From Khao Lak we had a bit of a drive to get to Phuket. Rather than take the highway we took what back roads we could, which was a bit more scenic. We stopped for a break at this pier and watched some fishing for a while.
The main part of the drive was actually getting down the island and across to Patong where we were staying for 4 nights. Patong is the main ‘tourist beach’ of Phuket & famous for its sex tourism & nightlife.
After our days there we can say for sure that it’s not a place we’ll be going back to. What many people don’t realise is Patong like many other ‘main tourist beaches’ of SE Asia has about 80% Russian tourists, 15% Chinese tour groups, & 5% everyone else. It was 2 days before we heard english spoken on the streets or in the malls.
Patong has clogged busy roads, is dusty, dirty, loud, ugly, with lots of construction development. The touts are really in your face, aggressive & everything is more expensive, but less good. To us it’s all the worst parts of Thailand in one place. The main beach was chocka block with loungers the whole length, then you have jet skis etc boosting around on the water.
In exploring the area though there are several other west coast beaches (Karon, Kata, Kata Noi, Kamala etc) they are all quickly becoming mini Patongs, while not as busy still not nice. We enjoyed going north a bit to Laem Singh beach which doesn’t have a village or resorts, still has some loungers but not right to the waters edge, and spent some time relaxing.
It was quite entertaining watching one of many Russian friends photo shoots, lots of posing on the rocks or rolling around in the water. Matt at least found some positives in the influx of Russians.
The highlight of our time in Patong was seeing the excellent ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ at the movies, along with finding Rachel a great pair of Merrell shoes for a bargain price at the mall.
From Patong we moved across to the south eastern part of the island where things were much quieter and much nicer in our view. We had a 5 star resort just down the beach adjacent to us so went there for a drink one night to check it out.
We couldn’t help but notice two lovely looking infinity pools that were deserted (the whole resort had maybe 15 guests with a capacity for hundreds) so we decided to sneak in the next day for a swim. To be fair we bought 2 coffees at NZ$5 each so we thought using the pool wasn’t out of the question.
We spoke to an English lady back at our accommodation who had the same idea but she got caught out by the staff and got charged 500baht so I guess we were lucky.
This was a great location for us to explore Cape Panwa and also Phuket Town. The old town has lots of shop houses which are gradually being restored.
We decided to visit the aquarium which had recently undergone an 81 million baht upgrade. We saw the fish feeding and a giant grouper but otherwise it was quite uneventful.
We found a nice spot for a sunset drink overlooking Chalong Bay.
Next Matt’s Mum & Dad were arriving for 10 days so we had a bit of a program planned.