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Travel, Teach, Live in Thailand

Patong Beach Tourism
By:Bryan Schatz

Patong beach is one of the most widely visited areas on the island of Phuket in Thailand. Travelers can take advantage of a wide variety of activities such as relaxing on the beach with a freshly-cut coconut, swimming and snorkeling or taking part in the wild nightlife scene. Patong beach is also home to Patong Boxing Stadium where you can watch exhibitions of Thailand's pugilistic national sport: Muay Thai.

The Beach
Patong is located on the lower western side of Phuket Island with 1.2 miles of soft, white sand beach facing the Indian Ocean. Stroll along the boardwalk and sample traditional Thai snacks from the street stalls or lounge on a beach chair on the sand, where you can enjoy the warm sun and the view of the ocean. The water at Patong beach is calm with small surf, making it a popular location for swimming and to cool off from the heat of the sun.

Thai Food in Patong
Patong beach boasts hundreds of restaurants as well as food markets and street stalls that serve up spicy curries, Thai barbecued chicken, Pad Thai and traditional desserts such sticky rice with mangoes and steamed red bean buns. Southern Thai cuisine is traditionally exceedingly spicy and has a Muslim influence, however, vendors in Patong are very familiar with western tourists and can generally make a dish as spicy or mild as you like.

Night Life
Patong is probably best known for its night life, which is situated primarily within two areas: Bangla Road and the Paradise Complex. Patong is a place where pretty much anything goes, and you will likely come across something you would not normally see anywhere else. Bangla Road primarily caters to the straight crowd whereas Paradise Complex is predominantly gay. Several bars have make-shift boxing rings where visitors can sign up to fight and win drinks and other prizes. Do not do this without being well aware of the risks involved.

Elephant Trekking
Patong is a short motor scooter or taxi ride away from several companies offering elephant treks into the jungle. Your hotel or bungalow will be able to arrange an excursion for you and usually a pick-up and drop-off is also available. Go with a reputable company and talk with other travelers about their experiences prior to booking, as some are better than others in regards to the treatment of the animals. Kok Chang Elephant Safari has a solid reputation for its elephant treks, but it is important to shop around and make sure you feel comfortable with the company before you book.

Walk along any of the streets perpendicular to Patong beach and you'll find dozens of massage shops. Commonly there are four types of massage offered: Swedish massage; traditional Thai massage, which makes use of acupressure along energy lines for rehabilitation and relaxation; Foot massage; and Oil Massage. Massages are generally quite inexpensive---between 200 to 300 Thai Baht per hour (Approximately $7-$10 as of 2010).

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