There is a bit of confusion about the few beaches in the southern part of Patong, so let’s clarify. Once you pass the southern bridge of Patong and drive past the Amari Coral Beach Resort you will reach the Merlin Beach Resort which has the one called, you guessed it ‘Merlin Beach’ or ‘Tri Trang Beach’. It’s not visible from the road and I’ll write about it soon. Right opposite of it, is the long ‘Tri Tra Beach’. This is probably where part of the confusion came from, it was sometimes called ‘Emerald Beach’, and sometimes ‘Crystal Beach’. ‘Paradise Beach‘ is about 3 or 4 kilometer further, and ‘Freedom Beach’ can only be accessed by boat (ride costs around 1,200 baht)
Among the four, Tri Tra is without doubt the longest and the nicest of four beaches. Its only downside might be during low tide, when the sea reveals a rocky area that used to be coral. Fortunately at high tide there is more than enough sandy areas for a good swim.
It was for long time a very quiet and empty beach and many locals would come during the week end for a little barbecue. It nearly felt abandoned, but there was always a restaurant and a dozen of beach chairs. The 2004 tsunami badly hit this area and many of the huge casuarina trees were toppled down by the huge wave. Since, palm trees were planted instead, and nothing makes a photo look more tropical than a couple of coconut trees!
The place has changed a lot, and in a good way, which is rather unusual so I’ll be the first to enjoy it while it last. You’ll find a lot more beach chairs but only one row and enough space in between so you don’t have to smell your neighbour’s sun lotion. You can lunch and even dine in five small restaurants, and three of them are open until 9pm which is a nice spot to spend the end of the day. You won’t get a sunset shot from this beach, as the sun disappears just behind the cape, but the color of dawn is often beautiful. Other facilities includes two large ‘salas’ for beach massage, two toilets (two!) and even basic open showers… talk about luxury!
If you feel full of energy, you can rent a kayak, the traditional yellow plastic version, or you can try one of those fancy new transparent ones. Not sure if there is so much coral left to observe around the area, but you certainly will see fishes.
Now good news is that you can even SLEEP ON THE BEACH! Patong Bay Garden Resort just finished building a dozen of small wooden bungalows right in the sand. It’s small and simple, but well designed and I can very well picture myself sitting on the balcony with a drink in my hand, looking at the stars and at Patong Beach lights in the far. And I probably will enjoy the feeling of being the first on he beach in the morning.
At the end of the beach is another Hotel called ‘Tri Trang Resort’, a more traditional building.
Parking is not a problem for both cars and bikes: you can park past Merlin Beach Resort on the road side, or enter the soi half way when seeing the sign pointing at ‘Lekky Bar’.
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