Phuket, 7-9 February 2020
Phuket. Everyone has heard of it. For some it’s paradise, for others their worst nightmare. For us it’s something we had to see to believe it; never seen so many white people on scooters in one place..
Tin mining was a major source of income for the island from the 16th century until petering out in the 20th century. In modern times, Phuket’s economy has rested on two pillars: rubber tree plantations and tourism. Since the 1980s, the sandy beaches on the west coast of the island have been developed as tourist destinations, with Patong, Karon, and Kata being the most popular. The island receives about 10 million (!) visitors every year. Source: Wikipedia
It takes three buses, a plane and a minivan, plus roughly ten hours to get from Kanchaburi to our hotel in Patong. Patong is the main tourist area on the island, and the centre of Phuket’s nightlife. Bangla Road and Paradise Complex are the two biggest places to party.
We’re staying just off Bangla Road near the famous Banzaan Fresh Market, which has a giant food court selling all the Thai food your tastebuds desire. Our room’s balcony is perfectly placed to watch men in the bars below behave like fools in the company of attractive Thai waitresses. From time to time a giant rat scurries between the bikes parked out in front.
Patong Beach is very busy, but at the northern tip of the beach there is still some shade and peace and quiet to be found. Just a 5km walk out of town you can find a few nicer beaches such as Paradise Beach and Freedom Beach. The water is clear-blue, pleasantly warm and full of tropical fish.
On Saturday night we plan to watch the Six Nations at the Aussie bar, but it turns out it’s Makha Bucha Day, an important Buddhist festival celebrated on the full moon day of the third lunar month. Since no-one is allowed alcohol, all the pubs are shut, turning Phuket into a bit of a ghost town. Lucky for us, the staff at our hotel are christian, and they don’t mind serving us beer in a mug. We can do with it after a watching a pure dire Scotland v England..
So this concludes our time in Phuket, undoubtedly the most touristic place in Thailand, and indeed, the most touristic place we’ve visited on all our travels. It was a pretty good laugh while it lasted, but even so we’re happy to escape by boat to our next destination: Ko Phi Phi.