Things To Do in Patong

by Guest

Patong is a famous beach holiday area is located on Phuket Island, overlooking the Andaman Sea on the west coast. There are plenty of things to do in Patong which include the rowdy nightlife, beaches and amazing southern food that has drawn in travelers for decades. It’s perhaps most famous for the nightclubs, go-go bars and massage shops mainly lining the infamous Bangla Road, but there is plenty more to entertain travelers who aren’t in to such things. 

1. Explore the neon strip of Bangla Street

So, let’s start with the most famous thing to do in Patong. Bangla Street is lined with neon lights, gaudy night clubs and go-go bars.  It’s definitely not for those looking for a quiet evening. Thai and western pop music blares out into the main street, temping backpackers in with the promise of cheap drinks and a good time. It’s a great place to wander through and there are some good eating spots offering Thai southern fare.

2. Get a bamboo tattoo

It may be a cliché to get a tattoo on holiday in Thailand, but if you are going to do it, why not get it inked with a traditional bamboo needle? This ancient form of skin art is slightly more painful then tattoo guns, but it’s an interesting experience nonetheless. A metal needle is attached to a stick of bamboo, dipped in ink before being inserted into the skin. Look out for some of the original Thai designs to complete the cliché.

A traditional bamboo tattoo in Thailand

A traditional bamboo tattoo in Thailand. Photo by Kris

3. Get pummeled with a Thai massage

One things for sure. Thai massages are not relaxing. Stretched, squeezed, and bent into positions you weren’t thought were possible, they might be comfortable, but you’ll feel a million dollars are it’s finished. It’s not hard to find a Thai massage in Patong. Look out for massage parlors (just be careful which you walk into!) or ask at the reception of your hotel, many who have an in-house masseuse. Thai massages start around US $7 an hour.

4. Watch a Muay Thai fight

Muay Thai is popular throughout the country and there are several rings in Patong and on Phuket Island, most of which are attached to the larger Muay Thai gyms. Bangla Stadium is the largest, most popular but also the most expensive. Fights usually take place about once a week and are well advertised. It’s usually possible to turn up and buy your ticket on the door. Look out for nights where they stage international fights between Thai and European fighters.  Tickets are usually around US $15 depending on where your seat is.

5. Hit the beach

Of course, one of the main activities of the day is always going to be the beach. Sun bathe under the beautiful clear blue skies (though make sure you have some high factor sun cream), gorge on delicious seafood in the nearby restaurants or take part in a wide range of water sports including jetskiing and parasailing. Always check the equipment before booking any of the watersports.

Phuket has great beaches and nearby islands for snorkeling

Phuket has great beaches and nearby islands for snorkeling

6. Get your feet eaten by fish

This is growing in popularity in Thailand (and across the world). Fish feet massages involve guests placing their feet into a tank with little fish that gently eat on the dead skin. The feeling is seriously unusual and feels as though they are being nibbled. The experience costs around $3 for 10 minutes and there are several fish massages in Patong.

7. Scoot around town

Scooters are the best way to get around town and explore Phuket Island as a whole. There are a ton of scooter hire companies across town with wildly varying quality of scooter and price. Always check the scooter before you hire. Prices are around US $10 per day and includes a helmet. You may be required to either leave a cash deposit or a copy of your passport and ID card. Though you will see many locals (and travelers) whizzing along without a helmet, don’t be tempted to follow suit. There are plenty of beaches along the coast to go and explore.

8. Shop till you drop

Patong has several large shopping centres which have many international brands. If you are looking for something specific, these might be your best bet, though they are of course expensive. There are other local markets and vendors selling everything from clothing to souvenirs and can be a fun shopping experience. It’s absolutely normal to barter, but don’t try to squeeze the vendors to hard – they are just trying to make a living and their wares are inexpensive anyway.

9. See the Big Buddha

The huge Buddha that sits on the summit of a hill is both beautiful and impressive. It’s well worth the hour or so journey by car, taxi or scooter to go and take a look. Enjoy the views and combine it with a visit to Wat Chalong, a spectacular Thai temple twenty or so minutes away before returning back to Patong.

10. Take a boat to the islands

Don’t just limit yourself to Phuket Island, there are plenty of smaller (and more beautiful) islands to explore nearby. Some can be done in day trips, others are both overnighting. Phi Phi Island is not far away and tours from Phuket Island leave daily. Fabulous beaches and natural wonders await on this popular hotspot. The Similan Islands, a tiny archipelago out in the Andaman Sea, have some of the most pristine coral reefs in Thailand, teeming with colourful little fish. They are shallow, so best explored by snorkelers . There are no permanent structures on the main island (of which can be walked around in about 10 minutes) so the only option for overnights is in a tent. This, as you can imagine, can get very hot and sand flies can also be a problem.

11. Bungee Jump in Patong

Just outside Patong along the main road towards Phuket Town, it is possible to bungee jump. For the brave, get harnessed in and jump off the side of the bridge falling 50 metres down towards a lagoon below. A thrilling holiday experience!

12. Gorge on seafood

Like most places along the coast, Patong offers some deliciously fresh seafood to gorge on. Massive tiger prawns, crabs, crispy fried whole fish, squid, clams. For seafood lovers, there really is nowhere better. Best eaten with nam prik talay, a spicy Thai dip made from chilies, fish sauce and garlic and a cold beer or two. Seafood might be a little more expensive that other Thai food, but it’s still relatively cheap compared to western standards. There are many other restaurant options including chains like Burger King and McDonalds, but it’s really a shame to eat in these when there are so many other good things to try.

13. Do a cooking class

If you like Thai food, it’s well worth spending a half day or so learning how to cook a few of the dishes. Thai cuisine is complex – myriad ingredients go into most dishes. Most cooking classes start at the local produce market to learn about the different ingredients on offer before returning to the school to learn around 5 different dishes. Thai food is regional, so look for a class which offers southern Thai cuisine. It’s also worth asking whether you actually make the pastes for the curries (instead of being pre-made) and if the recipes are given afterwards. A great experience.

14. Other activities in Patong

Like any town or city, Patong has all the normal things you might find at home such as bowling, cinemas, shopping malls and more. There is also a shooting range where travelers can shoot paper targets with rifles, handguns and semi-automatic guns. Patong has a golf course and a 750-metre go-karting track. The costs will be cheaper than the prices you find at home, but expensive for Thai standards.

15. Visit Phuket Town

If you finish everything on the list, maybe consider a visit down to Phuket Town. Buses leave every half hour or so, is inexpensive and is a short journey. There are plenty more things to do in Phuket – eat, drink, party, museums, galleries and taking part in many of the optional activities on offer.

Here are some other articles you may want to read before heading to Phuket:

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