Patong Bay is the busiest tourist beach on Phuket, boasting hundreds of hotels ranging from 5-star resorts to lowly budget bungalows, a great variety of restaurants and a vibrant and surprising nightlife. Visitors to Patong will not find any evidence of the 2004 tsunami destruction except for monuments and tsunami escape route signage.
Supermarkets and little fresh food markets sell provisions, though prices are naturally somewhat higher here in ‘touristland’ than in Phuket town.
Dinghies can generally be left unguarded near the police post in the centre of the beach.
Several high-rise buildings were constructed on Patong before a height limit was imposed, clipping developers aspirations to turn this into a completely urban, high-rise resort.
Although this bay provides for all the basic needs of a cruising yacht, including a rollicking nightlife, it’s a noisy, hectic anchorage.
This is one location where fuel can be obtained from the many small vendors in the town.
Its gradually sloping, sandy bottom permits anchorage in 5 -15 metres anywhere in this broad bay.
Patong is the busiest bay on the west coast, particularly around Christmas, New Year and the Songkran water festival. It is also the main high season anchorage for cruise ships, livea- board dive boats and in recent years the growing number of visiting superyachts.
To the south end of Patong bay is a fixed jetty and a floating jetty which is used during the high season as a transit point for visiting cruise ships and Superyachts.
On the northern rocky side of the bay are three landmark restaurants, Baan Rim Pa, Da Maurizios and Joe’s Downstairs, all founded by Tom McNamara, an American entrepreneur who, over 20 years ago, and set the standard for Phuket.
Anchor in 8-10 metres on a sandy bottom off one of the small beaches. This is a good stop for the night if a southwesterly swell is running early or late in the season.
South Point is also a favourite daytime excursion for longtails operating from the main beach. Many divers and snorkellers come to enjoy the underwater sights within easy range of the beach facilities of Patong.
Naka La Bay
Look for a small bay just east of the Thavorn Beach Village resort’s concrete jetty. You’ll find a water hose has been laid from a hillside spring to a buoy offshore. Good tank water is usually available for a modest fee, even at the end of the dry season.
Laem Thai Pao
Just inside the northernmost point in Patong, this bay has a steep coral shelf rising from a sandy bottom in about 12 metres. Lots of colourful corals and fish await the underwater explorer.
This is a good haven from the northwesterly swell, common in February and March. Access to the beach, now overlooked by a villa housing development, is best at high water.
This mere indentation in the headland affords shelter for one or two boats. Anchor in about 12 metres on a sandy bottom with scattered coral in front of the residential villas.
In the corner of the bay you will find a spring which is accessible by dinghy – bring your jerry cans. The spring often dries up by the end of the dry season, so don’t rely on it.