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Jamie's Phuket Blog

Jamie's Phuket Blog - Discover The Real Phuket!

Patong Beach Hotels

Patong Beach - you either love it or you don't. I am not sure what people expect to find in Patong. I quote from a couple of big travel websites : "Patong is the most famous beach resort on Phuket. With its wide variety of activities and nightlife, Patong is an ideal place to party and play." - or "The Patong of today is a seething mass of tourism, squalor and unrestricted development, a mess of hotels, bars, restaurants, travel agents, massage parlours, tailor shops and touts". You can put a spin on Patong beach and make it sound exciting and exotic, or you can speak your mind! Patong is the most developed beach in Phuket, it can be crowded and noisy, you can get pestered by touts, you can hardly see the beach for all the beach chairs. BUT although I might not be a fan (I only go to Patong if I must), plenty of tourists love it, love the nightlife, the choice of restaurants, and you are never far from anything you need. You now have the huge Jungceylon mall with cinema right in the middle of Patong, there are bars and girls, nightclubs, any kind of food you want including all the main fast food chains and about 5 branches of Starbucks.... but more importantly, Patong does have some very good hotels. And to be honest it's a good base for a stay in Phuket.

Full List of Patong Beach Hotels

Jamie's Phuket is a doorway into the other Phuket, so until now Patong Beach has not had much of a mention. Any other beach area is quieter and more relaxing. I work at Karon Beach which has plenty of hotels and restaurants too but is much less developed than Patong and the beach is much nicer. But Patong does have certain advantages in terms of availability of shopping, dining and hotel choices. I already have a page on Jamie's Phuket with recommended hotels, but it's getting a bit big and I figured it was time to split the hotel recommendations into different beaches - starting with Patong beach hotels.

Recommended Patong Beach Hotels

Amari Coral Beach Resort

Amari Coral Beach Resort Patong

The Amari has been around for a long time, great location right at the south end of Patong away from the crowds, very nice place to relax but you can walk to the middle of Patong in 10 minutes.

Amari Coral Beach Resort on Jamie's Phuket
Amari Coral Beach Resort - Reviews, Rates and Availability

La Flora Resort

La Flora Resort Patong

La Flora is quite a new hotel, opened in 2008 and it's right in the middle of Patong, right on the beach (which not many hotels in Patong can claim). The best rooms have a "right by the sea" view! And you're close to everything.

La Flora on Jamie's Phuket
La Flora - Reviews, Rates and Availability

Yorkshire Hotel and Spa

Yorkshire Hotel Patong

The Yorkshire - used to be called the Yorkshire Inn, now Hotel (and Spa, you gotta have the "and Spa"!) I know the place well, used to work on the same street, small, friendly, very central for nightlife, shopping, restaurants and so on. And a good price too!

Yorkshire Hotel on Jamie's Phuket
Yorkshire Hotel - Reviews, Rates and Availability

Merlin Beach Resort

Merlin Beach Resort

Merlin Beach Resort (now run by Marriott) is not actually in Patong. You have to drive a couple of miles, past the Amari, over a headland and you find the Merlin, on its own beach away from the crowds, nice but you can't walk into Patong (well you can, but easier to take a taxi and the taxi drivers know that...).

Merlin Beach Resort on Jamie's Phuket
Merlin Beach Resort - Reviews, Rates and Availability

Burasari Resort

Burasari Resort

The Burasari is just south of the busy center of Patong, close to the Holiday Inn. A couple of minutes walk to the beach, Burasari has regular rooms and an amazing collection of "Mood Suites" such as Smooth Whisky, Tropical Dream and Blue Breeze. Very popular!

Burasari Resort on Jamie's Phuket
Burasari Resort - Reviews, Rates and Availability

More Patong Beach Hotels

I have featured a few others on this site, don't want to overload one page! Patong is what it is... has a lot going for it, but if you want peace and quiet you should look at any other beach in Phuket! Here's some more recommended Patong beach hotels and links for where to book them or get more information:

Baan Yin Dee review on Jamie's Phuket
Graceland Resort review on Jamie's Phuket
Aspery Resort review on Jamie's Phuket
Tri Trang Beach Resort review on Jamie's Phuket
Book Patong Hotels Online @ Agoda.com
All Phuket Hotels @ Agoda.com



Booking.com




Phuket Airport | Useful Information about Phuket Airport

Back in 1999 when I arrived in Phuket, the airport was considerably smaller and quieter than it is now. Although Phuket was already a very popular tourist destination, and had been steadily growing since the 1980s, the airport had way less flights and way less arrivals and departures compared to now. I'm not quite sure where the figures come from, but the Wikipedia page on Phuket Airport has lists of passenger movements and flight movements. Back in 1999, the total passenger volume was about 3 million. This had increased to nearly 5 million by 2004, but dropped back to just over 3 million in 2005 (due to the tsunami on 26th December 2004). But by 2007, passenger volume was up to well over 5 million and it's been increasing ever since. The 2017 figure was over 16 million, with over half from international flights.

