20 Months in Asia: Patong, Thailand

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Avatar for JohnvonBob
3 years ago

After two nights in Naiyang, it was time to move on.  I took a bus from just outside my hotel down the peninsula and rode for an hour or two until it pulled up to my hostel in Patong.   

 

Patong is a really tight-packed tourist town with a long beach and green hills that wrap all the way from end of the beach, behind the town, and then to the other end of the beach.  There's a good amount of development.  Large hotels and apartments 30+ stories tall are everywhere, there's a center that's dominated by party bars and then a lot of western-branded shops and massage parlors encircling that.  In the outer ring of the town locals live in tiny apartments, or in little sheet-metal-hut villages that are walled off from view of the tourists. 

 

If you were alone on the beach, you'd say it was a beautiful beach.  Unfortunately the crowds of tourists are pretty thick, and there's dozens of locals badgering you to buy everything from jet ski rides to cocaine.  The water is murky, and a few people I talked to expressed discomfort at the idea of going in.

The beating heart of the town is Bang La Road, at least as far as a tourist is concerned.  Wide-open strewn with garbage and all kinds of mysterious dried splatters staining the asphalt, Bang La Road is home to a crazy amount of nightclubs and bars, some of which might seem familiar and even impressive to a westerner, fancy and expansive, while others seem more like a carnival beer tent, except that they rows and rows of bar counters with bikini-clad thai girls dancing every few feet along the countertop and just as many tvs playing sports, a lot of rugby and aussie rules.  

Basically every night my hostel had an event to drag as many guests as they could out to Bang La, starting with some heavy drinking in hostel and ending up at any number of bars on the strip.  At night the strip was wild to say the least.  Guys would just be walking around with menu cards of all the drugs they sold.  Beautiful thai women wearing high-end cocktail dresses and shimmering jewelry stood in small groups, eyeing the crowds of men with forced smiles and approaching any stray guy with a bubbly laugh and stroke on their arm.  

During the day it was basically just eat and sit on the beach.  There were some interesting places to eat, some modern/western type places and some local street food.  For one lunch I got a few skewers of fake seafood from a cart, and the guy tossed in an bonus chicken foot covered in some orange hot sauce.  

There wasn't a lot to do in Patong besides drink and party, but you could enjoy yourself if that was your thing.  There were also a lot of guys trying to sell you cheap suits, girls in heavy making waving at you to get a massage, and plenty of shops with the usual tourist crap.  Tours could be arranged all across the Peninsula, and travel to pretty much anywhere within Thailand from the hundreds of little tour booths that dotted the town.  (Remember say No! to tiger, dolphin, and elephant attractions)

Patong worked for me cause I was just cutting loose a bit when I first arrived in Asia after years in a depressing office job, but it's not somewhere I'd want to stay long-term. 

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3 years ago

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