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Published: August 25th 2014
Patong's Famous Bangla Walking Street
Looks like every major booming Thai beach resort needs one. Wider but shorter than its other famous counterpart in Pattaya, with the same kitschy street magic shows, "tiger" and ping pong shows, flanked by girlie bars and patrolled by tall people in heels and dresses but of ambiguous gender.
Moving on the quick overnight "transit" in Phi Phi, a short 2h ferry ride brought me to my next destination in Southwest Thailand. Now, some eight years after a memorable first trip here with some friends, I'm finally back again in Patong Beach of Phuket Island, Thailand's original island paradise, and undisputed powerhouse of the Thai tourism industry.
As with every other place, economic success brings inflation, and conniving tuk-tuk touts aside, the jacked-up prices of even the humble street food vendors put even Bangkok to shame. It is of course impossible not to compare Phuket with the likes of Samui and Pattaya, similar in so many ways, and even Bali in Indonesia. The gargantuan resorts fronting the beach, and the supporting tourist infrastructure of mega malls, restaurants, tour agencies all combine to remind any visitor what the Andaman coast is all about.
And my pleasant surprise of scoring a reasonably cheap room (THB500!) in a decent hotel during the current low (rainy) season was quickly met with the exact reason why -- an entire afternoon (and then some!) of persistent rainfall, alternating between heavy and absolutely torrential, which wreaked havoc with the drainage system. And so some three
It's the rainy season!
And that can only mean one thing (apart from the cheaper room rates) -- flash floods! Two hours of torrential downpour quickly show Thailand's continuing challenges with drainage during the monsoon season.
years on from the disastrous floods of 2011, it's clear the country has not yet solved this perennial problem, at least not yet in Phuket. Looks like no lazy sun-filled afternoons by the beach for me here this time!
Stayed at Baan Paradise.
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