Mike and Jess hit Patong in Phuket on their Long Drive Home, and experience something they haven’t seen since Ahoy Hoi An and Kazakhstan: rain. Lots and lots of rain.[Not a valid template]
We arrived in Patong (a crazy beach town on the island of Phuket) fully expecting to head off in a couple of days to one of the beautiful tropical islands that surround the Thai coastline. However, thanks to a tropical storm, things didn’t exactly go to plan!
Now Patong is the most famous of all the beach towns on Phuket, and almost instantly you can see that it is one big beautiful tourist trap in itself. However, thanks to the surrounding green hills on the heads of Patong Bay, the beach itself isn’t bad to look at, especially when the sun has got his hat on. So after dropping our bags off at the hotel, we set off for a leisurely stroll along the beach.
Parasailers were being thrust into the air against the backdrop of a purple sky as the sun set behind them. It was the perfect time of day to watch from above all the street light being turned on as Patong transforms from the quiet beach town that is slightly unsure of itself into a very confident, brash, neon-lit party palace designed for stag nights and cheeky weekends away.
It wasn’t long before we had found ourselves a seat and cold refreshment at the Tiger Bar on Bangla Steet. If Patong is infamous for its debaucherous nightlife then surely this is Bangla Street’s fault. The countless bars are all competing for the punter’s money seemingly without any self control. Everything is bathed in the transforming glow of neon lights and promotional billboards. Promoters line the streets offering photos with Iguanas and Slow Lorises, cheap drinks and food, and more ping pong shows. Even the ‘lady boys’ dancing outside wearing feather boas try to coax you!
Waking up a little fuzzy we found solace in the form of a delicious mango and coconut pancake from one of the street vendors. I think this is one of the many things that we will miss from South East Asia once we get back to Australia: the availability of cheap delicious food on three wheels on every street corner. We had hoped to head off to Koh Phi Phi but unfortunately the elements had other plans as Phuket and its surrounding islands were engulfed in a massive storm. The storm itself lasted only a few days, but due to flooding and choppy seas we took the recommendation from the tourist information and decided to wait it out in Phuket a while longer: the flood water even washed away some of the roads near the beach.
One of the other great finds in Phuket was thanks to a crankandpiston.com reader, who commented on our blog suggesting we head to a restaurant called Joe’s Downstairs with one of the best views in the entire town. We were also lucky that it had stopped raining long enough to head out for some drinks, a bite to eat and a beautiful sunset. It was a beautiful end to our stay in Patong.
We are obviously looking to avoid any more bad weather so we have swapped out a stay in Koh Phi Phi for a trip to Koh Samui. Tomorrow we set sail to a tropical island paradise for some rest and relaxation in the sun, before we head over to its sister island Koh Phangan for the full moon party.
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