After 3 layovers in Los Angeles, Taipei, and Bangkok I made it to my final destination of Phuket, Thailand. After well over 24 hours of travel I was exhausted, but excited to be here again after 6 long years. I was looking forward to sitting on the beach, soaking up the sun, drinking ice cold Chang beer and just relaxing.
I had a driver waiting for me outside the airport to take me to my hotel. The taxi ride from Phuket Airport to Patong was longer than I remembered. But I enjoyed the winding route up through the mountains and down the other side to the beach. The drive took a little over one hour to reach the Nap Patong, the upscale, boutique hotel I book for my two week stay.
The Nap Patong
The Nap Patong is a very stylish hotel less than a block from the white sand beaches of Patong. It has a couple of pools, a fitness center, a restaurant, and bar. All the amenities needed for a great island getaway.
The rooms are modern, nicely decorated, and very clean. The bathroom was designed from concrete and glass, and beautiful. Not something I ever thought I’d say about a bathroom, but I just did. My room had a nice view of the ocean and everything about it was top class, I couldn’t be happier.
It has been a long time since my last visit to Patong Beach and I wanted to get out for a walk and see what had changed and what had stayed the same. I put on my hiking shoes and headed out for a nice walk around the area.
The place looked a lot different since the last time I visited. The beach chairs had all been ordered to be removed by the new military government. It made the beaches seem more pristine and they probably look a lot like they did twenty years ago. However I really liked renting a lounge chair for the day and sitting in the shade provided by the umbrellas.
I walked along beach road on my way to check out Bangla Road, the center of the nightlife in Patong. It was the middle of the afternoon, so I expected things to be quiet. I just wanted to check out all the new construction I had heard about.
All I can say is wow! It still looks like the Bangla Road of Old, however it has been modernized with a lot of new buildings. Some of the quaint old soi have been gutted and replaced by more modern structures. There is a huge new Tiger Beer Bar complex as well as a new Soi Sea Dragon. It looks like Soi Crocodile is also being gutted and replaced with a new set of bars. The Bangla Boxing stadium was gone and a new night club took it’s place.
I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing. The bars and side streets were old and dilapidated. However they had a certain charm to the, still a feel of how things must have first been in the old days. The new buildings all look so bland and almost phony. But I’m sure it’s just me being nostalgic for my first trip to Phuket.
I finished up my day by wandering around some of the streets just checking things out. While there has been a lot more construction, new hotels and buildings seem to have gone up everywhere, it is still very much the same. Phuket has a certain amount of charm that I would hate to see completely replaced as companies try and modernize Thailand to accommodate more tourists.