Patong Beach - Baan Patong
Nestled in a well-sheltered bay on the west coast, Patong is the main tourist destination on Phuket Island and the center of nightlife and shopping. Almost unknown until forty years ago, Patong became popular thanks to Western tourists, especially Europeans, in the late 1980s. Since then, this coastal city has grown dramatically, becoming one of the most well-known and popular seaside destinations throughout Southeast Asia. Mostly made up of hotels, world-class restaurants, shopping centers, entertainment venues and various tourist attractions, Patong is a true paradise for lively holidaymakers and hedonists of nightlife, with several high-class discotheques, pubs, Go-go bars and plenty of Beer bars lined up along and around the legendary and infamous Bangla Road. For many Phuket visitors, especially for the young people, Patong is considered the best holiday destination on the island. It is a place where enjoy a wide range of fun beach activities and, when the sun goes down, experience its exciting and lively nightlife. For many others, the coastal town is too crowded and noisy, far away, from what they would want from a tropical island, yet they appreciate its great service quality, the countless restaurants and the wide range of accommodations. On December 26, 2004, Patong was hit hard by a tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The wave caused a great deal of destruction and many people were killed. Patong was one of the worst affected areas of Phuket, although the destruction was not as bad as nearby Khao Lak in Phang Nga Province. Patong has largely recovered since the tsunami and nowadays the only signs remaining are the "tsunami" titles on sale at the VCD/DVD vendors.
Accommodation and Restaurants - Patong offers an incredibly cosmopolitan array of eating options, including Italian, French, German, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Scandinavian and many more. According to Thai standards, the prices are high, about 150 baht for a basic meal like seafood fried rice. Fish, crustaceans and seafood are priced by weight and are not cheap either. The best restaurants boast beautiful locations overlooking the bay and Andaman Sea. There is a good food variety at Jungceylon with at least 25 restaurants offering International dishes. In Patong there are accommodations to suit every budget. The waterfront promenade hosts high-end hotels and resorts, as well as a few boutique hotels. However, the most luxurious and exclusive resorts are nestled in the rocky promontory just south of beach, facing private beaches or overlooking the stunning Patong Bay. Large hotels, boutique hotels, apartments in condominiums and affordable guesthouses fill the inner streets of Patong. Nanai Road, the road running under the hill behind Patong, offers the cheapest accommodations with numerous small guesthouses. If your budget is limited, there are several simple air-con rooms for rent in small condominiums. They will cost you from 8,000 to 12,000 baht per month, excluding electricity consumption. Most are located in Nanai Road and its alleys. Patong's accommodations are rather expensive during the peak season with simple air-con rooms in boutique hotels ranging from 1,500-2,000 baht; air-con rooms in guesthouses start from around 1,000 baht but availability is limited. In the low season, you will easily find air-con rooms from around 600 baht and up.
Nightlife - The lively nightlife of Patong is centred in two main areas, Bangla Road being predominantly straight and Paradise Complex dedicated to the gays. Prostitution in Thailand is illegal, but tolerated, as in Patong's case. Bangla Road and its four sois, Crocodile, Freedom, Gonzo, and Sea Dragon, are filled with a frenetic mix of excellent discos, pubs, beer bars, and go-go bars. Soi Crocodile is also known as Soi Kathoey, a reference to its many transsexuals or Ladyboys, as they are also called in Thailand. Young disco lovers, sexual tourists and curious voyeurs use to spend the night in Bangla Road. It is partly because there are the finest Phuket discos, but also for the folklore, for the improvised shows of street artists or just to take a photo with the famous Ladyboys dressed with colorful costumes in the style of the Rio carnival.
Shopping - One of Patong's main attractions, besides the nightlife and the beach, is shopping. At sunset, the Beach Road transforms into a large night bazaar filled by plenty of stalls T-shirts, clothing and accessories, handicrafts, silk scarves, sarongs, beach clothes, leather goods, sunglasses and luggage. Negotiate for anything you want to buy, as the starting prices are often ridiculously high. Shopping at shopping malls in Patong is safer and cost effective. Located near the northern end of Bangla Road, Jungceylon is the largest mall in the town and the Phuket's second largest shopping mall afterwards Central Festival in Phuket Town. Jungceylon Shopping Complex has radically changed the face of shopping in Patong. Made up by two distinct sections, it is an excellent mall and an entertainment destination that offers more than 200 stores and boutiques plus 3 anchors: Robinson Department Store and Big C Extra on G floor and second floor, and SF Entertainment Complex featuring five theatres at SF Cinema on third Floor. More