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Patong is a party capital of Asia, with a world famous nightlife and a great beach. Mostly made up of hotels, world-class restaurants, nightclubs and various tourist attractions, this is a hedonists' heaven, with numerous entertainment complexes and countless bars clustered together in and around Bangla Rd and Beach Rd. The town has a very obvious female, transgender, and male sex industry to cater to every taste, however to only view it as this is a mistake, it offers so much more, for families and couples too.
Massage parlors of the erotic as well the therapeutic (nuat Thai) genre provide less alcohol/drug infested venues for punters and wellness seekers. One can even find masseuses practicing this medical art atop bamboo mats on the beach sands (100 baht and up).
Prices are higher than in Phuket Town, but there's more budget accommodation here than at the more southerly beaches.
This may not be a good destination for the average backpacker, except in the rainy season when prices are far lower. However this is not Patong's stated market, it is fairly and squarely aimed at holidaymakers and does it rather well.
Rooming houses ('mansions') a few blocks inland provide nice, clean air-con rooms and suites as cheaply as 300 baht/day (less without air-con), or 3,000-10,000 baht/month. However Patong has every type of accommodation imaginable, from home stays to palaces.
Beach Rd and its immediate surroundings were hit hard by the December 2004 tsunami. The only signs that remain are the "tsunami" titles on sale by local VCD/DVD vendors.
Phuket Island in general and Patong Beach in particular are visited about once per year by ships of the United States Navy. The navy sailors are generally well-behaved and are policed by their own shore patrol. As Patong is not considered big enough, very large navy ships and flotillas usually visit Pattaya instead.
Patong's three main axes are the aptly named Beach Road (Thanon Thawiwong) and Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Rd (the last bit means "200 years" and is pronounced song roi bee) running parallel a few hundred metres inland, bisected at the midpoint by the world famous Soi Bangla. (For the sake of brevity, in this article it is called "Rat-U-Thit Rd". Running parallel to Beach Rd and Rat-U-Thit Rd about half a kilometre inland is Nanai Rd which is the residential expatriate area and has many cheaper guesthouses and hotels. The restaurants here tend to be cheaper as well, with beers to be found for 60 baht a bottle generally.
Between Nanai Rd and Rat-U-Thit is the bypass road. This road runs behind the huge Jungceylon shopping centre and past the local fresh fish and vegetable market, Baanzan (well worth a visit).
Snorkelling and scuba diving
There are many big scuba diving companies located in Patong. The dive centres offer full dive courses and introductory dives.
- Thailand Divers. Day trips to Ko Racha Yai for either scuba diving or snorkelling. A full day trip can provide amazing scenery both above and below the surface. Trips are available daily, all year round.
- Underwater Holidays, ☎ +66 76 292052. Scuba diving holidays to the Similan National Marine Park.
Massage and spa
- Bali Hai, 200 Years Rd. Have a massage, Bali Hai is one that can be recommended.
- Orientala. Full service massage services.
- Jet-skiing, para-sailing and other water-sports. Be very careful when renting a jet-ski in Phuket. There is a well known and notorious scam where tourists are falsely accused of damaging the jet skis and extorted out of huge sums of money (in the many tens of thousands of baht). The extortionists are extremely persistent and are known to use threats of physical violence and the police will not help because they get a cut of the proceeds. See . The general consensus seems to be that to stay safe you should *not* rent a jet ski in Thailand and if you do make sure it is through an agency you trust, e.g., your hotel (if you trust your hotel). Note: There is no insurance when hiring jet skis.
Patong offers an amazingly cosmopolitan array of eating options, including Arabic, French, German, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Scandinavian and pretty much any country that sends tourists here. Prices are, however, generally inflated (at least by Thai standards). You can expect to pay about 150 baht for basic meals like fried rice unless you really hunt around. Seafood is priced by weight and is not cheap either. If you're looking for a good food court, visit Jungceylon (See Buy).
- 99 Seafood Restaurant, Rat-U-Thit Rd (opposite the Royal Paradise Hotel). An open-air restaurant that has excellent seafood selections. The price is also quite affordable and the place is usually busy at night.
- Ristorante Roma da Mauro, 100/7 Thaweewong Rd, Soi Post Office, (down one of the little streets, but easy to see you do go past McDonalds). Good for imported Italian pasta and pizza, has indoor and outdoor seating.
- The Yorkshire Inn, Soi Sansabai. European and British food, and a Sunday lunch which is repeated on Wednesdays.
