To those who live in Phuket, the word Patong strikes up a mixed bag of emotions. There are those who absolutely adore the place and those who can’t stand it. This is due mainly to the notorious red light district known as Bangla Road. For the uninitiated, you will be glad to know that there is so much more to Patong then just sex tourism. Whether you are interested in shopping, eating out, nightlife or just bumming it at the beach, Patong has it all.
Still one of the major draws and the reason Patong became so popular in the first place is because of it’s beach. I’ll be the first to admit that the actual beach has seen much better days and that the constant influx of fresh tourists does a lot of harm to the natural beauty of the place. Where once stood an untainted paradise of white sand, is now lined with thousands of white plastic beach chairs. Despite the crowds and underneath a bit of grime, Patong Beach is still pretty nice.
Another major draw to the town is the huge selection of restaurants. Sure, you will probably be paying a bit more on average than in most other places on Phuket, but you really can’t beat Patong on sheer variety.
A trip to South-East Asia would not be complete without going out shopping. Most of the world’s clothes are produced in Thailand and neighboring countries, so why not buy it at it’s source and at a discount. Thailand or rather Asia in general, is quite notorious for selling cheap knockoff merchandise, Patong is no exception here. There are plenty of shops lining the beach and side streets that sell every brand of merchandise that you can imagine. Is it of inferior quality? You betcha, but at such a lower price, does it really matter?
If you are not interested in counterfeit merchandise, then you always have the option of Jungceylon. It is a major shopping mall and one of the big draws for a lot of tourists. They offer the real deal when it comes to authentic merchandise, at least that is the claim. You should always be skeptical of any purchase, it is Asia after-all, and who knows really?
So you see, there is much more to Patong Beach then just the seedy back alleys of Bangla Road. It may not be your cup of tea, but it is a place that should be visited at least once just out of curiosity. Who knows, you may end up loving the place!
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