Thailand: (January 3rd – 5th, 2009)
Staying in Phuket for 3 days was more than enough for me. I wasn’t too impressed with the island, most probably because I stayed at the busiest and most touristy area, which is called Patong.
In my eyes, Patong is overcrowded with tourists. Old foreigners men walking with young Thai girls everywhere. The area reminds me of Pattaya, even though the one in Pattaya is worse. It’s sleazy. That’s my impression of this place.
The main entertainment road in Phuket is called Bangla or Song Soi. There are plenty of bars on each side of the street with local girls sitting around the bar, greeting the potential customers with their big smile. Most of the bars display pictures of the tourists on the wall, as if it was a wall of fame.
I walked down the street, observing my surrounding. It was four o’clock in the afternoon, yet, those girls on the bar were all ready to start their expedition of the day: accompanying the guests. And later in the evening, the bars got even more crowded. Prostitutes could be found in each corner of the place. Ugh. Luckily I was together with my diving group, otherwise, I wouldn’t feel safe walking there alone!
On Saturday night, we decided to go to the Ago Go Girl Bar. The bar has two floors. On the first floor, there’s a stage with some pole dancers dancing sexily on their undies, while on the second floor, there are two pool tables. My diving group decided to sit on the second floor and played pool here. I sat on the mezzanine, overlooking the pole dancers. Three girls were dancing flirtatiously, sometimes the bar staff slipped in some Thai Baht in their bra or undies while pointed at one or two tourists who sat on the sofa nearby the stage. The girl threw a smile before stepping down the stage and finally sat with the appointed tourist. As soon as a girl stepped down, there will be a new girl dancing on the stage. Aha.. that’s how it works!
Apart from experiencing the night life in the sleezy Phuket, I managed to visit a temple called the Golden Buddha Image. What makes this temple special? Unlike other temples in the country, this temple has a half-burried Buddha statue in the center of the temple. Story has it that years ago, there was a boy walking in the field with his buffalo. He tight the buffalo on a golden shrine which popped out of the field, then he went home. The next day, the boy died without any good explanation. His parents were all wondering. Then they went to the field and found that his buffalo was dead, too. Looking at the buffalo closely, they found the golden shrine and dig it to find out what was it. Then they realized that it was actually the shrine of a golden Buddha statue. A lot of people had been trying to dig the earth, so that they could see the whole statue, but some of them got sick or either died. They leave it as it is until today.
Birds chipping and the sound of the trees there reminded me that I should stay grounded. Quiet and peaceful. That’s how I remember the place. It’s totally different with Patong area, 30 minutes away by car from this peaceful temple. It’s nice to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city sometimes… and I think it’s good for the soul, too ;).
I packed my stuff and ready to leave the sleazy Phuket to go to one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand… guess where? 😉