Phuket Island has seventeen beautiful beaches. Patong Beach is one of the most beautiful and most important beaches in Phuket. It is located on the western coast of Phuket. Close to Patong Beach is one of the main shopping areas in Phuket. Tourists can buy clothes and souvenirs at cheap rates. There are plenty of tiny shops and restaurants near Patong Beach where rates are very cheap. There are several hotels and resorts which are located quite close to the beach in Patong Town. Many chain hotels are also located in Patong Town. Most of the hotels and resorts are located within walking distance of the beach. Phuket International Airport is also just a short drive away from Patong Beach. Patong Beach is especially popular among western tourists, particularly Europeans. The beach became one of the hottest tourist spots in the world when it came into prominence in the 1980s. Patong Beach extends up to 2 kilometers and covers the entire length of the western side of Patong Town.
Patong is more popular for its nightlife than for the beautiful Patong Beach. The nightlife is centered on 2 areas, Bangla Road and Paradise Complex. Bangla Road caters to the entertainment needs of straight people while Paradise Complex caters to the entertainment needs of gays. Phuket Island has a very tolerant culture. That is one of the main reasons why the gays and straight people are able to co-exist in a harmonious manner.
Patong Beach is one of the areas which was affected by the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Patong Beach was one of the worst-affected areas in Phuket. Most of the areas along the western coast of Phuket and Thailand were affected very badly by the tsunami. Patong Beach and Kao Lak Beach were the worst-affected beaches in Phuket. There was extensive damage to properties along the waterfront. Many lives were also lost. But Patong Beach bounced back from the disaster and is once again one of the most favorite tourist destinations in South Asia. It took six months to rebuild more than 80% of the property damaged by the tsunami. 2005 was a year of recovery for the whole of Phuket. But now, Patong Beach, along with the other tourist attractions in Phuket Island has recovered. Jungceylon is Patong’s first full-fledged shopping mall with air-conditioning. It was opened in late 2006 and was a roaring success.