At 12:05am Thursday night, technically Friday morning, I touched down for the second time in beautiful Phuket, Thailand. The airport here is always crowded, tiny, and falling apart, but who cares! I hopped in a taxi after a bit of negotiating with a few drivers and made my way to Patong Beach.
I ended up in Patong accidentally last fall when I booked a last minute trip to Thailand and just choose the most highly rated hostel in Phuket on hostelworld.com. I did no research or planning, just hopped on a plane and winged it. I was 100% nervous, although I never would’ve admitted that to anyone then, but it was my first time traveling completely alone to a brand new country and I didn’t know if it would be awesome or horrible. Turns out it was more than awesome! I met some amazing people, had some sketchy but memorable adventures, and started, what has now become, my strange love affair with Patong Beach.
Patong is not a family area, in fact, unless you want to drink till 5am and party a lot I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s a different world here. There are more beautiful beaches and nicer resorts in most other places in Phuket and you’d avoid the shitshow that is Bangla Road, with the constant badger of “See the Ping Pong Show!” as you stumble from one loud club to the next. (Note: I can’t even dignify “ping pong show” with a link. It has nothing to do with table tennis, and I’d warn you 100% about googling images/videos of it, NSFW!). With that said, it’s not the beach or nightlife that brought me back to this touristy, sometimes trashy yet lovely, area of Phuket but friends and the promise of more sketchy and amazing adventures and memories for a lifetime.
My plan when arriving in Patong was to check in to Bodega and head straight to bed, seeing how it was already 1:15am (3:15am Korea time), but I should’ve listen to my friends advice to “expect the unexpected”. As I paid my taxi driver, grabbed my backpack, and rounded the corner into my hostel I saw familiar faces! I screamed out “Lucy!” And after a reunion of “Oh my god, you’re here I’ve missed you” and hugs I knew that sleep was not on the menu. I checked in, grabbed a Singha (Thai beer) and reserved to chatting with friends and familiar faces and it seemed although 6 months had passed and I had only met Lucy once before, it was like I had never left. We chatted and told stories, and drank, and went to the bar and sang along to a live band, and at 5am when I was barely awake in the lounge and people started finally turning in and the rain started to pour down I knew it was gonna be an amazing weekend and that I made the right decision to come back…trashy clubs, heat, humidity, and all. This place and the people here gave me a new outlook on life last fall and made my first solo traveling experience the best and feel anything but “solo”.
Thanks Patong for welcoming me back with open arms…I’m sure this isn’t the last time.