Heaven or what???
On Monday we flew out of Bangkok. Our wonderful Thai friend hooked us up with her private cab driver who zoomed us to the airport in less than 40 minutes for $15! Talk about motivation! The flight to Phuket International Airport was very quick- about 70 minutes, maybe even less. Air Asia offers some of the cheapest flights in Asia- roundtrip tickets to Phuket for $30! No food or drink wa served for free on the flight, however. You could purchase water and even meals, which smelled really good but were a bit pricey for travellers like us :) The few passengers that did order meals, ate in satisfaction as everyone around them sniffed the air and eyed the food with envy.
As we were landing, the view from the airplane was breaktaking. Phuket International Airport is situated near the sea so as you land, it almost seems as if you are going to land in the water. We touched down at about 6:40, just in time for the sunset which, even from afar, was breathtaking. After picking up a few local maps, we headed out the door to find our way to our hotel in Paton Beach. Taxis from
the airport to Patong Beach can charge outragous amounts- B600! So we decided to take a minubus instead for B150 per person. It was a pleasant ride, with one stop at a tour agency.
In order to get to Patong Beach, we had to go over and then down a mountain. It was a steep climb for the minubus full of people and suitcases, but the drive down was amazing. It was getting dark, and the lights from all the hotels and houses lit the bay with a mysterious light. The minubus drove us all the way to our hotel- Aspery Hotel. It is a new hotel (opened in 2007) and is a great place to stay. The staff was truly friendly, the rooms clean and nicely decorated, free wi-fi in every guestroom as well as a bussiness lab in the lobby. The rooms were nicely decorated, has a flat screen TV and DVD player, a balcony, and big windows. The breakfast, which was included in the price, was the best breafast we have had in our lives! The food was fresh every morning, with a lot of different choices: from croissants to fried rice to baked veggies. Aspery
Hotel is located on a street off Patong Beach Road, at the north end of Patong Beach. It was a 3 minute walk to the beach, an area which was never too crowded.
That evening, we literally ran out to find a place to eat. We were starving, well at least I was. So we stopped at the first bar/restaurant that was moderately cheap. All the bars along Paton Beach Road are overpriced. The food is not great and the prices are high, but nonetheless it is still busy with farangs. If you are looking for a place to grab a bite, head north of Patong Beach. At the end of the beach, on Patong Beach road are numerous roadside 'restaurants' offering cheap, good food. After dinner, we called it a nite and headed back to our hotel, but not before we got harrassed by salesmen and tuk-tuk drivers- something that became as usual as breathing after a few days there :)
The next morning we woke up to a cloudy day, and headed to the beach. No need for sunscreen, we thought, there's no sun anyway. Big mistake. Very big mistake. We threw a total freaking human
One of the many great finds on the beach :)
bbq, that morning/afternoon on Patong beach, lying suncreen-less from 11 a.m. till 2 p.m. Our skin was red and burning, Monika had a fabulous monokini "tan", and I had Zorro eyes since I was wearing sunglasses all day...great. But even though it hurt to sit, stand, or turn in bed for 3 days, we didn't let this small mistake ruin our wonderful vacation!
That evening, we somehow managed to go to dinner with some friends from Korea who happened to be in the area. After dinner we walked the famous Bangla Road. I was not impressed. If you are into the bar/girl/ladyboy scene, this is perfection. If not, its just another bar filled street, lined with girls trying to get you to buy them a drink. We got numerous offers to "Ping Pong Shows" which, our friends explained, were not what you thought they were. The men inviting us to these shows were holding papers with long lists of items. A ping pong show, is a show where girls put ping pong balls in their vaginas and shoot them out, sometimes trying to hit a target. Those lists were actually lists of all the other things they could put
At the north end of Patong beach, sun chairs cost B80 for the whole day!
"down there". Darts, ping pong balls, even frogs and goldfish...It sounds pretty intriguing but be prepared to spend some money if you do go. If you are a guy, or maybe even a lady, it is expectd of you to buy very very expensive drinks for the girls. Some bouncers won't even let you out if you don't purchase a drink. SO, consider yourself warned.
The next morning, we woke up tired after a painful night. Our burns hurt more than before, but we still had smiles plastered on our "crab" faces :) after the amazing breakfast, we took a walk through the many little streets near Patong Beach. The farther away you go from the beach, the cheaper the prices get. If you don't want to waste money, don't be afraid to venture out a bit, and you will find what you are looking for for half the price.
That evening we watched the sunset from the roof of a cafe. The cafe, which is at the end of the Patong beach road, offered good coffee and fresh juice. The view from the roof was stunning, even though a few electricity cables were blocking it :) As
the sun went down, we walked down the finally emptying Patong Beach. Before coming, we read that Patong Beach was one of the ugliest beaches in Phuket. We were expecting something bad, but instead found that this beach was not too bad. Crowded- yes, ugly - no way. The thing is that the people that come to Patong beach are usually looking for bars and girls. In the late afternoon, the crowd moves out to the bars, the tide is low, and the beach comes alive- in our eyes:) During the day, the high tide swallows the beach, leaving only enough room for sun beds, but at the end of the day the beach becomes a huge playground. By sunset, the waves pull back and uncover about 60 meters of sand.
Although it might be called the most dangerous beach, Patong Beach is pretty peaceful. Of course, drunk foreighners are a problem sometimes, but the numerous chicas keep them entertained. Although we read that walking on the beach in the evening was unsafe, we still went almost every night. We would walk all the way from the north end of the beach to the south end - approx. 2
The sunset from the cafe at the end of Patong Beach
km. We never got bothered and there were only a few people, mostly couples, walking or sitting in the sand. We also found many interesting 'treasures' washed up on the shore. Dead fish, sun-tan lotions, pills, shoes - you name it :)
A great way to explore Phuket, is to take a tour. Yea, I know, they are 'tourist-y' but you get to see some pretty cool places, and if you can't drive (like us) tours sure help out, cuz you can only walk so far :) Like anywhere else in Thailand, you can usually bargain and get a cheaper price.
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