Asian Vegas

Nai Thon has been a perfect place to relax and enjoy the beach.  It has been a quiet week with little traffic and we have gotten a chance to get to know a lot of other vacationers that have been staying in and around our hotel.  The residents of Nai Thon Beach Mansion or what we have dubbed “the mansion” all have congregated in a peaceful section of the beach not too far from our guesthouse.  A group of us have become regulars at Peter’s Restaurant and Bar and it has been fun having a hang out for the week where you can sit and chat with our new-found friends over lunch or at happy hour.  There has been an assortment of people from all over but most fellow travelers we meet have hailed from Europe.

Becky and I at our "Cheers" of Thailand; Peter's Bar
Becky and I at our “Cheers” of Thailand; Peter’s Bar

I was lucky enough to have one of my closest friends from high school traveling in Thailand at the same time so we made plans to have our trips overlap for a few days.  Becky arrived over the weekend with great stories of what she had been up to on her vacation and we spent some much needed time catching up enjoying the amazing weather.  We decided with our short time together we would do something fun so we headed to Patong Beach for a night.

Patong is about a 30-minute taxi ride south of Nai Thon and is one of the more famous areas of Phuket.  Well known for its nightlife, we decided it would be like the Las Vegas of Thailand and it did not disappoint.  Just after sunset we descended the winding road south and as we approached you could see all of the lights twinkling in the distance.  Once we arrived in Patong it was clear what a huge contrast it was from our Nai Thon hideaway.  The town is jammed with restaurants, shops and bars.   People crowd the streets shopping and drinking and as a self-proclaimed people watcher I was in heaven.  Rung, our trusty taxi driver gave us a run down of the town before releasing us into the unknown.  Immediately Becky and I noticed there were no road signs that we could find and the endless view of neon lights was almost overwhelming and maintaining your sense of direction could prove challenging.  Our approach would be to stick to the main streets so we could find our way back to Rung and our agreed meeting place.  The main strip is Soi Bangla (Bangla Road) and in the evening it is closed for foot traffic.  The bars are all open into the street so you can see everything each place has to offer.  The music competes for your attention as it pours from place to place and there are girls that try to convince you to come into their bar to spend your money.  It seems that everyone has “a special deal for you today.”  Many of the bars have scantily clad go-go dancers that have amazing acrobatic pole dancing routines.

Soi Bangla
Soi Bangla

We stumbled on a food and drink festival and had a chance to watch a Thai couple make Pad Thai to order.  A crowd hovered over his huge wok as he fried squid, prawns and tofu, throwing in noodles and fresh vegetables and he finished his performance with cracking eggs on the side of his spatula high over his pan, letting them fall into the hot oil for the finale.

After haggling prices with some street vendors for souvenirs Becky and I strolled through Bangla Road looking at all of the interesting characters on the street.  People are posted throughout the main drag trying to sell you little trinkets, or have you buy tickets to all types of shows.   Men walk through with large Iguanas or Loris to rest on your shoulder for a photo-op.  You can also find Drag Queens (or Thai Ladyboys) standing outside of bars promoting their shows.  Many places are open her until 4am but before Rung’s coach turned into a pumpkin, Becky and I were on our way back to Nai Thon for a peaceful sleep.

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