The airport was overstretched and getting rather outdated with just 1 terminal until the new international terminal opened in September 2016. I flew to the UK that September, out of the old terminal and back into the new one. Wow, a huge difference! Suddenly Phuket airport looked modern! The only issue seemed to be (and this continues to be an occasional issue) the lack on enough staff at immigration. There can be long queues sometimes .. with millions of people entering Thailand through Phuket airport .. there can never be enough staff! But at least the airport is bigger and more modern now. With the opening of the international terminal, the domestic terminal had 18 months of renovations that finished in June 2018.

Phuket International Airport

(above) Inside the new International terminal at Phuket Airport

Phuket Airport Location

This is something that many people don't realise. I know many people arrive at the airport and expect to be a short taxi ride from their hotel. Customers heading to our dive shop at Karon beach are surprised that the taxi can take 90 minutes. Phuket is bigger than you may realise. The island has an area of over 500 square kilometers and the airport is way up in the north of Phuket. From the airport to the main beaches on the southwest coast is a ride of 40 - 50km and at busy times, traffic in Phuket can be a bit slow! Sure if you choose a hotel at Nai Yang or Mai Khao beaches you are way closer to the airport (but further from the main tourism / nightlife / shopping centers). The runway starts right by the south end of Mai Khao beach, which means you can watch planes taking off or landing from the beach :)

Plane Takeoff at Mai Khao Beach, Phuket

Getting To Your Accommodation

There are plenty of taxi options from the airport to hotels anywhere on the island. My suggestion - pre-book an airport transfer. So nice after a flight to see a taxi drive holding up your name and head straight to the hotel without having to worry about arranging anything on arrival. My friends at Easy Day provide a very good airport transfer service either from the airport or back to the airport. Their rate is around 1000 Baht one way or 1600 Baht for return transfer. That's a fixed rate for any hotel, so a very good deal for hotels further away from the airport! If you book a taxi on arrival from a desk at the arrivals area it might work out a few Baht cheaper to some areas in Phuket. BUT getting back to the airport is trickier. If you get a taxi from outside your hotel for sure the asking rate will be more than you paid to get to the hotel. So that deal offered by Easy Day is a good one!

Phuket Airport Taxi

(above) Phuket Taxi Service by Easy Day Thailand

There is a lower budget option - a shared minibus service. Normally about 200 Baht per person and will depart when full .. then take longer to get anywhere as you're dropping people off all over the place and I do hear these cheap options try to make extra money by dropping everyone at tour agencies along the way. If you are a single, low budget traveler, this may be the way for you.

OR how about hiring a car? Many major rental agencies have services at the airport (Budget, Hertz, Avis for example). You can rent a car for about 1000 Baht per day. Good if you want to explore larger areas and not just stay by the beach and take a few organised tours. I know the traffic can be a little nuts, but if you are an independent tourist, consider renting a car. Be sure to have an international license.

Phuket Airport - The Future

Something will need to be done here in Phuket .. the numbers can't keep rising forever, but already the airport is a bit too busy even with 2 terminals. There is no space for a second runway in between the sea and the hills, but .. plans are afoot to maybe build a second airport a little north of Phuket island in Phang Nga province - see news here. Now I think the idea is that this would serve Khao Lak .. hard to see how to get everyone on the right flights. If that new airport got built it could be a 2 and a half hour drive to the south of Phuket, so things would need to be managed very carefully. Let's see what happens ...

