Patong is the heart of the Phuket tourist scene. No matter the season, there will always be thousands of tourists enjoying its beach, shopping and nightlife. We spent a couple of days here to see if it lived up to its hype.
Patong is full of massage parlours, suit shops and stalls selling knock off goods. Right in the thick of all this you’ll find Bangla Road: Phuket‘s equivalent to Bangkok‘s Khao San Road. Even during the day, Bangla Road is full of life with bustling market stalls and bars blaring remixes of the latest pop songs.
Still weary after all the walking we did in Japan and from carrying a heavy backpack throughout our travels, a Thai massage was extremely appealing. Massage parlours line the streets of Patong. We went for one which had a couple of older ladies sitting outside rather than the more common troupe of heavily made up, scantily clad, young ladies. A wise choice for a proper massage that relieves you of all your knots and stresses. For around 200 Baht (~£4) an hour, you don’t get much better value than that for your money. I can’t recommend a Thai massage enough!
Feeling considerably looser we headed out for dinner. A lot of the Thai food in Patong is westernised to cater towards tourists’ tastes. As for myself, I definitely prefer trying out the most authentic local food available. After doing a bit of research we came across No. 9 Restaurant. It is a bit of an institution in Patong and so popular that a second one has opened up the road.
It was incredibly busy when we arrived but thankfully we managed to squeeze onto a table beside a family of six. We ordered vegetable spring rolls, beef with garlic and pepper (pad kratiem prik thai) and one of my favourite Thai dishes, Thai basil chicken (pad krapow gai).
The food certainly lived up to its reputation! The pad krapow gai didn’t disappoint and was as delicious as I’d hoped.
As it grew darker we headed back to Bangla Road to see what the nightlife had to offer. There was quite the day-to-night transformation.
The bars and clubs were in full swing and the volume had been turned up several notches. Revelling tourists filled the street clutching cocktail buckets. The crowd was saturated with lady boys and people advertising an array of ping pong and other unmentionable shows. Quite the contrast to the vegetarian festival celebrations we had joined the previous day…
We ended up at a bar called Monsoon that had a really awesome live band playing. They sang and danced all night long and had the most infectious energy. If you’re ever in Patong, definitely check it out!
The next day we headed to Patong Beach.
It was considerably busier than Karon Beach and finding a quiet spot to sit took a fair bit longer.
But you can’t deny that it was a lovely place to spend the morning relaxing with a delicious pineapple and lime smoothie.
After the beach, we stopped off for some lunch. We ordered a delicious spread of Thai green curry with chicken (gang kiew wan gai) and hot and sour (tom yum) soup.
Green curry is a classic that never disappoints while the tom yum was a mouth-tingling sensation of a soup.
We spent the rest of the day chilling out and swimming in our hotel’s beautiful pool.
A top tip for anyone travelling in Thailand during the rainy season is to check out the deals available at the nicer hotels and resorts. We got a great deal at the lovely Naina Resort & Spa paying only around £10 a night.
For our final meal in Patong we went for some seafood. The local seafood is celebrated in Phuket and has resulted in countless fresh seafood restaurants. With the help of Tripadvisor, we decided to try out Linda Seafood. We ordered a Thai red curry (gaeng phet) and fried fish in a sweet and spicy chilli sauce.
I thoroughly enjoyed this meal. The fish was fresh, spicy and incredibly tasty. I have found Thai cuisine to be incredibly flavoursome. I can’t get enough of the fragrant and spicy flavours in each dish.
Patong probably isn’t the place to go if you’re looking for a quiet weekend. Although even if ping pong shows are not your style, just scratch beneath the surface to find a bit of relaxation and excellent food.