the fishing boats far out at sea.
Bars at the Bangla Road
The major centres for nightlife centre around Bangla Road (mostly straight) - pedestrians only at night - and the Paradise Complex (mostly gay), and along almost all the streets and side streets there is a wide range of food options to cater for foreign and local tastes. Bars, Go-Go bars, Ladyboy bars and cabarets and nightclubs and discos are plentiful and the music is always loud.
Bars, restaurants, clubs, discos, tattoo parlours, crowds and music, loud music just about everywhere
It can often appear as if the main occupation in Patong is tailoring and you will be accosted more than once by salesmen urging you to step inside and get measured for the suit you’ve always wanted. They are persistent but always civil and good natured. A smile and polite refusal is usually all it takes to deflect their attention elsewhere.
Patong is very definitely a fun experience and the good-natured exuberance of everyone out for a good time is infectious. Stroll down Bangla Road and take in the spectacle, with street performers and small time vendors all vying for your attention.
Step inside one of the open-fronted bars and grab a cold drink, before heading out once more into the throng. You might want to take in one of the many shows, some naughty, others less so, or the amazing Simon Cabaret, justly famous for its glamorous musical and dance shows and typically Thai tongue-in-cheek humour.
Visit various spectacular cabarets, a Ladyboy extravaganza of song, dance and humour
Though it is possible to have a relatively quiet time in Patong, there seems little point in wasting an opportunity to live a little while you can and join in the festivities. It’s good-natured and like all things Thai everyone just wants it to be sanuk– fun!