From Bangkok, we boarded a Nok Air flight and, one or two hours later (don’t remember exactly, it was just too short compared to the intercontinental flight), we landed on Phuket Island.
From the airport, we got on a minivan to Patong Beach. The minivan quickly got full and we were on our way. Until 5 minutes later, when the minivan stopped in a fishy place. “This doesn’t look like Patong Beach” I thought and the GPS confirmed. We were still 30 km away. The driver urged everybody to get down. “Why?” Don’t know, the driver didn’t speak English.
They put us in line, to a few desks. When we arrived there, somebody (who knew English) asked us where are we staying (to give the address to the driver so he can drop us off in front of the hotel). It appears they were also trying to sell accommodations and tours to other people. They saw us young and Eastern European looking, so they let us go easy. Everybody got back to the minivan and, 40 minutes later, we were dropped off at our destination.
Patong appears to be a famous resort. It was full of foreign tourists, mostly Russians, Americans and Australians. The high season was just starting. We passed off as Russians to most, so we were constantly greeted with “davai” and handed Russian menus (and invited to Russian striptease bars).
After we grabbed lunch, we went to the beach and enjoyed the sunset over the Andaman Sea.
As hectic as Patong looks during the day, it gets a hellovalat hecticer at night. The streets (especially Bangla Road) get flooded with dudes advertising strip clubs, go go bars and ping pong shows (what’s a ping pong show?). They WILL form lines across the street, so that nobody passes without getting invited somewhere. To stroll on Bangla Road at night, you’ll have to constantly repeat “No no no”, while also gesturing with your hands.
In the background, you’ll periodically hear about tonight Muay Thai matches. A van with one or two boxers on top (hitting punching bags) will advertise “the main event of the year”. The speech goes on the lines of “Tonight tonight tonight *smack* *smack* *smack* start 9 pm start 9 pm start 9 pm *smack* *smack* *smack* Muay Thai Thai boxing *smack* *smack* *smack* the best of the best *smack* *smack* *smack* ….”
As expected with all the tourists, the prices are higher than average, while the food is more westernish. Here spicy doesn’t mean “I can’t feel my tongue anymore”, it just means spicy. Pizza is served in most places, as well as French fries. Fruits are a lot more expensive. But if you see a pickup van with a lady in the back, next to a big pile of mangusteens, buy a couple of kilos, they’re great.
Another annoying thing about Patong is all the people selling crap. First place – dudes selling Ray Ban glasses. There are just so many of them, with the same cheap glasses, it’s ridiculous. We saw a guy buy 7 or 8 pairs (for himself or souvenirs?). Second place – little girls selling flower necklaces. They are very clingy. One came behind me and started tickling me – while I was eating in a restaurant. Another one clang to Andreea’s foot while on the street and wouldn’t let go.
Oh, and yet another think about Patong. You can’t get a metered taxi there. Why? Tuk tuk drivers don’t allow it. So beware of the ALL MIGHTY tuk tuks!