Choosing an appropriate resort to stay in when visiting Phuket is the secret to an unforgettable holiday on this island paradise. Whilst families and couples would be advised to seek accommodation in the likes of Kamala, Surin, Bangtao and Kata Beaches, those planning on making the most of the lively nightlife should look no further than Patong Beach. This party town is a tourist mecca which attracts millions of annual visitors and is always crowded. For those who don’t fancy the madness of the place it may be worth heading a little further along the coast to Karon Beach or even Kata Beach where there’s still plenty to do at night but without the craziness of Patong.
Patong Beach – Phuket’s Wild West Resort
Located on the west coast of Phuket, some 36km south of the international airport, Patong Beach is the best known of the island’s resorts. It is undoubtedly the premier destination for single travellers and party animals thanks to its wild and varied nightlife. With little to offer in the way of traditional Thai culture, Patong is packed with bars, clubs and adult entertainment centres together with the island’s highest concentration of accommodation options.
Getting There: From Phuket International Airport there are airport buses, taxis and minivan which operate services to all the resorts along the island’s west coast. Some of these services can be slow and inconvenient. A better option is to pre-book a private transfer from Phuket Airport to Patong Beach and have a driver awaiting you on arrival.
Where to Stay: There is plenty mid-range and budget accommodation situated in central Patong within walking distance of the beach and nightlife hotspots. These tend to be most popular with young travellers who want to be near the action and aren’t too concerned about the party noise throughout the night. Quieter places to stay can be found as you move away from this downtown area. Better quality accommodation including some up-market resorts can be found in the North and South Patong districts. These prove to be particularly popular with families and couples rather than single travellers.
Nightlife: Downtown Patong is centred on the infamous Bangla Road which attracts visitors from all around the world to its countless go-go bars and nightclubs tended by young Thai bargirls. To the north of Bangla Road is Soi Seadragon which is another popular nightlife area which is packed with lively bars tended by friendly hostesses. Beyond these neon-lit, red-light districts there are many other streets filled with beer bars and some excellent restaurants which are popular with visitors who prefer some more relaxed evening entertainment.
Beaches: Patong Beach itself is a lovely stretch of sand running for around 2.5 km alongside the centre of the resort. Unfortunately, the sheer number of visitors means that it tends to be packed all day and night. For something more idyllic it’s well worth taking a taxi to Paradise Beach which lies just 5km south-west of downtown Patong. Together with Freedom Beach which is just a little further along the coast these are two of the island’s most stunning beaches. Partygoers should keep an eye out for announcements of beach parties at Paradise Beach which can be pretty raucous affairs.
Karon Beach – For a Laid-Back Version of Patong
Patong Beach is one of those places that you either love or you hate. It is always crowded and visitors are constantly approached by touts as they wander along its main streets. For somewhere more chilled it’s worth heading down to Karon Beach which lies just 7km to the south of Patong Beach. It is home to the island’s 3rd largest beach and a lively nightlife but without the notoriety of its neighbour to the north.
Much of Karon Beach is welcoming to couples and even families whilst those looking for similar entertainment to that found in downtown Patong Beach should head for the area around Patak Road to the north or Luang Poh Chuan Road to the south of the resort. A wide selection of accommodation ranging from budget hostels to luxury resorts is available in Karon Beach.
Kata Beach – Tame and Trendy
Still further along the coast, just beyond Karon Beach, this fashionable destination can prove a good choice for visitors who want to have a good time but without being exposed to the overwhelming nightlife of Patong Beach. Just inland from the main beach, along Kata Road, you’ll find a stretch of lively bars in what is the hub of the resort’s nightlife. Otherwise you can visit a number of stylish cocktail bars and restaurants with terraces overlooking the sea. The nightlife is pleasantly subdued in comparison to Patong Beach, the beach is nicer and less crowded, and there’s a good range of accommodation to suit every pocket.
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Really informative article! Love how Thailand has a little something for every type of visitor- one seeking leisure, adventure, nightlife or a combination of everything 🙂 Can’t wait to plan my trip to Thailand!