ok, so I know Phuket is a top tourist destination & lots of people seem to love it, ( as evidenced by the throngs of people) but for the life of me I can’t figure out why. The beaches are probably lovely, if you can see past the endless parade of chairs & umbrellas & jet skis & touts & cigarette smoking Europeans. I couldn’t. I heard it was the Vegas of Thailand, and I freely admit Vegas is one of my least favorite places on earth, but I was looking forward to the spectacle. No spectacle. Just sad & seedy & too many people.
We stayed in Karon beach, one of the “nicer beaches” in Phuket. This is what Lonely Planet has to say about Karon beach “Karon’s gorgeous beachfront is developing rapidly, but the area still has an isolated feel” oh, really?
Because the road is adjacent to the beach, there are no accommodations directly on the beach. You get to cross this little gem, with about 20 touts wanting to sell you a massage, genuine prada sunglasses or a boat tour, every time you head to & from the beach.
White Dudes Thai Chicks
Phuket may be no pattaya, but the sex trade is still in your face & prevalent. I am a live & let live kinda gal, but I just don’t want to have to look at it. If i see it, I’m going to comment on it. so here’s my take, Everywhere you go, there are white guys, usually old & fat with young & lovely Thai women on their arms ( they apparently haven’t heard of the half your age plus 7 rule) As a white western woman, it is , for lack of better words, soooooo icky. Emotionally stunted losers with egos so fragile they require constant fawning & adoration, troll the night clubs in search of “true love”. The women, or more likely, girls, usually come from poor country villages & being the girlfriend of a white guy is a ticket out of poverty. The girls gyrate around poles in open air air bars with hollow eyes that stare into space while slack jawed men drink & drool. If actually buying sex is not your thing, you can go to a ping pong show & watch women shoot ping pong balls from their vaginas, i personally didn’t see one but hear they are, ahem, surprisingly accurate. (lots of kegels, is my guess). Many men I have met here will argue that many of these women are shrewd & take advantage of western men, stealing their money & their hearts. To which I say “Boo hoo, let me get you crying towel.” If you are so stupid that you believe the love of your life does not speak your language & was dancing on a pole when you met her, well, I have no sympathy for you.
Mafia Tuk Tuks
Most everywhere in Thailand transport is reasonably priced & readily available, so you would think that a place like Phuket, visited by millions of tourists would have reasonable transport. no. Apparently there is a Tuk Tuk mafia. There is no public transport between the southern beaches & Patong, one of the larger towns. The government has tried to intervene,according to the locals, with no success. That means a 5 km ride will cost you 400 baht each way. That’s approx 12 USD. TWELVE DOLLARS! my room wasn’t much more than that. If you try to negotiate, like i did, you get a little chuckle & then they say “walk”. Walking isn’t really an option, the road is busy with no shoulder to speak of and not to mention it can be steep in places. So if you don’t have a motorbike, you are at the mercy of the Tuk Tuk mafia. arrggghh, that was the feather in my I-hate-Phuket cap.
To be fair, it was absolutely pouring rain most of the time, which I’m sure added to my discontent, but seeing Phuket in the sunshine, I don’t know. I think it would be like seeing an aging drag queen in her pancake make-up in broad daylight: still not pretty.