Marine biologists from the Phuket Marine Biology Centre believe the dolphins were a mother and offspring who have become separated from their pod and are trying to reestablish contact.
Pods of tourists with cameras formed along Patong beach and some climbed aboard a speedboat for a closer look. Three jet-skis combined to nudge the pair out to sea.
Marine biologist Patcharaporn Kaewmong said it is believed the pair were a female, measuring about two metres, and her offspring, about a metre long.
''Striped dolphins usually are found in deeper water offshore of Phuket and Phang Nga,'' she said. ''We are keen to try to make sure they don't run onto the beach.''
The water off the Banana Disco, a local landmark near where the dolphins were spotted about 8.30am, is murky at this time of year.
The Phuket pair were urged into deeper waters then returned to shore near the Graceland Resort, and were herded out again.
Marine biologists planned a dolphin watch at Kamala Bay to the north of Patong to make sure the pair did not come too close to shore again.
Patong has a public park on the foreshore named after dolphins - Loma Park - but real ones are rarely sighted in Patong Bay.