Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Travelling & Living: Patong Beach VS Kamala Beach (Why Patong Beach Is Overrated)

Jungceylon Shopping Mall
Image from Locky's English Playground
Before I go into explaining the title of this post, I must first state that Patong beach is one of the, if not the most, famous beaches of Phuket. It doesn't just become famous for nothing. But I am more of a traditional person, so what I am about to explain is why Patong beach isn't my cup of tea.


Attractions
Shopping malls

If you like shopping malls, Bangkok has tonnes. Well, Hong Kong has tonnes too. Since I live in Hong Kong and have already exhausted the malls in Bangkok, another Jungceylon, a mid-quality shopping mall, isn't going to give me too much of a surprise.


Night life
Streets of Bangkok in The Hangover part 2
Image from WSJ
Patong beach looks very much like the streets seen in The Hangover Part 2, definitely a place for pubbers and clubbers. You get Thai girls, Thai lady boys, Thai monkey-keepers who are trying to earn your money from your curiosity. Wanna take photos, you better have cash, because they will ask you for it once you press that shutter button.

Mike Tyson tattoo as seen in The Hangover Part 2
Image from intobolivian
If you wanna get a Mike Tyson tattoo on your face, shops are everywhere! Some people even hold large body-sized signs with tattoo samples at the beach to promote! Why? Because there are indeed a whole beach of men and women with tattoos on the beach, so much that I don't even dare to take their pictures.


The only photo I dare to take walking down a street down Patong beach
Image from Locky's English Playground
Beach
Beach was sandy, very fine and smooth, the water was very clear, but the fact that nobody seems to be playing with the water and almost everybody lying on the beach made me feel that leaving my property on the beach would be an incredibly stupid idea. As a result, I did not have the chance for a swim.

Couples looking at the sea, or something else
Image from Locky's English Playground
There is a so-called rule which says that if you rent a beach umbrella and sunbathing seats, then the lessor will look after your belongings for you. But with so many tattoos sunbathers right beside you, would you dare to leave anything behind?

Exciting parasailing. The man behind does the handing for you
Image from Locky's English Playground
Supposedly, you can also have fun with water sports like parasailing,

I'm not taking photos of you, just the jet ski
Image from Locky's English Playground
or jet-skiing, but for exciting games like these, you will need to bring a lot of cash to the beach, which is very unsafe. If you are on honeymoon, then either one of you will have to sit on the beach and guard your belongings. Anyway, who wants to play risky sports while on honeymoon?
Friends chatting on the beach
Image from Locky's English Playground

In many ways, it would be much better if you go with a bunch of friends, then you will have someone to keep a watchful eye here and there. .

A rare decent-looking family at the super-crowded Patong beach
Image from Locky's English Playground

It is interesting to see that the visitors seem to know Patong beach isn't a beach for families, so decent families with children are rare to spot. If you are hoping to see many young children running on beach sand, you will be extremely disappointed with Patong.
Hot lady in pink bikini
Image from Locky's English Playground
Hot ladies in bikinis though, that's for sure, but which beach doesn't have?

Male buddies walking along the beach
Image from Locky's English Playground
What's more, the beach is so packed that basically if you hide yourself under the beach umbrella, you are guaranteed the lack of seaview. The beach was rather dirty with countless number of cigarette butts on the sand. Yuck!


Transport fare

Inside a buggy taxi
Image from Locky's English Playground
It's fine if you stay in a hotel or resort in Patong, but if you want to go elsewhere like Kamala or Karon beach, the buggy / "taxi" drivers will completely rip you off, price ranges anywhere from THB500 to THB 600 is the norm

Bye bye Patong, I won't come back ever again
Image from Locky's English Playground
I was considered lucky to have found THB 400 back to the resort, but only having gone through the annoyance of being pushed from one taxi driver to another and to yet another, bargaining and bargaining. 

You remember that I mentioned in the Travelling & Living: Ayara Kamala Resort & Spa post that a taxi ride from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport to Centralworld costs around THB 400 only for an hour ride, here in Phuket, even a 20 minutes ride at THB 400 seem unattractive, and it is not even an actual sedan we are talking about here.

Image from Locky's English Playground
Here maybe a reason why, the story goes as my wife and I got on one THB 400 buggy taxi on our way back to the Ayara Kamala Resort, another taxi driver, who was previously asking  us for THB 600 and rejected our THB 400 offer in front of our driver's face, caught up with us with 5 male Caucasian passengers in his vehicle. He spoke mostly in Thai to our driver but I picked up the words "THB 500... Karon Beach! Hahaah!" before he cheekily drove off.

He got lucky, I thought, because the way to Karon Beach is shorter and he got more fare, but in actual fact, that means, THB 400 is an insult to their business and they can always get more than that.


Overall, Patong beach has its charm, but it doesn't fit my personality. My advice is, if you want the beach of Patong, stay in a hotel in Patong. If you want exciting night life, tattoos, bars, pubs and clubs, Patong is the place for you.

