Patong - paradise lost
Trip Start Mar 18, 2009
134Trip End Jan 12, 2010
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As the coach pulled into the bus terminal we felt a little like we were in Vietnam again as a crowd of motorbike and taxi drivers chased after us. We'd arranged a free pick-up from our hotel, Deevana on Patong beach, and we glad for it. Taxi prices on Phuket are hugely inflated, a journey that costed 50 Baht on Ko Samui would cost 500 here. Hence we didn't travel around much, Thailand is already pushing our budget to the limit.
By the time we checked in the sun had set and we were starving, we headed for a little German restaurant, Bavaria Kitchen, for good food and huge Weissbiers !
We spent 6 full days in Patong, first impressions were really disappointing. The main roads are clogged with 7-11's, MacDonalds and Starbucks. There is even an Arsenal shop in the shopping centre. You cannot walk down the street without someone asking every metre if you want a massage, knock-off dvds, a suit or some food.
The beach was even more disappointing, covered in dead fish the first day we went. We decided not to swim after we saw a nappy floating in the surf. We did manage to get another beach bat and ball record of 88 hits in a row. Towards the end of the week the beach got better as 3 diggers made their way along the strip moving all the sand up out of the sea, hence covering the rubbish. As in Ko Samui there are lots of illeagal Jetskis, but here they also had boats pulling parachutes. The dodgiest thing we have seen yet, they strap the customer in and then one guy hops on his back and takes the ride with him.
We found a little cafe, BeachWay, with free wifi and cheap Thai food and spent a lot of time in there. We also liked the ClubLime restaurant, free wifi and a chatty waitress who thought Paul looked like Kevin Federline - which I found very funny and Paul ... not so much ! One night we went out to Molly Malone's and shared a shepherd's pie that was so huge we couldn't finsh it ! We watched Birgmingham City beat Sunderland in another Irish Bar and wandered down the main strip a couple of times. Patong has a reputation for girly bars and it made for a really interesting stroll. The sad thing is that patong must once have been a beautiful place, but now it's full of groups of tanked up Australians and Americans looking for trouble and it has a sinister atmosphere.
Our hotel was very nice, although it felt a little like we were in Butlins ! The pools were lovely. It rained heavily every day, as Phuket is not as isolated as other places we've been. Poor Phuket we don't really have a good word to say about it ! One funny incident from our last day on the beach, as we were strolling along in the surf after our bat and ball victory a group of Thai Muslim women asked to have their photo taken with us, which made them very excitable. One woman then asked to have her photo taken just with me, just the two of us and as her friend clicked the shutter, she grabbed my boob. It must be a corker of a photo - I must have a very surprised look on my face !! Southern Thailand has very strong muslim influences, making for some great curries.
If you find yourself in Patong we suggest you go down to Phuket town, get on the 10am ferry to Yao Yai, it's only 100B per person, and stay at the Yao Yai Resort for half what you'd pay in Phuket - that's where we are now ... it's bliss ... but more about that in our next entry !