Why you shouldn’t visit Patong Beach

I’m well travelled and have a degree in Tourism Management and I’d suggest you shouldn’t visit Patong Beach in Phuket.

Some people may love it but I was not one of them: I’ve never seen anywhere as ruined by Tourism as Patong Beach. It was a destination I’d wanted to visit for years yet had no idea what I was in for.

Walking from the mall where the free shuttle from our hotel dropped us, through the markets and bars to the beach we were continually hassled with cries of “You want taxi?”, ‘You want Tuk Tuk?” and ‘You want scooter?” from locals trying to sell their wares to the thousands of tourists who visit each day.

Girl under Patong Beach Sign in Phuket, Tailand

I’ve also honestly never seen such a high concentration of McDonalds restaurants in any given area. There were McCafe’s galore despite being in Asia, obviously catering to western tourists.

Ronald Mcdonald outside McDonalds form a visit Patong Beach

Once we hit Patong Beach itself things were even worse. What I’m sure was once a beautiful beach (and not bad to swim at) was swarming with tourists and whether we were walking or sitting we were continually offered massages, beer, hammocks, t-shirts, jewelry, artworks, woodwork, henna tattoos and more.

In the end we did buy a couple of beers out of a chilly bin full of ice from a woman on the beach who was also hawking places to sit as well as massages. Did this help things or make them worse? I’m not sure.

Couple drinking beer on beach when visit Patong Beach Phuket

The night markets when you visit Patong Beach later in the evening are apparently amazing but the backpacker and bar culture the area is renound for put me off visiting at night.

Patong Beach is a ‘when in Rome’ place to visit as a friend put it but not somewhere I’d want to return to or spend more than a couple of hours at for a swim.

Have you been to visit Patong Beach? Or experienced somewhere tourism has detrimented?


  1. November 18, 2015 / 10:24 pm

    I’ve heard and bad things about Patong which is similar to your thoughts. It seems quite commercialised which takes away from the beauty of the place. I hope you still enjoyed your trip though!

  2. November 18, 2015 / 8:37 pm

    I’ve been to Phuket and it was gorgeous, but that was quite a while ago now, maybe 10 years ago?! I don’t think it was quite as touristy then? Or maybe I just can’t remember! The hotel that we stayed at had it’s own private beach area so I pretty much just hung out there for the beach which was just perfection. Although a big wave did cause me to momentarily lose my bikini top which was rather embarrassing haha!

  3. Alisha H
    November 18, 2015 / 4:34 pm

    I have been to Phuket and loved it!! But I didn’t spend much time in Patong. I went to a mall there for some shopping but the rest was so crowded and full of bars etc that I didn’t go to the beach or the main strip. I was staying in Karon which I quite close but a lot less full of tourist. The beach there was stunning!!! <3 xx

    • November 18, 2015 / 5:02 pm

      Certainly not the ‘real’ Thailand is it? You want to be able to enjoy the beaches peacefully, and experience the local culture.

  4. November 18, 2015 / 2:37 pm

    I’ve always wanted to go to Phuket! I’ve been to Koh Samui and Chaweng there is a bit like that, but probably not to the same extent. Great photos!

  5. Sheena — As Told By Sheena
    November 18, 2015 / 2:23 pm

    Phuket is on my travel list! I don’t really like the sound of being hassled along the entire beach though! Eek! Slightly off-putting!

    • November 18, 2015 / 4:47 pm

      I love hearing about other people’s travel lists! Thailand is such an amazing place I just wouldn’t recommend putting Patong at the top of your list.