side by side photos comparing the two most popular streets in Phuket Town or Patong Beach

Phuket Town or Patong Beach: Which To Stay In?

Are you planning a trip to Phuket for the first time and need help deciding which area to stay in, between Phuket Town or Patong Beach?

This in-depth comparison guide will compare the two popular areas in Phuket and tell you everything you need to know regarding Phuket Town vs Patong Beach!

The atmosphere of each area, things to do, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, and pros/cons of each area will be compared in this comparison Phuket area showdown.

In short, Phuket Town and Patong Beach are very different areas. Phuket Town is the island’s city center with several shops, restaurants, and things to do, close to the prominent Rassada Pier. Patong Beach is a Vegas-like partying hotspot along the beach and is the most touristy part of Phuket.

Those are the basic main differences between Phuket Town and Patong Beach. Now, let’s look into the specifics of comparison for both areas!

pastel sino-Portuguese buildings along the streets in Old Phuket Town

Phuket Town or Patong Beach: Main Differences

While both areas are popular stops to stay in Phuket, sharing a few aspects, they couldn’t be more different than one another.

The main significant difference is Phuket Town is a city center with no beach nearby. Patong, on the other hand, has a beach shoreline.

Phuket Town Pros

  • Walkable area and less touristy
  • Best restaurants/cafes in Phuket
  • Best access to SongTaew Bus, the cheapest way to get around Phuket
  • Close to Rassada Pier to visit Phi Phi Islands
  • Best Shopping in Phuket, including luxury goods
  • Close to many parks, Bird Park, Tiger Park, Aquarium, Golf courses, etc

Patong Beach Pros

  • Best Nightlife in Phuket
  • Has a Beach shoreline & is close to other beaches in Phuket
  • Most accommodation/hotel options in Phuket
  • Fine-Dining restaurants
  • Best Shopping in Phuket for knockoff designer goods
  • Overall more conveniences
palm trees standing on a crowded Patong beach full of tourists in Phuket, Thailand

Phuket Town or Patong Beach: Things To Do

Here is a short list of the best things to do in both areas. Consider this section because depending on what you’d like to be closer to, this may answer whether you’d prefer to stay in Phuket Town or Patong Beach.

There isn’t a winner in this category. It depends on the activities and things you’d prefer to be closer to.

Do you prefer to be in a less touristy area with the best food options, close to many parks to visit, and around 30 minutes away from a few beaches? Then choose Phuket Town!

Or do you prefer to be by the beach, other beaches, in a touristy area with lively nightlife every night? If so, then Patong Beach is your answer.

The distance and travel time between Phuket Town and Patong Beach is 13km and around 30 Minutes, depending on traffic.

the main beach area at Freedom Beach with several tourists and large rocks separating the main part of Freedom Beach and the hidden beach area
Freedom Beach

Phuket Town — Things To Do

Stroll the Old Town — Famous for its colonial Portuguese-Sino buildings, going for a walk around Old Phuket Town is one of the best things to do in Phuket. Many fabric/souvenir shops, local restaurants, and museums are here to explore.

Bar or Cafe Hopping — Phuket Town is known for its many bars and cafes scattered throughout the Old Town. So get out, work on your laptop, or relax at a cafe. At night, visit the many bars in town; Cue Bar is my favorite.

Phuket Town Sunday Market — Many end up visiting Phuket Town no matter where they stay in Phuket because of the Sunday Phuket Town Night Market. On Sundays, the main street in Town is closed off, and street food/goods vendors fill up the famous walking street.

Visit Wat Mongkhon Nimit Temple — Located right in the heart of Old Town is Wat Mongkhon, one of the most popular Buddhist shrine temples in Phuket.

Hike the Khao Rang Viewpoint — This 40 minutes hike from Phuket Town is a fun/free activity to do in the day/night. At the top of the viewpoint, you’ll see stunning aerial views of the island with several photo opportunities.

I highly recommend doing this in the early morning for sunrise – Don’t hold food; there are monkeys on these hills.

Several tourists walking on Thalang Rd for the Old Phuket Town Sunday night market

Patong Beach — Things To Do

Beach Day — The main attraction is, of course, the beach in Patong during the day. Come by and enjoy the stunning shoreline. Activities like jet skiing, parasail paddleboarding, and more are available.

