surin beach is my choice in phuket - patong is good for 20 mins - good piece in weekend paper -
http://www.news.com.au/travel/world/playing-games-from-phuket-to-naiharn-to-patong/story-e6frfqb9-1225845880568 about 8 years ago
I would agree with steve here. Been twice. First time it was fun, loads of party and beach. However if you prefer a quieter beach, staying outside of patong is a good idea.
Kata beach is much much quieter with alot less hawkers and beach boys.
hiring a scooter is good if you are comfortable driving one.. make sure its covered in your travel insurance. It can save you heaps of money if you want to go around the island. costs are around 200 Baht where a tuk from kata to patong could cost up to 500+ one way. about 8 years ago