Pa Tong Beach is famous for its nightlife and 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) beach that runs the entire length of Pa Tong'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 Pa Tong.
On 26 December 2004, Pa Tong 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 many people were killed. Pa Tong was one of the worst affected areas of Phuket, although the destruction was not as bad as nearby Khao Lak. Pa Tong has largely recovered since the tsunami.
As of 2015 the waters off Pa Tong Beach exceeded Thai Pollution Control Department standards for fecal coliform bacteria (FCB) and enterococci bacteria.