**********************************************

Panorama of Kamala beach from my sunbathing spot
Image from Locky's English Playground

If you want to have a decent, worry-free and enjoyable family beach, you must go to Kamala Beach.

Beach

Located in the East of Ayara Kamala Resort & Spa, North of Patong Beach, Kamala Beach has the sand just as fine as that of Patong Beach, but it is much more spacious.

Spacious Kamala beach with 50-50 sunbather-to-swimmer ratio
Image from Locky's English Playground
As you can see from the photo above, everyone gets to have their little area of privacy, unlike the Patong Beach.

Drinking juice, sunbathing, reading
Image from Locky's English Playground
People mainly drink juices, sunbathe, read, chat with each other...
A woman being buried by a kid with sand
Image from Locky's English Playground
...play sand,

A little girl's legs behing buried by her father with sand
Image from Locky's English Playground
...play with their kids,...

Dedicated dad making sand dolphin with his children
Image from Locky's English Playground
Little boy surprised by my Galaxy S2?
Image from Locky's English Playground
... watch their kids play freely,...

Hot sexy girl in T-back string bikini, just walking back after a swim
Image from Locky's English Playground
and swim. Hey! People on this beach actually swim!

A lady getting her bikini top fixed
Image from Locky's English Playground

There is almost no one with scary-looking tattoos on this beach any more, just lovely, decent people, tonnes of families with children and smiley faces. Because of the spaciousness and the decency of the people there, I felt like I was more willing to believe in the security level is much higher on this beach. Thus, both my wife and I spent a long time in the water, playing with the crashing water waves.

Light of God through the clouds
Image from Locky's English Playground

What's really import for me, is the freedom of photography. At Patong Beach, I could hardly take any photos, at Kamala Beach, I can take any photos and as many as I wish, otherwise, you won't get to see so many lovely photos.


Attractions
After you have had a great time at the beautiful Kamala Beach, you can enjoy free shower at any of the beachside resorts, at the same time, you can get yourself a piece of grass and have a good rest.

A resort beside the beach
Image from Locky's English Playground
There are also various THB 300 / hour massages and pedicure by the resorts, look around and you'll easily find some of these fabulous bargains!

Tsunami Monument Plaza
Image from Locky's English Playground
At Kamala Beach, the first thing you will see is the Tsunami Monument Plaza. It is not like there is much to see, but just standing there by the canal one can imagine the power of the tidal wave in 2004.

Stone monument with history of the Phuket tsunami in 2004
Image from Locky's English Playground
Image from Locky's English Playground
If you have time, you can follow this tsunami evacuation route for tourist for a walk. At the end of the day, anyone by the beach should be prepared for the worst.


Once a tsunami site, now a beautiful resort once more
Image from Locky's English Playground
Sweet Dream Restaurant
Image from Locky's English Playground
And finally, unlike Patong Beach, most of the restaurants on Kamala Beach are very very cheap, usually around THB 180 for a seafood dish such as curry crab, you'll definitely spend little for a very filling meal. I went to this Sweet Dream Restaurant, and it was marvellous! Why don't you give Kamala Beach a go too?


Vocabulary:
pubber -- (n)[C] people who go to pubs
clubber -- (n)[C] people who go to clubs
lessor -- (n) [C] a person or organization that allows another person or organization to use something they own in return for regular payments
parasailing -- (n) [U]a sport in which you wear a parachute and are pulled behind a motor boat in order to sail through the air
jet-skiing -- (n)[U] a small vehicle for one or two people to ride on water which is moved forward by a fast stream of water being pushed out behind it
rip sb off -- 

phrasal verb 

[M] informal 
to cheat someone by making them pay too much money for something
the norm -- a situation or type of behaviour that is expected and considered to be typical
sedan -- (n)[C] US for saloon (CAR) UK (US sedana car with seats for four or five people, two or four doors, and a separate section at the back for bags, boxes and cases
cheekily -- (adv) slightly rude or showing no respect, but often in a funny way
spacious -- (adj) approving large and with a lot of space
crashing -- (n)[U]  loud noises made when things break or fall
pedicure -- (n)[C or U] (a) beauty treatment for the feet which involves cutting and sometimes painting the nails, and softening or massaging (= rubbing) the skin


Resources:

Travelling & Living: Ayara Kamala Resort & Spa @ Locky's English Playground
http://lockyep.blogspot.hk/2013/02/travelling-living-ayara-kamala-resort.html

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/business-english/lessor?q=lessor
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/parasailing?q=parasailing+
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/jet-ski?q=jet-skiing
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/rip-sb-off#rip-sb-off__2
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/norm?q=norm
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/saloon_1
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/cheeky?q=cheekily+
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/spacious?q=spacious+
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/crashing?q=crashing+
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/pedicure?q=pedicure+


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