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Al's epic odyssey "A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving." - Lao Tzu

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand

THAILAND | Saturday, 5 September 2009 | Views [644]

I’d not intended to visit Phuket as I’d heard that it was very tourist orientated and quite expensive; however in low season there are bargain packages to be had. The prospect of flying across to the other coast instead of taking an 8 hour bus ride may have had something to do with my decision as well. I found a reasonable guest house in Patong Beach which is busiest town in Phuket with a long beach, but also with plenty of high rises, go-go bars, street hustlers and general tourist orientated debauchery. I’d chosen it as it is apparently the best beach for diving, although I’ve since discovered that diving on the Andaman coast of Thailand is not very good at this time of year. In hindsight, I think if I return to Phuket I’ll probably chose one of the quieter beach resorts. The beach at Patong is good but quite crowded, even in the low season. Patong Beach reminded me a bit of hustle and bustle of Bangkok.

After a day of wandering around the local area, visiting the local markets I decided to get out and see a bit more of the island. I had intended to hire a motorbike and ride around aimlessly and then I was persuaded by one of the locals to hire him as a motorbike taxi and get ‘guided tour’ of the island instead. He was Hop, who became my chauffeur, tour guide, translator, Thai teacher, drinking buddy and pal for the next three days. I’m sure I was paying paid above the going rate, but it was worth it. I had a blast, so much so that I extended my stay by an extra two nights. Phuket has some quite stunning beaches and beautiful scenery.

Without a map handy I can’t remember all the beaches and sights that we visited, but we pretty much covered all the roads around the south side of the island. The Phuket roads network is extensive and quite busy; it was a pleasure not having to navigate them on my own. The views from the Giant Buddha of Phuket are particularly memorable.

Although it’s monsoon season, I’ve been very lucky with the weather so far. I’ve only experienced a few rain showers, including a massive downpour one night in Bangkok that lasted a couple of hours and flooded the street outside my guest house. The rest of the time it’s been fairly high cloud or sunny. I can’t understand the high / low season and why people don’t come here all year around, although it suits me as it’s relatively quiet and a lot cheaper. If this is what a monsoon season is like, Scotland must have an all year round monsoon season.

One of the things that has really annoyed me in tourist areas of Bangkok, Koh Samui and Phuket has been the number of street Hustlers trying to sell you suits, shirts, DVD’s, massages, taxi’s and tuk tuk’s. You cannot walk through a market without someone harassing you to buy this or that. I saw a T-shirt that said “I don’t f***ing want a Suit, Massage, Taxi or Tuk Tuk thank you” and I was about to buy it when the stall vendor came up to me and started harassing me so I ran away.

It’s time to move on to somewhere quieter. Either Phi Phi island or Koh Lanta. Koh Lanta sounds cheaper and quieter, so that’s where it will be. 

Tags: patong beach, phuket

 

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