Close to Patong is the popular Freedom Beach, arguably the nicest beach in all of Phuket; check it out as well!

Nightlife on Bangla rd — Bangla Road is the main street in Patong. At night, the whole street turns into one large walking street catering to those looking to party. Nightclubs, bars, go-go bars, and marijuana cafes, it’s all here!

Eat at Tops Food Hall — Located in the basement of Central Patong Mall is Tops Food Hall, a large supermarket/food court with aircon serving delicious, affordable local cuisine as well as many other ethnic cuisines.

It’s the perfect place to eat lunch indoors and try several foods in one sitting.

Attend Muay Thai Fights — Patong has the two best boxing/Muay Thai stadiums, so if you’re visiting, experiencing a few fights at one of the two stadiums in the evening with a few drinks is a must.

Malin Plaza Night Market — Patong’s best night market is at the Malin Plaza; similar to most night markets, you’ll find many different street foods and various goods for purchase.

bar in Patong Beach with a few of the main beach road next to Patong Main Beach

Phuket Town or Patong Beach: Hotels & Resorts

Below, I’ve shared the best 3 hotels for both Phuket Town and Patong, starting with a luxurious, then mid-range, and a budget-friendly option!

Regarding accommodations, Patong is superior to Phuket Town. There are many hotels, resorts, and hostels in Patong to choose from.

Phuket Town also has various accommodation types, but it lacks 5-star hotels. If you’re looking for a luxurious hotel, you’ll find those in Patong more than in Phuket Town.

Where to Stay in Phuket Town

Blu Monkey Hub Hotel – A stunning modern hotel in the heart of Old Phuket town with a sleek black/white interior decor. Rooms are spacious, and the lobby has a swanky bar.

The Memory at On On Hotel – Boutique style hotel mixing old-school and new-school, with a colonial interior but several modern touches throughout the hotel.

The Dorm Hostel – A fun hostel with a great communal space serving breakfast/lunch.

Where to Stay in Patong Beach

Rosewood Phuket — A luxurious boutique hotel located in the hills of Patong in a private area, offering villas equipped with all you need and stunning panoramic ocean views

Amari Phuket – The Amari Phuket offers exceptional views of Patong Beach and the area; the hotel is well-rated and conveniently close to the main Patong area

Lub d Phuket Patong – Known as the best hostel in Patong, Lub D has a fun communal space with many activities and opportunities to meet other travelers

Phuket Town or Patong Beach: Restaurants

The cuisine types are plentiful in Phuket Town and Patong Beach, with excellent local cuisine restaurants and night markets.

But also many international cuisines types, such as Japanese, Turkish, Arabic, Korean, Mexican and more!

Which area has the better food, you may be thinking? Well, it’s sort of tied, let me explain.

Phuket Town has a larger variation of different cuisines; more world cuisine is represented here, and the restaurant selection is greater. It beats Patong food-wise in that sense.

Patong Beach has more fine-dining restaurants for those looking to enjoy several nights of various fancy dining experiences.

Thai man cooking a rice thin cake dessert at the Old Phuket Town Sunday Market

Where to Eat in Phuket Town

Raya Restaurant — Legendary Thai restaurant serving all the classics located in one of the colonial buildings in Phuket Town

Izakaya Samurai Phuket — Sushi, meat skewers, stir-fried dishes, a wide mix of Japanese Izkaya food

Ko Ang Seafood — Popular nonprestigious seafood restaurant serving all the Thai seafood must-try

Korean Town Phuket — Spicy seafood soups, lots of banchan, Korean fried chicken, and more, it’s all here

Super Dim Sum & Noodle — Classic Dim Sum restaurant serving a wide variety of dishes

Consider the Lock Tien Food Court for the most local Thai dining experience: plastic plates, authentically cooked meals, and stools for seats.

