faranging it up
Phuket Travel Blog› entry 51 of 56 › view all entries
November 2nd, 2009 – by: fromtheblock
Known as the "pearl of the south," Phuket (poo-get) is Thailand's largest and most visited island on the Andaman coast. Inland still supports rice, cashewnut, pineapple, and coconut plantations, but the main beaches on the southwestern corner resemble more the likes of western tourism.
Phuket Town, the main city of the island is a crowded market town with food and clothing stalling lining streets and telephone wires strewn everywhere! There's little to attract tourists to stay for long, although the plethora of food stalls makes eating pleasantly cheap.
Along the western coast lies Patong Beach, Phukets main attraction. McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks and Subway have invaded, along with countless restaurants and go-go bars. Farang (foreigners) may just outnumber Thai's on this strip of sand. I've heard it's popular to see white men with Thai wives, but I didn't realize HOW popular! About 1 in 3 couples is a middle-aged white man escorting around a tiny Thai woman.
About 6km south of Patong are the more classy and upmarket beaches of Karon and Kata. I did spot one Starbucks nessled on the headland between the two beaches, but no golden arches in the skyline! The amenities are much the same here as in Patong: beach oriented attire and over priced restaurants offering Italian and English menus.
The beach towns are all laid out relatively similar (with Patong just craming more onto haphazard soi (alley-like streets)). There's random stalls along the beach front road selling clothing or food. There's one or two main roads leading into town that are lined with more restaurants (bars in Patong), package-oriented hotels, and tourist shops. About two blocks in is the "main" road that runs north to south and houses a greater array of dining option (with better prices), 7-11's, and usually more locals.
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