Letting loose in Thailand can be an unforgettable experience, even to the partiers with the most fickle of tastes. While almost any beach can provide an adequate amount of entertainment, the premier destination is Patong Beach in Phuket. With an endless maze of streets filled with bars and strip clubs, Patong sees its share of seedy entertainment but also its fair share of tourists from all around the world coming to seek escape.
From endless parties and New Year celebrations with show stopping firework explosions all over the sky to bar crawls from Irish, German and Thai establishments and even to gay-friendly neighborhoods with happening night clubs, Patong Beach never stops having fun, even when the sun comes up well above the horizon in the morning.
While it is hard to find an accommodation that is quaint and quiet, most tourists look for quite the opposite when they come to Patong Beach. Expectations are that sleep will be very limited and partying will be aplenty. Those expectations are usually correct and are exceeded. Hotels and hostels are located amidst streets with bars and crowds that never sleep and, unless one is inebriated beyond belief, sound sleep can often be interrupted by noises and music from the outside.
For distinctly cultural activities, tourists should look elsewhere to other Thai beaches, as Patong is the most tourist-friendly location in Thailand, which also means it is the most westernized and most devoid of the genuinely local flavor. The most prominent staple feature of Patong is the extensive presence of black market faux-luxury item rip-off sales booths and tents. One can buy a pair of fake Ray Ban sunglasses, a Mui Mui wallet or a Louis Vuitton purse for $20-$100 USD, with extensive bargaining. Comparable to Canal Street in New York City, Patong beach black markets attract throngs of tourists annually, all hoping to score an unheard of bargain on an item that looks almost identical to its authentic luxury counterpart but costing one-twentieth of the original’s price.
A typical day in Patong Beach life involves renting a couple of lounge chairs in the early afternoon and soaking up the rays of sun with a couple of Carlsbergs (a popular beer in Thailand). As the sun reaches its zenith in the sky, a lot of beach goers turn it up a notch by either renting the jet skis or para-sailing over the beach. The prices for jet ski rentals or para-sailing can be steep but are worth the excitement of taking in the vistas of Patong Beach in one swooping look while riding the waves or sweeping across the sky.
At night, there are still plenty activities to occupy one’s time. One can say goodbye to a passing day by purchasing and lighting one of the Chinese lanterns and sending it off into the sky. On weekend nights and holidays, the entire sky lights up with glimmering lanterns floating up to the sky from the shores of Patong, creating one of the most spectacular and romantic spectacles.
Once the darkness sets in completely, most tourists descend down to the beaches and the nearby streets for drinking and dancing and general debauchery. Plenty of beach bars have nightly parties with lucrative drink promotions. Body paint contests and glow-in-the-dark paint soirées are a norm in this party town.