Flying in to Phuket

(above) Flying in to Phuket from the east looking north across Phang Nga Bay

Related Links

Phuket Flight Radar - Live Air Traffic
Phuket Airport - Flight Arrivals and Departures
Phuket Airport Transfer Booking
Hotels Near Phuket Airport

Phuket Airport Location Map




Loy Krathong Festival 22nd November 2018

Loy Krathong (ลอยกระทง) is a very old festival which takes place on the full moon of the 12th lunar month (so the date is different every year). In 2018, the date will be November 22nd. Last year it was November 3rd. Loy Krathong is an old tradition and the exact origins seen unclear. It was maybe adapted from an old Indian festival to honour Buddha or may have originated in the Sukhothai era (13th - 15th centuries) and is also thought to be about giving thanks to the Hindu goddess of water, Ganga (Phra Mae Khongkha in Thailand). There are many links between Buddhism and Hinduism, being that the Buddha was born in India. The Loy Krathong festival is not as huge in Phuket compared to Chiang Mai for example, but nevertheless it seems that everyone does it! Every year there are events at Patong beach, Karon beach (at the lake), Chalong Pier and Naiharn lake, at Sapan Hin and Suan Luang Park in Phuket Town and at Bang Wad Reservoir and pretty much anywhere else there's a beach or a lake to float a krathong! Local news websites normally update exactly when and where the festivities will take place. Hotels may also have their own Loy Krathong events for hotel guests.

What happens on Loy Kratong? Well, aside from a bit of a party, the idea is to "Loy" (float) your Krathong for good luck and to let go of anything bad from the previous year. And what is a Krathong? Well, it's like a little floating home made container normally vaguely resembling a lotus leaf, with added flowers, incense, candles ...

Loy Krathong

(above) Floating a Krathong

People will often add coins, and maybe hair and nail clippings, hoping for good luck and casting off bad luck. A few years ago I wrote about How To Make A Krathong. We sometimes make them ourselves, sometimes it's easier to buy one on the day - people will make them and set up stalls to sell you a krathong. They are traditionally made of banana stem, banana leaves and then you add the decorations. You can also get krathongs made of bread which is good because they don't pollute. Styrofoam krathongs have hopefully now been banned everywhere.

Making a Krathong

(above) Making Krathong at home

Selling homemade Krathongs

(above) Or you can always find people selling krathongs on the night ...

At some locations there are also beauty contests and who-can-make-the-best-krathong contests. You'll also find plenty of food and drink at the big Loy Krathong events. We used to always go to the Bang Wad Reservoir which is quite close to home, it was always busy there. More recently we prefer to be somewhere quieter by the beach to float our Krathong.

My daughter at Loy Krathong

(above) Quite a few years ago .... our daughter with a krathong at Bang Wad Reservoir

Floating Krathongs

(above) Loy Krathong at Bang Wad Reservoir - as you can see there are a lot of krathongs in the water! They say that your krathong should float away from you for good luck - if it comes back to shore that's not good luck, so it's best to give it a bit of a push and make sure the wind is behind you!

Loy Krathong at School

(above) Loy Krathong at our daughter's school many years ago. At school they normally make their own krathongs and dress up in olde traditional clothes.

Ready to Float a Krathong

(above) My wife lighting the candles and incense before floating our krathong out to sea at a quiet beach.

The festival coincides with the Yi Peng festival which is largely celebrated in northern Thailand and is also based on merit making, praying for good luck. Rather than krathong, paper lanterns containing a fuel cell or candle are lit and float into the sky. The lanterns used to be made with a bamboo frame, but more recently a wire frame is more common. These are called kom fai or kom loi. These things are getting to be a bit controversial, since they burn out and then the frame, often made of metal, falls down to litter the land or the sea. In 2018 I'd be careful letting lanterns go unless you are sure it's allowed ... not strictly legal, certainly banned in some places.

Launching a Lantern

All you need to do is light the fuel, let the hot air rise and watch them go. One time at home we found that lighting the fuel was not so easy with a bit of a breeze. One of the lanterns took off and then landed again in the garden next door.. then took off again and got stuck in their TV aerial. I thought the burning fuel would burn their TV cable, but the lantern blew off to safety in the end. We used to tell our young kids that the lanterns floated up to the sky and became stars :)

Kom Fai (Lantern)

(above) A kom fai burning and ready to release!

If you are in Phuket for Loy Krathong it's certainly something to get involved in. Maybe your hotel has an event or if you're near one of the main events, I'd certainly go and float a krathong!

More Phuket Festivals

Phuket Vegetarian Festival
Songkran in Phuket
Phuket Old Town Festival
Hungry Ghost Festival