If you are like me, you don't want a beach where you see more beach umbrellas than sand and have to fight for a square foot of water to float in. But if you haven't much time, it may not be possible to take a long car or boat trip to a less crowded spot. If this sounds like you, then go to Freedom Beach. It is a 15 minute ride on a long-tailed boat from the main Patong beach (any number will offer to take you, so do haggle a bit over the price).
The beach is small, clean, quiet, and gorgeous - but also has restaurants with great food and plentiful beer - set back from the beach and beautifully done. You can eat, drink, loll in the sand, swim in the sea (mind the rocks, though - there are quite a few of them), and then hop back to Patong on the boat. Very highly recommended.
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