If your looking for a quiet spot on the beach, watching the waves, soaking up the sun, Phuket, Thailand is not for you. Phuket is a party island, deticated to and filled with more tourists than anywhere we have been yet.
With this type of development comes high prices (compared to Bangkok and Chiang Mai), and dirty beaches. The prices, especially for food, we’re easily twice that of what we enjoyed in Chiang Mai. The tourist attractions and taxis we’re more as well. The beaches are full of people who are either paragliding off the beach or lounging or swimming. If there are lounge chairs available, you will need to pay for them. There are specific spots for swimming/lounging because of the paragliders, which makes those areas buisier. The beaches themselves are full of trash. If your looking for the crystal clear water on your screen saver you will need to to visit one of the smaller, less populated ialands.
I did find a couple areas to hike. Keep in mind, if you enjoy hiking and do so on a regular basis, Phuket does not have the hikes you are used to. They are shortened to be comfortable walks to and around water and none of them are free. I was greatly missing the ability to walk to a trail in the US and just start walking. All of the hikes there cost money and many of the longer ones require a guide. I did enjoy the river and monkeys at Bang Pae Waterfall. But I would not call it a hike but it was still beautiful. The food provided at the entrance was wonderful as well.
We stayed in the Patong area for a week. Our favorite spot was the pool at our hostel and time with new friends. Spending more on drinks and food is a lot more enjoyable when your hearing about other’s adventures and what they’ve learned along the way. I want to thank Brad, Jenni, “the Irish Boys”, and Rotem for their wonderful company and a fun night of drinks. I was so distracted I didn’t even manage a picture.