- Ali Baba and Ali Baba 2, 2 Ruamchai Rd and 206/17 Rat-U-Thit Rd. These two restaurants have two separate menus for two separate cuisines, namely Indian and Arabic. Both locations offer air-con inside and smoking waterpipes outside. Watch out for the 150 baht portions of rice and tomato-heavy curries which may not be everyone's cup of tea. Appetizers 60-100 baht, mains around 200-350 baht.
- Baan Rim Pa, Prabaramee Rd, ☎ +66 76 340789. Impressive wooden carving décor, fabulous location on the cliff, excellent royal Thai Food.
- Baan Yin Dee Restaurant, 7/5 Muen Ngen Rd, ☎ +66 76 294104(-5). Baan Yin Dee offers a fusion of European and Thai food in a warm and relaxed atmosphere, with a discreet ambience and outstanding service.
- Casablanca Restaurant (ร้านอาหาร คาซาบลังกา), 135/23 Rat-U-Thit Rd, ☎ +66 76 340666. Get to the heart of Arabian taste and dining experience right here.
- La Diva, Rat-U-Thit Rd (in a dead-end alley off Rat-U-Thit Rd). It is a bit off the beaten path but you can find it right next to an Austrian, a Belgian, and a Mexican restaurant (go figure) at the bend of the alley. You can easily see it by its colourful neon sign. La Diva itself has a Latin theme and plays Latin pop non-stop. However, the menu is all Thai. And the Thai food there is the best I've ever had anywhere. One should not miss the green curry chicken (Gang Kiew Wan Gai) and the king prawn with glass noodles (goong po woon sen).
- Green House and Balcony Restaurant, Bangla Rd. Extensive menu covering Thai and Western food, plus pastries and snacks from the in-house bakery. Terrace seating outside and air-con restaurant inside. A bit pricy though with most everything over 100 baht. 100+ baht.
- Karlsson's Restaurant & Steak House, Soi Patong Tower, 108/16 Taweewong Rd. 15:00-24:00 daily. A good choice for imported steaks and Scandinavian specialities.
- Lim's Restaurant & Bar, Kalim Beach (follow Beach Rd out of Patong, turn right at Soi 7 after Kalim Beach, on your right 500 m into the soi). 18:30-22:30 daily. Lim's is a nice hide-away from the busy streets of Patong, with modern Thai cuisine served. Lims also has an adjacent art gallery.
- The 9th Floor Restaurant & Bar, Sky Inn Condotel, 47 Rat-U-Thit Rd, ☎ +66 76 344311 (after 16:00). The 9th Floor is an open air restaurant in Phuket and has a 270 degree panoramic view over Patong. With its varied menu of Mediterranean and International dishes, a large selection of quality wines from around the world, a humidor with fine Cuban cigars, and a range of innovative cocktails, not to mention beautiful, attentive waitresses, The 9th Floor is the place to be seen and to enjoy fine dining on the island.
- The Old Fisherman's, Novotel Phuket Resort (at Kalim Beach). 18:30-22:30 daily. This restaurant has Thai and international food. Reasonable prices for a hotel outlet.
- Patong Seafood Restaurant, 130 Thaweewong Rd, ☎ +66 76 341244-5. One of the finest seafood restaurants on Phuket serving local delicacies.
- Sam's Steak House, Holiday Inn Resort, 52 Thaweewong Rd. 18:00-22:15 daily. Sam's serves the finest steaks only from top quality US or Aussie beef, free salad bar with all steak orders. Moderate to high price depending on the kind of food ordered, excellent price/performance. 600-3,000 baht.
- Savoey (เสวย), 136 Thaweewong Rd, ☎ +66 76 341171. One of the better seafood restaurants in Patong.
- Spice House, Jungceylon Shopping Centre, Rat-U-Thit Rd. 12:00-22:00 daily. Offers authentic Russian, modern Thai, and traditional Japanese cuisine.
Patong's nightlife spills out in all directions but the centre of the maelstrom is Bangla Rd and its four sois: Crocodile, Eric, Gonzo and Seadragon, packed with a frenetic mix of pubs, beer bars, and go-go bars. Soi Crocodile is also known as Soi Katoey, a reference to its many transsexuals. There are also a couple of good nightclubs with dance floors, unusual in Thailand otherwise.
Drink prices in Patong can vary, sometimes wildly, between bars, even those right next to each other offering nearly identical atmosphere and patronage. Be on the look-out for drink specials, and do not be afraid to ask for a drink menu if it is not readily available.
