Here are the slides from my talk, and more information about AllNet.
Patong itself is, as described in wikitravel, "a party capital of Asia", as well as a fairly nice beach. The weather has been rainy, so not very favorable for the beach. A stroll up the central Thanon Bangla (Thanon means "street", "road", or "avenue" in Thai) shows lots of bars and restaurants. There are plenty of bars and restaurants away from Thanon Bangla, as well.
It seems to me it is easier to find non-Thai food in Patong than Thai food -- everything from Indian to Russian, and even one restaurant that claims to have a chef from Italy. I didn't try it, but I saw no mis-spellings in the menu, which is usually a good sign.
What really makes me believe that this is a party town is that very few restaurants are open at the time I usually like to eat breakfast, between 7am and 9am.
Patong seems to be popular with all sorts of people, from Russian to Australian with East Asians well represented, and everyone from singles, both men and women, to families with children of all ages. There are even a few visitors from Thailand!!
This is the low season (rainy season), yet Patong has a lot of visitors. Perhaps there are even more visitors during the regular season.
This is a view from the beach in Patong.
In Hawaii, I have seen a lot of parasailing where a speedboat pulls tourists attached to a parachute. They usually launch from the boat when it is out at sea.
Here in Patong, I saw a different technique. The tourist wears a harness attached to the parachute, and stands on the beach. The speedboat pulls them along the beach until the parachute fills up and they take off.
The tricky part is getting the tourist back onto the beach, since the boat cannot pull directly onto the beach. So instead, there is a man riding on the ropes of the parachute, controlling it by moving his weight. He steers the parachute so the tourist can land on the beach.
One of the tourists was a pre-teen girl, probably Japanese. For the takeoff, helpers lifted her up off the sand so when the boat started to pull, the parachute filled and she was off.
As in Pattaya, speedboats and jetskis seem to go quite close to the beach. Perhaps when the weather is better and there are fewer waves, there may be sections set off for swimmers, but when I saw it, swimming at Patong beach did not seem very safe, both because of the waves, and because of the boat and jetski traffic.