These local nonprestigious restaurants are always my favorite types of restaurants throughout the many places in Thailand.

dungeness crab served on a cold lemongrass salad and massaman curry with rice being served at Pinto Karon, one of the best Karon Beach Restaurants

Where to Eat in Patong Beach

Ta Khai — Fine-dining Thai restaurant located in the hills of Patong with stunning ocean views

ZomPaul Eatery — Tapas-style Thai restaurant serving several affordable small-plate dishes

L’Arome — Fancy French restaurant serving top-notch food with impeccable ocean views

Cappadocia Turkish Restaurant — Traditional Turkish cuisine, BBQ meats, fresh bread, and classic breakfast

9th Floor Fine Dining Restaurant & Bar — Fine dining restaurant serving modern Mediterranean food with stunning views of Patong/ocean

Consider Tops Food Hall inside the mall, and there’s a large food court and countless types of foods in an airconditioned area.

roasted duck on top of rice and cucumbers on the side with a side of rich duck broth from Metro Roasted Duck a Michelin star restaurant at Tops Food Hall in Patong, Phuket

Phuket Town or Patong Beach: Nightlife

Last but not least, the nightlife is one of the most significant differences between Phuket Town and Patong.

Below, I’ve shared a few bars and nightclubs to consider on your night out in either area!

Phuket Town’s nightlife consists of many fancy cocktail bars, laidback rooftop bars, and a few live music venues to hang out and dance.

Patong’s nightlife consists of nightclubs, bars, go-go bars, strip clubs, and just about everything you can think of in a Vegas-like atmosphere, minus the casinos.

The distance and travel time between Phuket Town and Patong Beach is 30 Minutes, so you could always visit either area and return.

My personal favorite place to go out in Phuket is Cafe Del Mar, located in the Kamala Beach area. They host large events on some weekend nights!

Nightlife in Phuket Town

Cue Bar — Spacious bar, a cafe in the day, pool tables for enjoyment, and a nice rooftop

Club No 43 — Fancy cocktail bar with comfortable seating

The Library Phuket — Unique speakeasy bar with dim lighting serving extravert cocktails

Rockin Angels Cafe — Popular spot for live band performances in Phuket Town

Nightlife in Patong Beach

Illuzion Phuket Nightclub — The most well-known nightclub on the island, hosting international talent some nights

New York Live Music Bar — This is a great place for fun live-music bar and watching street performers on the street

Oscar Sports Bar — Those looking to watch sports, this is the place to visit in Patong

Bangla Road — Walk along the main road in the evening and see where entices you

several tourist walking the famous Bangla Road in Patong full of it's notorious nightlife

Phuket Town or Patong Beach — Final Thoughts

Have you decided which area of Phuket Town or Patong Beach you plan to stay in during your visit? I’d imagine you have because the two areas are very different!

For beach areas in Phuket, I prefer a more laid-back area, so Kata Beach is my favorite area on the island.

Phuket Town: I spent time in Phuket Town when I stayed there for many weeks because it’s less touristy and isn’t only beach-oriented.

If you have yet to decide, I will leave you with a few parting words that will convince you to stay in one of the two popular areas in Phuket!

Solo Traveler: Both areas are excellent for solo travelers. It depends on the type of person you are. Do you prefer a calmer, laid-back town? Or a lively touristy area?

Couple: Again, Phuket or Patong are ideal for couples; it all depends on what atmosphere you’d prefer to surround yourself with!

Family: If you’re visiting with a family, I recommend staying in Karon or Kata Beach instead of Patong or Phuket Town.

Group of Friends: Patong would be best for a group of friends; there are more things to do in Patong. Patong would cater to your overall friend group better than Phuket Town could.

pastel sino-Portuguese buildings along the streets in Old Phuket Town

Is Patong better than Phuket Town?

It depends on the atmosphere you’re looking for. Patong is a lively beach area with a Vegas-like vibe. In comparison, Phuket Town is a calming city center that’s non-touristy.

How far is Patong Beach from Phuket Town?

The distance and travel time between Phuket Town and Patong Beach is 13km and around 30 Minutes, depending on traffic.

What is Phuket Town known for?

Old Phuket Town is known for its famous Sunday Market, architectural colorful buildings, fancy cocktail bars, excellent restaurants, and fabric shops.

Should I stay in Patong or Old Town?

Patong is great if you prefer to be by the beach and a lively nightlife. Phuket Old Town is better if you like to be surrounded by cafes, bars, shopping, and restaurants and be 20/30 minutes from many beaches.

What is the difference between Patong and Phuket Town?

Patong has a beach shoreline and a world-famous nightlife street named Bangla Road, which is full of nightclubs, go-go bars, and more. Phuket Town is calmer, more local, and less touristy but has no beach shoreline.

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