Patong Beach is known for its nightlife and 2850-metre (1.77 mile) beach that runs the entire length of Patong's west side. Nightlife is centered in two main areas, Bangla Road and the ``Paradise Complex``, with Bangla Road being predominantly straight and Paradise Complex gay. Both are lined with many bars, discotheques, and go go bars. Prostitution in Thailand is illegal, but tolerated, as is the case in Patong.
On 26 December 2004, Patong Beach along with many other areas along the west coast of Phuket and Thailand were struck by a tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The wave caused a great deal of destruction to the waterfront of the beach and immediately inland and only one woman was killed in a basement seafront grocery store. Patong was one of the worst affected areas of Phuket, although the destruction was not as bad as nearby Khao Lak. Patong has largely recovered since the tsunami.