Patong Beach is one of Phuket’s most famous resort towns. It is the most famous beach in Phuket, but it is definitely not the most beautiful. Patong has gained popularity for being the center of nightlife in Phuket, and Bangla Road is infamous. For these reasons, first-time tourists to Phuket often choose to stay in Patong. Who wouldn’t want to stay in the most famous beach town?
However, for first-time visitors to the island, there are plenty of reasons to avoid staying in Patong Beach. Is Patong a good place to stay? Our answer is no, and here are our reasons to avoid staying in Patong.
Patong is arguably one of the most sleazy places in Phuket, and probably Southeast Asia. The resort town is where most of the illegal sex tourism in Phuket takes place. Don’t let anyone fool you - Patong is a red light district. People seem to lose their moral compass when staying in Patong. It is full of obnoxious, over the top drunk tourists, disgusting sex shows, and sadly, there are a lot of illegal drugs floating around.
Patong is also notorious for its aggressive “taxi mafia” and unfriendly tuk tuk drivers. Combine this aggression with drunk tourists haggling for a deal, and trouble is sure to follow.
Plus, let’s face it, with all of the go-go bars and prostitution obvious in broad daylight, it is not Phuket’s most family-friendly destination.
It’s Impossible to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
If you book accommodation near Bangla Road, the beating heart of Patong’s nightlife scene, be prepared to be awake all night long. It’s impossible to get a good night’s sleep within such close proximity to discotheques with live DJs, outdoor bars blaring their music over a sound system, and the annoying laughs and shouts from obnoxious people who have had way too much to drink.
If you are a light sleeper and plan to stay near Bangla Road in Patong, trust us, you will not sleep. Is Patong a good area to stay? Again, we say no.
It’s a Tourist Trap
Patong is Phuket’s biggest tourist trap. It is completely overpriced all across the board … bars, restaurants, street food and even souvenirs. Plus, with the taxi and tuk tuk mafia having a strong hold on the neighborhood, public transportation fares are ridiculous and through the roof.
Sadly, first-time tourists who choose to stay in Patong will think that all of Phuket is like this, and it is not. Do yourself, and your wallet a favor, and avoid staying in Patong.
Poor Choice of Luxury Hotels
In recent years, a few international luxury hotels have opened in Patong, but overall, there are a poor choice of luxury hotels in Patong Beach. Tourists who research online may think they are getting a good deal at a 5-star hotel, but the reality is that the hotel isn’t a luxury hotel at all.
Patong’s sleazy reputation is also evident in its 1-2 star hotels, and don’t be surprised to see unacceptable behavior at the resort’s swimming pool, lobby, bar or restaurant.
It’s Too Commercialized
Patong is entirely overdeveloped, and with what little free space is left, developments continue to sprout up. Patong is a concrete jungle; basically, a city by the beach. Nothing about Patong represents Phuket’s beauty, including the murky waters of its namesake beach.
There are still a few areas in Phuket that remain relatively unspoilt by overdevelopment and commercialization, for example, the Panwa and Mai Khao Beach neighborhoods. If you are looking to fully embrace the true beauty of the Andaman Coast, avoid staying in Patong.
Patong’s Charm Gets Old Quickly
First-timers to Phuket are likely to become easily enchanted with Patong at first sight due to the fact that there are hundreds of bars, cafes and restaurants, plus dozens of massage shops, a modern shopping mall and many modern conveniences.
However, spending more than one night in Patong and you will see that Patong’s charm gets old quickly. Everything is in your face and you simply cannot walk down the street in peace without being hassled by restaurant staff, bar touts, tuk tuk drivers and even tailors. It’s all too much, and not a good representation of Thai hospitality.
Our suggestion? Avoid staying in Patong, but if you would like to experience Phuket’s most famous nightlife district, go out with your friends and travel companions one night on Bangla Road.
Just remember, staying in Patong is not a good idea and it is not a family-friendly destination.