- De Tapas Bar, Nanai Rd 91/1, ☎ +66 84 8522404. 22:00-24:00. Only Spanish restaurant on the island of Phuket, with Spanish chef. Medium prices, high quality 220 baht.
- Irish Bar. Nice and less expensive place on Beach Rd, though not with a view of the beach. One of the few places in Patong to sell Guinness. Has a Celtic cross made of (empty) Guinness cans.
- Little Aussie Town Aussie Bar, OTOP Shopping Paradise, Rat-U-Thit Rd. Daily, 12:00-02:00. An outdoor bar. Frequently serves free food. The bar is equipped with a TV showing cable channels. Suitable for all ages and nationalities.
- The Manchester Arms (opposite Jungceylon Shopping Plaza). It's also the best place to watch the sports and they have an occasional live music Jam with some of the island's best musicians. They are also the only bar in town playing music from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Reasonable prices and they have Aussie beers and Tetleys Bitter from the UK on draught.
- Molly Malone's. nice place to sit down and have a decent pint or two. The prices are a bit high, but if you need some good pub food and want to sit back and watch the human traffic plus the great music band, this is a good enough pub.
- Rock City (at the very top of Bangla Rd, away from the beach). A palace built to rock music. They promise to "rock your ass off" and they do with excellent rock tribute bands. It's like going to a mini-gig every night. A bit pricey, but well worth it.
- Saxophone (on the beach road). The little brother of Bangkok's most famous live music venue. They have top quality jazz, blues, funk and soul outfits there each night and the place is very well-designed. Can be hit-or-miss with the bands, but usually very good quality.
- Cocktails and Dreams (near the Tiger complex off Bangla Rd). See a ladyboy cabaret for free! Free admission.
- Simon Cabaret. See the famous ladyboy show at Simon Cabaret. Adult VIP, 800 baht; Adult regular, 700 baht.
- Banana Disco (Thawiwong Rd, 50 m south of Bangla Rd). . Small, but good DJ. Admission, 300 baht, including 2 drinks.
- D Club (Soi Crocodile, Bangla Rd). Nightclub under joint Thai/Swedish ownership
- Tai Pan (Soi Crocodile). The daddy of all Patong's discos, the best music and lights and always very busy, at the top of Bangla Rd at the traffic lights.
One of Patong's main attractions, besides the nightlife, is shopping. Patong Beach transforms into a large night bazaar every evening, when all the main roads become clogged with stalls selling handicrafts, silk scarves, sarongs and a variety of beach clothes, leisure wear, leather goods and luggage, CDs etc. Bargain hard for anything you buy from these stalls, as everything is negotiable in Patong and starting prices are often ridiculously high. Get a local to help you haggle rather than complain about it. Save yourself to bargain and overpay. Shopping at shopping malls in Phuket is a lot safer and cost effective. Price of a pair of sunglasses for example will be the same price as stalls on beach road (non-bargain).
Fake goods from the many stalls are all over the place. Quality is normally poor. The Thai government recently introduced a new law making it a criminal offence to buy or sell pirated goods. Although no cases involving tourists have been reported at the time of writing, the risk does exist that goods that violate intellectual property rights may be liable to confiscation at the airport.
- Jaspal Tailor (off Soi Bangla). Get a designer suit or dress made for peanuts. Jaspal Tailor is a good place to start.
- Jungceylon (จังซีลอน), 181 Rat-U-Thit Rd (near the inland end of Bangla Rd). May-Oct: Daily, 11:00-22:00, Nov-Apr: Daily, 11:00-23:00; Big C Extra: Daily, 10:00-22:00; SF Cinema City: 11:00-01:00; SF Strike Bowl: Daily, 12:00-01:00.. Patong's first full-fledged modern air-con shopping mall, complete with 200 shops, integrated hotels, etc. The launch was postponed several times in the wake of the 2004 tsunami, but it opened in July 2007. The food court in the basement has various types of local food, mostly Indian and Thai. It is a good value commercial canteen in style with tables in the middle and food vendors set into walls around table area.
- Patong OTOP Shopping Paradise (south end Rat-U-Thit Rd). You might be excused for thinking that this has something to do with the "One Tambon, One Product" scheme to promote local industry, but no, turns out this market sells exactly the same copies of branded clothes and mass-produced handicrafts as everybody else. At least there's a fairly wide selection to choose from.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Patong on Wikivoyage.